First and foremost, you must:
1. Know what a director is supposed to do. They’re not merely an assistant to the director—they’re a role model, the ultimate boss. The most important thing to remember is that they’re expected to be completely present at every session, at any time. They are expected to be as hands-on as possible, to act as an independent observer. If you aren’t prepared to do this at all times, you won’t get the necessary training; you will never be an effective director.
2. Have a clear vision. As a director, you must give clear, precise direction to the team, to each individual member before they make any crucial decisions. If you’re not capable of putting your direction down on paper and asking the team what it’s going to be in the next twenty minutes, you won’t be able to direct them effectively.
3. Be honest and open. A director should be honest with everyone, including themselves. In other words, you should always try to tell the truth. As a director of photography, you often feel like we need to be on a soap box, telling everyone in the shoot whether the movie is going to be good or not. That can be frustrating and upsetting, but it’s absolutely imperative that you let everyone know exactly what your vision is. In other words, your directors should be willing to show you what movie is for, what is needed for it to do well.
4. Always be willing to help. As a director, you are responsible for making sure that every member has what they need. A great director is prepared to help anyone who needs it, but also always be willing to give advice and direction to the group. A good crew might look at a production of The Wizard of Oz and ask themselves, “Do we really need another stunt coordinator, or do we want a different kind of director coming in?” A good director is there for everyone, whether you’re a professional or not.
5. Don’t be afraid of mistakes. As a director, you are responsible for making sure that everything that you say or do is consistent with everything else that you’ve done before. If a shoot is going well, you have no reason to be nervous, and in fact you’re able to relax and enjoy yourself. The same principles apply with mistakes; make sure that everything that you say is perfectly consistent with everything else that you’ve ever done before.
6. Find out what your strengths are,
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