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How Becoming a Movie Director Works

Building a Portfolio as a Movie Director
For their portfolio, directors should put film clips on a DVD.
For their portfolio, directors should put film clips on a DVD.
Halfark/fStop/Getty Images

Nobody will be willing to take a chance on you as a movie director unless you can show you have enough education and experience directing movies. One of the best ways that you can gain credibility with film studios -- and with potential investors -- is by building a portfolio of your directing work.

Before digital technology, film directors built a reel of film clips from the movies on which they had worked. They sent the reel or took it with them to meetings with potential clients and investors. That approach has been largely replaced by the portfolio, an electronic collection of clips that can be sent electronically, provided on a DVD or included on a Web site.

You’ll definitely want to include any movies you have directed, but here are some other items to put in your electronic portfolio:

  • Educational experience, including the classes you’ve taken
  • A resume showing your experience to date
  • Contact information so you can be reached
  • Clips from movies that show your skill in other areas, such as editing, writing, animation and cinematography
  • A listing of film festivals you have entered and awards won
  • Directing in other areas -- music videos, commercials, animated shorts, TV shows
  • Stills and storyboards showing the thought and process behind the finished product

If you don’t have the time or expertise to put together your own portfolio, there are companies that specialize in doing this for you. My DVD Portfolio, for instance, offers several options at different prices. “Rising Star,” on the low end, turns your 30 photos, video and bio information into a customized presentation with 60 seconds of video on a master DVD. More expensive options provide additional room for more photos and video.

You’ll probably also want to create a personal Web site that studio executives and investors can visit. Everything from your portfolio can go onto your Web site, but you’ll have room there for longer video clips and additional information.

With education, some beginner experience and a portfolio, you need to take the next step of finding work. Let’s look next at why no job is too small.