How to Make the Transition from Cinematographer to Director

Hosted by Ryan Little

$49

On Demand Webinar - For immediate download. Unlimited access for 1 year.

Start Learning

Please make sure you use the same email address as the one you use to sign in to Stage 32, otherwise you won't have access to your webinar.
apply Your coupon will be applied after you agree to terms below.

- or -

$49.00
TOTAL PRICE:
Overlay Icon

Stage 32 Next Level Education has a 97% user satisfaction rate.

Ryan Little

Webinar hosted by: Ryan Little

Director/Cinematographer (Spirit Awards Best First Feature & Cinematography Nominee)

Ryan Little is a director, producer, and cinematographer with over 20 years of experience in the industry. His first feature SAINTS AND SOLDIERS, for which he took on the dual roles of DP and director, won 16 “Best Picture” awards and two nominations at the Independent Spirit Awards including Best First Feature and Best Cinematography. Since then, Ryan has served as cinematographer and director on a slew of projects and has directed actors like Danny Glover, Vinnie Jones, Sean Astin, Neal McDonagh, Gary Cole, Dolph Lundgren, and Mickey Rourke. Most recently Ryan has worked with Producer Dean Devlin on the TNT pilot BLANK SLATE and has directed TV episodes of shows like GRANITE FLATS and EXTINCT. Ryan has built a storied background and deep well of knowledge in both cinematography and directing, and is ready to share what he knows with the Stage 32 community.   Full Bio »

Webinar Summary

Getting ahead is hard in Hollywood, and taking the next step in your career can be difficult when it feels like the expectation is for you to stay in your own lane. Being a cinematographer is such an exciting, rewarding, and important role on any project, but that doesn’t mean it’s where your journey has to stop. If you have aspirations to move into directing and make your own film, that path is more possible than you might think. In fact, your background as a cinematographer might even catapult you to this position, since, in an effort to save film funds, it’s becoming more common for producers to hire cinematographers who can also direct.

Many people believe that the roles of the director and cinematographer are separate, but actually they are partners in the storytelling process. This means that making the leap from cinematographer to director is not as hard as you might think. However, whether you want to exclusively direct or be a DP / director combo, you have to adhere to a certain mode of operation, master the art of collaboration, and hone your ability to speak clearly to your cast and crew in order to maximize your time on set. So how do you get that first directing job? Can you effectively direct and shoot at the same time, and if so, how do you divide your precious time between your cast and crew? With careful planning and a solid understanding of how to manage your responsibilities on set you can become the perfect “double threat” that producers love, while putting extra cash in your pocket and achieving more of your creative goals.

Ryan Little is a director, producer, and cinematographer with over 20 years of experience in the industry. His first feature SAINTS AND SOLDIERS, for which he took on the dual roles of DP and director, won 16 “Best Picture” awards and two nominations at the Independent Spirit Awards including Best First Feature and Best Cinematography. Since then, Ryan has served as cinematographer and director on a slew of projects and has directed actors like Danny Glover, Vinnie Jones, Sean Astin, Neal McDonagh, Gary Cole, Dolph Lundgren, and Mickey Rourke. Most recently Ryan has worked with Producer Dean Devlin on the TNT pilot BLANK SLATE and has directed TV episodes of shows like GRANITE FLATS and EXTINCT. Ryan has built a storied background and deep well of knowledge in both cinematography and directing, and is ready to share what he knows with the Stage 32 community.
 

Using his own experience as well as his deep understanding of the industry today, Ryan will teach you how you can make the transition from cinematographer to director and use your photography background to your advantage. He will begin by broadly discussing the prospect of switching from cinematographer to director and explaining why it’s possible. He will go over how he made the transition himself as well how other notable directors made a similar shift. He will demonstrate why your background as a DP will actually make you a better director yourself. Ryan will then delve more deeply into how best to land your first job as a director, including “planting seeds” for future opportunities, playing to your strengths as a practiced cinematographer, using the connections you’ve already built, and how to create sample work to help show your value. He will also discuss the possibility of serving as a Director/DP combo on set as a way to break in, what that looks like, and how to do both roles effectively at the same time. Next, Ryan will give you the rundown of how to best tackle your first directing gig. He’ll go over the aspects of directing you can expect to come naturally and the aspects that might be more of a challenge because of your background, as well as how to let the DP role go when directing. Ryan will teach you how to best prep for your first directing gig before going on set. He’ll talk about how to create your “style guide” for the project, finding your story moments ahead of time, making a useful shot list, and how best to use storyboards. He will then talk about how to spend your time on set as a director, including how to manage your time and break up your day and how to tell the story in your coverage. He will reveal three mistakes commonly made by directors during rehearsal and will discuss when the right and wrong times to operate the camera yourself are. He will also go over finding the balance between assertive and collaborative on set and how to set the right tone. Finally Ryan will focus on working with actors from the mindset of a cinematographer, including how to speak the actor’s language, how to hold the essential one-on-one actor preproduction meeting, and what you can do to become an “Actor’s Director”. Through all of this, Ryan will give you the tools and confidence to make the switch you might have been contemplating for a while and take the next important steps on your journey to become a bona fide film director.

 

 

"I attribute a lot of my success to my background as a cinematographer. It's given me so many great opportunities and the skills to advance in my career in exciting ways. I want other cinematographers to better understand their value and potential as filmmakers, and am so excited to share what I know to empower the current DPs and future directors that are part of the Stage 32 community."

-Ryan Little

What You'll Learn

  • Contemplating the Switch
    • Is it possible for cinematographers to make the switch to director? (Spoiler: Yes)
    • How Ryan became a director
    • Other notable examples of cinematographers who are also directors
    • Why shooting for other directors makes you a better director
  • Landing Your First Directing Job
    • “Planting the Seeds” for directing opportunities
    • Playing to your strength (AKA Staying in your lane)
    • Using the connections you’ve already built as a cinematographer
    • How to create sample work to help you get that first directing job
  • Breaking in by Being a Director / DP Combo on Set
    • Are you more hire-able if you can do both jobs?
    • How to convince producers to let you direct and shoot at the same time
    • What does tackling both roles on set physically look like day-to-day?
    • Tips on how to do both roles effectively at the same time
  • Tackling Your First Directing Gig
    • What aspects of directing come naturally to cinematographers
    • What aspects of directing are the most challenging for cinematographers
    • Letting go of the DP role when directing (and allowing the new DP to do their job)
  • Prepping For Your First Directing Job
    • Creating your “Style Guide”
    • Finding your story moments
    • Making a shot list that is actually useful
    • The best time to use storyboards
  • Managing Your Time on Set as a Director
    • How time management can make or break your day
    • Telling the story in your coverage
    • 3 mistakes commonly made by directors during rehearsal
    • When is the wrong time to operate the camera?
    • The fine balance of being assertive and collaborative
    • Setting the right tone on set
  • Working with Actors from the Mindset of a Cinematographer
    • How actors really feel about the DP / director combo
    • How to speak the actor’s language
    • The essential one on one actor preproduction meeting
    • How to become an “Actor’s Director”
  • Q&A with Ryan

About Your Instructor

Ryan Little is a director, producer, and cinematographer with over 20 years of experience in the industry. His first feature SAINTS AND SOLDIERS, for which he took on the dual roles of DP and director, won 16 “Best Picture” awards and two nominations at the Independent Spirit Awards including Best First Feature and Best Cinematography. Since then, Ryan has served as cinematographer and director on a slew of projects and has directed actors like Danny Glover, Vinnie Jones, Sean Astin, Neal McDonagh, Gary Cole, Dolph Lundgren, and Mickey Rourke. Most recently Ryan has worked with Producer Dean Devlin on the TNT pilot BLANK SLATE and has directed TV episodes of shows like GRANITE FLATS and EXTINCT. Ryan has built a storied background and deep well of knowledge in both cinematography and directing, and is ready to share what he knows with the Stage 32 community.
 

FAQs

Q: What is the format of a webinar?
A: Stage 32 Next Level Webinars are typically 90-minute broadcasts that take place online using a designated software program from Stage 32.

Q: Do I have to be located in a specific location?
A: No, you can participate from the comfort of your own home using your personal computer! If you attend a live online webinar, you will be able to communicate directly with your instructor during the webinar.

Q: What are the system requirements?
A: You will need to meet the following system requirements in order to run the webinar software: Windows 7 or later Mac OS X 10.9 (Mavericks) or later.
If you have Windows XP, Windows Vista and Mac OS X 10.8 (Mountain Lion): The webinar software does not support these operating systems. If you are running one of those operating systems, please upgrade now in order to be able to view a live webinar. Upgrade your Windows computer / Upgrade your Mac computer

Q: What if I cannot attend the live webinar?
A: If you attend a live online webinar, you will be able to communicate directly with your instructor during the webinar. If you cannot attend a live webinar and purchase an On-Demand webinar, you will have access to the entire recorded broadcast, including the Q&A.

Q: Will I have access to the webinar afterward to rewatch?
A: Yes! After the purchase of a live or On-Demand webinar, you will have on-demand access to the audio recording, which you can view as many times as you'd like for a whole year!

Questions?

If you have a generic question about Stage 32 education you can take a look at our frequently asked questions section on our help page, or feel free to contact support with any other inquiries you might have.

Other education that may be of interest to you:

How To Rock TV Staffing Season - Get Read and Crush it in the Room

Staffing season is a high-intensity, high-stakes time. With more shows than ever looking for writers, the opportunities have never been greater, but that also means the competition has never been higher. To be considered to be part of a writing staff, you need to not only show your chops as a screenwriter, but display what you'll be like in the room. So how can you stand out to the executives and producers hiring and prove that you're going to be a team player, while bringing an original, independent voice to the table? To be staffed in the competitive world of TV writing, you must first understand what opens the door and what keeps you in the room. Your writing must not only be on point, but you have to also be able to display a comprehension of the art of the meeting. Executives and producers are going to meet dozens if not hundreds of writers. You have to learn how to connect with them, fill their needs, and make their jobs easy! In short, you and your writing need to be sharp, interesting and memorable. Over her very decorated and successful career as a development executive, Marla White has sat across more writers than she can remember. Marla was not only the development executive for Emmy-Award Winner Peter Tolan's Fedora Entertainment, but she's also worked with hundreds of writers who have sold pitches and shows to, and/or been staffed by, Fox, TNT, CBS, NBC and ABC and just about every premium cable channel and streaming platform you can name. Marla will discuss what executives are looking for in your writing. Whether "good" is good enough to get you in the room. Whether it's better for your work to be more memorable or sellable. She will take you through the thought process of what executives are looking for when you walk in the room. She'll discuss all aspects of a general meeting and a staffing meeting and arm you with all the tools necessary to be "good in the room" in all situations, each and every time. Plus, she'll also talk about "do's and don'ts" and how you can get invited back for the all important pitch meeting. This webinar provides pertinent and actionable information for every level of writer. If you're just starting out in your career, what you'll learn will not only prepare you for everything mentioned above, but for preparation when speaking with managers and agents. If you're a working writer on a show looking to move to a new show and need tips on playing the networking game and how to navigate the politics, this one is for you as well!   This is some straight shooting, no B.S. information. I'm grateful that Marla pulled no punches and told it like it is. Next meeting I get, I'm owning it! - Samantha W.

How to Prepare For and Nail a General Meeting (In Person and Online)

Whether you’re leading the creative charge as a screenwriter, in the trenches a director or cinematographer, behind the scenes as a crew member, or in front of the camera as an actor being great at what you do is only part of your job. We at Stage 32 preach that 50% of your job is excelling at your craft, the other 50% is networking and understanding how the industry works. It's simply undeniable, those who commit to treating their networking and relationship building as their job and keep on top of what's happening in the industry land more meetings with decision makers who can make an impact on their career. But the goal is not just to get into the room, it's to stay in the room. And that means you need to know how to be good in the room. And with more and more meetings going virtual and online, you must know how to prepare and have the skills ready for those situations as well. General meetings are the first line of offense and defense for decision makers. As you know, most people in this industry - whether working in film, television or digital - want to find creatives and professionals they can go to war with time and time again. Their tribe. To become part of someone's tribe (and eventually form one of your own), you have to know how to nail the general meeting. It is crucial that you understand how to prepare. You must know who you're meeting with, what to wear, proper etiquette, the story of your project, the story of your personal brand (such an overlooked art), and know your pitch inside and out. Ultimately, you want to turn this general meeting into something much greater or assure that you're receiving a callback meeting. Their are many tried and true tricks for getting this done and we're going to bring them to you. Jeff Portnoy of Bellevue Management is one of the most revered managers working in the industry today. Jeff was recently named been named by Variety as one of Hollywood’s New Leaders in Management. Prior to joining Bellevue, Jeff worked at Creative Artists Agency, The Gotham Group, Resolution Talent Agency and Heretic Literary Management. Along the way he has sold and set up projects to New Line Cinema, Lionsgate, FOX, Screen Gems, Warner Bros. and more. Jeff has been on both sides of the table for hundreds of general meetings and has learned exactly what makes a meeting successful and where many go south – and he’s here to share the do's and don'ts with you, the Stage 32 community Jeff will teach you how to assure that you perform in your general meeting in a manner that makes you memorable. He will discuss everything from attire to how to carry yourself to how to make eye contact. He'll teach you how to prepare your pitch and convey it with the right amount of passion, charisma and energy. He’ll give you important guidelines on how and when you should talk in the conversation and help you understand if you’re talking too much or sending the wrong message. You’ll learn how to get notes from the other side of the table and how you should receive and respond to them. You will know the best way to pitch “you” and your brand so you stand out from other people taking general meetings with the same party. Jeff will teach you how to do research on the people and the company you are meeting with and how to use that information to your advantage (and not be creepy about it!) He will make you understand why the assistant and support staff can ultimately be your best ally. Finally, Jeff will go over the various types of meetings you’ll encounter in your career – from studios, production companies, managers, agents and networks and explain the differences so you’ll be fully prepared.     "A wealth of information. Gave me a lot of things to think about - especially with the tips on reading the room. Your description of how to pitch myself and my story were game-changers. Off to practice now." - Sonia H.   "What fabulous advice, Jeff, thank you!"  - Greg M.   "Yep, now I know why I haven't been securing a second meeting. I have seen the light and the err of my ways." - Veronica G   "The dress code discussion was very helpful, I never knew what I should wear and now I do!" - John S.  

How to Eliminate Creative Blocks: 6 Steps to Refine Your Creative Process

"I know of few others who have "been there, done that" as well as Chris has over the years. His willingness to share his experiences with the future generations is a gift that few can give." - Quincy Jones Learn directly from Chris Boardman, 6 time Emmy Award winner and Academy Award nominated composer.   Whether you are an actor looking to find the inspiration to perform, a writer looking to develop an authentic idea, or a cinematographer looking to shape your canvas, this webinar will help you get unstuck and into the creative zone for that process. Or, as a filmmaker looking to tell your story or a gaffer looking to light the beauty of the story you are about to shoot, take time to learn from Chris the tools to be effectively in that creative zone. All professions in the creative industry can benefit from this webinar. The only chance we have to connect with an audience as a storyteller is to be brutally honest and vulnerable. And, during that process sometimes it's hard to stay focused and determine a clear path to get there. All of us in the creative arts deal with these issues. Those who have sustaining careers learn how to turn on their creative engine at will. It’s not an accident. It’s predictable. It’s practiced. It’s what separates the amateurs from the professionals. It’s time for you to develop your own streamlined creative process and become more productive than ever before. In this Stage 32 Next Level Webinar, 6 time Emmy Award winner Chris Boardman will take you through the 6 steps of unblocking creative roadblocks, understanding your own personal creative process and using it as effectively as you can. You’ll learn why you aren’t as productive as you can be, and how to get yourself unstuck and deliver creative yet consistent results. No matter how trivial your creative blocks may seem, or how self-conscious you may feel, you are not alone...you are in great company.

Key Steps to Take During Pre-Production: Case Studies From the Trenches

Doug Curtis can boast that the films he's been involved with have earned nearly a half billion dollars at the global box office. Over the past 20 years, Doug has had a hand as a director, producer or line producer in over two dozen features (including Save the Last Dance, Freddy vs. Jason, Next Friday, Cellular, Shoot em Up and Sorority Row) and over 200 commercials. Think about that. He's been on the set of over 250 projects! Needless to say he's learned a thing or two. And now he's thrilled, as are we, to pass his extensive knowledge on to you in this exclusive Stage 32 Webinar. Doug is a firm believer that the success or failure of any film is mostly tied to actions taken during pre-production. From properly budgeting, pulling together a reasonable, yet tight production schedule, hiring the best crew and other tips, tricks and golden rules he's amassed through the last 2 decades, Doug will teach you everything you need to know to assure your production runs smoothly from start to wrap. Doug has worked on the studio level (Paramount, Fox), with the independents (New World, New Line) and even with the premium networks (HBO), so no matter what kind of material you are working with, no matter what budget, no matter what targets you're positioning yourself to hit, Doug will have you ready and armed to head into battle.

Robert McKee: The Secret to Writing Compelling Characters (Part 1) | Stage 32 Masters of Craft

Robert McKee returns to Stage 32 with The Secret to Writing Compelling Characters - a rare online teaching appearance exclusive to Stage 32! Since 1984, more than 100,000 students have taken McKee’s courses in various cities around the world and now, exclusively for the 3rd time on Stage 32, Robert McKee is back and better than ever with a Masters of Craft webinar teaching you The Secret to Writing Compelling Characters.  McKee’s former students include over 60 Academy Award Winners, 200 Emmy Award Winners, 1,000 Emmy Award Nominees, 100 WGA (Writers Guild of America) Award Winners, 250 WGA Award Nominees, 50 DGA (Directors Guild of America) Award Winners, and 100 DGA Award Nominees.     In this exclusive Stage 32 Masters of Craft webinar, Robert McKee teaches the principles of character creation and dimension, characterization and the secret to writing complex protagonists, providing you the tools needed to construct compelling characters that will fascinate your audience. Robert McKee, a Fulbright Scholar and member of the Hollywood Hall of Fame, is the most sought after writing lecturer around the globe. He has dedicated the last 35 years to educating and mentoring screenwriters, novelists, playwrights, poets, documentary makers, producers, and directors internationally. Those who have learned from McKee have called him “the Aristotle of our time” (Quincy Jones, Ed Saxon, Steve Pressfield to name a few) because of his insight into the substance, structure, style, and principles of the grand art of story. Peter Jackson (writer/director THE LORD OF THE RINGS, THEY SHALL NOT GROW OLD) lauds him as “The Guru of Gurus.” For the creatives at Pixar (TOY STORY, FINDING NEMO, UP, INSIDE OUT), McKee’s Story Seminar is a rite of passage.

How to Write a Spec Script That Sells & Lands You Your Next Job

It’s a competitive landscape right now for film and TV writers to break in. If you want to stand out and get that next job, you need to prove that you have the goods. This might require you to do the work ahead of time and write a dynamite script on your own dime to later show to interested parties. This is a spec script, or a speculative screenplay. It’s a script that you write for free to hopefully sell or garner interest for once it’s complete. Writing on spec is a gamble, since it’s not guaranteed you’ll ever get paid for your work. But it can also be the best (or only) way to get in front of executives and put your best foot forward. Writing the right spec script is intimidating. This has to serve as your calling card, after all. This one script should show Hollywood not only that you’re a great writer, but also who you are, what makes you different, and what you can bring to the table that no one else can. It needs to be exciting and it needs to be something that people are going to want to make. That’s a lot of pressure, enough to psych out anyone. But this doesn’t mean it’s impossible. The spec market is booming and executives are constantly looking for new voices to invest in. Learning some simple tips and tools to apply to your script could be what it takes to get you over the edge, get you in a room, get your project sold, and get you that next job. Matt Duffett is an LA-based screenwriter who recently completed writing CRASH UNIT for Sylvester Stallone to star in and direct. He has been hired to adapt New York Times' Book of the Summer THE DESTROYERS for Star Thrower Entertainment (THE POST). Meanwhile, his Boston crime thriller THE GUNSMITH has Tommy Wirkola (HANSEL & GRETEL: WITCH HUNTERS, WHAT HAPPENED TO MONDAY) attached to direct. His sci-fi spec script FLASHBACK was on the Blacklist and his first comic, COLD ZERO, is also headed to print this year. Matt's scripts have received several awards, including the 2017 Hot List for Best Screenplays of the Year, the 2017 Young & Hungry Breakout Writers list, Best Screenplay at the 2017 LA Film Awards, and two Black List Shortlist nominations. He is represented by United Talent Agency and Circle of Confusion. Throughout the journey he’s mastered the art of getting in the room, winning the job and delivering the goods. Matt will go over how you can make your spec stand out and how it can help you land your next job. He’ll begin by discussing what things you should consider before you start writing your spec, including how to take advantage of your own unique background, how to zero in on your writing brand, and how to better understand the marketplace to make a more informed decision. He’ll then teach you how he outlines his scripts and how to use this to not only better structure your script, but to have more fun while writing. Matt will delve into what makes a good scene in a spec script, what types of scenes always work, and what types never do. Next he’ll talk about characters and how best to create your own not only to work on the page, but also to attract high profile actors to play them. He’ll detail the important people to focus on during the process of delivering a script. Matt will give you tips on how to best put finishing touches on your spec and how to use that spec to land a manager or agent. He’ll then talk about what to do once that spec script starts generating some interest. He’ll go over how to work with your reps to find the next paying gig and how best to pitch your project, including how best to prepare, the number one thing that sells in every pitch meeting, and what you should never do. Next, Matt will discuss how to handle notes from reps and executives. Finally, Matt will use his own past work as case studies to better illustrate the points he’s making. These include CRASH UNIT, which Sylvester Stallone is attached to direct, THE GUNSMITH with Tommy Wirkola (HANSEL & GRETEL: WITCH HUNTERS) directing, his adaptation of New York Times Book of the Summer THE DESTROYERS, and The Black List script FLASHBACK. Things to Consider Before You Start Writing Your Spec How to harness your unique background to better write your script How to zero in on your writing brand Navigating the marketplace and understanding what there is and isn’t a need for before starting to write How to Write an Amazing Spec Script Tips to better outline and structure your script How to write a perfect scene What scenes always work What scenes never work How to write characters that actors are going to want to play Getting feedback and putting on the right kind of finishing touches Using Your Spec to Find Success How to get an agent or manager off of your spec And how to work with your reps to find your next job Pitching your spec The steps you should take to prepare for your pitch How to best tell your story in a room What you should NEVER do in a room The #1 thing that sells in pitch meetings What you should leave people in the room with Handling notes and continuing to alter your script Matt’s Case Studies CRASH UNIT (Sylvester Stallone) THE GUNSMITH (Tommy Wirkola, Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters) THE DESTROYERS (NY Times Book of the Summer) FLASHBACK Q&A with Matt Praise for Matt’s Stage 32 Webinar   “This was a great webinar! Matt made things feel a lot more possible and achievable” -Rory D.   “Matt has had so much success so recently that he really is uniquely qualified to talk about selling specs. I appreciated hearing what he had to say” -Candace V.   “I’m so glad I saw this webinar. It got me excited to take another stab at my script” -Jerry F.   “This was so helpful! Thanks!” -Carly E.

register for stage 32 Register / Log In