From Ron Howard's MasterClass

Choosing a Story

Ron believes anyone can direct a movie. The key is loving a story, understanding it, and then backing up your instincts with craft. Learn his technique for finding and telling fresh stories that will leave an impact on audiences.

Topics include: Make It Personal • Present a Fresh Take • Look for Powerful Moments • Backup Instinct with Craft


Ron believes anyone can direct a movie. The key is loving a story, understanding it, and then backing up your instincts with craft. Learn his technique for finding and telling fresh stories that will leave an impact on audiences.

Topics include: Make It Personal • Present a Fresh Take • Look for Powerful Moments • Backup Instinct with Craft

Ron Howard

Teaches Directing

Learn More


It so personal in terms of deciding what movie or television show you're going to work on if you're lucky enough to have options and have choices. For me it's always trying to identify something in an idea that I'm excited about that. It's not an intellectual thing. It's just an emotional thing. I'm reading it. I'm beginning to dream about it. And in a way beginning to see it, and I don't want to let go of that. And that's that inspiration. There's something about that story that you as a creative person just connect with. You want to apply what you have to offer to that. I have to feel that there's something about it that I connect with on an emotional level or that I feel like I can contribute to it. I have to feel that the story offers something to audiences that's fresh, that's thematically interesting, is going to be worthy of their attention, their time, and their money. I think that freshness is very important when you're evaluating your idea because the execution can be outstanding on a character level, , but if it's not presented in some way that feels fresh either through the cinematic approach or the setting, then it's going to be sort of downgraded in people's minds. They're going to feel like well they've kind of seen it before. This is a good version of something else. But what else? In great improv study groups, they always say and. The great teachers will say to the improv artists once they've completed, they'll say, what else? And? And I think that's a great clue for writers and directors as well. If you look at a movie like the first Star Wars, well Joseph Campbell explained you know very well to all of us who were listening that it was a combination of the familiar myths, but it was retold in this way that we just had never really experienced before. And it was so exciting. It made those old myths, those old ideas land in a powerful way, but we were ready to receive them because it was directed in such a brilliant remarkable fresh way. Sometimes the directors come along and find a way to do something traditional and yet you know make it modern. La la land is an example of a classic movie musical structure. Even the approach to the music is traditional and yet the way it's shot, the setting, the characters, the way they talk to each other, you know it feels entirely modern. Well that's a great combination that makes it feel like a very satisfying experience. Because there are those classic themes, those ideas that we do appreciate, we just don't want them presented to us in that same old way. And so that's where storytelling is almost always a combination of something old and something new. And it's the something new that gives it the contemporary relevance that makes it immediate and meaningful to those of us today living in this moment. That's what's so amazing about Shakespeare's writing is directors find wa...

Direct your story

Ron Howard made his first film in 15 days with $300,000. Today, his movies have grossed over $1.8 billion. In his first-ever online directing class, the Oscar-winning director of Apollo 13 and A Beautiful Mind decodes his craft like never before. In lessons and on-set workshops, you’ll learn how to evaluate ideas, work with actors, block scenes, and bring your vision to the screen whether it’s a laptop or an IMAX theater.


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

The best part was the lesson about covering and blocking. that was quite hands on and really boils down to what a director does on the set.

This gives me a greater appreciation and understanding of the directors role. And how to approach the process to capture something 'in the frame'. How to prep the scene and the people, get the most out the collaborators.

It was very helpful to see Howard at work, specially during the Frost/Nixon built scene.

I have learned so much. Ron went through so many details and examples that made it so much easier to understand and learn the art of filmmaking. He also validated a lot experiences I've had on the set. And now I feel a lot more confident about going out and making films. I can't thank Ron enough for sharing his knowledge and experience.


Matthew B.

10 Things I Hate About You is a really fun movie. Pretty sure I saw when it was released but 20 years ago now ? RIP Heath The Amazon version has The Taming of the Shrew lined up to watch right after 10 Things Ends.

Daniel C.

Applying everything I learned from writing a screenplay, I found that I didn't apply what makes a screenplay better. With Ron Howard's Masterclass, I've learned how to write a screenplay at a quicker pace. I know grammar, writing lean, and other writing techniques, but I did not know direction and perspective. Character's Logic... InkTip ~ Title : OFF DUTY It took me a MONTH to write because Mr. Howard gave me insight on what to expect from a screenplay.

Sheri T.

Telling the story that has been told before in a new way. Keeping to similar themes from old but making it new and fresh and different. Honing the craft to tell the story and the theme and taste. Takes practice.


wow...this is going to be a great class...I feel like I am sitting with Ron in my living room and simply discussing the play that I am writing...AND gleaning his lifetime of osmotic knowledge from growing up on the learning to swing from Ken Griffey Jr or talk about the QB job with Broadway Joe....thanks Ron... Namaste StanleydelGozo


I have always had several stories to tell, but there is one story that I had to tell. Once I finally got the courage to put it on paper, I have been agonizing over how to get it on screen.

Chris O.

I'm really inspired by this lesson and feel I've conceptually got a map to launch something... all the basic ideas to pull together the story I want to tell. I still need tons on the craft part of this but basic framework just came alive for me. Thanks Ron!

Joseph N.

Hello-this is my first post and my first Masterclass. Excited to be here and to take this class with Mr. Ron Howard. I really liked how Mr. Howard starts his lessons with connecting from the heart. A personal connection. I dont usually have options with what I direct. It comes from the company I work for. But I try to find the personal mission in each story I can latch on to. I often have to sacrifice the connections I want to make to a short deadline, which is tough. I really like what he said about earning a great scene or moment in a project. I will keep that one close. I could see that being an intentional way to direct from the start.

Matthew W.

I really enjoyed the portion where Ron discusses the combination of something old and something being tied to the effectiveness of a good story. I feel like I see this theme a lot in the stories I love.

Stuart W.

Ron does not delve into this too deeply but he says that you want to "apply what you have to offer" to a story that resonates with you. I think Ron touches on an interesting relationship between director and story: as great as a story may be on its own, the director has the task of bringing their "taste" to tease out its intricacies and enhance it even further. That idea of saying "here's how I can make this story better" seems a much more sincere way of approaching storytelling than saying "how can the story suit my needs as a creative individual?"

Javier D.

I did a short film and now I realised which where the 2 powerful moments! I had in mind the second and final shot. But the previous one wasn't clear for me. Anyway ,went to a dozen international film festivals. However, many problems from a first time rookie! (I'm ashamed now). I should have developed better those 2 or 3 top powerful moments. Right now preparing an indie feature. Have to keep that in mind, Master Howard!