Directing has always been my passion. I’ve done it my whole life. I started with lego stop motion movies and then moved onto short films as I grew older. Over the years I’ve learned and realized how to be a better director. It takes a lot to be the head of a project, but the end product is always worth it. Here is everything I know about becoming a better director.
Having a clear vision for your project is a must. You have to know the story, the themes, and the characters inside and out. While that sounds like a lot to keep track of, it is completely necessary. There is one big difference between an idea and a vision. That is a vision is a fully developed idea. An idea is just the beginning stage of a vision. Your vision has to be clear. You have to know which characters experience which things and for what reason. You have to know the flow of your story and where it should take the audience, and you should know how it all leads up to the end. If you don’t have a clear vision for your film it will end up being confusing and unorganized.
Vision is nothing without organization. You can have all the ideas in your head but if you don’t know how or when those ideas come into play then you might as well not have a vision. Many directors that I have worked with on smaller sets are not organized in the slightest, and the film suffers greatly from this. Nothing flows together or makes sense; it’s a mess. All of these directors are capable of making something better but they don’t have their ideas organized. You must be organized as a director and know what needs to happen. If at any moment it seems like you don’t know what to do, you will lose the respect of your crew. They don’t want to be led by someone that doesn’t know what they are doing.
Just like organization is to vision, communication is to organization. Organization will help you communicate your ideas better to the rest of the crew. Having the vision written down and organized is useless if you can’t communicate what needs to happen to your cast and crew. Communication on set should be simple. You tell people what needs to happen as clear and concise as possible. You can give more information to actors about a scene or their character, but you don’t have to explain everything to everyone.
As much as we’d like our projects to be 100% ours, a lot of communication has to happen to get a project off the ground. There are so many moving parts on set and so many experts in each department. You have to cooperate with all of them to get your project made. Someone might suggest a compromise because of schedule restrictions, and you have to learn to meet people in the middle. You can fight for parts that you think absolutely cannot be changed. Although, Pick your battles wisely because you can’t win them all.
These are the pillars to directing that I have learned so far. There might be room for more, but if you want to know the core of what it means to be a good director then follow this list. Too many people want to be directors for the wrong reasons. They want to be the man in charge, or they want to have their name in big letters at the premier but at the end of the day only a few want to do it for the right reasons. That being to tell a good story. That should be the only goal of a director. If they want fame or to feel important on set, the movie is already lost.