Apr 7 - Jun 6
Directing: Core Elements
Registration is now closed for this session.
Claudia Weill

Due to the popularity of this course, we are no longer accepting applications. DEADLINE WAS CHANGED TO: Friday, February 19th, 2pm PT.

Acceptances start after the deadline, and occur on a rolling basis.

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. Weekly 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 48 participants per session, with a participant-to-advisor ratio of twelve-to-one.


The course will be held live in our virtual classroom. All sessions are recorded for registered participants who are unable to attend live.

Sundance Co//ab 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 collab_courses@sundance.org to arrange for services. 

  • DURATION: Nine weeks, April 7 - May 30
  • SCHEDULE: Wednesdays, 10am - 12pm PT
    • Extended first class session: Wednesday, April 7, 10am - 12:30pmPT
    • No class/Production week:  Wednesday, May 5
    • Extended last class session: Wednesday, May 26, 10am - 12:30pmPT
    • One-on-one mentoring sessions are held between Jun 1 - Jun 6
Claudia Weill is a film, television and theatre director. Her feature films include GIRLFRIENDS, selected by the Library of Congress for the National Film Register in 2019, released by Criterion, IT’S MY TURN for Columbia Pictures (Donatello Award) and THE OTHER HALF OF THE SKY A CHINA MEMOIR with Shirley MacLaine about the first American Women’s Delegation to the Peoples' Republic of China, (Academy Award Nomination, 1975). more...
Ioana was born and raised in Romania, where she lived through a communist dictatorship and a traumatic socio-economic transition before becoming an immigrant to the US. She is an alumna of the Cannes Cinefondation Residency, the Sundance Screenwriting and Directing labs, and the Torino Film Lab. Her work as a director has been part of the official selections at the Cannes, Berlin, Sundance, Tribeca, and AFI international film festivals. more...
Darius Dawson is an LA-based director currently in pre-production to direct second unit on Peter Farrelly’s next feature, set in New Orleans and Thailand. His short films have screened at many festivals and garnered several awards. His AFI thesis, A RODEO FILM, won the 2019 DGA Student Grand Prize Award, the Golden Tadpole at the 2020 Camerimage Cinematography Festival and was selected as one of five films to take part in HBO’s Short Film Competition in Miami. more...

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