Film Direction: A not so glamorous career option in the glamour world.
Film direction is a lot about creativity, knowledge, and story telling and a little about technicalities. Even after so much hard work and expertise that they put in, directors if we forget about the top-notch ones, don’t get to be as famous as the actors.
However, this creative breed doesn’t seem to care much about it. In fact, portraying their ideas and stories in the most convincing and entertaining ways is what they strive for.
And we cannot sideline the fact that they are the most authentic ones on the film sets. They can make our favorite stars jump from a building or dive into a sea.
Despite all this, the direction has never been an attractive career choice. Probably because it seems like a far-fetched dream to many of the aspirants. As the industry gets more competitive with every passing day.
But if you have this passion for conveying your perspective or stories to the world, I have got some great information for you. This post has some interesting information on how to become a film director in Bollywood.
First off, to become a director, you need to have these skills:
Why do film directors need to understand writing?
There are script writers for that.
Yes, you are right.
It is scriptwriters’ or screenplay writers’ job.
But directors need to understand the subtleties of script writing. They need to develop a taste for it. No director can put his heart and soul into somebody else’s words. Like some great actors improvise their dialogues. Directors, too, might need to modify the dialogues according to their perspective.
Again, scriptwriters do the research for the scripts. Directors need to do their research to understand the emotions behind a particular story. To know the kind of accent, body language, look, etc. would suit a particular character.
Without research, the audience wouldn’t relate to the characters. And nothing will fall into place.
There is a huge difference between written words and spoken words. With spoken words, the emotions, actions, and gesture: everything must be justified. Young aspirants can practice and hone this skill by making short videos and watching them on mute.
They can observe if the video conveys the same message without a voice. If it does not, they can work on the problems. With practice, perseverance, and determination, they can excel at this skill.
Now that we’ve discussed the skills let’s see how to become a director.
There is no set way to becoming a film director. There are no specific educational requirements. The doors of Bollywood are open to anyone who is talented, hard working, and ready to struggle.
However, after researching about the lives of different successful Bollywood directors, I have come up with the following ways that you can consider to become a film director.
By Finding Work In Particular Fields In Film-Making
Working in any field related to filmmaking gives you great exposure to the movie world. From a screenwriter to a cameraman, start with any one job that you are interested in and then work your way up to filmmaking.
Many of our successful directors have walked this path.
Anurag Kashyap, the director of movies like Gulaal, Udaan, DevD, and Black Friday, started with writing a T.V. series Auto Narayan which was later canceled. Then, he wrote screenplays for the movie Jayate and T.V. series Kabhie Kabhie. His first break was Satya, which is among Bollywood’s most critically acclaimed and financially successful films.
Imtiaz Ali, known for films like Jab We Met, Rockstar, and Highway, pursued his graduation from Hindu College. He was interested in theater. He is the founder of Hindu’s dramatics society called Ibtida. He started his journey as a tape boy at Zee TV. He used to get Rs. 1500 per month. Then he joined Crest Communications as a writer. The first movie that he wrote was Socha Na Tha. And the rest is history.
By Making Short Films or Documentaries
Quentin Tarantino, one of the most exceptionally talented American film directors who has directed movies like Jackie Brown, Pulp Fiction, and Kill Bill, says, “Trying to make a feature film yourself with no money is the best film school you can do.”
And that’s not it. Many other famous directors have never been to a movie school, including James Cameron who directed Titanic.
Not only international cinema but Bollywood too has directors like Nikhil Advani, Anurag Kashyap, Imtiaz Ali, and Madhur Bhandarkar who have no formal education in filmmaking.
The idea is not to shun film schools but to understand that if anyone has got the right passion, formal education is only an alternative.
James Cameron says,
“Pick up a camera. Shoot something. No matter how small, no matter how cheesy, no matter whether your friends and your sister star in it. Put your name on it as a director. Now you’re a director. Everything after that you’re just negotiating your budget and your fee.”
Though Cameron might not know much about Indian cinema, his advice is just as useful to Bollywood’s aspirant directors.
Bollywood’s exceptionally talented director Deepa Mehta, who is known for movies like Fire, Earth, and Water, started her career with making small documentaries after graduation.
With the presence of Youtube and websites like Voot, individuals have got various platforms to showcase their talent. They can direct a short film and put it on Youtube. They can scour for an opportunity to assist already existing T.V., Youtube, or Voot directors.
Though it might sound like a small step, it is good enough to start with. A passion for telling stories, ability to work with a team, and the zeal to work incredibly hard is all you need to start your career in direction.
By Going For Formal Education
If you are still inclined towards obtaining a degree or gaining some technical knowledge, here are a few film schools that have been a foremost choice for a long time.
Best Filmmaking Colleges or Institutes In India:
- Film and Television Institute of India (FTII), Pune
- Whistling Woods International, Mumbai
- Satyajit Ray Film and Television Institute, Kolkata
- Center for Research in Art of Film and Television, Delhi
- Asian Academy of Film and Television, Noida
- Annapurna International School of Film and Media, Hyderabad
- M.G.R. Government Film & Television Institute, Chennai
There are a variety of courses available in filmmaking, ranging from diplomas, certificates, graduate and postgraduate courses in direction and scriptwriting, cinematography, Sound Recording and sound design, and editing to television direction.
As Bollywood directors come from diverse educational backgrounds, it rarely makes a difference which one you opt for. You can take up any course considering your interest. Choosing a specific course will help you land a particular job in the crew or as assistant director. From there, you can work your way up to become a film director.
A career in direction is not an easy one. The field is full of struggles and hardships. Only those who have close relations or contacts have an easy access. For others, it’s pure grappling.
It might take long before you even get to assist a film director. So, if you are the one looking for a secure and high paying job, you had better back off now than later. To get into the industry, you must be alert enough to grab any and every opportunity. And you must have the zest for imagining stories and presenting them to the world.
You need to not only embrace but love risks. Yes, you will become famous once you have made some good movies. Yes, you will earn a lot of money. Yes, producers will themselves knock your doors. But every project that you are going to take up would be a risk. It can make crores and be critically acclaimed. Or either. Or none.
Loving your job is essential in any field. And it is ten times more so in the case of filmmaking. Because in filmmaking, you can never expect to make a fixed income let alone proper job timings.
However, there are good things too. You get to make the stars dance to your tunes. You get to show the world what you want them to see. You can inspire people and change their lives. You can bring out or at least sow the seeds for a significant positive change in the society. And if you are consistently determined, you will make crores. The profession is truly a rewarding and satisfying one, for those who’re crazily passionate about it.
And if you are among those, don’t wait for an opportunity to knock, start today, make your short film.