Directing vs. Producing

lasttimelover

New Member
I've been writing screenplays for years and am now considering getting my MFA in Film (starting Fall 2020) so that I can be engaged in the industry in a deeper way. There are a few programs where the specialization splits between Directing and Producing, or Directing/Writing (for film) and Producing/Writing (for television).

What would you say are the traits/strengths/interests of a person who goes for one specialization versus the other?

I want to make an educated decision.
 

WriterK90

Member
It honestly depends on if you want to write for TV or Film. But please anyone else who is more educated on this chime in.

SInce I want to write for TV, to climb to the top as a showrunner/producer, having educaiton in producing is far better than directing (in my opinion). I have heard of positive remarks from internship employers who loved the fact a student had a degree in both screenwriting and producing.

I have also been told from my own professors in undergrad that when it's TV, the showrunner is basically the director in a sense because they can direct specific episodes that they wrote, etc. So i can see positives in taking directing classes. But to really know the business side to TV is benefitial in the long run if that's your goal.

Now if you want to write movies, end goal is a director and not a producer usually. I know a lot of directors who don't want the screenwriter to be anywhere near the set because of conflicts in vision, so I'm not sure how easy of a path it is to get from screenwriter to Director. But educaiton in Directing will surely help you get ahead and hopefully get a chance to direct sooner. They have to trust you know what you are doing when you are a director over a film potentially worth 10s to 100s of millions.

I don't think any path hurts but I plan to choose producing over directing with just attempting to take a class or two in directing as a free elective if I really want to understand that side since I'm aiming for TV. If you think you'd hate the business side of film then go with directing.

I know with Columbia's MFA you can essentially have all three options. The first year of Producing, Screenwriting and Directing majors take the exact same classes. Then after that, you can choose your major and dip into other categories as electives.

I hope this helps. It's not a super clear answer but if you know your end goal, one can definitely help you over the other but both are worth taking classes in compared to specifically screenwriting, if you want to go far.
 

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