November 6, 2016 at 5:39PM


First time directing, any advise?

It's my first time directing a short movie for a festival, is a film noir, any advise? (also regarding the technical part, like lighting, shots, music, etc...)


Directing is mostly about getting good performances out of the actors. For the technical stuff, trust your DP and other crew. It's cool to confer on shots etc. but if you worry too much about that stuff, you will get spotty performances (I see it on almost every microcinema shoot). Do yourself a favor and rehearse takes before you shoot so you can talk about what you want from your actors and work out camera moves when needed. Keep a camera report too so you can keep track of settings and which takes you like. The camera report is not your job either, just make sure you have a competent 2nd AC. The less time you have to spend in editing, the fresher the outcome will feel.

November 7, 2016 at 5:42AM


Since its your first film, like Stephen said I agree with the above. Make sure you rehearse but I would also suggest blocking for your shot lists during rehearsal as well. Film with your iphone or whatever and that way you know the exact shot you are trying to achieve, making the shoot a lot more efficient for you.

November 7, 2016 at 5:59PM, Edited November 7, 5:59PM

Nick Kelly

Everything above is great, but something I failed in my first time directing was going out of the way to be sure the cast and crew feel appreciated. Always make your cast feel like stars, treat everyone with respect, and create a positive environment. Compliment them for the little things, like being in places early, a good take, keeping things clean, and so on. Always be thankful that they are here to enact your vision. As soon as you start believing that this project all relies on you, your appreciation can waver. If you're dealing with crafty, or catering, make sure there's plenty of food, hot meals, etc. But first and foremost, your job is to pull an amazing performance out of an actor or actress. That can't happen is they don't want to listen to you, or can't form a bond with you.

November 9, 2016 at 8:24AM

Craig Douglas
Editor/ Videographer

I got to do a short for an award winning actress. Up to this point I had always thought of myself as a filmmaker. She kept calling me the Director and a little light went on in my head. That I could be a filmmaker and a Director. So I gained confidence and I own the Director title now, kind of like the Captain of a ship or the Coach for a football team, you make the decisions and direct the crew and actors, even if inside you feel over your head. In turn the actors and crew feel that everything is under control even if it isn't. I think in our digital world, we have so many choices and as a Director we simply have to make a choice, is it the right choice? Why yes it is, because without taking responsibility, there is no creativity.

November 9, 2016 at 8:57PM


"we have so many choices and as a Director we simply have to make a choice, is it the right choice? Why yes it is, because without taking responsibility, there is no creativity."

so good

Kenneth Merrill

November 9, 2016 at 11:01PM

Be prepaired, so you know what you want to see in the shots.
Give everyone room to excel, but stay in control.

All your other questions seem to suggest you never made a short film before?
(They are piece of string questions, because everything depends on everything. I assume you have a script? Make floor maps of your locations so you can plan lights and camerapositions. Make storyboards: they can be drawn in simple way, no need to make it a graphic novel or a Rembrandt: it only has to show you how you want the shot.
Music: find a composer or buy stockmusic so you don't have licencing problems.)
Watch a few film noirs and analyse the visual style.

November 10, 2016 at 6:13AM

You voted '+1'.
Director, DOP, Writer, Editor, Producer

Hydrate yourself.

November 10, 2016 at 11:17AM

Patrick Ortman
I tell stories. Sometimes for money.

Be quick to listen.

November 11, 2016 at 8:07AM


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