Ron Howard's Directing MasterClass

Throughout the second half of 2019, I went through my second MasterClass, "Ron Howard Teaches Directing." I'm a big fan of MasterClass in general—their classes are well-structured, have high-quality video, and have instructors that are masters of their craft. These aren't just celebrities; they're some of the best writers, filmmakers, etc. working today.

I tried to treat it as much like a real class as possible: I did the lessons on a fairly scheduled basis, and often moved on to the next lesson only after I had done my "homework," assignments that are given at the end of most lessons. I also took notes, and bound them along with the class workbook when I was done for future reference.

By far my favorite part of the class was a set of seven lessons near the end, in which Ron directed a group of actors and camera operators as they staged a scene from Ron's film Frost/Nixon (2008). It's an amazing opportunity to be a fly on the wall, watching an A-list director ply his craft. He takes you through rehearsing with the actors, staging a master shot, shooting coverage and a oner, and shooting for a low-budget or indie film. Along the way he gives the actors adjustments, tries POV shots, and often speaks directly to the "class." He's completely focused on teaching you these concepts, and it's terrific.

I heartily recommend the class. Ron is enthusiastic and inspiring. He seems like he'd be a great director to work for—collaborative, but with a vision; not overly firm, but neither wavering. And he's a great instructor. It's clear that he's passionate about teaching these concepts, and for $90, it's an incredible deal.

When it comes to collaboration, try to keep the kind of mental/emotional equilibrium so that you know you're open and you hear everybody—but ultimately you listen to yourself.
Ron Howard

Further learning: Ron Howard Teaches Directing by MasterClass



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David Condolora is a storyteller in games, film, and beyond.