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Arts & Entertainment

Collaboration: Part 1

Ron Howard

Lesson time 14:33 min

Learn Ron’s policy for collaborating on a movie and how working in groups of three can bring out the best in a creative team.

Ron Howard
Teaches Directing
Ron Howard teaches directing, editing, and storytelling in his exclusive video lessons.


Directors are meant to sort of dream the movie, or the episode, or the short film, or whatever it is, and visualize it, hear it and it's all valuable. That's a level of preparation that's important. And that's also a great sort of foundation, but I have discovered that if you try to enforce that too rigidly, you're losing all the spontaneity and that sort of organic creativity that the people around you have to offer. Coming to that understanding was the beginning of a rule that I just simply call the six of one rule-- six of one, half a dozen of another. And that is, I believe that when you're working with-- whether it's a cinematographer, an actor, a writer, a composer, production designer-- you know, any of the key creative collaborators on a project-- that your job as the storyteller, as the director-- is like you're the keeper of the story. Your taste is ultimately what's going to guide the production, the editing, and the outcome. But if someone comes up with a suggestion-- some talented person that you've come to respect. You respect them enough to hire them. And they come to you with a suggestion that they understand on an intuitive level, on an organic level-- if that choice still achieves the objective-- super objective-- of the scene or the moment in the story, then it's much better to let that person use their choice. And it accomplishes two important things. And my work really improved when I began to understand this. First, it invests those talented people in the project in a very important way. The other thing is it develops a kind of a trust. It's much easier to edit people's ideas and say no, and not have them be frustrated, angry, and close down on you, but instead respect your thinking. Because they know you're more than willing to say yes. When talented people know that you're more than willing to say yes to their suggestions, they are also more sanguine about accepting a no. In fact, they like it. It's liberating because then they don't have to really edit their ideas with a sort of, god forbid he uses it and it doesn't work. That's gone. That's no longer in the mix. Instead they're free to sort of have this dialogue going with you-- the director-- and they're excited about the fact that you can edit. That you can exercise that responsibility that you have to make those choices for them. My work improved. Now, there are great directors that don't operate that way. You know, Charlie Chaplin didn't listen to anyone. Kubrick was not much of a listener. There are others who really-- they have a vision and they follow it. That's completely valid. It just doesn't happen to be the way I work. I revel in the excitement of the collaboration. I think it provides all of us-- not just me-- with a kind of creative safety net, but more than that it just it energizes a set in a great way. Sometimes it threatens your s...

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.

An excellent class that showed how complex and how difficult it is to direct a movie, and yet at the same time show how I could do it if I wanted. Great!

I have Learned invaluable lessons about every aspect in the process of filmmaking! Mr. Howards ability to teach and inspire is probably equal to his ability to make films. This is a must watch for anybody-at any level- interested in making movies.

Seeing Ron's demonstration on set was amazing, and so insightful. I will cherish this forever.

Insight into the logistical, practical, and creative process of directing film.


Rae A.

He also is so honest and talks about every subject possible in directing. He talked about so much more than expected, and this was definitely much more informative than I expected. He is so dedicated and he really knew what he was talking about.

Rae A.

Being a author and actor, who also wishes to be a director, hearing this is so amazing. Some people have directors who have a specific way to do a scene, or even a whole film, and Ron Howard is the opposite of that. He is open for suggestions and is a very insightful person. He has such a creative mind and he really uses it in such an amazing way. He is very understanding as well and I look forward to learning more from such a smart and imaginative person.

Kara R.

Having worked in the past as a Makeup Artist it was really wonderful to have Directors trust your creative vision and step in to adjust when needed such as "Remember they just came in from the rain or maybe this horrendous thing happened 2 hours ago." So nice to hear Ron respects the artists he works with. It's also so enlightening to hear about the positive communication he has while working with the Producers and the Writers. When venturing into uncharted territory as an aspiring Director, these professional insights alleviate a lot of worry. Thanks for this insight!!

Sadie K.

Just enjoying this so much. He's so honest and spot on. Great reminders. I'm also like yeah... this is also how you do bigger budget and why he is who he is. Great.

Daryl Y.

every section Ron delivers so much more than I expected - really well delivered, thank you

Elizabeth L.

I appreciate so much the time and work put in for this presentation. An extremely dedicated man sharing his knowledge, passion, and experience with us. It's not really a lecture class, but comes across more as if we are sitting with him having a conversation. Love it! The expertise; the insight to the evolving of himself as a director; and so much about life and inter human communications skills that he is sharing is uplifting. Thank you, Ron Howard, and Masterclasses for making available such a wonderful opportunity!

Noah A.

Ron is very passionate about his craft, and he exudes that with every lesson. He knows his stuff but he's still able to teach you what he knows without judging you for knowing less. He seems like a great person to work with, and I'm very grateful to have him as a teacher.

Anthony Clark V.

Thus far, my favorite Masterclass. Ron Howard is gifted at getting his ideas across in an insightful yet non demeaning manner. As a college professor, this is the kind of instructor to have.

KathrynElise E.

Very insightful lesson, I appreciate the human approach the Director gave. Allowing some freedom of expression, on many parts seems to make for an Oscar winning performance.

Matt H.

!!!epicJusticeNOW!! why we can't wait, why we can't wait?!!! "Eliminate the source of hate." -by a Nobel winner ~~~ <3 ~~ ! "You were right Pastor were right the whole entire time/you were right all along!" ~true justice is the harvest reaped by peacemakers, from sowing seeds in the Spirit of Peace~ James3:18: <3! They would bomb his house, they did that to him...on three separate occasions...and yet...he would still return to the pulpit on Sunday...and he kept preaching. He was following Jesus the whole entire time. To the T. That's why he deserves his !!!epicJusticeNOW!! For that, the man has my respect forever. In other words, "a terrorist organization bombed MLKjr's house three times...and he kept returning to the pulpit and kept preaching, DIVINE SERMONS, YOU CAN HEAR GOD IN HIS VOICE, the man was Holy, that is blasphemy to do that to a very perfectly innocent man. He's more innocent, he's so innocent that's about as innocent as it gets...against the courts of law. Those were all false charges against ...our dear Brother, Pastor, and friend, Nobel winner, Martin Luther King jr. And they made it all up...because of money(greed), so they lie instead. They shouldn't of thrown the innocent man to jail, at all. ...but, he kept preaching though... DIVINE SERMONS(A Gift Of Love, sermons by Martin Luther King jr, on sale on ) ~~~ <3 ~~ And he kept preaching. For THAT...the man has my respect forever. And God bless him as a SAINT of the Almighty. G :) D. You can hear it in his voice, he was very innocent, and they did it to him anyway. Completely innocent too. And he also kept writing everything down, everyday, his study, the man was a genius. Everything, he studied everything he knew, for total and complete justice, that is absolute and final. how are not African-Americans still Americans, born on U.S. soil? Yes. "All men are created equal." <3 and for that, the man has my re$pect forever. a.k.a. "And for that, Dr are my idol!" . Why We Can't Wait -very important book by Dr. King. His whole book series, he wrote himself...while alive, with people trying to kill him everyday. a.k.a. All books are important, the whole book series shall, and will be called; "Martin Luther King jr's Quest For Justice" "Martin Luther King jr's Quest For Justice" results in ='s !!!epicJusticeNOW!! ...that's why we can't wait. -m