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Online Courses in Movie Directing: Course Descriptions

Although not very common, online courses for aspiring movie directors are offered at some colleges and universities. While directing actors is a hands-on process, students can take online courses that explore directing theory, along with related courses that deal with editing, makeup, screenwriting and cinematography.

Online Movie Directing Courses

Below are some of the movie directing and related courses typically found in an online program.

  • Directing: In this introductory class, students are taught the various roles a director plays in creating a movie. Future filmmakers are instructed on the current standard practices regarding the craft of directing.
  • Principles of Directing: In this course, aspiring moviemakers begin to learn the technical aspects of directing. Usually offered towards the early stages of a degree program, students learn to use digital video cameras and other technology to hone their skills.
  • Directing Actors for Film & Television: Typically enrolled in this course during the intermediate point in a degree program, directing hopefuls are taught to interpret scripts and instruct a staff of actors. Students learn to work with actors at various stages of the production process.
  • Editing Concepts: The next generation of film creators are instructed how to shorten a production utilizing digital editing software. This course provides knowledge on methods of giving a film greater flow and continuity. This class is typically taken towards the end of a degree program.
  • Film Scheduling & Practical Set Management: In this course, students are introduced to the duties of assistant directors. Students are taught the industry structure that is controlled by budgets, unions, guilds, and contracts. Future directors will tend to the cast, oversee the crew, make schedules and write detailed reports.
  • Cinematic Storytelling: This class delves into the relationship between the creation and reception of a story. Storytelling and visualization techniques will be explored, and students may be responsible for creating their own story project.
  • Cinematography: Students enrolled in this course will be introduced to the tools and techniques of cinematography. Technical and conceptual aspects of cinematography will be explored through short-form filmmaking.

Program Information

Movie directing courses are generally offered through hybrid degree programs requiring students to complete some coursework on campus. Undergraduate programs offer Associate of Arts and Bachelor of Fine Arts degrees in film, television and digital media. In addition to coursework, undergraduate degree candidates might be required to complete internships and direct short films for their final projects. Master of Fine Arts candidates generally need to produce a substantial creative work in the form of a thesis project, in addition to taking online coursework.

Students may need a webcam and a microphone to participate in online courses. Some schools ask online students to install and become familiar with specific media, such as digital editing software.

While some online options are available for aspiring film directors, most of these will contain an on-campus element. The majority of the programs associated with these classes are at the associate's and bachelor's degree levels, and topics of study may include directing principles, editing and set management.

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