The Art of Directing


"You have to promise your audience that it will be worth it for them to follow the journy and the emotions of the characters [..]"

Being a director can at first sight seem easy, right? You would assume there is only to go out there, creatively make your ideas come to life and get famous and acknowledged as soon as you get stuff out there. Well, I wish I could say that it is as easy as that. There is a lot more going on and things to do if you are going to be the director. 80 percent of a director's job consists of paperwork, prep and planning are the main focus. While the remaining 20 percent, is the time you are actually out in the field directing. All of the prep leads up to that one week or month of shooting. Which might have been planned for half a year pre hand to that, or even longer depending on the production. 

When it comes to directing there is not any right or wrong way to be a director. Well, there can be good or bad ways on how to be one, but exactly how you are as a director is very individually and up to oneself. Every director has different ways of doing things, different ways of acting or working with crew. There are several books and articles on how to direct, or how to tell a story the best way as a director. In common of all directors, they all have a base, a knowledge of what it means to be, or the responsibility you have when being a director. 

The director is a part of the whole journey while the production is ongoing, even after the shooting, in the post production. Where there will be spent a lot of time continuing to make the right decisions and take the right measures to bring the story to life, in the best way possible. 

Through the book "Directing the Story" by Francis Glebas, we get guided through the different aspects of being a director, with the responsibility of telling a story and actually making the story work and be told to its fullest potential. 

Why do we watch?
- A good place to start according to Glebas is asking ourselves why we watch films. We certainly do watch them, but why do we bother?
- To escape, to connect with the characters in the story, to be entertained. 
- Does knowing that we watch films to be entertained help us become better filmmakers?
No, it doesn't give us anything useful. Just points out a direction, but we don't have a map.

What's at stake is nothing less than life and death
- The most important when making a film is that it has to be about something important, significant.
- Something has to be at stake.
- Show don't tell.
- Make sure the characters has obstacles, decisions or challenges they have to face.

What do directors direct / Who do they direct?
- The story, the crew, the lighting, and the camera.
- But, they are also directing the emotions of the audience. 
- We can't directly affect their emotions, so a director has to do it through structuring the film. 
- A director directs the audience´s attention while telling the story. 

I found this book to be great as it takes on all of the different aspects of telling a story, and what a director does and how. It also brings up the different aspects and the information in a very straightforward but thoughtful way. You can decide yourself if you want to put a lot of thought and test out your philosophic side, or just keep it straight A4. 

"Once the actor gets glued to a line reading it is something like being stuck in cement and it is unlikely that he/she will be able to respond to your direction and your shaping of the character."

One of the important ways for the director to affect the audience's emotions is through something, or rather someone very important. The actors. The audience has to feel like the characters are real and true to the story, even if it might be in a fictional world or different universe. By looking at Lenore DeKoven´s book "Changing direction - A Practical Approach to Directing Actors in Film and Theatre", we get an insight in how to, as a director chose or find the right actors for your film. 

For example, after a read through, you can ask the actor to do the same scene again, but only this time, he/she has to go to the bathroom really badly but doesn't want the other person to know. What you want to see is if there is an adjustment or a difference between te first and the second reading. 

5 short advice on deciding on an actor: 
1 - Does the actor seem more relaxed in your company?
2 - Does the actor respond to the reading partner?
3 - Has the actor brought any new ideas for the second reading/callback? 
4 - Has he/she grown from the first reading?
5 - Can the actor´s physical and vocal traits fulfill your vision of the character?

Conclusion wise being a director is a great responsibility as well as it is a job that requires quite a lot of you. From directing camera, lights, sound, actors as well as knowing that it is up to you, resting on your shoulders whether or not the story reaches its full potential. Whether or not it reaches through to the audience, and if you manage to direct their attention while telling them a story that they are left feeling different, enlightened or moved in any way by. Being a director is a lot of work, but when everything adds up, and all different pieces combined makes a great film, allowing the audience to escape, or be entertained, I would say it must pretty damn worth all the work and effort. 

You will make mistakes. We are mistake-making creatures; We were built that way. What you as the director, the person in charge, must learn how to do is to bring creativity and positive approach to mistakes, your own and others."
As written by Judith Weston in her book "Directing Actors"

//Images from

//Sources of information

You may also like

No comments:

Television by Ida Frank. Powered by Blogger.