Often, beginner or ineffective film directors destroy a really strong film script. The effective Film Director should be the guardian of the story. Strong Directors have a vision for the film and they have excellent communication skills so that they can inspire their crew to do their very best for the film.
Over the next few weeks I want to explore two aspects of film directing.
- What does an effective Director do?
- The Importance of a really strong Film Director
The Film Director often will work with the writer on the screenplay. However, in some cases, the Producer will take that job and collaborate with the writer and work on the screenplay. In this case, the Director will start his or her work in Preproduction. The Director needs to be all involved in the preproduction process. Here are a list of the various jobs a Film Director will be involved with early on.
- Shot Listing on Location
- Working with the Art Department on Set Design or Dressing
- Working with Wardrobe on Costumes
- Working with Makeup on the Makeup Direction for the scenes
This is one of the most important directorial process.
If there is any hint of bad acting in the film, the film will die with the audience. The Director needs to find the very best possible actors for each role. Whether it is a big budget film or a micro budget film, the director will need to maximise the choice of actors available at a casting and cast the very best actors available. This takes work and a casting process system. On my Four Month Film School, I have placed a big emphasis on Casting.
Shot listing on Location:
Many inexperienced directors leave this up to the DOP. This is the best choice if you are highly inexperienced. A Strong Director should know how to cover a scene with shots and create a shot list or storyboard for every scene in the film. This takes time and experience. When one works on edits of their films, their choice of shot coverage becomes stronger. In preproduction, it can be fun to visit sets with your DOP and collaborate on the shot list. Make sure that you get all the shots that you need for your film and make sure that your Director Vision for the story is served.
Working with Art Department:
A Strong Film Director will collaborate with the Production Designer and communicate exactly how the sets should look. In low budget films, the film is shot on actual locations. However all real locations need set dressing and props sourcing. On high end productions, often the sets are built in studios. The Director will still work with the Production Designer on the look of the film set.
The all important costumes are so important. The Actor needs to feel the character. Therefore, it is important to work out how the character reveals himself or herself via hairstyle and wardrobe. This can vary as the film progresses. All of the wardrobe is worked out in Preproduction and the Director should be deeply involved in communicating the vision for the film to the Costume Designer.
Working with Makeup on the Makeup Direction for the scenes:
The Director will brief the Makeup Artist on the makeup requirements for the actors and how they should look in the scene. Makeup will help the story when an experienced makeup artist works closely with the Director on the makeup for each character at different phases in the story.
The all important Rehearsal:
On a high quality film production, rehearsal time is always budgeted for. This gives the Actors and the Director time to work on the performance and the dialogue. If a Director works hard on rehearsal, the actors will become the characters helping the film story dramatically. Always rehearse the actors and insist no matter what the budget is that you have at least a week of rehearsal for a feature film production or a full day for a short film.
Once you have completed to the best of your ability the above jobs, you are now ready for the all important Film Shoot. Next Week: What does a Film Director do on set? How should a Film Director work?
Colm O’Murchu Director