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Meet The Crew: The Director
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Almost every movie ever made is attributed to the Director of the film. Sometimes the Director is a major deciding factor in the success or failure of a film. We all know that and we can accept that but sometimes, we don’t know why that’s the case. When we picture a Director we see a guy with a megaphone yelling “action! Then they yell “cut” and angrily tell everyone else what they did wrong. They are portrayed as over-bearing controlling jerks.

When we really begin to understand what they actually do to make a film, we can be a little more understanding. In a nutshell the Director is the creative mind behind a film. They have their say in literally every step of the filmmaking process and we can see that in the movies we watch.

In the big budget, studio world the Director is brought onto a project after a script is mostly done and they start adding their input into the story, hopefully to make it better. The independent film world is generally different in that the Director often times writes the script or comes up with the story. The Director comes into the project so early because the final on screen product is their vision, I know it sounds silly saying it that way but that’s how it is. Everyone works to tell the Director’s idea of what the story should be and so a Director has to be a part of the project right from the start in order to ensure the film stays consistent the whole way through. They work closely with the writer (if not write it themselves) in order to get their view of the story on to the paper well before the time comes to shoot the movie.

On set making the movie the Director has one main job and that is to get the best possible performance out of the actors. Have you ever watched a movie that didn’t have very good acting in it? Usually bad actors are stiff and awkward and don’t embody the character they are play but instead merely say the lines. This happens either because that’s what the Director wants, or because the Director isn’t doing a very good job directing. I’ve seen a good Director take “bad” actors and get amazing performances out of them. I’m not an actor at all and I’ve done well when directed by someone who could help me give the best performance. Directors HAVE to work with the actors and coach them to take over the character that they want them to become in the film.

When it comes to what the camera sees, that is another thing that is the Director’s responsibility. Since film is such a visual storytelling method, the effectiveness of the story is all about what the camera captures. There are many MANY different ways to tell the same story of the same scene so it’s important that the Director knows what method he wants to use. This part is a collaborative effort with him and the Director of Photography, but the Director’s main responsibility is to make sure the story is told the proper way.

Now the shoot is over and it’s time to edit the film. We give the footage to an editor and wait for the film right? Wrong, the Director is as much a part of editing the film as he was a part of writing or shooting it. the Director goes and meets with the editor multiple times and they discuss the film and they argue about how it should be put together and they yell at each other and then they work hard and in the end tell the perfect story, it may not be what the writer wanted, it may not be the shots the Director of photography thought looked best. It may not be the exact movie they had set out to make. But it is still the story the Director wanted to tell, and that is what makes great movies.

So I hope this gives you some insight in what a film Director is. And the responsibility they have resting on their shoulders which every movie they make. If you really think about it when you watch a movie and it’s not that great the person the audience always blames is the Director and that’s ninety percent how it should be there is a lot of responsibility that they take on and it’s up to them if they sink or swim. And that’s what the director really does.


Street Talk

Joan S  

Love, love, love this article. This is why indie movies are so interesting. The director holds the paintbrush. Often hear actors saying their best scenes are on the cutting room floor. Must be difficult to see that happen, but if cutting contributes to the power of the whole, then so be it. Maybe some of those brilliant moments can be shown another way, as out takes or something. Thanks for the great insight and article Richard. Just posted it to my Facebook wall.

Reply
  about 8 years ago

Thanks Joan! I'm glad you enjoyed it!

Reply
  about 8 years ago
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