How to Become a Filmmaker?

8 minute read

Learning to make films is very easy. Learning what to make films about is very hard.”- George Lucas

Among the many creative creative professions, Filmmaking is truly one of the most charismatic ones. To create a visual masterpiece, the aesthetic, scripting, shooting, and many other factors go behind the cameras. Since many years movies have served people by entertaining them, helping them relate, learn about various topics, and most importantly see the other side of the world and know about their lives and traditions. The film industry attracts a large number of students every year with many fields of interest to offer. In this blog, we will explore the basics of becoming a filmmaker and will also take a look at some of the best film schools from where you can kickstart your career in Art and Drama!

Career as a Filmmaker

The global film industry generates around $90 billion in revenue every year which is enough motivation for aspirants to pursue a career in filmmaking. But most of the time, the urge to tell stories, the quest for fame and unerring passion for promoting art becomes the sole reason for aspirants to take up a career in Film Studies. Earlier, Hollywood and local film industries were the only available options to bank upon, but with the emergence of online platforms like Netflix, professionals now do not need to wait in queues to get a break. Cinematographers, Screenwriters and other professionals can produce and showcase their work on these platforms too. A few job roles that are in demand in the film industry are:

  • Director
  • Casting Director
  • Cinematographer
  • Editor
  • Choreographer
  • Producer
  • Music Director
  • Theatre Director
  • Screenwriter

Skills required

Filmmaking is all about gathering bits and pieces and presenting it together in one form as a unique visual experience for the people. The following skills can help a filmmaker excel in their field:

  • Creativity and innovative thinking
  • Eye for unique stories
  • Observation
  • Patience 
  • Leadership
  • Teamwork

Salary of a Filmmaker in India

The initial average salary of a filmmaker in India is INR 1 Lakh-2Lakhs. However, once you make your mark and gain audience demand the salary increases considerably high. The pay can also depend on the projects and its type undertaken by the filmmaker. The following are the average annual salary for different job roles under filmmaking. 

Job Role Salary
Director INR 10 Lakh- INR 90 Lakhs
Producer INR 10Lakhs- INR 20 Lakhs
Scriptwriter INR 500,000- INR 800,000
Cameraman INR 20 Lakhs- INR 50 Lakhs
Cinematographer INR 1,00,000-INR 5,00,000
Music Director INR 6,00,000

How to Become a Filmmaker?

Here is the step-by-step process to become a successful filmmaker:

Step 1: Starting from Scratch

Filmmakers are of the opinion that the art of filmmaking is innate but if learned, it needs to be started at a young age. The unerring passion for telling stories through visual medium needs an eye that sees details and catches stories with a glimpse. Equipment or technology is important but for a passionate amateur, the absence of it is no excuse. Whether it is shooting with a smartphone or making short videos with your friends using entry-level equipment, creative thinking, sense of framing and storytelling is important. Filmmaking is an art that grows with time molded by experiences and interactions. Having an early realization about pursuing a career in it can prove to be significant. Thus, starting as early as possible is the key to becoming successful in the field!

Step 2: Choosing Education

Though formal education is the secondary need to become a filmmaker, the zeal and an eye for the art is the prerequisite but professional training in the field plays a crucial role. One of the fast-changing disciplines, filmmaking is highly demanding and requires you to stay up to date. Incorporating traditional as well as contemporary storytelling techniques, the field leaves great scope for improvisation and innovation. Having a bachelor’s degree in filmmaking or Fine Arts can give you solid footing in the subject but the level of education depends on the specialization you want to choose. 

Step 3: Garner Requisite Experience

Upon completion of your degree, it is essential to gain some experience. Whether its an internship or a full paying job, the initial years after graduation should be devoted to putting the theoretical knowledge to practical use and learn more about how a filmmaker should work. This includes story writing, editing, screenwriting, etc. Further, with the advancement in digital media, you can conceptualize and create your own films or videos which can act as a feather to your hat! Apart from this, you can also pursue some Film Editing courses, short term job oriented courses after graduation, or higher level Film Direction course to gain advanced knowledge in the relevant field. 

Also Read: Best Drama Schools in the World

A number of film schools worldwide offer courses that can help one kickstart their career as a filmmaker. Preparing students for the competitive job profiles, the schools combine lectures delivered by professionals and on-field training along with scores of skill development courses. Some of the highly reputed schools that offer Film Making courses are discussed below:


American Film Institute (AFI)

The school, overlooking Hollywood, is located in the filmmaking capital of the world. With its large campus, the school has close links to the filmmaking community and provides easy access to studios and various facilities. One of the best schools for filmmakers, it has a small class size with an average 3:1 fellow-faculty ratio ensuring that every aspirant receives uninterrupted and personalized instructions. From story writing to bringing a script to life on the screen, the school offers specializations in almost every aspect of filmmaking and provides a platform for students to learn from renowned professionals like Steve McQueen, Sofia Coppola, Barry Jenkins, etc. Over the course of its two years of long, MFA program, the students are equipped with professional skills and theoretical knowledge of the field. With a core focus on practicals, the school offers MFA programs in following specializations. 

  • Cinematography
  • Directing
  • Editing
  • Producing
  • Production Design
  • Screenwriting
Notable Alumni Terrence Malick, Darren Aronofsky, Wally Pfister, Janusz Kaminski
Achievements 34 Oscar nominations and 1 nomination for Academy Award every year
Fees First Year: $61,425 , Second Year $63,575

Toronto Film School

When it comes to filmmaking, Canada has a reputation for being a part of the global media industry. One of the most multidisciplinary film schools for establishing a career as a filmmaker, Toronto Film school offers courses in Fashion Designing, Game Development, Graphics Design besides specialized intensive courses in Filmmaking. The 18-month Film Production Diploma offered at the institution is taught with an international overview, preparing students for the challenging roles in the industry worldwide and giving the learners an opportunity to study the work of award-winning filmmakers which include shooting, pre-production and post-production processes related to it. The small class size allows faculty to give full attention to each student as per their needs. The school provides a unique opportunity for cross-industry collaboration where you will work together with students across creative programs that include Writing for Film and TV, Acting for Film, TV & the Theatre and Video Game Design. Whether it is writing crisp and successful screenplays or shooting an award-winning film, the course covers it all. 

Notable Alumni Ali Kazmi
Achievements Oscar Nominations, 1st prize in Magna Carta Film Festival, Cannes
Fees $26,450

London Film School

For over 60 years, London Film School (LFS) has been imparting world-class education and encouraging creative talent and craft of filmmaking. Helping students to directly engage with the UK’s screen industries, LFS has been a hub of creative learning. The school is a paradise for filmmakers who want to receive the best education with intriguing and different learning methods. Offering MA programs in Filmmaking, Screenwriting and International Film Business, the school has etched its name in the top film schools across the world. Training students with the skills needed in the collaborative process of filmmaking, the highly trained faculty at LFS equips students with the basic general skillet and in-depth professional specialization in the domain. With over 180 films produced every year, the institution gives its students an opportunity to be a part of the process which helps them build a strong portfolio by the end of their degree. The areas of study in the program include: 

  • Directing
  • Cinematography
  • Editing
  • Sound 
  • Production Design
  • Screenwriting
  • Video Production
  • Music
  • Screen Studies
Notable Alumni Brad Anderson, Albert Bailey, George P. Cosmatos, Tak Fujimoto
Achievements 90 Oscar Nominations and Awards at various film festivals like Cannes, Berlin and BFI. 
Fees MA Filmmaking:  £58,352MA Screenwriting: £14,411.00

Note: Fee includes £200 Visa Administration Fee

Academy of Performing Arts Film and TV School (FAMU)

Located in Prague, FAMU is the fifth oldest film school in the world. Counted among the most prestigious film institutions in the world, the school features in the list of Hollywood Reporter’s Top 15 International Film Schools. FAMU has eleven departments that teach 12 programs out of which 4 programs are taught in English. The school has dedicated departments for Documentary Film, Directing, Cinematography, Production, Editing, Photography, Sound, Animated Film, Scriptwriting, Dramaturgy and Audiovisual Study which makes it the best choice for filmmakers to study their desired specialization. Offering one-year programs, Bachelor’s courses and Master’s level programs in various specializations, the school has an unmatched reputation when it comes to diversity in courses and level of study. FAMU has a robust study infrastructure besides a hi-tech studio with modern shooting and processing equipment. 

Notable Alumni Milos Forman, Emir Kusturica, Agnieszka Holland, Ivan Passer
Achievements 2 Oscars for ‘Best Foreign Films’, Nomination for LUX Prize
Fees $45,674 for MFA in Cinema and Digital Media

Beijing Film Academy

The school that has shaped the whole Asian continent and has brought the Chinese film industry into the limelight. Beijing Film Academy is not only revered as the best film school in Asia but also finds its place among top film schools in the world. It is the school where influential filmmakers like Zhang Yimou and Chen Kaig explored their innate talent, giving them global recognition. The school has close ties with Beijing Film Studio which has set the norm of placements during the coursework at the institution. The academy receives scores of applications every year, making it one of the most competitive film schools. For over 60 years, the school has maintained its reputation for producing global leaders in the field. The academy offers a range of courses from Scriptwriting to Performing Arts to Filmmaking. 

Notable Alumni Zhang Yimou, Chen Kaige, Tian Zhuangzhuang, Liu Yifei
Achievements Multiple Awards at Cannes, Berlin and Venice film festivals.
Fees $6,665 to $7,905 per year for film programs

Employment sectors

A filmmaker is necessary in almost every field of television. Owing to the excessive use of visual media in the world, a filmmaker is not limited to the filmindistry only. The following are a few employment sector for a filmmaker. 

  • Motion Pictures
  • Advertising 
  • Television Industry
  • Video Industry
  • Stage Shows

To become a filmmaker is to know every aspect of the field, understand the intricacies of it while striving to be better at storytelling each passing day. It can be quite challenging to get into one of the top film schools but not when you have industry’s leading career experts at Leverage Edu to back you up. From finding a school to completing the admission formalities, we will handle it all. To begin the process, book your 30-minutes free career counselling session with us now!

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