Two Alternative Routes to Direction

Written by: The Charles Matthau Company

Summary: The route to a director has many paths.

Sometimes, the road to direction doesn’t start an early age. Not everyone realizes they want to direct when they first hit the film business, but most people who are serious about filmmaking have at least considered direction. It’s not always easy to just become a director either, even if that is your ambition.

Cinematography

If you plan to pursue direction, but you’re either not ready or haven’t had luck finding the right job, these are good places to try and transition into a career.

Screenwriter

Writing a screenplay is a good logical stepping stone into direction because you’re already thinking very visually. It’s probably one of the common places that people start out that eventually grows into direction. Screenwriting is good for helping you think about casting and scenery too. A director is not just visual, he or she is a problem solver. That’s another hands-on aspect of screenwriting that will equip you for being a director: a critical eye and the willingness to cut for the betterment of the finished product.

Cinematography

Screenwriters are visual thinkers, that much is true, but a cinematographer has to set up scenes and frame shots. That kind of experience helps set you up for the technique behind storytelling on film, which is using the camera and blocking. A cinematographer is either in charge or in partnership with the people on set creating the visual makeup of the movie.

Being a DP is one of the best things you can do for your career, and it prepares you for the kind of decision making and visual thinking you need.


Bio: Charles Matthau is passionate about storytelling for television and film. Charles Matthau recently directed “Freaky Deaky,” an adaptation of an Elmore Leonard novel, and is slated to produce the upcoming television show “Mexican High” based on the book by Lisa Monroy.