When thinking about the filmmakers that carried the torch for independent cinema in the 90s, the names that immediately come to mind are Quentin Tarantino and Kevin Smith (and Robert Rodriguez, of course.) Both directors offer great insight into what it means to man the helm of a film project, including the importance of communicating your vision, and what the job of a director is really all about. Continue on for this incredibly important video from filmschoolthrucommentaries.
We all know that directing a film is a scary job full of responsibility. Everything begins and ends with you -- whether the film is a success or failure (especially failure,) most if not all of the blame is put on you. So much time is spent trying to figure out how exactly to direct, because directing is kind of this -- amorphic, nebulous position that relies a lot on instinct, taste, and style.
However, Tarantino and Smith talk about a couple of lessons they learned in their careers as directors, which you may find don't give the closure and relief you'd like, but do narrow down qualities that are essential and are the root of directing.
Tarantino talks about vision -- having a vision, acquiring a vision, and struggling with applying that vision to your work. It's probably one of the more confounding aspects of filmmaking, because we've all seen films where the director's vision was clear and there on the screen, and others where it wasn't. Both directors tried; one failed. Why?
He shares some advice he was given by Terry Gilliam before he shot Reservoir Dogs. Tarantino asked Gilliam just how he was able to get his vision up on the screen. Gilliam told him:
As a director, you don't have to do that. Your job is to hire talented people who can do that -- Your job is explaining your vision. Your job is articulating to them what you want on the screen.
As for Kevin Smith, he claims that the job of a director doesn't require a "great degree of talent," (easy, easy) but instead the ability to communicate well and answer questions "on a dime." Now, before people start flipping tables, here's his explanation:
All you have to do is be able to answer questions; that's what the job is -- You're always kind of open to suggestions, so really the direction job solely comes down to your ability to answer questions at a moment's notice and turn the ship on a dime if you have to. But basically, that's all they're trying to do; the whole crew, the whole cast, everybody's just trying to pull an image out of your head. As the director, clearly you're supposed to have an idea of what the shit's supposed to look like.
Check out the whole commentary below:
What do you think about Tarantino and Smith's take on directing? Let us know in the comments.