Monday, 2 January 2012

Who Is Film Director?

Everyone wants to direct, don’t they? Even my dog has a T-shirt that says, “What I really want to do is direct.” A director has to be a multitalented multitasker. The director is captain of the ship,
the leader of the pack, and is responsible for 
making all the creative elements come together
(see Chapters 13 and 14 for more on what a 
director does). Many first-time filmmakers can 
take on the job of directing, and if you do your 
homework (like reading this book) and are passionate about making your film, you’ll find it a rewarding experience. If you’d rather hire someone else to direct, start collecting demo
reels — whether they’re short films, features, or commercials — from prospective

When searching for a director, ask these questions:
1. Does he or she tell a story well? Is the film logical in its sequence of
events? Did the director tell an intriguing story?

2. Are the actors’ performances believable? Do they come across as sincere?
Do you care about the characters in the film?

3 Are camera shots and movement effective? Does the director use effective
angles? Are the shots interesting but not distracting to the story?
Does the camera movement enhance the shots?

4. If the film’s a comedy, is it funny? Does the director have a good sense
of comedic timing? Is the comedy funny or too silly?

5. Is the direction consistent? Do the shots have a certain style? Do all the
elements, shots, dialogue, setting, and so on have consistency, or does
the work seem all over the place?

Assistant director

Many people have a misconception of what an assistant director does. He or
she does not assist in directing the film. An assistant director (also known as
the A.D.) is more of an assistant to the director. The assistant director keeps
the set moving and the film on schedule. The assistant director’s duties

1. Breaking down the script with the director (to schedule the shoot days).

2. Relaying the director’s technical instructions to the cast and crew.

3. Getting the shots ready by making sure that all production personnel
and actors are in place and ready when the director needs them.

4. Working with the extras on a small budget, and relaying instructions for
the extras to the second assistant director on a bigger production.

5.Making up the call sheets (lists of which cast members work the next day
and any special equipment or elements needed for the shooting). On
bigger productions this is usually handed off by the first assistant director
to the unit production manager.

6. Calling the actors who need to work the next day (on larger productions,
this task is performed by the unit production manager).

7.  Getting the set settled to start filming (asking if sound and camera are
ready and then calling to the mixer to roll sound and the camera operator
to roll camera—things that must be done before the director cues
the actors or action begins).

The director — never the assistant director — calls “action” and “cut.” The
assistant director’s authority ends when the director calls for Action

Second assistant director

The second assistant director (the second A.D.) is an assistant to the assistant
director and is also responsible for a fair amount of paperwork — especially
if it’s a union shoot, because there are strict rules and regulations, and everything
has to be documented properly. I liken a second A.D. to an executive
assistant — this person does paperwork, works on the computer, and helps
to make the boss’s job easier.

Some of the second A.D.’s paperwork includes handling call sheets, collecting
from the camera department the camera reports (shots and footage for
the day’s shoot), collecting talent releases for background players, and so
on. The second assistant checks everyone in at the beginning of each day’s
shoot, calls the actors for camera when they’re needed on the set, and then
checks everyone out at the end of the shoot.

My sister Nancy was the second A.D for my film Undercover Angel, and
her job was crowd control. For the final dramatic scene in the film, Nancy
rounded up almost 1,000 extras, which was no small task.

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