LSY! Fan Question: How do I become a director?

Director Jon M. Chu at the Justin Bieber: Never Say Never premiere.

An LSY! fan named Constance posted this question on our Facebook page:

So I want to be a director with a focus on stage, any pointers? I start college in the Fall. Thanks!

Here’s my answer:

Hey Constance! Great question — one we’ve never heard before, actually. Here are a few ideas:

1. Be involved in every school/community/church performance you can, either as an actress, stage crew member or – preferably – student director or assistant director.
2. Write your own shows, recruit actors, and stage them any place you can – school, preschools, nursing homes, community centers … anywhere that’ll have you and that’s appropriate for your show. If it’s safe, you can even do what some musicians have done to break in, and simply perform on the sidewalk.
3. Though you’re aiming for stage, get any video camera (even a flip-cam or one from a smartphone) and shoot your own short films. You can post them to YouTube and create an online portfolio for yourself.
4. Study up on directors you admire. Google them, find and read or watch interviews they’ve given, and try to get inside their heads so you can think like they think.

One final idea, from director Jon M. Chu (Step Up 2; Step Up 3D; Justin Bieber: Never Say Never; G.I. Joe): Make use of your downtime. When Jon has been between paid jobs, he’s used his creativity and video camera to create some cool projects.

I have a camera, we have YouTube, we can get stuff out there,” he told us. “I don’t care if people are going to pay me or not, I can still make movies.”

Jon’s best example is The LXD, an online show that depicts regular people discovering they have superpowers through dance.

Great online content can lead to something more, which is exactly what has happened for The LXD. The dancers wowed fans as the opening act for Glee’s concert tour in spring 2011.

The bottom line: Get all the experience you can, in every way you can – and always remember that you can create your own directing opportunities.

Tim O’Shei
LSY! executive editor

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