Sunday, March 20, 2011

Directing, Some Times Less is More!

Howard Hocks said something to the effect,
 "To make a great movie you need three good scenes and no bad ones"
Most beginning directors think directing is about control. 
That is completely wrong!
Directing is about responding.
Many times it is about what you don't do, than what you do.
It's about being present in the moment. Being able to respond in a fluid manner.
To the feeling of the scene, the location and what the actors are doing.
You don't need to have all the answers. Ego and Fear are the enemy of story telling. 
Intuition can be a valuable tool. Between your head and your gut, Go with your gut.
You should know what the hart of each scene will be. If you have that clear in your mind it should not be difficult to organize your shots around that concept.
It will also give you a good idea of what scenes are essential to your story, 
You never have enough time to get every shot you want. If you know the hart of each scene you will be able to allocate the lion's share of time to getting your essential shots.
Your gut should tell you when you have it right.
By no means am I advocating a lack of preparation.
Preparation is essential and becomes more so as your production budgets grow.
Never come to the set with out a thoroughly prepared shot list. 
But be flexible enough to deviate from the shot list if warranted.
At the very least, you will have a fall back plan if nothing develops organically.
Being prepared and knowing your time constraints, will give you the confidence and freedom to let chemistry develop.
Regarding actors, again less is more when dealing with actors.
Most beginning directors commit the cardinal sin of "over directing" when communicating with actors.
If you distill your job down to the simplest equation most of the time there are only two things you need to concentrate on. 
Protecting the actors ego and keeping them focused on the important elements of the performance.
If you can do this your actors will feel safe enough to take some risks with their performances.
Over-rehearsing can also be problematic in film.
You should not rehearse as though you are doing a stage play.
You don't want your actors performance's to peak before you get them in front of the camera.
In the end it's about catching magic light in a bottle!

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