5 MUST KNOWS IF YOU’RE GOING TO BE A FILM DIRECTOR
There is no cut and dry method to becoming a film director. There’s no two identical stories that tell the journey of becoming a film director. To each one they must pave their way. However, there are five must knows in the journey of becoming a film director and we thought we’d share them.
1. Know How To Edit
Many aspiring film directors have the misconception that they can become knowledgeable and effective directors without knowing how to edit. A misconception, in part, perpetuated by many academic film institutions because they separate editing from directing in their film departments, they shouldn’t! Editing and directing go hand in hand. If you don’t know how to block a scene in a manner that the shots can be assembled coherently, which is editing, then it’s safe to say you’re far ways from being a director.
This misconception is also perpetuated by many aspiring directors themselves. They’ll say, “I want to be a director” but they don’t want to learn editing or know how to edit. They find it tedious and cumbersome. They talk about how “my” editor will take care of the editing. Unbeknownst to them, because they don’t know how to edit, they shoot shots that are incoherent with the blocking of a scene. It then becomes difficult or impossible for “their” editor to edit the scene and film as they imagined, if at all.
Editing is not you aimlessly jumping between close ups to medium shots, to establishing shots, etc., not emoting the viewer at all, which is what you absolutely need to do.
2. Know The “WHY” Of Your Shots
If you’re going to be a film director you need to convey your shots effectively. And the essence of doing so is to first and foremost know the why of your shots. Otherwise you’ll just be picking random shots from camera A, B or C or from whatever angle best covers your mistakes; this distills your coverage.
Showing shots gratuitously will hurt you when you want to show a shot meaningfully. Your shots need to convey a message, otherwise, there’s no need to show them.
3. Know Greats And Study Them
Know great film directors. Great film directors transcend time periods. Great film directors go back to the pioneers of film to contemporary film directors. Study these directors and what makes them great. Study their coverage of scenes, e.g., their shots, their camera angles, their framing, etc. Study the stories they tell, how they tell them. See if you can become familiar with their work to the point that you can identify their filmic style. See if you can identify filmmakers whom they have influenced by their works.
Knowing and studying great film directors is important to do because no one is born a great film director, it is learned!
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4. Know How To Work With Limited Resources
The reality is that most directors will be working under the guise of limited resources. However, limited resources are not a curse, but rather an opportunity to get creative. To get creative with how you decorate a set, with shooting on location, with getting talent, etc.
Limited resources does not equate to limited imagination. And imagination is the key to creative thinking that’ll find solutions to what your lack of resources may unable you to do.
5. Know How To Receive Criticism
It’s imperative that you know how to receive criticism. That you don’t become defensive when others criticize your hard work. As a film director you should want to hear criticism. Cultivate an environment where criticism is welcomed. Where people don’t sugar coat opinions because they don’t want to hurt your feelings.
You need to take what is being said and apply it, or not! Take the feedback and weight it out, especially if it’s being reiterated by various parties. If it’s good for the film, apply it. If it’s not, don’t! Remember, It’s your film, but it’s their opinion. Right or wrong, they’re entitled to it.
Ultimately, criticism can make your film better, and at the least, it can help you develop thick skin.
And with that said, not every criticism merits hearing.
Know that there’s so much more than these 5 Must Knows to know. Know that if you’re going to be a filmmaker you’ll always be learning. Know that no one knows it all. As a matter of fact, most people shy away from a know-it-all. Know this, in the words of Greek philosopher Socrates, “I know one thing, that I know nothing.”
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