Watch, listen, and learn as Ron Howard breaks down directing in his first-ever online class.
A downloadable workbook accompanies the class with lesson recaps, assignments, and supplemental material.
Learn on your own terms, at your own pace on mobile, desktop, or Apple TV.
You know Ron Howard as an Oscar–winning director, a producer, an actor, and one of Hollywood’s great storytellers. Now, he’s your instructor. Meet Ron and learn why the director is the ultimate “keeper of the 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.
Over the years, Ron has developed a personal checklist to evaluate and strengthen a script. Learn the key components of a great screenplay and how to build your own checklist to identify material that’s right for you.
Scripts must work on creative and intellectual levels. Ron knows there’s no shortcut to the rewriting process, and he shares how he ensures a script is “camera ready” before embarking on production.
Ron works on an idea when he feels a flush of inspiration, which can come from the theme, his personal relationship with the idea, or its freshness. Learn how this approach has helped him create some of his most enduring and beloved films.
Throughout the development process, your choices and beliefs as a director are going to be tested. Learn how Ron finds the best collaborators to navigate through development hell and bring his projects to life.
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.
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.
The language of photography can overwhelm new directors. Ron talks you through how to find the right collaborator, rely on them, and work with them to define your movie’s visual tone.
Ron thinks about cinematic choices almost like a character in the movie. Learn how lighting, lenses, and stylistic choices can add visual power to your film.
Learn how Ron finds the right production designers and works to inspire them to create sets that help tell your story, using a mosaic of palettes and colors.
Ron revisits the cinematography and production design decisions that energized and surprised him when he made Frost/Nixon, including powerful lessons about turning compromise into creativity.
Seemingly small or trivial details can anchor a scene, reinforce a director’s vision, and forge a stronger connection with the audience.
Ron shares a story about how a lucky mistake—forgetting his headphones on an airplane—taught him how to better understand the mechanics of shots, camera setups, and sequences in an action scene.
Ron walks you through the movie’s iconic launch sequence and explains how meticulous research and shot planning energized a familiar historical moment.
Ron shares how he flipped the movie’s point of view at a key juncture in the film in order to underscore the realization of a powerful truth.
Ron encourages you to look beyond an actor’s tangible skills. Learn how to trust your gut and recognize the intangible qualities that a performer will bring to a role.
Ron urges you to collaborate with, inspire, and protect your actors. Learn how you can prepare yourself to work with them—and when to trust them to deliver the performance you need.
Learn why Ron always looks for moments where an actor’s instinct brings emotional truth to a scene.
A director’s job is to narrow the seemingly endless staging choices. Here, Ron offers a rare opportunity to watch his directorial process in action.
This approach most closely replicates the staging approach of the original movie. Watch Ron as he collects masters for each setup.
Ron shows you how he shoots all the coverage he knows he will need in order to optimize for creative choices in the edit.
Now that Ron knows he has all his master shots and additional coverage, he explores other possibilities—often following an actor’s natural instincts.
Ron reworks the scene for a Steadicam, which requires technical movement and choreography from actors.
Ron shows you an alternative approach he could have tried in the film: using a Steadicam to shoot from David Frost’s point of view.
If you need to compromise on set, Ron encourages you to keep the staging simple. This indie approach maximizes coverage with limited resources.
Reviewing the staging exercises, Ron talks you through what he was considering while blocking the actors and planning for each shot.
For Ron, the editing process is the time when you execute the final rewrite of a movie. Learn how to find the right editor and develop an editing style for your film together.
Early cuts can break your heart, but Ron knows that editing also offers a thrilling chance to uncover your story again and see your film in a new and improved way.
Sound design works on a subliminal level. Sometimes taking sound away can be as powerful as adding it.
Ron explains how the most talented composers pick up on details of actors’ performances and build music cues that deepen a story.
In his final lesson, Ron urges you to be open to the moments and experiences that inspire you, and to find a story that you love and tell it.