Directing: Core Elements

Live online course

Sundance Collab offers a robust collection of online courses in the Sundance spirit of amplifying your independent voice as a storyteller. Join our global community to hone your craft, network with other creators, and develop career strategies to help you navigate the film and television industry.


Learn the core elements of directing fiction films—from pre-production to working with actors and more—with experienced directors as your guides. During this live, online course intended for those new to directing, you’ll learn how to assemble your crew, work with actors, and translate work from script-to-screen by directing and filming a scene. 


In class sessions, you will analyze clips from full-length feature films that exemplify important concepts, complete interactive exercises, and discuss concepts and raise questions with others in your course. Designated homework is reviewed by your course advisor and is designed to prepare you to direct and shoot your exercise scene. The course concludes with a one-on-one mentoring session focused on your scene and questions you may have about the field.


By the end of the course you will:

  • understand the creative role of the director in every phase of production.
  • analyze a script and break down a scene.
  • learn the fundamentals of directing actors including casting, rehearsal, and on set work to obtain the best possible performances.
  • block a scene.
  • use tools for mapping your shoot, such as storyboards and lined scripts.
  • learn the fundamentals of creative storytelling in post-production.

This course is ideal for:

  • those new to directing.
  • documentary filmmakers making the transition into fiction work.
  • directors without formal training who would like to sharpen their skills with professional guidance.

Course enrollment is approximately 50 participants per session, with a participant-to-advisor ratio of 12-to-1.



Sundance Collab provides accommodations and support services to participants with disabilities. Accommodations and services are designed to meet the needs of each participant. Please email us at accessibility@sundance.org to arrange for services.