Master Classes are in-depth, interactive learning experiences focused on craft and career building and led by renowned industry experts. Topics include fiction and documentary filmmaking, TV writing and production, and navigating and succeeding in the entertainment industry.

Understanding both the craft of directing and the essential steps for navigating the business are key to maintaining a career as a director. Join accomplished director Ken Kwapis, a two-time Emmy nominee with 11 features under his belt and a diverse array of television credits, as he shares lessons learned from a life behind the camera. Using his book, "But What I Really Want To Do Is Direct," as a springboard, Ken will cover three broad areas: 1) Things he didn't learn in film school; 2) How to prepare a scene; 3) Becoming a better student of human nature. 

Topics covered include:

  • 00:00 - 03:50: Welcome and introduction from Sundance Collab
  • 03:51 - 7:58: Introduction from Ken Kwapis
  • 7:59 - 8:42: What I didn’t learn in film school
  • 8:43 - 12:46: How to be a leader
  • 12:47 - 18:54: How to be proactive on your own set
  • 18:55 - 24:01: Don’t get trapped at video village
  • 24:02 - 29:12: How to give and receive feedback
  • 29:13 - 34:00: How to measure success on your terms
  • 34:39 - 47:53: Q&A
  • 48:43 - 49:38: How to prepare a scene
  • 49:39 - 51:44: The emotional road map
  • 51:45 - 53:54: How to give playable notes
  • 53:55 - 55:13: Tell your story with pictures
  • 55:14 - 01:01:48: Using body language to tell your story
  • 01:01:49 - 01:04:14: Shot selection
  • 01:04:15 - 01:10:00: Color and light
  • 01:10:01 - 01:14:01: The objective correlative
  • 01:14:02 - 01:17:58: How to use off-screen space to tell your story
  • 01:17:59 - 01:23:12: Transitions from one scene to the next
  • 01:23:13 - 01:39:06: Breaking down a scene from The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants
  • 01:39:07 - 02:02:20: Q&A
  • 02:03:05 - 02:17:10: Directing Sesame Street Presents: Follow That Bird
  • 02:17:11 - 02:21:18: Finding a human connection with the script and recognizing yourself in the material
  • 02:21:36 - 02:33:52: Q&A
  • 02:33:53 - 02:36:17: Final announcements

Past classes have included Academy Award-winning director Roger Ross Williams on Documentary Storytelling, Finding Dory’s Victoria Strouse on Comedy Writing, Emmy-nominated director Lesli Linka Glatter on Blocking a Scene, The Walking Dead’s Glen Mazzara on TV Writing, and more.


Download the list of RESOURCES from Ken Kwapis and Sundance Collab

Ken Kwapis has been a motion picture and television director for nearly forty years. He directed eleven feature films, among them A WALK IN THE WOODS, HE'S JUST NOT THAT INTO YOU, and THE SISTERHOOD OF THE TRAVELING PANTS. Kwapis helped launch nine television series, including THE LARRY SANDERS SHOW, THE BERNIE MAC SHOW, and THE OFFICE. more...
Moderator | Director, Collab Courses & Events
Los Angeles, CA, USA
Patty West is a producer and educator based in California. She led the Directing Workshop for Women and the Thesis Program at the American Film Institute prior to joining the Sundance Institute. She came to Sundance Collab in December of 2019 and now serves as the Director of Courses & Events. West is a Chicago native and holds a B.S. from Northwestern University, an M.F.A. from the AFI Conservatory and an Executive M.B.A. from Quantic School of Business & Technology. She is a member of the Producer's Council of the Producers Guild of America. more...

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