Pin Me

Top Film Directors and What You Can Learn From Them

written by: Kristina Dems•edited by: Amy Carson•updated: 1/21/2011

If you follow the foot steps of famous film directors, it is most likely that you will fail. You need to learn what you can from them and blaze your own path, not just copy what they have done.

  • slide 1 of 8


    If you are an aspiring film director, you can learn a lot from famous directors. Their attitudes, styles and strategies can provide insight on what you can do as you develop your own career. Here are some famous film directors and short descriptions of what you can learn from them.

  • slide 2 of 8

    George Lucas

    George Lucas Outside of the Star Wars franchise, George Lucas as a director has never really had another big hit. As an executive producer, he had another series of movies that made it big: the Indiana Jones movies. Lucas may not have been the best director as seen through his Star Wars movies, but he shows everyone, including novice directors, that style and technical skills may not always be the key to success. Imagination and some inventiveness can go a long way in filmmaking. Lucas led several initiatives involving technical elements of moviemaking like THX, as well as marketing strategies that was previously unseen in Hollywood. If there's one thing Lucas has taught people, it is that creativity can be as important as the technical aspects of filmmaking.

  • slide 3 of 8

    Steven Spielberg

    Director Steven Spielberg and Eric Bruno Borgman on the set of Amistad. It is debatable that Steven Spielberg is the greatest director in Hollywood history, but there is no doubt that he is the most popular. He directed some of the most iconic Hollywood movies of all time like E.T., Jaws and Jurassic Park. As a director, he always made films that are accessible by the most number of people, and at the same time, he satisfied both the public and the movie critics, which is a hard thing to do in Hollywood. He is also involved in other process and stages of the filmmaking process like in producing and writing, but he will always be remembered as the director who gave us all those classics.

  • slide 4 of 8

    Michael Bay

    Michael Bay is known for his stylized approach in filmmaking. He doesn't have a long list of movies on his resume, but he has proven to be a hit in audiences' eyes. He has helmed several movie blockbusters like Bad Boys, Transformers and The Rock. Critics may attack him for his movie making style of always having flash with no substance, but the public still adores him anyway. Novice directors may learn from Bay's attitude that not all art in cinema is found in quiet and brooding dramas. Great films with high entertainment value can also be considered one form of art in cinema. In short, do not be afraid to be entertaining and popular.

  • slide 5 of 8

    Tim Burton

    Tim Burton Considered strange and unusual, Tim Burton's directing style always has that creepy and dark atmosphere. However, it is not scary. His dark movies with plenty of shadows and ghoulish characters often contain a lot of heart, humor and very entertaining theatrics. He is one of the few Hollywood directors who have developed their own unique styles. If you see a Tim Burton movie, you would know it is a Tim Burton movie. Many have copied his style but it cannot be copied. For young directors, Tim Burton can teach them that developing a distinctive style in filmmaking can still be appealing to larger audiences without sacrificing artistic value.

  • slide 6 of 8

    Quentin Tarantino

    Quentin Tarantino One of the most truly unique famous directors in Hollywood is Quentin Tarantino. You can see in his films like Kill Bill, Jackie Brown and Pulp Fiction that he was heavily influenced by the films he has seen in his younger years. He is known to feature gratuitous violence, and at the same time, focus on developing his characters. He can teach new directors that character development is the heart and soul of movies. Blood and gore can just follow later.

  • slide 7 of 8


  • slide 8 of 8

    Image Credit

    George Lucas - Wikimedia Commons; GNU Free Documentation License / Supplied by Amanda Cogdon

    Steven Spielberg - Wikimedia Commons / Supplied by Tantamount

    Tim Burton - Wikimedia Commons; Creative Commons Attribution / Supplied by Cynsimp

    Quentin Tarantino - Wikimedia Commons; Creative Commons Attribution / Supplied by Pinguino K