From Ron Howard's MasterClass

Collaboration: Part 1

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.

Topics include: Revel in Collaboration • Engage with Department Heads • Work in Threes • A Beautiful Mind Collaboration


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.

Topics include: Revel in Collaboration • Engage with Department Heads • Work in Threes • A Beautiful Mind Collaboration

Ron Howard

Teaches Directing

Learn More


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.

the class was a journey, i enjoyed every lesson, but would be alot more interesting if there was a lot more to show, i mean a practical

Loved it! Ron Howard was brilliant, generous and kind.

This was an awesome course! Thank you Ron Howard and MasterClass!!

Ron is the best, he is so direct and at the same time he have a really nice way to explain


Javier D.

Great! Very interesting the concept of working in threes! I usually work with my D.P. But I think I should enclose another creative.

Susan T.

I am enjoying this MC immensely having followed Ron's career since Lassie... a kindred spirit and worked in the film/television industry since 1970s. Ron has always been an inspiration and his films have been some of my favourites. In my early years, movies about the making of movies were most engaging, as I have had dreams and visions of Directing a film on the Revelations of Earth and coming Apocalypse.

A fellow student

Listening and collaborate with people will make the your film production easier, greater and exciting. Lesson learned. Thanks Mr. Howard.

Anson H.

I think there is a myth that you have to formulate a crew that you're always gonna work; where the personnel will always be the same group of people. The more I'm hearing from Ron I'm learning that directors/producers have to be adaptable individuals, that have to be able to communicate, work with, trust and bring the best out of various different people throughout their careers.

Launa B.

I am inspired at how open an aware Ron Howard is about the importance of the collaboration process. Each is a piece of the puzzle that makes the whole. Thank you! I wish the pdf's were available to these videos. The first 4 were downloadable, and the rest gave error messages when I tried to download.

Elizabeth B.

My joy with listening and learning from Mr. Howard is profound. Searching for and finding 2 others on the same frequency to create this film is key. Now that I know what is needed, the talent showing up will be next. This is an amazing class...thank you.


Profound session. have compiled two Master Classes on deicing. Have been inspired by the creative deference and unity in the the various masters that approach the craft. Quite frankly in my goal as a actor excelling to direct also,

Sergei S.

Colloboration can not do any harm to the art process if everyone knows who is the ultimate keeper of the story

Kevin B.

Mr. Howard's knowledge along with his track record as a director is really impressive. He has taken me in a new direction as a writer/director. Liking the class thus far.


Very interesting that Ron recognizes different strategies. He mentions that not everone uses collaboration and still create wonderful films. I like the collaborative approach. I believe that we are all born with a genisus streak and three creative minds would be a blessing. I believe that the tone is set by the Director and if they are open and respect everyone there can be great energy created for screen. I tend to work with a small team and we are all open to expressing ideas. Creating this energy is I think one of the most important jobs I have as Director.