Film & TV

Collaboration: Part 2

Ron Howard

Lesson time 11:32 min

While collaboration is central to Ron’s process, he warns against directing by committee. Directors need to have the confidence to hear everyone, but listen to themselves.

Ron Howard
Teaches Directing
Ron Howard teaches directing, editing, and storytelling in 32 exclusive video lessons.
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Apollo 13 was a project that it was easy to fall in love. With we all became very passionate about it. One of the real champions of the verisimilitude, the honesty, the seeking the truth in the story was Tom Hanks who loved the space program. The initial screenplay was very entertaining, but there were some situations, some scenes, where things were sort of combined, slightly exaggerated for drama. And Tom would always say, why are we doing that? Is that really what happened? And I actually wrote on the cover of my script finally to tell the truth. Just show it. Because I began to trust that. And it was really the first time that I developed that trust in the ideas. And it was the first time I worked on a story that was based on real events. But again, one of the great triangles was in fact Dave Scott who was an Apollo veteran and an ex-commander who was our technical advisor. Tom Hanks and myself simply sitting with transcripts, and Tom wanted to understand as a commander what these various procedures might mean. And we wound up getting so much suspense and gaining so much drama simply by going through a process that began as sort of a technical understanding of a procedure. And wound up turning into a character moment, a moment of decision, a moment of suspense, that I was able to identify and do something with that would inform the camerawork, would inform the editing. But it would come out of these quiet three way conversations that were more informational than creative. And yet I think every conversation you have around the problem solving of a movie or a television show is ultimately a creative conversation. It was an important moment where I really availed myself of some relationships that I was lucky enough to have as a director, and I was timid about it at first. But I was going into a Beautiful Mind. It was the most serious movie that I'd made at that point in my career. And I had done a lot of rehearsing and preparing of movies. I loved to stage. I loved to rehearse ahead of time. But they generally were lighter movies or a little more action oriented. And it wasn't so much about mining these deep psychological minefields and these troubles, and setting the stage for triumphs that were supposed to be monumental for the character and for the audience, but in fact were small, small things. And we were about to begin rehearsals, and I decided that I would call on some people I really admired who I knew just enough to be able to send a call out, kind of an SOS of sorts. And it was a Martin Scorsese, Mike Nichols, and Sidney Lumet. And they're three directors whose dramatic work I admired. And I knew them well enough to call them. And they had three very different ideas for me in terms of going into this rehearsal period. I said how do you approach it? Mike Nichols said, I try to, in addition to working out the problems of...

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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.

Through Ron Howards Class I've learned on how to communicate my vision with collaborators . And how to work communicate with Actors and Crew on set.

I've learned a lot about the film-making process. I'm grateful to Ron for sharing his know-how and helping to break down the roles of a director. Thank you!

I loved the class! My goal is to immediately apply what I have learned in this class to my own in progress film efforts. If I ever get to meet Ron someday, I would feel a lot better being able to personally thank him for taking the time to provide this class. I am truly grateful. My personal story is still in progress and I hope the world is ready for that which is yet to come.

What a guy. So generous in his teaching, and his insights are invaluable. I've been a filmmaker for nearly 20 years, and I've learnt so much. Legend.



Is anyone else also experiencing the videos hanging every now and then and not playing smoothly even after refreshing the screen? I haven't faced this with the other masterclasses I've attended... this one with Ron Howard has been a challenge due to the videos not playing at one go...have to repeatedly refresh and then they play for a few minutes... and then hang again! Looking for a couple of creative collaborators to solve this issue in a triangle as Ron suggested:))

Pétainguy M.

Enough ego to be original and authentically ourself. Enough humility to be helped and permeable to others experience. Walking on the moon ...

Blu L.

I absolutely love the fact that Ron is vulnerable in this lesson when he discusses the SOS team. Each of the directors that he spoke to offered their true insights on rehearsals and I find this as one of the key components to storytelling. Having an honest and truthful team to go to when things are not making sense is important to the filmmaking process. If anyone on here would like to discuss any projects they are currently working on, feel free to find me on LinkedIn (Oscar Armando Siliezar), Twitter & Instagram: @oscarasiliezar or via email

David S.

Yet another fantastic lesson and insight. What struck me most is that, even though I went through the entire Scorsese Masterclass, Ron Howard relaying some of Scorsese's advice to him was more valuable than pretty much anything I got from Scorsese's class. Ron Howard is a great director but, more importantly for Masterclass and those of us eager to learn, he is also a great teacher.

Alena A.

@ Lacy Campbell It's devastating how one can't do one's job properly these days and share one's actual experience with an eager audience without having some hurt feminist at one's tail. Everybody is just forced to invent collaboratresses and inspirations that never existed just to avoid a negative label. I am often reminded of communist regime censorship and I wonder what sort of liberty this is

A fellow student

I've gained so much respect for Ron Howard, but it's devastating to hear him, time and time again, ONLY cite male filmmakers, directors, and actors. He pays so much lip service to diverse perspectives, but he is only citing other white men.


Thank you Elizabeth Baker... "just as important is frequency - search for that collaborator who is on your wave length, that is willing to let the film win." win win win...look for that bridge and link....What I am "enjoying/opportuning" is that in my writing/creating/sharing, I now read for myself, than my dog, Yoshi....because many of the "first changes" come out with a "woof"...really enjoying this class....StanleydelGozo

David F.

Ron, would love to know how you feel about the movie as you accept a specific level of creative freedom (control/collaboration) with all the artisan on you're project. Meaning...after it's made what do you feel you give to the movie?

Grünenberg R.

For me the very best chapter so far! The three approaches to rehearsals: great!

Anson H.

I like how even though he made two parts about collaboration and it's importance, he still came back home to making sure to listen to yourself. Refreshing to know that even still, when it all comes down to it, you still have to trust yourself.