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The 7-Step Film Directing Formula

“There are no rules in filmmaking. Only sins! And the cardinal sin is dullness.” Frank Capra

As a filmmaker, I’ve been working professionally in the film and TV business for over 40 years, primarily as a Director and a 1st AD.

During that time, I’ve had the opportunity to work on a variety of productions: industrial films, educational films, documentaries, commercials, music videos, short films, episodic TV shows, TV movies, TV pilots, indie films and Hollywood features.

I’ve worked with dozens of good directors and not-so-good directors – as well as hundreds of good actors and not-so-good actors.

I’ve read hundreds of film scripts: some of which were so terrible I couldn’t get past the first 10 pages – to scripts that hooked me from page 1 and went on to win Academy Awards.

As a film directing instructor at the Vancouver Film School for over 6 years, I’ve had the opportunity to teach and mentor hundreds of film students as they write, prep and shoot their own short films.

And as a film directing coach, I’ve spend countless hours mentoring filmmakers from around the world – showing them how to conduct proper script analysis to helping them understand the techniques of working with actors on the set.

I believe that all the years I’ve spent in the “film production trenches” has given me a unique insight into finding an answer to the question: “Is there a formula, or guide, or check-list, that film directors anywhere in the world can follow, that will help them make a successful film?

(My definition of a good dramatic film (or a documentary) is “The art of visually telling a compelling story with believable characters who make us feel something.”)

Now we all know there is no 100% guarantee of anything being successful in our business, but I believe I have found a basic “formula” that any filmmaker can use as a guide to help them create “compelling movies with believable characters.”

In my opinion, most inexperienced, (or experienced but lazy) film directors spend the majority of their time figuring out how to shoot the film first (cool visual effects, creative shots and camera angles etc.) before they understand a) what the story is about and b) what the characters really want.

So I’m going to be bold here and state publicly that this is the wrong way to direct a film!

Why? Because I strongly believe that to successfully direct a “visually compelling story with believable characters”, you need to first understand and follow this “7-Step Film Directing Formula.”

STEP 1: THE STUDY OF HUMAN BEHAVIOR

(1) What do I mean by the study of human behavior?

“Human nature is the concept that there is a set of inherent distinguishing characteristics, including ways of thinking, feeling and acting, that humans tend to have.”

Human behavior (or how we act) is based on different factors in our lives, such as our attitudes, character traits, social norms and core faith.

1. Human behavior is greatly influenced by the attitudes we use on a daily basis that reflect the behavior we will portray in specific situations.

2. Human behavior is impacted by individual traits (genetics) that vary from person to person that can produce different actions or behavior from each person.

3. Human behavior is greatly influenced by social norms, the rules that govern behavior in groups and societies, which conditions the way people behave.

4. Human behavior is also affected by each individual’s core faith (religion and philosophy) that results in different human behaviors.

(2) As writers, directors and actors, we are all artists – and as artists, we must observe and report on our version of the human condition. Therefore, as artists, we must understand human emotions and feelings so we know:

1. What makes us tick?
2. Why do we do certain things?

Once you know the answers to these questions, you will have a better idea of how the characters in your script should interact with each other, as well as having the proper “psychological tools” to direct actors on the set. (re: motivation!)

The good thing about human behavior is that it is observable, and as storytellers, we must first observe the way people react to different situations and circumstances in order to understand “How and Why” their behavior changes.

As a film director, you must be a “witness” to human behavior. You need to get into the habit of observing people going about their daily lives, so you can find out what motivates them to take action.

Once you know what motivates a person to achieve their daily needs, you will have the knowledge to better understand the story you are telling, and you will feel more confident helping your actors achieve believable performances.

STEP 2: STORY

(1) The Classic Three Act Structure

Joseph Campbell, the American mythologist and writer, used the term “The Hero’s Journey” to refer to a basic, universal pattern found in stories from around the world.

“A hero ventures forth from the world of common day into a region of supernatural wonder: fabulous forces are there encountered and a decisive victory is won: the hero comes back from this mysterious adventure with the power to bestow boons on his fellow man.”

Campbell’s “hero’s journey” model is also used in modern storytelling and divides a fictional narrative into a 3-act structure: the Setup; the Confrontation; the Resolution.

ACT ONE   (Set Up)

EXAMPLE: “Boy meets girl”

1. What is the story plot and the story theme?
2. What is the “dramatic question”to be answered?
3. Who is the main character and what are their needs and goals?

ACT TWO   (Confrontation)

EXAMPLE: “Boy loses girl and fights against impossible odds to get her back”

1. What is the dramatic “rising” action?
2. What are the obstacles in the main character’s way?
3. How does the main character overcome each obstacle?

ACT THREE   (Resolution)

EXAMPLE: Boy gets girl an lives happily ever after”

1. How does the story end?
2. What happens to the main character?
3. Is the dramatic question answered?

(2) The Director and the Story

There are many facets of a Director’s prep on any film or TV show, but the first, and most important part of your job, is to understand every detail about the story: where it takes place; who the characters are; and what happens to them.

When you first read a script, here are some of the many questions you will need to answer to help identify and solve potential script problems:

a. What is the story about?
b. Does the story make sense?
c. What problem is to be resolved?
d. What event hooks the audience?
e. What is the plot? (the action)
f. What is the subplot? (the theme)

Understanding the story requires a lot of work on your part because you then need to dig deeper into the story and it’s structure by analyzing each individual scene in the script to find out what the story is about, what works and what doesn’t.

And you do this by asking questions like:

a. What is the intention of the scene?
b. What are the story points?
c. Where are the scene beats?
d. Where is the climax?
e. What is the resolution?
f. What are the important lines of dialogue?

Remember, your script analysis will be a never-ending process. Each time you read the script, you will find something else you didn’t know about the story or the characters.

And the script will also constantly evolve. It will change because of your creative notes, writer changes, actor changes, producer changes, studio changes and location availability. But as long as you know what the story is about, and where the story is going, you will be able to adjust to all the changes.

STEP 3: PERFORMANCE

(1) I believe that almost everything you need to know about directing actors can be explained in these three words:

MOTIVE DETERMINES BEHAVIOR

When we break these words down, we see that:

MOTIVE (Our inner world)
DETERMINES (Controls)
BEHAVIOR (Our outer world)

And if we break them down even further, we see that:

What our needs are (MOTIVE)
Will decide (DETERMINES)
What actions we take to fulfill our needs (BEHAVIOR)

And if we break this down into Text and Subtext:

MOTIVE (The Character Subtext)
DETERMINES (Will decide how an actor plays)
BEHAVIOR (The Script Text)

(2) One of the main responsibilities of a Director is to help actors achieve a realistic performance, and a good director does this by “listening for the truth” and by asking:

a. Do I believe them?
b. Do the words make sense?
c. Are the characters believable?

And the key to getting a realistic performance from an actor, is by first understanding the character’s objectives – what the character wants in a scene.

How to choose objectives:

a. Ask yourself “What does the character want in this situation?”
b. A character’s objective should create obstacles for the character.
c. Look at what the character does (his behavior) rather than what he says.
d. Look at what happens in the scene, and how it ends.

(3) On the set, actors want to work with directors who understand their vulnerability, so it’s incredibly important to create a good relationship with every actor on your film.

And what do actors want more than anything from this relationship with the director? TRUST!

Actors begin by trusting the director – and it’s the director’s trust to lose. If actors feel they cannot trust the director to know a good performance from a bad performance, they will begin to monitor their own performances and start to direct themselves. They will become “Director Proof!”

Remember, to find the character they are playing, actors must surrender completely to feelings and impulses, and a good director understands an actor’s vulnerability and creates a safe place for them to perform.

STEP 4: THE PRINCIPLES OF MONTAGE

Film editing is the only art that is unique to cinema and it separates filmmaking from all other art forms (such as photography, theater, dance and writing.)

One of the key elements of being a good director is to understand the “principles of montage” which is a film editing technique where shots (images) are juxtaposed to tell a story.

In 1918, a Russian filmmaker called Lev Kuleshov conducted an experiment where he shot and edited a short film in which the face of a famous Russian matinee idol was intercut with three other shots: a plate of soup; a girl playing ball; an old woman in a coffin.

And Kuleshov made sure that the shot of the actor was identical (and expressionless) every time he cut back to him.

The film was then shown to audiences who totally believed that the expression on the actor’s face was different each time he appeared – depending on whether he was “looking at” the plate of soup, the little girl, or the old woman’s coffin; showing an expression of hunger, happiness or grief respectively.

So what does this experiment tell us?

By carefully using the principles of montage (the juxtaposition of images to tell a story,) filmmakers are able to produce certain emotions from the audience (laughter, fear, crying, shock) by manipulating an actor’s performance.

Understanding how to use Montage is also essential for every filmmaker because it’s not just about the scene you are filming now – you also need to think about the scenes that come before and after. In other words, you need to think about the transitions between the scenes.

As a film director, understanding the principles of montage will help you: to create a more visual script; to decide your camera placement; to block your scenes; and to get layered performances from actors.

STEP 5: THE PSYCHOLOGY OF THE CAMERA

What I mean by the “Psychology of the Camera” are the visual meanings of shots and angles. In other words, where you put the camera can either enhance or detract the audience’s understanding of what the scene is really about, and what the characters are feeling.

Audiences will assume that every shot or word of dialogue in a film is there to further the central idea, therefore, each shot you use should contribute to the story or the idea you are trying to convey.

Since viewer emotion is the ultimate goal of each scene, where you place the camera involves knowing what emotion you want the audience to experience at any given moment in the scene.

So as a director, when you are planning your shots, you want to ask yourself: “What do I want the audience to feel at this particular moment?”

For example: Here are six camera choices a director can use to enhance viewer emotion:

1. The Lens

Lenses expand or compress space, so when you choose a lens, you are choosing the “space” a shot takes place in. So before you choose a lens for your shot, ask yourself: “How intimate do I want to be with the character and how do I represent that visually?”

2. Depth

The illusion of depth is a part of visual storytelling. To get this illusion of depth in a 2 dimensional medium you want to block your scenes with an eye for depth. In other words, you want to arrange your shots in 3 layers or planes: Foreground, Midground and Background.

3. Focus

One of the main jobs of a director is to direct the attention of the audience while telling a visual story. So where you place the focus in a shot is determined by what is important in the frame.

4. Angle

The distance from a character’s eyeline affects the identification of the character with the audience. For example: there are three angles of view for the camera:

a. Objective: The audience point of view. (Camera is placed outside the action.)
b. Subjective: The camera acts as the viewer’s eyes. (Camera is placed inside the action.)
c. Point of View: What the character is seeing. (Camera is the action.)

5. Frame

Because composition makes an emotional statement, the framing, emotion and meaning of the composition comes from detailed script analysis by the director. In other words, before framing the shot, he needs to know “What is the shot about?”

6. Motion

Motion can apply to screen direction. If we use North American conventions (or the way any map is drawn with South at the bottom) if someone is traveling from New York to London, they will be traveling from “Left to Right.”

Motion is also about camera movement. So ask yourself: “Why is the camera moving?” Is it to follow the action; to reveal information; to re-position for a better frame?

STEP 6: BASIC BLOCKING AND STAGING TECHNIQUES

“Cinema is a matter of what’s in the frame and what’s out.” Martin Scorsese

Blocking is simply the relationship of the camera to the actors. Essentially, it is the physical movement of the actors relative to the position of the camera.

However, when a director starts to plan the blocking of a film scene, he is thinking not only about his shots and camera positions, but he also needs to take into consideration other items affecting the scene such as lighting, window placement, vehicle movement, extras, stunts, special effects and of course, time and budget.

Because viewer emotion is the ultimate goal of each scene, where you place the camera involves knowing what emotion you want the audience to experience at any given moment – and that is determined by:

a) What’s important in the scene;
b) What the scene about (scene objective);
c) What the characters want (character objectives.)

As a director, your job is to reveal a character’s thoughts or emotions through actions -because actions reveal more of a character than dialogue. (Think Real Life!) Actor movement must have a precise purpose and goal, and a director needs to make sure that every move actors make has to have a specific purpose.

Your blocking choices can either enhance or detract the audience’s understanding of what the scene is really about and what the characters are feeling. So when blocking actors for movement and for the camera, you want to drive the blocking emotionally so no actor movement is done aimlessly.

You accomplish this by determining:

Why the actor moves
Where the actor moves
When the actor moves
How the actor moves

Audiences will assume that every shot or word of dialogue in a film is there to further the central idea. Therefore, each shot you use should contribute to the story or the idea you are trying to convey.

Remember, there is never one interpretation of how a scene should be blocked. Blocking is like a puzzle – keep working at it until the whole scene falls into place.

STEP 7: CINEMATICS

The dictionary defines Cinematics as “the art or principles of making motion pictures.” For the purpose of this article, I define Cinematics as “everything else it takes to make a movie!” (Locations, Sound, Cinematography, Set Dressing, Props, Visual FX, Costumes, Stunts…)

Yes, I know I’m putting the majority of the filmmaking process into one category, but without understanding the first 6 steps of this formula, you are setting yourself up for “Filmmaker Mediocrity”: writing unimaginative scripts with unbelievable characters that create predictable films.

To be a good film director, you need to know what is expected of you when you begin pre-production; when you step on the set; and when you are in the editing room.

And to do this successfully, you must:

1. Have complete confidence in yourself and faith in your talent and ability
2. Have the courage and tenacity to stick it out “no matter what”
3. Have a relentless focus on what is possible rather than what is not possible
4. Never stop searching for your unique voice, style and expression
5. Stay true to yourself: it will guide you to the right people and the right choices

From what I have witnessed over the past 40 years, I believe that if you follow this 7-step film directing formula, you will see how any director, even someone with very little experience, could create a visually, compelling movie with believable characters.

We must always remember that filmmaking is a universal language – and no matter where we live in the world, we all have our own stories to tell.

So if you have a compelling story built upon Universal Themes, you should be able to tell this story, in your own language, and audiences around the world will watch it.

It’s your choice!

{ 94 comments… add one }
  • Rafael Velasquez June 21, 2010, 7:24 pm

    Hi, Peter. I´m a venezuelan screenwriter making a transition into directing. I wanted to congratulate you, and thank you, for this great post. It gave me new strengh and confidence. Thanks for sharing your knowledge.

  • Peter D Marshall June 21, 2010, 8:11 pm

    Hello Rafael,

    Thank you very much for your comments. Please keep in touch and let me know how your transition goes.

    Peter

  • Cynthia Granville June 21, 2010, 10:49 pm

    Thanks Peter! I’m currently in pre-production for my first feature, having moved behind the camera about two years ago from many years’ experience as a film and stage actress, and a stage director. succinct and valuable summary of info, especially valuable I think for those transitioning from stage directing. answers a lot of the questions I see raised…I especially liked your explanation of the psychology of the camera. Looking forward to reading more of your posts!

  • Peter D Marshall June 22, 2010, 9:34 pm

    Cynthia, thank you very much for your comments. Best of luck with your new adventure. Please keep in touch. Peter

  • Deepak Pachory June 23, 2010, 7:08 am

    Hey Peter, Thanx for the tips… I’m on the threshold of directing my first movie, which is a romcom. I’m going to use 7 steps for sure. Thanx a ton.

  • Peter D Marshall June 23, 2010, 8:43 am

    Thanks for your comments. Best of luck with your first feature.

  • Rob June 23, 2010, 11:56 am

    Great article Peter. I’ve worked really hard in staging and blocking and i exactly know what you mean by blocking as choreography. About me, i am a n aspiring film maker based in India with basic – intermediate level knowledge in direction and screenwriting and absolutely no technical detail of cinematography (except understanding of some lighting techniques such as 3 point lighting, etc).

    To chase my dream, i’ve chosen to make a 3minute promo (trailer) video of my script and start marketing it to producers locally. Conventionally, a trailer is composited during post-production after major scenes are shot but in my case, this trailer for me is like the actual movie but since i have to make it visually appealing, i might have to do lot of jump cuts, i don’t know! Would you be able to help me achieve a right direction to my vision?

  • Jeff Dolan June 23, 2010, 4:38 pm

    I really like how you have broken this down. Thanks for sharing these essentials. This seems like a great report card to check your film against after completion to make your next that much better!

  • Peter D Marshall June 23, 2010, 8:32 pm

    Hi Rob, thank you very much for your comments. Sounds like you are are on the right path. Do a small promo to get people interested in your work.

  • Peter D Marshall June 23, 2010, 8:34 pm

    Hi Jeff, I really appreciate your comments. Thanks again.

  • Kiran Kumar June 23, 2010, 8:38 pm

    Hi Peter,

    Your steps are helpful. They are giving more information on how to handle the direction. It is giving good insight to the starters as well. Nice job.

    Thanks,
    Kiran

  • Sylvia June 24, 2010, 4:12 pm

    Peter,
    I’m absolutely using this for my writing for film & TV class.

    The story, the script is often seen as an afterthought in the filmmaking process and this is a generous reminder that the story is where all the magic begins.

    Thank you.
    Sylvia

  • Peter D Marshall June 24, 2010, 8:32 pm

    Thank you very much for wanting to use this article for your class. What class do you teach and where?

  • John W. Bosley June 27, 2010, 5:07 pm

    Great stuff Peter! Step #5 Pschology of the Camera was almost exactly like what I wrote in my ebook “psychology of the shot”. You would be a great mentor for a filmmaker.

  • Peter D Marshall June 27, 2010, 5:31 pm

    Thanks John. I’m trying 🙂

  • Dayna Marcum June 29, 2010, 7:33 am

    Peter,
    After just producing a film with a director on the opposite side of your suggestions, I find this refreshing. I produce primarily for non-profit’s and the directors we get to help us have “experience”. It is difficult to ask them to have a heart for the people when they are focused on the end result. What are some of your suggestions for EP’s in directing directors to concentrate on the heart of the film?

  • Peter D Marshall June 29, 2010, 11:19 am

    Dayna, This is a very interesting question. It’s also a hard one to answer because there is no one answer to something like this where you are dealing with different personalities.

    What I can suggest is this: since you are the EP and you hire them, make sure their focus is on the story and on the performances (or interviews.) You can insist on this and see what happens. It is also based on what your personal strengths are as well as your experience is an EP. It is also based on what the director’s think of you as well. Always the politics! Always!

    Hope this helps.

    Peter

  • Priscilla A Galligan June 29, 2010, 3:24 pm

    Greetings Peter,

    I found the article most informative and consice. While in grad school, I had the pleasure of reading “The Art of Dramamtic Writing” by Lajos Egri. Although he was a bit more analytical, regarding the antagonist and protagonist and how to set the other characters around the two, he filled a book with much needless run on instruction and examples.
    I found your article so rewarding to read as it pinpoints the inspirational writing and for me, personally,during moments of inspiration and writing feverishly, how to ask the muse questions.
    I will print this out, if I may, and reflect on it before and after writing.
    I am awaiting feedback from editors on 2 books which I hope will sell as adaptations to film.
    One is set partly in Vancouver, and returning home to the hills of Michocoan, Mexico. The other is set in a historic fishing village in 1870.
    Thanks for sharing your expertise. I have learnt much from reading your LinkedIn and Facebook and hope we might correspond in the future.

    Best regards,

    Priscilla Galligan

  • Peter D Marshall June 29, 2010, 4:02 pm

    Priscilla, thank you for your comments. Finding the muse could also be a subtitle! I like that. Good luck with the books. Looking forward to hearing back from you.

  • Allan Johnston QBE June 29, 2010, 6:49 pm

    Very interesting, thank you

  • DORNER DIANA June 29, 2010, 11:02 pm

    Interesting indeed.
    Thank you.

  • Albe July 6, 2010, 3:10 am

    Dear Peter,

    I am pleased to know about you through Shyam (Wannabestudios). Thank you, your inputs are simply fantastic. Bravo is the word that comes to my mind. May I be able to use the ideas you mentioned in molding my career as a Filmmaker/Director

  • Tosin Arowosafe July 12, 2010, 1:19 pm

    Thank you very much for giving us this kind of opportunity. I am young film maker here in Nigeria, and I will like to acquire more knowledge. Really enjoy this and I wish you could take me on. Thanks.

  • ADEOYE TEMITOPE July 15, 2010, 4:06 pm

    I’m a film maker in Nigeria hoping to have a great production very soon, i wish i can constantly have updates from you. I really appreciate this opportunity to get this webpage. I believe it will go along way to help me in my ‘arts’

  • Scott LeFebvre July 23, 2010, 5:16 pm

    Just wanted to toss a “thank you” note your way. I’m in pre-production for my first film and the information on your site is proving to be invaluable. It either confirms, reminds, or educates me further. I’m transitioning from stage direction and it’s proving to be a whole another animal. I’ve incorporated video into my plays before to broaden the field a bit and let the play out of the box if you will… but putting together a feature-length film is a daunting task. Anyway, long story short… thanks a bunch and any additional pointers would be welcome.

  • Lon Parker July 24, 2010, 11:54 am

    Well written and succinct. My daily work brings me in contact with hundreds of stock videographers. These 7 steps translate seamlessly into their world. Thanks.

  • cedi August 3, 2010, 5:34 pm

    Thank you for this–very clear and simple, but very impactful.

  • Kiran August 7, 2010, 3:22 pm

    Hi Peter
    Thx a lot for valuable information for aspiring film directors…

  • SIDHEEQUEMEICONE August 25, 2010, 1:41 am

    THANKU MR PETER SIR SOME DETAILS SHOT DVIDING CAMARA MOVING AND SHOOTING SCRIPT IAM A SHORT FILM MAKER IN INDIA STATE KARALA

  • Daniel Ludwig August 28, 2010, 4:25 am

    Thank you so much for these 7 steps. You have absolutely right, to direct a movies about a social problem you have to know the human behaviour !!!
    I just moved to London as a student to get more experiences in directing and learning the human behaviour. Your steps are very impactful and very useful for a student !!! Thanks again!!

  • Peter D Marshall August 28, 2010, 9:23 am

    Thank you for your comments Daniel. Creating a story has to start with understanding what makes us tick. Let me know how you make out in London.

  • Thrienlee September 24, 2010, 2:03 am

    Hi Peter,
    Your article was really intresting and informative. i personally fell that i should ude these steps to prove my self to be one of the good directors. I am very intrested in movie direction but unfortunately i couldn’t get the course in which i am intrested. i thought of making my own but there isn’t sufficient budget to do so, what shall do?

  • Jamal October 12, 2010, 11:49 am

    Hi Peter, I have read this post. please thanks . i love to read your works here.

  • Katerina January 3, 2011, 6:14 am

    Hi, Peter!
    Your article is not only inspiring but also managed to turn me back to my passion for directing (used to have a second major in film directing, but recently I’m busy mainly with my first one – advertising). Frankly, I got disappointed of certain results from previous ventures, but now I DO see new perspectives:)
    Have a happy and successfull New Year!

  • Peter D Marshall January 3, 2011, 11:32 am

    Katerina, thank you for your comments. Have a very successful new year!

  • Michelle Gillies January 22, 2011, 9:31 am

    Peter,
    Brilliant! I think these 7 steps should be included for study in every “Film” course, or College or University. Students would benefit and the professors would learn something as well.
    Thanks for so clearly defining the necessities.
    M

  • Trish February 16, 2011, 8:28 am

    Thanks for a great web site…I will be a fan. I newer to the industry and am self training through the use of great books, seminars, and especially web sites like yours. I REALLY WANT TO BE A GOOD DIRECTOR!

  • Mahesh krishnan M March 21, 2011, 4:24 am

    Hai Peter,
    First of all thanking you for the article. I am an upcoming script-writer.I am trying to look for a thread which is at the same time commercially result yielding as well as having an artistic value.In my country,the former is given importance an the latter is for my satisfaction. Lookinf forward to your views on how to choose a story.

    with regards
    Mahesh

  • doris chinasa ariole March 23, 2011, 8:36 am

    Hi Peter
    Thanks so much for your wealth of knowledge which you selflessly share, i’m encouraged.
    I’m a script writer, producer and new director from Nigeria, in West Africa. I’m one of the few females taking up directing in my country. Your articles are very rich and timely as i’m about to do my first directing with a short film.
    I will upload a thrailer for you once i finish.
    cheers

  • Peter D Marshall March 23, 2011, 8:57 am

    Doris, thank you for your comments. Please let me know how your shoot went. Best of luck.

  • Darryl Vaz April 22, 2011, 4:10 am

    Hi Peter,
    Its really a very good thing, sharing useful tips and tricks from your own experience. You are absolutely right when you say that you should determine meaning in a script, than just write down a script without a meaning. Your tips are really great, i’m an absolute fan. For me you are functioning as a mentor and a catalyst because you have turned my POV tm the better, actually coming across your page was the catalyst. Thanx for sharing your knowledge.

    Darryl Vaz

  • Peter D Marshall April 22, 2011, 9:24 am

    Thank you for your comments Darryl. I’m just passing it on 🙂

  • Daniel Akinshola October 6, 2011, 12:11 pm

    This is sincerely a gift to mankind. Peter, I pray the gods protect you and increase your wisdom. May you walk and not stumble. Please, more of this. We need to give it all before we leave the earth. From Nigeria with love.

  • Henry Joe Sakala October 7, 2011, 6:53 am

    hi Peter,
    I’m a budding film maker based in Zambia, Africa, never been to school, just have talent and passion. Your summery of the steps to better directing are spot on. I have directed a few shorts, drama series and features and I have followed some of your steps. But I find that many upcoming film makers out here worry more about the shorts and not the characters. characters, strong characters, make the story, shots spice up the story.
    I hope to learn more from you

  • Peter D Marshall October 7, 2011, 9:42 am

    Henry, thank you very much for your comments. Story – Performance – Everything else! That is my mantra.

  • Aneesh November 10, 2011, 6:26 am

    Hello, sir. I like your post about directing. Am a beginer in this field. Am trying to make a shortfilm as a part of my project. Script also written by me. Am sure your post will help me very lot

  • Jim medcraft January 12, 2012, 7:46 am

    I’m an compositor and editor, with an undergrad degree in film theory and theatre, I have directed a couple of shorts written by others. I am currently pulling it all together to write my own film, I found your article a good refresher to get back to roots I started on, spent so long in the technical easy to loose track.

  • Peter D Marshall January 12, 2012, 6:08 pm

    Jim, best of luck on your film 🙂

  • krish January 21, 2012, 10:31 am

    HI peter
    it really use full for me,your tips make my success, really thank you peter sir…

  • Hannah March 17, 2012, 3:33 pm

    Hi Peter,
    I am 14 and i go to art school. i really want to be a film director when i grow up and these notes really motivated me to begin shooting my first independent film this summer! unfortunately all i have is a sony camcorder and possibly a shotgun microphone. any suggestions?

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