From Ron Howard's MasterClass

Collaboration: Part 2

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.

Topics include: Apollo 13 Collaboration • A Collaborative SOS • Mine Collaborative Brain Power • Hear Everyone But Listen to Yourself


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.

Topics include: Apollo 13 Collaboration • A Collaborative SOS • Mine Collaborative Brain Power • Hear Everyone But Listen to Yourself

Ron Howard

Teaches Directing

Learn More


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...

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.

I am loving every moment sitting at the feet of all the great instructors! Thank you for all that you do for the community--Priceless!!

Mr. Howard did a great job breaking down the filmmaking process, and I found his tips and insights to be extremely beneficial.

Best Masterclass yet! I've learned so much and got very motivated to create. Ron Howard is a very generous and humble genius! I love this man!

I loved the class. I really like Mr Howard style of teaching. That he was so honest and humble. I've learned few new things and definitely I want to study more and develop.


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.

Elizabeth B.

I love his laughter about having been an actor, and knowing what they are muttering about the director back in the trailer...that directing isn't a popularity contest, that collaboration is so exciting, but the buck stops here with the director. And in this business you have one shot...make a bad film and you won't be making many or perhaps even any more. So exciting...I am back to my first comment YES! talent is incredibly important but just as important is frequency - search for that collaborator who is on your wave length, that is willing to let the film win. I have had some important lessons on how not to do that it is going to count, let's hope that I learned something. lol


The concept of a collaboration of three It preserves time, energy and budget.

Kevin B.

These videos are an eye opener to Mr. Howard's personality and his intellect in the film industry. I find him very down to earth, yet, in tuned to the what it takes to make a top notch film. I have always been and continue to be a fan.

Ken T.

Ron is an amazing director. Really love the way how he shares his own personal knowledge and describes the situations that have happened to him. It seems like I learn a lot more than just directing. Ron is like twisting your mind to the right course and, among the other things, inspires you.


Excellent insight. yes as Directors we have to have the last word and listen to ourselves.


Just what I needed to hear. Listen to everyone, but ultimately listen to yourself. Probably the hardest thing to do when you are a new director.


Honestly, the last point was my favorite. It's good to remind yourself that you are the leader, and you have the final say. I like that.

Johnny Z.

Love that Mr. Howard spoke about MIke Nichols. Mike was my scene study teacher for 3 years at New Actors Workshop. "The bridge" that Mr. Howard speaks of was Mike's constant reminder to us as actors, he would always say about a scene, "This is like when___" That is the foundation of that bridge between character and actor. Thank you, Mr. Howard. I miss MIke and to hear you speak about him and share the guidance he bestowed upon you brought me a lot of joy.