Film Directing Masterclass with Ate de Jong

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Raindance Film Training Centre

10a Craven Street



United Kingdom

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Ate de Jong asks: Why is it so many people want to direct, but are not wiling to take the time nor spend the effort to learn the basics?

About this Event

This weekend film directing masterclass is presented with one of Europe’s most respected and seasoned film directors: Ate de Jong. He will be illustrating his masterclass with clips from his films such as DROP DEAD FRED, ENIGMA, DISCOVERY OF HEAVEN, HIGHWAY TO HELL, MIAMI VICE, DEADLY VIRTUES, LOVE IS THICKER THAN WATER and many more.

De Jong has directed in America, Germany, the UK and his native Holland. His projects have varied in budgets from a few thousands, to tens of millions. He’s worked with low budget crews of a few to large full-blown crews of hundreds.

This weekend masterclass examines the life of a director, as well as the craft of directing.

This class will feature direct discussion with participants and audience questions are encouraged and responded to.

Day One: Let’s prepare to direct?

This day deals with all the important preplanning necessary to shoot and deliver a great film.

SESSION 1 – Pre-production (2 ½ hrs)

The 4 Key questions:

  • Why do you want to direct a film?
  • What is the director’s vision?
  • Who do you make the film for: yourself or an audience?
  • Indentifying your target audience

The relationships of a director

  • Working with the script-writer
  • Pro’s and con’s of writing yourself as a director
  • Working with the Producer

The advantages and limitations of the budget

  • Choosing your crew
  • How much does a director need to know about technique?
  • Who is more important, your cameraman, your actors or your catering?
  • Choosing locations
  • Making shotlists (story boards) before shooting (or not making shotlists)

SESSION 2 – Rehearsals & the structure of a shooting day (3 hrs)

Working with actors

  • Pro’s and con’s of rehearsals
  • Rehearsal example with actor volunteers: the value of subtext
  • What to do if an actor refuses to do what the director wants

The paperwork

  • The importance of a good call sheet and why that is important for a director
  • What needs to happen before the first shot?
  • How do you instruct the crew (cast) when the day starts? Run through or not?

The Shoot

  • How long should the first set-up take?
  • Over schedule happens in the morning. How do you make your day?
  • How many set-ups a day?
  • Lunch and after lunch issues
  • Morning versus afternoon
  • Wrap

Day Two: Let’s shoot and edit the film

This day features many useful tips and demonstrations of shooting on the set, and following through into post-production.

SESSION 3 – Shooting

Filmmaking is top sport. It requires the communcication skills of an Attilla the Hun with a cellphone – combined with science and artistry. It’s the most glamourous job in the film industry. Heighten your chances of success. This session will include useful exercises designed to take you to your most productive level.

The Director and the camera

  • Difference between one take and many takes
  • Interrupt or don’t interrupt a take that goes wrong?
  • Making coverage shots or not?
  • What is a good shot, what is a wrong shot?
  • Difference between cinema shot and tv

The Director and the actors

  • What is good acting?
  • The filmmaking love triangle: actor – camera – director

The Director on the set

  • The psychological dominance of the director
  • The loneliness of the director
  • How to keep focus on telling the story during multiple shooting days
  • How to schedule watching rushes

The Director and technology

  • Special equipment, advantages and disadvantages
  • Stunts and Sp Fx
  • Re-shoot and pick-ups

SESSION 4 – Post-Production & Release (3 hrs)

Learn how scommercially and artistically successful films are really made in post-production.

The Director and the story

  • re-writing the script during editing

The Director and the editor

  • Editors cut versus directors cut
  • Saving a film via Voice Over or non-narative cutting

The Director and Sound

  • Working with a composer
  • ADR and final mix

The Director and getting the movie out there

  • Test screenings, pro’s and con’s
  • Promoting the film as a director
  • Is there such a thing as bad publicity?

The Director and the Premiere

  • Festivals
  • Press & reviews
  • Winning Awards and accolades
  • A flop is an orphan, a hit has many parents. Where is the director?

What they are saying about Ate de Jong

About A Flight of Rainbirds:

As was Polanski, de Jong is in complete command of material that emerges as highly original. – Film LA/Pasadena

It’s a classic and the best released film in LA this year. – Movieline USA

About Highway to Hell:

… utterly fascinating meditation on self discovery, surrealism, psychology and the disorienting power of sex. – LA Times

There’s no doubting De Jong’s talent, energy and vivid imagination. – Hollywood Reporter

… this is modern teenage version of the Orpheus myth is a stylish, witty and resourceful piece of work. – Celluloid Terror

About Drop Dead Fred

It will only grow more popular as the years go by… – Harvard University

Choosing to believe in Fred is choosing to maintain a playfulness throughout life. – Fantasia Magazine

…an inspired idea, well presented and a great verhicle for Rik Mayall. – TimeOut

About Deadly Virtues: Love.Honour.Obey

For filmlovers with strong nerves an absolute recommendation. Mercyless revenge thriller, brilliant and suspenseful. – Variety

A hypnotic home invader… uncovering an uncomfortable truth about mariage. – Britflicks

Best UK film of the (FilmFour/Frightfest) festival. The hardhitting surprise of the BIFFF Brussels Festival. – Cinemafantastique

About Love Is Thicker Than Water

Director Ate de Jong’s piece is masterful. – Mill Valley Festival, USA

… a memorable and deeply relatable romance. Matchless film-making and story telling. It’s wonderful Ate – congratulations. – Stephen Fry

Who should attend

Producers, writers and directors interested in developing their understanding of what makes a successful shoot, and what makes a successful film.

About Ate de Jong

Few filmmakers have directed more features (24) than the cult director Ate de Jong. He has worked in the UK, in Europe and America. His film’s budgets range from micro to multi-millions. He’s worked with some of the world’s top actors as well as talented newcomers.

Ate de Jong studied at the Filmacademy of Amsterdam, and directed 6 feature films in The Netherlands, including A Flight of Rainbirds, Burning Love and Shadow of Victory.

In 1986 he moved to Hollywood with two small suitcases not knowing anyone in the US film industry. His first directing gig was an episode of Miami Vice (starring Don Johnson, Philip Michael Thomas, James Brown and Chris Rock) He subsequently directed two US feature films: Highway to Hell (starring Chad Lowe, Kristy Swanson, Gilbert Gotfried and Ben Stiller) and Drop Dead Fred (starring Rik Mayall, Phoebe Cates, Carrie Fisher, Marsha Mason and Bridget Fonda), which have now become recogniazed cult classics around the world.

National Public Radio (NPR) broadcast nation wide his comedic take on Hollywood in the esteemed political program The Sunday Morning Edition which gathered a huge following.

Since 1994 Ate has been working out of London. Most notably he directed the European co-production All Men Are Mortal (starring Stephen Rea, Irene Jacob, Chiara Mastroianni and Marianne Saegebrecht) based on the book of Simone de Beauvoir and the sexy thriller Fogbound (starring Luke Perry and Ben Daniels). He produced international pictures Left Luggage (Isabella Rossellini and Maximilian Schell) and The Discovery Of Heaven (Stephen Fry). His films were shown and laurelled at a variety of festivals, such as Cannes, Berlin, Moscow, LA, Seatttle, Chicago, Tokyo, Oporto. He is a sought after member of international panels and film juries.

More recently, Ate has produced and directed several UK features, Deadly Virtues (2013) and Love is Thicker than Water (2016). He is a member of the Directors Guild of America (DGA) and Directors UK.

Recently a journalist asked Ate de Jong if film should reflect what happens in our world today.

Every film is a political film, even a simple, intimate love story, as well as an over-the-top Special Effects extravaganza.

As a film director Ate de Jong focuses on characters with personal dilemma’s living in a society full of traditional rules.

His film characters have included:

  • The yearning of a young actress for immortality in All Men Are Mortal based on Simone de Beauvoir’s novel
  • The emotional escape from childhood abuse via an imaginary friend in Drop Dead Fred
  • The choice between worldly ambition and personal intimacy in Highway to Hell
  • The liberation of a young woman from her submissive position as a wife in Deadly Virtues
  • The fight of young lovers to shed the culture of their parents in Love is Thicker than Water

Politics are an extension of moral beliefs in Ate de Jong’s pictures.

A summary of moral beliefs always trivialises, but we live in the age of 140 characters, sound bites and snapchats. Therefore here are my highlights. I believe in a horizontal society where different expressions exist next to each other, as opposed to a vertical society where only the best, the biggest, the most, the ultimate counts. I don’t believe all people are equal, but I do believe in equality. I do believe in essential differences between men and women, even races, but not in superiority of any. I believe in acceptance and forgiveness towards others and mostly towards ourselves. I admire people who can live with no fear, no envy and no meanness. I believe in a society with total freedom based on different opinions, not on respect and hope for a society without the need of laws. We have an awful long way to go before we achieve any of that, if ever. Perhaps films can help while travelling. -Ate de Jong

Raindance is honoured and priveleged to host Ate de Jong’s Film Directing Masterclass


This course may contain explicit content

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Raindance Film Training Centre

10a Craven Street



United Kingdom

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