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Preparation is everything for a Film Director.

October 15, 2010 by  

Preparation is everything for a Film Director.

When you are starting out , it is a challenge to direct on a film set.
Everytime I work with an emerging Film Director, I see similar problems. The biggest problem by far is “Lack of Preparation”

So here is a little on Film Directing 101.
Preparation is paramount. Preparation is the number one most important duty of the Film Director.
Here are some pointers.

Know your script inside out. Study the script and break it down so that you understand the story intimately
Cast the film with the very best Actors that you can get. You will need an audition process which we teach on our Film Schools.
Make sure that you have a rehearsal with your actors. This is so important
Make sure you do your reccies.( Reconnaissance )  In other words, prepare on set or at the location. Go to the place where you will shoot a few days in advance.
It is great if you can have your rehearsal on set, as you can lock off your blocking.  Blocking is the movement that a director plans for the actors on set.
Once you have worked out your blocking, Shot List.  A Shot List is a list of shots that the director creates to cover the scene.
If your DOP is present at the Reccie, make sure that he or she works out their lighting plan.
If your Production Designer is present, work out the look of the set. On low budget films, you usually work with an existing location such as a lounge room in a friends house. Make sure that your Production Designer works with you on the look of the lounge room. It must look like the character in your story, lives here. This will require sourcing props and set dressing.
Visit your costume designer or wardrobe person and work out the costumes for the actors. Wardrobe will usually meet the actors in advance and measure them for the costumes. In many low budget films, the actors bring in several outfits that they own and the Director picks the best one. However this is prone to produce a poor costume as the actor may well be broke and have tatty St Vinnies clothes. In this case run to the nearest clothes shop and borrow some clothes. This same situation happened on a  student short film shot last Saturday. In fact the Make Up artist went to designer shop and found a beautiful fitted out executive clothes for our actor. The shop was delighted and all they wanted was a credit in the film in return.

It is amazing how people will help out a low budget film maker. If the film maker is putting their heart and soul into the film production, minor miracles will happen all over the production. However there is one most important factor in every film.  The bottom line is the more preparation that the director and producer does in pre production, the better for the shoot. What is the best way to learn this? On our Film Schools. There is nothing like doing this for real and our film Schools teach by shooting a real film.


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