The school that unleashes the Director in you
You are the director of a movie. What does this mean? What does a director do and how does he do it? Let me explain.
There are so many misconceptions about filmmakers, many of them perpetuated by themselves, and such a serious mythology attached to the position that the romanticized version is almost always both overestimated and underestimated.
Yes, of course, we all want to think about the director as an artist, and in the best conditions, they are. But the first thing all directors are involved in is management . Their mission is to generally answer about 1,000 questions a day, give another 1,000 orders, and fight 1,000 problems, all of which are vision-oriented. Sometimes this serves as an artistic impulse from the depths of the soul. Sometimes the manager is a little more than the employee who fulfills the wishes of the customer's messaging strategy. But always the job is to put together a puzzle with an inaccurate image to work out and sometimes no image at all other than what is in the eye of the mind.
In short, a director leads a cast and crew to perform each of their many specialized functions to achieve a symphony of sound and vision that materializes in a final work. It is like what happens in classical music where the conductor brings together different instruments to make the larger piece. In film alone the director actually combines a wide variety of artistic disciplines, not just one (as in music). The role requires a mixture of mastery in writing, acting, photography, sound recording, illustration, painting, carpentry, electrical engineering, style, tailoring and much more, all of which must be brought together in such a way as to create a successful, unified production.
And it's the director on whose shoulder everything falls hard. They are the champions if everything works; they are the guys in the fall when everything fails. Still intimidated? Only a madman would not be ...
There is no real way to approach targeting. The methods range from meticulous training to instinctive improvisation. Often, a great mix of multiple approaches will serve you best. It is a quixotic mission that requires fine intelligence, massive confidence and sharp instincts. Different people will rely more on different qualities to go through the process and the books have been busy, discussing the styles and methods of the great film directors of history. There are, however, the fundamentals of the job - the basic things that need to be done and that require the full attention of the director. This is true of feature films, commercials, and even 30-second YouTube videos. However, let’s go over some of these elements that you will be learning throughout the course, if you think you have what it takes to be a director.
1. Dissection and digestion of the scenario
At the beginning, the word comes. Screenplays are the first step in achieving a filming vision. Once the paper has been read, a few things need to happen. Seeing the film in mind happens naturally to any reader, but the director must understand things both in front of and behind the camera. The stories flow organically into the psyche, and that's enough for an initial reading. But the subsequent review must take into account the director in terms of scenes, moments and beats. When is an important milestone? Should the camera be panning or remain static? The dynamic, like this one, puts the director's signature on the play and he has to start sketching these ideas in the first few readings. But there can be no passivity in reading. The director must treat the written work as a critic, as an engineer or architect, as a detective. The discovery and construction of the film begins here. It's almost like a master's thesis. Don’t be overwhelmed, there will be plenty of resources and a crew to help you from the school to put everything together!
2. First viewing - Storyboard and screenwriter
Next, the director has to start seeing what the final film will look like. The cameras are far from rolling at the moment, but the eyes and mind need visual stimulation that can help solidify the visual that forms in the film's brain. The dashboard is not just a visual tool for the director - it is also a crucial means of communication to be shared with the cast and crew of the production. Each department will have to refer to the tool, as this is the only frame of reference for what the final cut of the film will actually look like. Whether the directors draw the script itself, receives one from the company, or so on, this process is the cornerstone of the filming process, which weaves the imagination to achieve through the eyes. And, it also serves as a carrot for the screenwriter: a tangible artifact that brings the whole project to life in a way that screenplays alone can never reach.
3. Other managers - production staff
Let's take the idea of auteurship right off the table from the beginning - filming is a collaborative process. With the exception of a very few individuals of bold and brilliant experienced artists, quite literally it takes a whole dynamic team to make a film. And not all craftsmen and artisans. If the director is the CEO of the vision, the production staff is the rest of the management structure. Production staff will take care of a million unnecessary tasks, from handling finances to logistics and without bureaucracy. They make plans, arrange food and facilities, and make sure everything and everyone gets where they need to be when they need to be there. As much as any artistic employee of the project, they need to understand the needs of the film. Developing a good relationship with these good people is crucial for the manager, not only to keep the car running smoothly, but also to promote goodwill, which will decrease in front of everyone involved.
Communicate clearly with these people. Help them help you solve your problems. Recognize when they have reached their own limitations and find ways to work around them. Trust that you are transporting the film water and make sure that they themselves receive a good drink. The production staff is the adhesive that holds everything together.
4. Cinematographer, the eye behind the soul of a film
The cinematographer is the only person the director will spend the most time on the set. By definition, everything that is filmed literally revolves around the camera. And the camera department is run by the cinema (or, director of photography, alias DP). It is very important for a director to lead the language of visual realization. You need to be able to accurately communicate aspects such as lighting, angles, and color temperatures at DP. You should be able to do whatever you look like, however you want to see things, but you need to understand this from the beginning - the time is too short to go over old tracks. It is best to start talking to a DP during pre-production, to make sure they are properly prepared. But when words and descriptions fail, a director must prepare to discuss feelings, actions, emotions, and dispositions, not just from the actors, but from any element of the environment. In a way, DP is the director's first audience. If you can successfully convey the desired effect to them, they can make that effect materialize for anyone else. These are the bridge from the brain to the public eye.
5. Other Virtues - Art Department
IWhen the cameras roll, whether you are indoors or indoors, every registered physical object should look good. Sounds stupid and obvious, right? But think about what it really means: every structure, every object, every set must be what the vision needs. This means that the sets must be built, painted and placed. This means that the props must be cataloged, accessible, and match the script's instructions. It means something that is not attached to an actor (for example, clothes and makeup). In the best conditions, the director will have an army of fellow artists from a variety of fields working with them. In pre-production, production designers create the look of the film. Template designers take that work and create the plans for the final sets. Locker sets take your heels to make sure everything looks good and in the right place. Every step of the way, the director must be sure that he explains what this image should look like. Should dinnerware have floral patterns? Does the car want the '57 Chevrolet to look authentic? Will a spiral staircase add symbolism to a scene that a straight one will not convey? The director must obtain this detail and ensure that the art department understands and delivers all these elements. And the art department can add their own suggestions once they get to know the filmed vision (maybe Buick fits better?). Forming good working relationships with these craftsmen and women is essential for any director trying to capture the images in their heads. The director must be sure to explain what this image should look like.
6. Actors - The man touches
It is said that in baseball if you do not have a good pitcher, you will never win games. In movies, actors play that role. Productions may suffer from poor scenarios or boast literary masterpieces. In both cases only good actors can make things work. If the audience can't relate to the characters everything becomes empty and meaningless. The closest personal relationship that the directors must have with the crew provided must be with the actors. Happily, some of the very best actors and actresses come right out of the school, and when you are in the program, these are the artists you will be working with.
Once the casting has been decided, a smart director will spend a lot of time with their actors. Yes, there is a rehearsal, but there must be more. Go out to dinner with the cast, go to a game ball, take long walks. Get to know them, their personal lives, the triumph and the tragedies. The role of the director is to evoke the right emotion at the right time for each moment of the film. The actor will have to use the memory of the senses - recalling real experiences to translate these emotions into performance - and the director will have to know how to evoke these mechanisms. Did the lead actor get any bad news? You can use this for the scene in which the protagonist has just lost his job. Maybe the actor playing the antagonist recently won a marathon they coached. This can be used for the scene in which he laughs, while he escaped the danger in time. At its height, the actor-director relationship game is a delicate dance. Feelings of real life must be exploited; the buttons must be pushed. Directors need to make their own emotional stimuli, to challenge the actors in their profession. But if the parties involved are not prepared to venture into the secret places of the mind, mediocrity will be the result. By the end of filming, a final burst of force is needed: maturity to let everything go. It's a thrilling process when done right and the best movies have often paid for the experience with a lot of strong emotions.
7. People of character - hair, makeup, costumes
Okay, now that we're done torturing the piece, let's make sure it looks good. Like any other craft in a production, those who dress the characters are craftsmen on their own. You won't need a barber here; what you need is a professional stylist who must be able to do anything from Marie Antoinette to a mohawk punk rock. And not only that - since a production can take several months, those haircuts must look the same day after day. It's not an easy trick. When it comes to makeup, there are a few things to keep in mind, and everything requires top notch makeup artists, which is a tremendous job in and of itself. First, the harsh lights that movies require to illuminate a scene can make human skin translucent. Without a sufficient basis, you will actually see the veins of an actor - who can work in a horror movie. Speaking of which, makeup can also mean blood, intestines and gore. Or a model who walks the runway. Or a black eye - or something, really. It has to be as fair as anything else to gain credibility. Finally, we have the wardrobe department. While most people think of those who dress actors for vintage plays, even a white T-shirt and jeans need to be "just like that." Do you dress a football mom or a factory worker? Will there be sweat stains or will things be immaculate? It is the task of the director to make these decisions and to consult the professionals who shape the appearance of your characters is as important as anything else. These are not just fashionistas, they are the people who will shape your look and convey the inner self of the fictional ensemble to the public. Be patient with them. Go through pages with patterns, color schemes, and style books. They are real professionals who have to have an enormous amount of time with the same actors who drive everyone crazy. Give them the debt and then some.
8. Stretch at home - post-production
Once the director has got the film in the box, another set of things has to happen to get to the finished product. The fundamental process here will be editing the film. The school also has a great program that trains and places top notch editors. Now, that story that started things can be brought out again. Quick images can be cut and assembled to build scenes and then for scenes created to make the movie. At this stage, many opportunities will appear that the scenario could not anticipate. Movements, additional photos, performance issues, lost images, and many other happy and unhappy accidents will conspire to further change the original vision and resume the film. A good editor will listen to the needs of a director and find ways to creatively create original ideas. A good manager will give him a place to do this. Publishers are masters of stimulation, editing, and timing. They can feel a sequence in front of a director. They may see flaws in a director's plan and anticipate opportunities that a director will be grateful for. If a director can properly communicate the tone of the film, what he should and should not feel, a smart and empathetic editor can get a lot of wonderful tricks up his sleeve. In almost all cases, I would urge a director to let someone else edit. Real magic can come from this. Other key posts in the post include special visual effects, CGI and maybe animation (all of which you can read more about They may see flaws in a director's plan and anticipate opportunities that a director will be grateful for. If a director can properly communicate the tone of the film, what he should and should not feel, a smart and empathetic editor can get a lot of wonderful tricks up his sleeve. In almost all cases, I would urge a director to let someone else edit. Real magic can come from this. Other key posts in the post include special visual effects, CGI and maybe animation
The director's approach to these positions is similar to the positions of the art department discussed earlier.
But movies also have sound. The biggest jobs in this regard include sound design, sound mixing and, of course, the soundtrack. As with any other aspect of film production, the director must once again be able to convey to these artists what sound he will add to the story. For sound design, that means everything from ambient noise - highways, chirping birds, crashing waves on the beach - to sounding out of action that can add atmosphere to the scenes. Science fiction movies, for example, will often use strange, old-fashioned sounds without any source to make them feel more pronounced. When it comes to mixing sound, the question of how loud or quiet these things are can make a big difference. Do those adobe birds bury the characters in the background or interrupt a conversation with great enthusiasm? You have to get everything in the mix. And then there's the loud soundtrack. Everyone loves a good soundtrack. But imagine if you tried to connect the music fromStar Wars in the movie Straight Outta Compton ? Or vice versa? They both have great music, but obviously they couldn't even work for the other one (although it would be absolutely funny). Again, the conductor must be very sure to communicate to the composer exactly what ideas and feelings the soundtrack should convey to the audience. That means listening to music together. Will you go rock or classic or maybe meringue? Each film makes sense and the score can convey a lot of psychic information to the viewers - I mean the listeners! As David Bowie says, film is the gift of sound and vision!
When everything is said and done, a director is a person who lives in the service of a vision. Ideally, this will be the director, but clients can often dictate this as explained earlier. You've seen the term "communication" over and over again, and that's the key: the director is the main empath of the project. You need to soften the information in depth and telegraph with great precision. Speaking and listening must be offered equally. Be bold, but be good. Be strong, but get ready to bend over. There will always be people who have a better idea than you. And there will always be people you have to convince of your beliefs. Welcome to the edge of the device. Pass carefully and confidently and you can come up with something special.