Film Directing Masterclass with Ate de Jong

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Raindance Members get 20% off this course.
Saturday & Sunday 27 – 28 January 2018, 10:00-17:00
Duration: One weekend
Address: Raindance Film Centre, 10a Craven Street, London, WC2N 5PE

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Ate de Jong asks:

Why is it so many people want to direct, but are not wiling to take the time nor spend the effort to learn the basics?

This weekend film directing masterclass is presented with one of Europe’s most resepected and seasoned film directors: Ate de Jong. He will be illustrating his masterclass with clips from his films such as DROP DEAD FRED, ENIGMA, DISCOVERY OF HEAVEN, HIGHWAY TO HELL, MIAMI VICE, DEADLY VIRTUES, LOVE IS THICKER THAN WATER and many more.

De Jong has directed in America, Germany, the UK and his native Holland. His projects have varied in budgets from a few thousands, to tens of millions. He’s worked with low budget crews of a few to large full-blown crews of hundreds.

This weekend masterclass examines the life of a director, as well as the craft of directing.

This class will feature direct discussion with participants and audience questions are encouraged and responded to.

Day One: Let’s prepare to direct?

This day deals with all the important preplanning necessary to shoot and deliver a great film.

SESSION 1 – Pre-production (2 ½ hrs)

The 4 Key questions:
Why do you want to direct a film?
What is the director’s vision?
Who do you make the film for: yourself or an audience?
Indentifying your target audience.

The relationships of a director
Working with the script-writer.
Pro’s and con’s of writing yourself as a director.
Working with the Producer.

The advantages and limitations of the budget.
Choosing your crew.
How much does a director need to know about technique?
Who is more important, your cameraman, your actors or your catering?
Choosing locations.
Making shotlists (story boards) before shooting (or not making shotlists).

SESSION 2 – Rehearsals & the structure of a shooting day (3 hrs)

Working with actors
Pro’s and con’s of rehearsals.
Rehearsal example with actor volunteers: the value of subtext.
What to do if an actor refuses to do what the director wants.

The paperwork
The importance of a good call sheet and why that is important for a director.
What needs to happen before the first shot?
How do you instruct the crew (cast) when the day   starts? Run through or not?

The Shoot
How long should the first set-up take?
Over schedule happens in the morning. How do you make your day?
How many set-ups  a day?
Lunch and after lunch issues.
Morning versus afternoon.

Day Two: Let’s shoot and edit the film

This day features many useful tips and demonstrations of shooting on the set, and following through into post-production.

SESSION 3 – Shooting

Filmmaking is top sport. It requires the communcication skills of an Attilla the Hun with a cellphone – combined with science and artistry. It’s the most glamourous job in the film industry. Heighten your chances of success. This session will include useful exercises designed to take you to your most productive level.

The Director and the camera
Difference between one take and many takes.
Interrupt or don’t interrupt a take that goes wrong?
Making coverage shots or not?
What is a good shot, what is a wrong shot?
Difference between cinema shot and tv.

The Director and the actors
What is good acting?
The filmmaking love triangle: actor – camera – director.

The Director on the set
The psychological dominance of the director.
The loneliness of the director.
How to keep focus on telling the story during multiple shooting days.
How to schedule watching rushes

The Director and technology
Special equipment, advantages and disadvantages.
Stunts and Sp Fx.
Re-shoot and pick-ups.

SESSION 4 – Post-Production & Release (3 hrs)

Learn how scommercially and artistically successful films are really made in post-production.

The Director and the story
re-writing the script during editing.

The Director and the editor
Editors cut versus directors cut.
Saving a film via Voice Over or non-narative cutting.

The Director and Sound
Working with a composer.
ADR and final mix.

The Director and getting the movie out there
Test screenings, pro’s and con’s.
Promoting the film as a director.
Is there such a thing as bad publicity?

The Director and the Premiere.
Press & reviews.
Winning Awards and accolades
A flop is an orphan, a hit has many parents. Where is the director?

What they are saying about Ate de Jong

About A Flight of Rainbirds:
As was Polanski, de Jong is in complete command of material that emerges as highly original.
Film LA/Pasadena

It’s a classic and the best released film in LA this year.
– Movieline USA

About Highway to Hell:
… utterly fascinating meditation on self discovery, surrealism, psychology and the disorienting power of sex.
– LA Times

There’s no doubting De Jong’s talent, energy and vivid imagination.
Hollywood Reporter

… this is modern teenage version of the Orpheus myth is a stylish, witty and resourceful piece of work.
Celluloid Terror

About Drop Dead Fred
It will only grow more popular as the years go by…
– Harvard University

Choosing to believe in Fred is choosing to maintain a playfulness throughout life. – Fantasia Magazine

…an inspired idea, well presented and a great verhicle for Rik Mayall.
– TimeOut

About Deadly Virtues: Love.Honour.Obey
For filmlovers with strong nerves an absolute recommendation.
Mercyless revenge thriller, brilliant and suspenseful.
– Variety

A hypnotic home invader… uncovering an uncomfortable truth about mariage.
– Britflicks

Best UK film of the (FilmFour/Frightfest) festival. The hardhitting surprise of the BIFFF Brussels Festival.
– Cinemafantastique

About Love Is Thicker Than Water
Director Ate de Jong’s piece is masterful.
– Mill Valley Festival, USA

… a memorable and deeply relatable romance. Matchless film-making and story telling. It’s wonderful Ate – congratulations.
– Stephen Fry

Who should attend

Producers, writers and directors interested in developing their understanding of what makes a successful shoot, and what makes a successful film.

About Ate de Jong

Few filmmakers have directed more features (24) than the cult director Ate de Jong. He has worked in the UK, in Europe and America. His film’s budgets range from micro to multi-millions. He’s worked with some of the world’s top actors as well as talented newcomers.

Ate de Jong studied at the Filmacademy of Amsterdam, and directed 6 feature films in The Netherlands, including A Flight of Rainbirds, Burning Love and Shadow of Victory.

In 1986 he moved to Hollywood with two small suitcases not knowing anyone in the US film industry. His first directing gig was an episode of Miami Vice (starring Don Johnson, Philip Michael Thomas, James Brown and Chris Rock) He subsequently directed two US feature films: Highway to Hell (starring Chad Lowe, Kristy Swanson, Gilbert Gotfried and Ben Stiller) and Drop Dead Fred (starring Rik Mayall, Phoebe Cates, Carrie Fisher, Marsha Mason and Bridget Fonda), which have now become recogniazed cult classics around the world.

National Public Radio (NPR) broadcast nation wide his comedic take on Hollywood in the esteemed political program The Sunday Morning Edition which gathered a huge following.

Since 1994 Ate has been working out of London. Most notably he directed the European co-production All Men Are Mortal (starring Stephen Rea, Irene Jacob, Chiara Mastroianni and Marianne Saegebrecht) based on the book of Simone de Beauvoir and the sexy thriller Fogbound (starring Luke Perry and Ben Daniels). He produced international pictures Left Luggage (Isabella Rossellini and Maximilian Schell) and The Discovery Of Heaven  (Stephen Fry). His films were shown and laurelled at a variety of festivals, such as Cannes, Berlin, Moscow, LA, Seatttle, Chicago, Tokyo, Oporto. He is a sought after member of international panels and film juries.

More recently, Ate has produced and directed several UK features, Deadly Virtues (2013) and Love is Thicker than Water (2016). He is a member of the Directors Guild of America (DGA) and Directors UK.

Recently a journalist asked Ate de Jong if film should reflect what happens in our world today.

Every film is a political film, even a simple, intimate love story, as well as an over-the-top Special Effects extravaganza.

As a film director Ate de Jong focuses on characters with personal dilemma’s living in a society full of traditional rules.

His film characters have included:

  • The yearning of a young actress for immortality in All Men Are Mortal based on Simone de Beauvoir’s novel
  • The emotional escape from childhood abuse via an imaginary friend in Drop Dead Fred
  • The choice between worldly ambition and personal intimacy in Highway to Hell
  • The liberation of a young woman from her submissive position as a wife in Deadly Virtues
  • The fight of young lovers to shed the culture of their parents in Love is Thicker than Water.

Politics are an extension of moral beliefs in Ate de Jong’s pictures.

A summary of moral beliefs always trivialises, but we live in the age of 140 characters, sound bites and snapchats. Therefore here are my highlights. I believe in a horizontal society where different expressions exist next to each other, as opposed to a vertical society where only the best, the biggest, the most, the ultimate counts. I don’t believe all people are equal, but I do believe in equality. I do believe in essential differences between men and women, even races, but not in superiority of any. I believe in acceptance and forgiveness towards others and mostly towards ourselves. I admire people who can live with no fear, no envy and no meanness. I believe in a society with total freedom based on different opinions, not on respect and hope for a society without the need of laws. We have an awful long way to go before we achieve any of that, if ever. Perhaps films can help while travelling.
-Ate de Jong

Raindance is honoured and priveleged to host Ate de Jong’s Film Directing Masterclass
His IMDB: www.imdb.com/name/nm0429517/

Did you know?

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2 reviews for


Film Directing Masterclass with Ate de Jong

  1. Rated 5 out of 5


    I took Ate’s masterclass a few months ago. It’s great to learn from someone who has ‘been there and done it’. Not only does Ate cover all the areas important to making a film he really gets across what you need to do to survive and thrive in the industry. He’s a warmhearted & generous person who patiently answered every question the audience had for him. Not only was he good at teaching us some of his knowledge but he also did practical demos that demonstrated some basics of how he works with actors. A brief summary of what he discussed includes topics such as ‘choosing your crew, Script, audience, locations, directors checklist, coverage, set etiquette, editing, re-shoots, pickups and test-screenings’. Further to this it’s not just a class in how to make films but also a class in how to make-it in the film business. There are all sorts of other considerations that are not necessarily craft related such as working with difficult actors, dealing with reviews/critics, WGA/DGA considerations, rights, your attitude and what is needed as a director. Lastly he helped get to the core of WHY you want to make a film – as that is perhaps the keystone of why you put yourself through such an arduous process. All-in-all I would highly recommend!

  2. Rated 5 out of 5


    Loved this weekend – Ate was extremely engaging and entertaining as well as generous with his time and information relating to a variety of subjects. More importantly, he has done it all – from big budget films to micro-budgets, so understands all aspects of the film-making business. Most useful was his practical advice in terms of the role of the director in relation to the smallest details – this masterclass is more than just an overview! Moreover, Ate challenges you to think about your motivation for making a film in the first place – digging deep – as he well knows, you’ll have to dig deep if you’re going to see a project through to its conclusion. There are some really great courses at Raindance, but I’d thoroughly recommend this one if you can only manage to do one. Alternatively, join the Fasttrack course and do all the others too, they all bring something different to understanding filmmaking!

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