A few weeks ago my sister called and told me about a famous director who’d worked on projects like Prison Break & Lost teaching a class in LA. He plan to talk about working in the tv industry, how he got there, working with actors, and how to direct. I knew this class would teach me what I have lacked. I’ve directed for years on projects but never felt good at it. This class was my opportunity to finally learn from a professional. I got really excited at the thought of learning from someone who has worked on projects that I enjoyed. A list of questions began to develop inside my head.
Since I do photography professionally, I now have this “creative fund.” It’s extra money that goes to anything that is creative. I knew to get better at my craft, I have to invest in it.
I took twelve pages of notes. He told us that being a good director is a growth process. One of the major themes during the class was about preparation and doing the homework. He said some thought he was silly when he would have detailed shot list, even to which lens he would use but for him, being prepared made him able to direct better. He did all the thought process before hand so that on the day of shooting, he knew exactly what he needed to capture. A lot of what he said made perfect sense.
-Have a clear vision ahead of time.
-See it though the lens, every shot.
-Don’t do too many of the same shots, it will wear the actor down.
-Be the leader and a guest when directing on another’s project.
-Use different lens as part of the storytelling process.
-Keep the day of shooting moving forward, don’t allow time to be wasted.
-Casting is key. Don’t base your choice on looks or popularity.
-Look for ways to be re-inspired.
-Don’t miss up confidences, use your own judgment.
-Tie yourself to material that is great.
-Be ready when you get “your chance.”
(Current economics) -There is no longer a safe job, everything is in danger.
-Not just for the sake of it but to tell the story a better way.
-Be comfortable in telling others what to do.
-Find what is best about you and work with that.
So much of the dialog was about his experiences and what he learned from them. At the end of the class we got in to a discussion about the lack of female directors. I really liked what one of the students said, “All of us have our, ‘Oh my God, I’m this.'” I sat there and listened to the discussion and knew what my, “Oh my God, I’m this” is. It’s not the fact that I’m a girl, a mexican, from a low-income area but its.. I’m a Christian. I’m not just a Christian but I’m a seeker of Christ. I live it everyday. I’ve been dumped because I was one, I’ve been dumped by a Christian boy because I was a real one. haha. I’ve had to pass up opportunities on projects because it compromise my morals. Not to say I’ll be uptight about everything, I just know there are some scenes I wouldn’t feel comfortable being apart of.
God has always been faithful and brought better and bigger opportunities for me. We all have our mountains to climb but I know that God will be with me through the journey. “Find what is best about you and work with that.” -My heart for God. My passion and devotion to Him. He’s the Creator who is my inspiration. I don’t know if I will ever be a professional director, but I have a feeling I will be and I have to be prepared for it. One thing Bobby said that ended the class was, “It’s not impossible but it may be hard. Focus on the work, have strength, patience and be professional.”
Update: This morning I had two filmings that I needed to do. I did my homework last night, tested all my gear, packed everything, wrote my thoughts and questions down and got a good nights rest. Today I had the smoothest filming experience of my life. I’m really excited to put these tips in to practice. I’m glad I took the class.
Look for ways to invest in your craft.
Bobby Roth, professional television director and independent film maker.