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Advice for Aspiring Directors
As the cliché goes, “I love acting but what I really want to do is direct”. Just about everyone who has had some experience in show business eventually gets the urge to have full control over a production and tell a story the way they want it told. Sure acting and producing can be fun and rewarding but there’s something special about being the director that stirs a passion in every entertainer. But getting into the director’s chair is no easy task and it takes a lot of time and patience before you’re given the reins on a movie or
. But if you are serious about becoming a director consider some simple advice that can help your career.
If you’ve ever been behind the scenes of a stage of film production you may be asking yourself what exactly a director does. You see the costume designers matching outfits, the actors rehearsing lines and the lighting crew setting up shots but the director seems to be just walking around talking to people. Well guess what, that’s primarily what a director does; he communicates with everyone so his vision for the story comes out the way he wants it. Of course much more goes into directing than just communication but essentially that one skill will make of break your career as a director.
Directors of films and production are no different than directors of ad agencies or sales teams, all are responsible for the overall performance of the staff. When you take on the role of director you are basically sitting in the captain’s chair and you guide the ship. You need to be excellent at communicating your ideas, delegating responsibility, handling pressure and dealing with very different and difficult personalities to be successful as a director. You also have to know how and when to yell “Action!” and “Cut!” but for the most part those that are successful at directing have the ability to talk to people in language they will understand and will produce the desired results.
If you have your heart set on directing learn early and fast how to get people to do what you want. Just as the manager of a department within a company has to get his staff to perform a director has to find a way to motivate everyone on the set to work together so his vision becomes reality. If you have trouble being assertive, can’t make decisions and are easily swayed by other people’s opinions directing is probably not for you. A director has to have full confidence in his vision for the story. If he doesn’t the crew and actors will lose faith and either walk off the set or go through the motions without much thought.
Some directors think the only way to get people to listen is by scaring them or threatening them. While this may work in some cases it won’t win you many friends and can easily cause dissension in the ranks of your team. Learning the delicate art of persuasion is probably the single most important skill a director can attain. By getting people to do what you want and having them believe in it is the best way to get the results you want.
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