Many of the positions in film production are rather straightforward, but directing isn't one of them.
As an indie director, you wear many hats and divide your time between so many duties. You're part DP, producer, production manager, peace-maker, lunch decider, therapist, priest, and so much more. So, when people ask, "What exactly does a director do," I think the perfect response would be, "Everything." This doesn't inspire a whole lot of confidence for those who are just starting out -- maybe stepping foot on their first set thinking, "Okay, I'm the director -- what the f*** do I f***ing do?"
Well, there is plenty of enigmatic advice out there from some of the best directors working today -- Quentin Tarantino says that Terry Gilliam once told him that being a director means being good at hiring talented people, and Kevin Smith says that it's all about being able to answer questions. However, if you're looking for more practical advice, this video provides 15 tips that will put you on the right track:
- Clear Direction
- Don't Always Stick to the Script
- Study Other Styles to Learn Yours
- Take Your Time and Be Efficient
- Find a Clear Way to Communicate Your Goal
- Friends Can Make Your Life Easier
- Viewfinders Are Super Helpful On Set
- Spend Your Time Wisely
- Avoid Fights On Set
- Stay Hydrated
- Don't Worry About Gear
- Respect and Take Care of Your Team
- Actors Need Motivations, Not Just Marks
- Respect Your Actor's Process
- Get It Done and Move On
One of the main issues I've seen working on sets with amateur directors is one that the video seems to address over and over again: take care of your team. Be the big brother. Be the mama bear. This means making sure they're happy, fed, and getting along. You could be the most creative, groundbreaking, super duper Oscar-worthy director in the history of the universe, but if you don't know how to be a leader and rally your team to work together and be creative and be excited about the work they're doing on-set, it'll show in your film -- and it's not pretty. (I promise.) Tension shows up on-screen, believe it or not, so it's imperative to not only express your creative vision for your project, but to express your respect and appreciation to your cast and crew. (Get lovey dovey -- it's good for you.)
What tips do you have for new directors? Feel free to share them down in the comments!