10 TIPS FOR FILM DIRECTORS WHEN ON SET
You’ve read our 5 Must Knows If You’re Going To Be A Film Director and now you’re on set, ready to start shooting your film. Excellent! We’re rooting for you! Now, you must remember that as a film director there’s so many things depending on you. How you handle them is crucial, especially when on set.
It’s very likely that as a film director you’ve been involved in all three stages of the movie making process: pre-production, production and post production. Perhaps the most hands on of these for a film director is production. You know, directing, blocking, shot lists, etc.
There’s also lighting, props, camera, continuity, etc.
For the experts, we know what you’re saying: “There’s a department that handles each of these responsibilities.” Yes, you’re right. But the director is ultimately the one that needs to ensure all goes according to his vision and does so by directing the department heads as well and not just the actors.
Therefore to assist the director we’ve compiled these 10 Tips For Film Directors When On Set.
HERE THEY ARE…
1) You’ve laid out your vision, now stick to it: Everyone will want to chip in there two cents or more on how you should do this or that. However, it may even work in a particular segment of the film, but do they have the big picture in mind? Who knows, but you do. Therefore, stick to your vision…unless making changes will make that vision better. Now, will it?
2) Learn to accept feedback: Feedback is your friend, not your enemy. Create an environment where people feel comfortable with giving you feedback.
3) Be decisive: Always be willing to receive feedback, but you make the final decision(s). Remember, it’s your vision. Whether the feedback contradicts or diminishes from your vision that is your decision to make and the swifter you make it the more confident others will perceive you to be.
4) You’re the leader, but you shouldn’t have to say it: Yes, you’re the Head Director In Charge (H.D.I.C). That should be obvious by your demeanor, by the way you treat people, not because your shouting it from the rooftops or from the bullhorn, that’s not what it’s for.
5) You don’t know everything, but don’t go around saying that: It’s okay not to know everything. However, there might come a time when you might have to pretend to know to keep everyone around you from panicking. After all, if you don’t know, than who does, is what they’ll be thinking.
6) When you don’t know, find out: It’s okay not to know, but It’s not okay not to find out. Find out as soon as you can, so when it comes up again, you’ll know.
7) Inspire your actors: In spite of what the great film director Alfred Hitchcock said, he did not literally mean that actors are “cattle.” With that said, it’s better to inspire your actors instead of telling them what to do.
For an in depth education on this subject we recommend you check out Judith Weston’s Directing Actors. The book has been deemed by Peter Werner as “exciting for beginners and extremely useful for professionals…It’s the best book out there.”
8) Be willing to do what you ask others to do: That is, if there wasn’t others to do it, would you? It’s one of the things that Cannes Film Festival selected director Melvin James: Studio Films, Independent Films And Television highlights in our exclusive interview with him.
9) Be aware of where you spend your time: Are you spending your free time solely with one particular actor, crew member or in a particular department? That’s a no-no. Divide your free time wisely by getting to know everyone on set.
10) WAIT 5 SECONDS BEFORE YOU YELL CUT. You’re editor will love you for it, trust us!
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