Online Movie Director Schools: How to Choose

While a number of schools offer on-campus instruction related to motion pictures, filmmaking and film studies, fully online programs in the field are rare. Find out how to best enter a program that suits you and what you will have to consider and study.

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Here we discuss a few of the available online schools and undergraduate and graduate degree programs for aspiring movie directors. Also learn about important selection considerations, such as the focus of study, program requirements and internships.

How to Select an Online Movie Director School

Online degree programs in filmmaking or film studies are available at the associate's, bachelor's and master's degree levels through a few colleges, universities or specialty schools. Students should consider the program focus, course requirements and internship availability when choosing a school.

Focus of Study

A student should find the program that best suits his or her current education level and desired focus of study. Some programs, for example, place emphasis on the specific art and craft of filmmaking. Other programs do not emphasize film production but still lay a foundation for the aspiring movie director with the study of film history and film genres, along with instruction in film criticism and theory.

Program Requirements

Potential online students should make sure they have the online access and technical requirements necessary for the program or classes they choose. While most programs can be taken using a PC or Macintosh computer, some individual courses may only be accessible to one or the other. Various type of software, such as Adobe Reader, QuickTime or Microsoft Word, may also be required. Individual classes within a program usually have additional, specific software requirements.

Internships

Gaining hands-on experience in the field through an internship at a professional company may also be a component of an online program for prospective movie directors. Students may be asked to submit a job proposal before acceptance. Internships can help graduates make contacts for employment.

Available Online Programs Related to Movie Directing

Online Associate's Degree in Motion Pictures and Television

Students gain a general education in all areas of the field with an eye toward employment in various aspects of the movie industry. This includes instruction in:

  • Directing and producing
  • Cinematic storytelling
  • Motion picture language
  • Lighting and sound
  • Nonlinear computer editing

Online Bachelor's Degree in Motion Pictures and Television

Undergraduate degree programs in motion pictures and television provide students with knowledge in the basics of digital media, while developing their abilities in content, form and structure. Students receive training in current technology while experiencing a well-rounded education in all aspects of production. Courses might include:

  • Digital cinema production
  • Cinematography
  • Film history
  • Unit production management
  • Makeup and special effects

Online Bachelor's Degree in Film and Media Studies

Online students are taught to analyze films, with an emphasis on developing strong writing and speaking skills. They also view and critique the films of various directors or study films by genre, such as sports or crime. Graduates may go on to work in a variety of careers in the movie field, ranging from executives and producers to writers and film critics. Course examples include:

  • Documentary production workshop
  • Styles and genres
  • Script analysis and screenwriting
  • Digital video production
  • Emerging digital media

Online Master's Degree in Motion Pictures and Television

Prospective movie directors are encouraged to find and develop their own personal filmmaking vision and style in this program. Students who focus on directing often complete a film project, such as a documentary, experimental film, music video or commercial. Other emphasis areas include:

  • Media activism
  • Series television writing
  • Directing the camera
  • Film directors

Schools With Online Programs in Film

Arizona State University offers an online Bachelor of Arts in Film- Film and Media Studies program. This program totals 120 hours and looks at topics in film, screenwriting and new media. Students must complete all 120 hours at ASU and maintain a 2.0 GPA.

Several online undergraduate and graduate degree programs in motion pictures and television are available from the Academy of Art University. Their Bachelor of Fine Arts program offers students hands-on experience in various aspects of the industry, while the Master of Arts in Writing and Directing Film program is specifically for aspiring directors. They also offer a Master of Fine Arts program that includes a final thesis project.

National University offers an online Master of Arts in Film Studies degree program that requires at least 45 quarter units. Students complete a capstone course and must submit a paper to a scholarly or film journal. Course topics include film history, film theory and great directors.

Students wishing to become movie directors have several online associate's, bachelor's and master's degree program options in the field of film. Therefore, students need to closely consider a program's focus of study and requirements, as well as any internship requirements when choosing a school.

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