Among those who teach directing, few have as much real film industry experience as Gil Bettman. Even fewer have put down the lessons they learned in the trenches of Hollywood in a universally acclaimed book. And even fewer still have crafted their insights into a seminar and a DVD which will empower those who aspire to direct with the knowledge they need to master the visual side of directing.
In his long career, Gil Bettman has directed three theatrically released feature films, two feature rockumentaries, dozens of rock videos and multiple episodes of prime time TV. In the middle of his career, his friend and mentor Bob Zemeckis told him, “I’m going to do for you what Spielberg did for me. I’m going to get you a studio movie.”
It never happened. After five years in development hell, Bettman dusted off his degrees from Harvard and UCLA and returned to academia, where he has since flourished, becoming a full-time, tenured Professor in the prestigious Dodge College of Film and Media Arts at Chapman University. To share his knowledge with his students, Gil wrote his book, First Time Director and filled it with all the hard- earned lessons he had learned breaking in three times – first in TV, then in rock videos and finally in feature films.
The success of the book made Bettman a world-renowned authority on directing – especially the visual side of directing, which he had come to understand so well, having cut his teeth in action-oriented TV and rock videos. Gil then took his unique insights into this crucial component of directorial craft and shaped them into a seminar, which he has taught at the leading filmschools in thirteen countries throughout Europe, Asia and Africa.
While riding his magic carpet around the world teaching how to direct the camera, Gil kept crossing paths with Mark W. Travis, who was always flying off to some remote capital to share his unique insights into the script, the scene and the actor. They immediately recognized that, as a team, they could deliver the complete package. So they formed the Hollywood Film Directing seminars, which, in the course of a weekend, empowers those who aspire to direct with the knowledge they need to realize their dreams. The seminar is now being offered on a regular basis in Los Angeles, New York, and other major cities, as well as on DVD.