How do we direct a movie? originally appeared on Quora: the place to gain and share knowledge, empowering people to learn from others and better understand the world.

Answer by Ty Leisher, Writer/Director of 11th Hour Cleaning, on Quora:

I’m the director of films like 11th Hour Cleaning and have been directing for 12 years.

The way you get started directing is to grab a camera, and some actors and make a movie. It sounds simple and too easy, but with the rise of smartphones equipt with stunning cameras and the affordability of high-end cameras, you can be a filmmaker for little money.

The only way to start a career as a film director is to make movies, put them out into the world and make another. The more movies you make, the better you’ll get and the clearer your voice will become.

As Mark Duplass has said, the cavalry is not coming for you. You have to do the work yourself and continue to be your biggest supporter.


Directing takes a lot of preparation during preproduction. They say that a director’s job is to rewrite the script, cast actors, put a camera in front of them, and get out of their way. But that’s not all a director does. You are the central point for all questions that must be answered throughout the shoot.

You need to start small with your films. Don’t try to make a huge budgeted project out of the gate. You need to cut your teeth before you can run with the bulls. Keep your locations minimal, keep your actors to two or three and make sure your story is amazing.

If you have never directed anything, start with a 30-second commercial. You can shoot this in one day at a single location and with one or two actors. This will give you some insight into how a shoot day runs and what you need to do on a larger project. After you’ve made a few commercials, shoot a 5-10 minute short film.

A short film will show you how to tell a longer form story and it’ll take two or three days to shoot. This will give you a sense of what it’s like shooting a small-scale film.

When you are ready to make the jump to a feature film, try to make the budget low. With no-name actors and you as a no-name director, the most you’ll sell a film for is $100k, so make sure you aren’t punching above your weight class.

Once you make your first film, add a zero to the end of your budget. If you made a $50k movie, aim for your second to be $500k. Continue this process until you’ve had 2-3 films under your belt and you’re consistent in your vision.

At this point, you’re likely to get an agent and/or manager who will help shepherd your career past pitfalls in your way.

This question originally appeared on Quora – the place to gain and share knowledge, empowering people to learn from others and better understand the world.


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