Director McG (3 Days to Kill) has lent his filmmaking talents to virtually ever major area in entertainment media. He has helmed high grossing films like Charlie's Angels, produced wildly popular TV shows like Chuck, and made music videos for some of the biggest names in music. If you're asking yourself how he does it, this article from MovieMaker Magazine might help to explain. Pulling from his nearly 20 years of filmmaking experience, McG has shared six "golden rules of moviemaking". Check them out after the jump.
McG might not be the name you think of when it comes to independent filmmaking, but his advice can help anyone in need of some direction regardless of the size of their production. Here are a few of his golden rules from MovieMaker Magazine.
Casting is a big part of directing
Your work as a director begins way before you yell action -- surely that's something no-budget filmmakers know all too well. You're probably spending a great deal of time hashing out the story, making shot lists, and storyboarding, but make sure that you don't remove yourself from the casting process. McG says:
Make sure the actors know what they are signing up for. At the end of the day, they are the ones in front of the camera. Altman was right: 90 percent of directing is casting. Actors are the living, breathing expression of what you’re trying to achieve. Make sure you are in lock step.
Making movies is really, really, really hard
Putting a film together seems impossible at times -- probably because in those times it is. Barriers pop up out of nowhere -- your lead actor bailed, the generators don't work, the worst flu virus you've ever seen strikes your production. Murphy's Law! But, according to McG, you can pull through it:
Be ready to endure immeasurable difficulty. I would suggest watching Hearts of Darkness on the eve before principal photography. If Coppola can withstand firing #1 on the call sheet, losing helicopters to fight the rebels, typhoons and Martin Sheen having a heart attack, you should be able to deal with whatever shit will come at you.
A good idea is a good idea
Being a director is like laying down train tracks -- while being chained to the front a speeding train. Why would anyone sign up for this? Because you have a vision! However, don't forget that other people can help unfurl, add to, or serve that vision with their own ideas. A good rule of thumb: your ego should never be larger than the project.
Always acknowledge the best idea. Great ideas come from night watchmen, grips and Teamsters. It should be presumed that your vision of the film is strong; it will only contribute to your command of the material if you are able to incorporate new and superior ideas. A film is a living, breathing thing. You need to go in prepared, listen to the rhythm of the process, make any adjustments necessary, fight like hell to get them done (because everyone is going to regard change as a pain in their ass) and continue to drive toward the singular vision of the film.
For the full list of McG's golden rules, check out MovieMaker's article.
What do you think of McG's advice? How have these tips helped you in your filmmaking career? Let us know in the comments below.
[via Filmmaker IQ]