Saturday, September 24, 2005


This week we focused on the importance of delegating. As a director, really you're only supposed to communicate with five or six crew members while shooting. Those are the Cinematographer, the Script Supervisor, the First Assistant Director (First AD), the Production Designer, and the Producer. That's it. The rest of your time should be focused on working wih the actors.

The Cinematographer gets your vision and camera direction and executes this with the gaffers (electricians) and grips (the people who move things around). You let them worry about the technical matters.

The Script Supervisor takes constant notes on every little detail while shooting. This includes continuity and blocking, lens used, direction of light...etc. At what line did this actor take a sip of water, at what line they take a drag of a cigarette...etc. The script supervisor also takes notes from the director between takes. I liked this bit of performance, I didn't care for that... etc. Those notes are handed to the editor along with the material shot for the day. A good supervisor is extremely essential. All the details are his/her responsibility.

The First Assistant Director is the guy running the crew. He worries about scheduling, logistics, meeting deadlines, getting things done, getting the crew fed, making sure the set is safe... anything and everything that revolves around the logistics of making the every day things happen.

The Production designer typically has a close relationship with the director and cinematographer. This is the person who does anything from building the set from scratch to overseeing the look of the location being filmed (inside and out). The designer also oversees the art director, costume design, and set dressing.

The Producer oversees the big picture. Getting locations, dealling with problems, getting the money...etc. The producer is ultimately the person held responsible for all the problems and headaches that involve making the movie happen. This includes the shitload of paperwork and beauraucracy invovled.

The director must not allow himself to be strecthed too thin. That is why it is essential to trust and rely on the other department heads to get things done. He tells them what he wants, and they get it done with their people. Sounds like fun, yes? Well, there's more to it than that. The ultimate responsibility of the director is to pull the vision together through the performance of the actors.

If the performance is weak, nothing else matters. No matter how good the lighting, how smooth the special effects, how loud the music... the performance is what communicates the story effectively or ineffectively. So as a director, you better be prepared to pull the best you can pull out of your actors. This is what I will be focusing my energy on over the next two years.

So having said all the above, we put these things into practice Thursday as we shot our bootcamp scenes. We completed the edit by Friday. Our scene came out beautifully, a full minute of awkward silence as a guy tries to buy flowers from a girl. It's a very funny scene. We shot it from seven different angles, each angle motivated by a certain though. I'll talk more about working with the actors in a different blog.


Blogger jameed said...

Awesome, this is like attending the AFI...only cheaper

11:42 PM  
Blogger Lina said...

This must be a world of difference compared to the days of being director/cinematographer/producer/script writer-advisor/gaffer all at once ;)

oh and yeah I agree with Jameed :D

12:10 AM  
Blogger Amin Matalqa said...

LOL. Yes, it's a lot cheaper this way. distance learning through a blog. Maybe we should call Blearning.

2:10 AM  

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