Favorite Film Directors Who Never Went to a Film School

per se, never studied Film or don't have any higher education at all
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1.
Quentin Tarantino
Writer, Pulp Fiction
Quentin Jerome Tarantino was born in Knoxville, Tennessee. His father, Tony Tarantino, is an Italian-American actor and musician from New York, and his mother, Connie (McHugh), is a nurse from Tennessee. Quentin moved with his mother to Torrance, California, when he was four years old. In January of 1992...
“ quit school at the age of 15 or 16, no Film School, no schooling after that. He just took acting classes, his dream was to become an actor. Nobody would hire him as one (except Golden Ladies) so he had to write and direct a movie to star in it lol ” - Tamara_Nartichti
 
2.
Guy Ritchie
Director, Snatch
Guy Ritchie was born in Hatfield, Hertfordshire, UK on September 10, 1968. After watching Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid as a child, Guy realized that what he wanted to do was make films. He never attended film school, saying that the work of film school graduates was boring and unwatchable. At 15 years old, he dropped out of school and in 1995...
“ at 15 dropped out of school ” - Tamara_Nartichti
 
3.
Tom Tykwer
Composer, Run Lola Run
Director, writer, producer and composer Tom Tykwer was born in 1965 in Wuppertal, Germany. He showed an interest in film-making from childhood, making super 8 films from the age of 11. Among his first jobs was working at a local art-house cinema. Tykwer eventually relocated to Berlin, first working as a film projectionist and then becoming head of programming at the Moviemento Theater...
“ all of his applications to numerous Film Schools across Europe were rejected

he found a job of projectonist in Berlin, then worked as the programmer of the Moviemento cinema

first short & feature movies seriously affected his financial state, which wouldn't improve till he made Run Lola Run ” - Tamara_Nartichti
 
4.
Lana Wachowski
Writer, The Matrix
Lana Wachowski and her sister Lilly Wachowski, (also known as 'The Wachowskis') are the duo behind ground-breaking movies such as The Matrix and Cloud Atlas. Born to mother Lynne, a nurse, and father Ron, a businessman of Polish descent, Wachowski grew up in Chicago and formed a tight creative relationship with her sister Lilly...
“ both Lana and Andy went to college (different colleges) but dropped out before graduation ” - Tamara_Nartichti
 
5.
James Cameron
Writer, Aliens
James Francis Cameron was born on August 16, 1954 in Kapuskasing, Ontario, Canada. He moved to the United States in 1971. The son of an engineer, he majored in physics at California State University but, after graduating, drove a truck to support his screenwriting ambition. He landed his first professional film job as art director...
“ majored in physics at California State University but, after graduating, drove a truck to support his screen-writing ambition.

The first film-related job was art director, miniature-set builder, and process-projection supervisor on Roger Corman's Battle Beyond the Stars (1980).

He debuted as a director with Piranha Part Two: The Spawning (1981) the following year, even though it's hard to call his first film - he wasn't given any artistic freedom at all and wasn't even allowed to editing. ” - Tamara_Nartichti
 
6.
Trey Parker
Trey was born in Conifer, Colorado, on October 19, 1969 to Randy Parker ,a geologist, and Sharon Parker, an insurance broker. He has an older sister, Shelley Parker. He met Matt Stone (co-creator of South Park) while attending the University of Colorado in Boulder, where he had a double major of music and Japanese...
“ studied music and Japanese

however, Matt Stone has a degree in math and film ” - Tamara_Nartichti
 
7.
Leni Riefenstahl
Leni Riefenstahl's show-biz experience began with an experiment: she wanted to know what it felt like to dance on the stage. Success as a dancer gave way to film acting when she attracted the attention of film director Arnold Fanck, subsequently starring in some of his mountaineering pictures. With Fanck as her mentor, Riefenstahl began directing films...
“ no Film School, but she learned a lot from the directors she worked with while being an actress ” - Tamara_Nartichti
 
8.
Sergio Leone
Sergio Leone was virtually born into the cinema - he was the son of Roberto Roberti (A.K.A. Vincenzo Leone), one of Italy's cinema pioneers, and actress Bice Valerian. Leone entered films in his late teens, working as an assistant director to both Italian directors and U.S. directors working in Italy (usually making Biblical and Roman epics...
“ dropped out of Law school at the age of 18
began working in cinema - to get a job was comparatively easy for him, since his family worked in film industry - his father was a director, mother - an actress

he started as film assistant while writing his own screenplays ” - Tamara_Nartichti
 
9.
David Fincher
Director, Fight Club
David Fincher was born in 1962 in Denver, Colorado, and was raised in Marin County, California. When he was 18 years old he went to work for John Korty at Korty Films in Mill Valley. He subsequently worked at ILM (Industrial Light and Magic) from 1981-1983. Fincher left ILM to direct TV commercials and music videos after signing with N...
 
10.
Christopher Nolan
Best known for his cerebral, often nonlinear story-telling, acclaimed writer-director Christopher Nolan was born on July 30, 1970 in London, England. Over the course of 15 years of film-making, Nolan has gone from low-budget independent films to working on some of the biggest blockbusters ever made...
“ studied English Literature but was also filming shorts in the college film society ” - Tamara_Nartichti
 
11.
Keenen Ivory Wayans
Writer, White Chicks
Keenan attended college at Tuskegee Institute in Alabama but dropped out his senior year to persue comedy full time. His comic influence is Richard Pryor.
“ studied engineering, but decided to leave it and work in comedy ” - Tamara_Nartichti
 
12.
“ a degree in architecture,
her work in movies began with the production design ” - Tamara_Nartichti
 
13.
Harold Ramis
Born on November 21, 1944 in Chicago, Illinois, Harold Allen Ramis got his start in comedy as Playboy magazine's joke editor and reviewer. In 1969, he joined Chicago's Second City's Improvisational Theatre Troupe before moving to New York to help write and perform in "The National Lampoon Show" with other Second City graduates including John Belushi...
“ after graduation he worked in a mental institution which as he says prepared him for his work in Hollywood with actors ” - Tamara_Nartichti
 
14.
Wes Craven
Director, Scream
Wes Craven has become synonymous with genre bending and innovative horror, challenging audiences with his bold vision. Wesley Earl Craven was born in Cleveland, Ohio, to Caroline (Miller) and Paul Eugene Craven. He had a midwestern suburban upbringing. His first feature film was The Last House on the Left, which he wrote...
 
15.
Kevin Smith
Kevin Patrick Smith was born in Red Bank, New Jersey, to Grace (Schultz) and Donald E. Smith, a postal worker. He is very proud of his native state; this fact can be seen in all of his movies. Kevin is of mostly German, with some Irish and English, ancestry. His first movie, Clerks, was filmed in the convenience store in which Smith worked...
 
16.
Luc Besson
Luc Besson spent the first years of his life following his parents, scuba diving instructors, around the world. His early life was entirely aquatic. He already showed amazing creativity as a youth, writing early drafts of The Big Blue and The Fifth Element, as an adolescent bored in school. He...
 
17.
Howard Hawks
Director, The Big Sleep
What do the classic films Scarface, Twentieth Century, Bringing Up Baby, Only Angels Have Wings, His Girl Friday, Sergeant York, To Have and Have Not, The Big Sleep, Red River Gentlemen Prefer Blondes and Rio Bravo have in common? Aside from their displays of great craftsmanship, the answer is director Howard Hawks...
 
18.
Alfred Hitchcock
Director, Psycho
Alfred Joseph Hitchcock was born in Leytonstone, Essex, England. He was the son of Emma Jane (Whelan; 1863 - 1942) and East End greengrocer William Hitchcock (1862 - 1914). His parents were both of half English and half Irish ancestry. He had two older siblings, William Hitchcock (born 1890) and Eileen Hitchcock (born 1892)...
“ draftsman, designer ” - Tamara_Nartichti