Chapter 23 of 32 from Judd Apatow

Directing: Production


From budgets to scheduling to managing a crew, Judd discusses important aspects of filmmaking and offers advice on how to tackle each.

Topics include: Assess Tomorrow’s Scenes Tonight • Schedule Your Shoot Day Thoughtfully • Set a Realistic Schedule and Stick to It • Find Creative Solutions to Budget Limitations • Make Low Budgets Serve You

From budgets to scheduling to managing a crew, Judd discusses important aspects of filmmaking and offers advice on how to tackle each.

Topics include: Assess Tomorrow’s Scenes Tonight • Schedule Your Shoot Day Thoughtfully • Set a Realistic Schedule and Stick to It • Find Creative Solutions to Budget Limitations • Make Low Budgets Serve You

Judd Apatow

Judd Apatow Teaches Comedy

Judd Apatow teaches you how to write, direct, produce, and perform comedy for film and television.

Learn More


Get serious about comedy

No joke: At age 15, Judd Apatow took a dishwashing job at a comedy club to watch the acts. Today, he’s the comedic genius behind hits including The 40-Year-Old Virgin, Knocked Up, Bridesmaids, and Freaks and Geeks. In his first-ever online class, the Emmy Award winner teaches you how to create hilarious storylines, write great stand-up, and direct comedies that leave audiences laughing.

Learn Judd’s creative process through case studies, scene deconstructions, and practical insight in 32 on-demand video lessons.

A downloadable workbook accompanies the class with lesson recaps, assignments, and supplemental material.

Upload videos to get feedback from the class. Judd will also answer select student questions.


Students give MasterClass an average rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars.

A masterful teacher of comedy. Wonderful course that will open new parts of your mind to look deep inside you for comedic inspiration.

a huge amount of quality information in this class! well done and thank you mr. apatow

Apataw's style is a bit raw for me but an eye- opener to what people expect today. Overall, his lectures are encouraging. I am a writer.

The biggest improvement has been to my motivation, I had kind of given up on comedy. Thought I'd exhausted all my opportunities but now I feel like the opportunities are only gone if I stop trying.


A fellow student

The last two notebooks PDFs I've tried to download comeback with this message: AccessDeniedRequest has expired36002019-02-14T00:05:04Z2019-02-15T13:46:33Z56A96839FA170AF30ZuaU3NKtj9Pe+kPzFKT1xBey1qWhXvGcTokJnEHsvpU5m9h9zdF7nhggmCF5X54e+AeyOsRo8s= Is there another way to download?

George C.

In support of his point, the movie Tangerine was a hit at Sundance and was shown in theaters. It was shot on an IPhone 5s and Steven Soderbergh's latest movie Unsane - also shot on IPhone.

Meg N.

I appreciated the discussions of the cost trade-offs and the safety concerns, particularly the stick-to-a-thoughtful schedule aspect. It really is true, each person has a capacity that when exceeded, the work quality goes downhill... which in the end, especially if chronic, is far more expensive than the thoughtful schedule that has been adhered to.

J.C. S.

This section rings so true to me. I once made a animated parody of the movie Casablanca using only things found in the bathroom and a iPhone to film it. The bar of soap was Ingrid Bergman. A toothbrush stood in for Bogart's character. I did the all the voiceover work myself, sticking as much to the script as possible. In the final scene you've got a bar of soap and toothbrush in the foreground and a roll of toilet paper in the background (the plane on the tarmac) - and the scene is as moving as the original movie's version was. I showed the movie at the Asbury Park Film Festival and there wasn't a dry eye in the place, which worked out great because we had used the VISINE Eye Drops for the Claude Reins character.

Billy R.

Even though I don't think I'll ever be a director, this was a good lesson. It let me get inside how a director thinks, and perhaps know a little about how to write a script that might help the director out in some ways.

Amy J.

Long hours of any kind of work strains the body. The years I spent working as a video sign language interpreter, every fifty minutes we were trained to take a break. The mind and body are limited, my hands, arms and back became numb, my brain went on auto pilot. When that happened, my work went to shit. I fell out of character, my sign choice never came full circle for meaning and content. After five hours of relaying information between the hearing and the Deaf, I was worthless. Be respectful to other's stamina is what I learned.

Heather W.

Love his ethical approach to time, budget, and especially people and safety/

Christopher S.

Even though I never thought about directing a film or television, these last few lessons are still interesting.

Don E.

I did a short movie where I used a friend as an actor, and he is in his 80's. He's a great speaker and a big, strong looking fellow but he's got arthritis issues that make certain movements difficult. I had a shot where I wanted him to lay on the ground wounded. He's a game fellow and said he's do it but that it would be really difficult for him to stand back up. His wife didn't want me to do the shot. I gave him a chance to back out but he said he'd do it. So we did the shot but I made sure I had 4 people around me helping him to the ground, and the same group helping him get back up. He said he was fine and the shot looked really good, and his wife was happy I made sure nothing went wrong. I was doubly motivated because I needed him for two more scenes (although that didn't occur to me until later). Concern for the cast and crew is a must.


Thank you! It is so important to talk about safety. I prefer working on set with a director who also has at least some experience in producing since they really are a great contrast to some who do not think about anything but themselves and would sell their own grandmothers just to get their movie done. Those egos sometimes forget that a movie is still teamwork no matter how famous and important you are, there are real humans working with you on your vision and you should always respect them and their health. As well as they should listen to concerns of their producers who will - worst case - go to jail when someone gets hurt while they are in charge.


When I'm preparing for a shoot day, what I try to do is read all the scenes over the night before and remember why I wrote them. And that really is the part of it that is easiest to get lost, which is why are we here? What is this scene about? How does it serve the story? How does it serve the character? And you do have to take a breath because you're so busy when you're directing that you're exhausted and you can get negligent. So I'll just say, OK, I'm going to sit and I'm going to read this section of the script again, read the scene, and judge it. How is it? Did we nail it? Is this one of the weak ones that I have to make new stuff up on the spot to save? Or am I going to be a little more religious about shooting that scene the way it was written? Then, usually during visits to the location before the shooting day, I will have a sense of how I'm going to shoot it. So I'll get into space and I will-- in very simple terms-- say, I think they're sitting here or she walks in here, they talk there, she punches him in the face, he falls, she walks out that door. And then I try to block it in my head and figure out what those shots would be to cover that. On the day that we shoot, sometimes that changes. Sometimes you get the real actresses and actors in and you say, oh, that doesn't work because he's too tall and when he falls they would hit the table wrong and that door actually isn't the door to outside, that's a janitor's closet. And then you realize that none of your plans work. So we'll do it again on the day. But usually I have roughed it in in my head. I'm not someone that has like a list of the shots. I don't write it out. I generally have that in my head and I talk about it with the cinematographer, probably out of pure laziness. It's much better to have a piece of paper, you know? Master, two-shot, tighter two-shot, clean singles, overs, different angle, as they exit. You could write that out. I do not do it out of arrogance, out of pure arrogance. I just-- I get lazy. But that is a helpful thing to do. Here's the thing you're trying to figure out that's difficult. How long is it going to take to shoot this? So every day starts off with a conversation with the first AD and the cinematographer. This conversation happened in prep, as well, which is, how many scenes are we shooting today? How much time do you think each scene will take? How long will it take to move to wherever we have to go between scenes? So what I do-- and this is one area that I'm not lazy in-- I will say, OK, we all got to set at 7 and we are going to attempt to be shooting by 8:30, we'll finish the first scene by 11:30, we will shoot this shorter scene before lunch, we break for lunch, we're back rolling again at 2:30. I have three hours for the first scene and two hours for the second scene, and then I need one shot establishing this space, you know? Like an exterior shot of the building to end the day. And I'll have a very strict timet...