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Actors, Singers, Business Executives and Athletes Have Private Coaches. So Why Not Film Directors?

Hilary Swank used an acting coach to prepare for her role in Boys Don’t Cry. She won her first Academy Award.

Singer Renee Fleming has always used a vocal coach. She has won several Grammy Awards.

Rafael Nadal’s coach urged him on from the sidelines during his Wimbledon tennis tournament win in 2010.

Arnold Palmer improved his game with the help of a coach. Even Tiger Woods has had several coaches.

As a matter of fact, winners in nearly every profession (athletes, actors, singers, Fortune 500 business leaders) know that without the right coach, they won’t perform at their peak.

They know that without the support of an experienced and qualified coach, they would constantly struggle to achieve success.

So if these top professionals in their respective fields use coaches – why not film directors?


In 2009, a local filmmaker in Vancouver contacted me with a proposal. He was an AD on a TV Movie and had an opportunity to direct some second unit scenes for the show. Would I help him?

After he sent me the scenes he was to shoot, we met in a coffee shop for a couple of hours going over the directing techniques he would need for the scenes he was shooting.

A few weeks later he called and thanked me for helping him out. The producers liked what he had shot. Thus began my film coaching career!

“2 years ago I was privileged and blessed with the opportunity to get to know and work with Peter as he directed the first short film I helped to produce. I highly recommend him to anyone looking for coaching and advice in film directing if your in the industry or wanting to pursue that field. I am grateful for the time I got to spend with him and the experience and you will be to. Take a look at his impressive experience and past history.” Justin Stephen, Kelowna, BC, Canada

But let me back up a bit.

Since January 2006, I have taught filmmaking classes and directing workshops to hundreds of international filmmakers: either as an instructor at the Vancouver Film School or through my own film directing workshops I teach worldwide.

Over the past 6 years, as an instructor at VFS, I have been involved in some phase of the production of over 300 short films: from the concept; to the script writing process; to casting; to shooting on the set; to post-production.

And not only that, but during my time at VFS, I’ve also had the opportunity to “exercise my own creative muscles” by directing 4 short dramatic films.

Blocking 1
Yes! I’m not just teaching – I’m also doing 🙂

Needless to say, my passion over the past few years has turned to educating indie filmmakers from around the world by helping to “demystify the filmmaking process” for them. And I love it!

So why hire me as your film directing coach?

Along with my international teaching experiences and my 39 years of professional filmmaking experience (as a TV Director and Feature 1st AD), I feel I have the necessary qualifications to help you achieve your dreams of being a creative and successful independent film director.

“Peter’s insight, wisdom and experience gave me the extra edge I needed during tough situations on set. I know I made it through those days with the confidence I got through Peter’s coaching. The value here is tremendous, I recommend Peter to every director, beginning or experienced. ” Brett Eichenberger, Portland, Oregon, USA http://www.resonancepro.com

With that in mind, I would like to introduce you to my Film Directing Coaching services via Skype.

(1) The length and content of each Skype session is unique depending on what your needs are, and I work with you to adapt our coaching sessions to fit your requirements.

1. Example: If you have a script you are going to direct, you send me the script so I can make preliminary directing notes. Then you send me a list of priority questions I can prep. We then find a convenient time for both of us to chat on Skype.

2. Example: If you have no script, but just want to have a detailed discussion about certain film directing topics, (re: directing actors, script breakdown, blocking etc.) you send me your list of priority questions I can prep, and then we arrange a Skype call.

3. Example: I can also help you if you are already directing on set and wish to contact me (by email, phone or Skype) during the day or when you are wrapped to discuss a particular situation. (NOTE: Please note the Minimum Fee of 2 hours below.)

(2) I also create and send you “reference notes” specifically designed for the topics we are discussing.

(3) My fee for one-on-one film coaching (via Skype) is as follows:

– 1 hour – 4 hours: US$150.00/hour (*Minimum 2 hours)
– 5 hours – 9 hours: US$135.00/hour
– 10 hours – 14 hours: US$125.00/hour
– 15 hours – 19 hours: US$115.00/hour
– Over 20 hours: US$100.00/hour

(4) Daily and Weekly Rates are available upon request.

(5) Please note the Minimum Fee of 2 hours:

1. If you have a script, I charge 1.5 hours to read your script, make basic directing notes and prep your questions.

2. If you have no script, I charge 1 hour to prep your questions.

3. That leaves 1.5 to 2 hours for the first Skype calls.

4. For the Skype calls, after the first hour, I work in 30 minute increments. (For example: we could have a 1 hour Skype call, then leave it for a few days or weeks and then set up the last hour call. Or add more hours depending on what support you need.)

5. All “reference notes” are included in the total fee

(6) All payments are processed through PayPal’s secure servers.

(7) IN-PERSON PRIVATE COACHING – If you want to have a personal one-on-one meeting with me, please contact me to further discuss this service.

(8) ON-SET FILM COACHING: I also do one-on-one film coaching on set with you. If you are interested, please contact me to further discuss this service.

To find out more about my Film Directing Coaching services, please email me at pdm@actioncutprint.com so we can discuss your particular coaching needs.

Remember: I do not conduct ”one-size-fits-all” coaching. Each creative situation is unique and I work with you to adapt our coaching session to fit your requirements.

Dedicated to your filmmaking success.

Peter D. Marshall

P.S. What is a good coach? A good coach should be experienced in your field; someone who can help motivate you; who can hold you accountable to your goals; who will enable you to improve your skills; and who will challenge you to stretch your creative self.

In short, a good coach is someone who you can trust; who creates a safe environment for you to learn and experiment; and who can also help you to grow personally.

P.P.S. You can also read my full Biography here.