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How to be a Good Film Director (Part 1)

You might be an aspiring film maker, or a versed director wanting to continually improve.

After our experience we have decided to compile a few tips to pass on the knowledge we have gathered at Guanxi Design House, to help the next Scorsesess of the world.

We start of by mentioning that most roles within a film team, though complex and deserve every inch of respect, have boundaries of criteria in order to execute well.

For example, someone in the lighting team can study for hours and over time have the skill set applied to any set. Like anything over time, with practice its natural to gather more understanding and build the ability to perform well, and even implement their own artist styles or suggestions.

However a director, in comparison will need to wear many hats. A challenging task which can leave you in deep waters if you are not up to speed, to communicate with members of your team collectively, and individually.

Within each squadron of a film's task force, there is jargon, taking time out to study each departments field will put you at a very great advantage.

As an independent director, you will need to split your time amongst many duties, at times on set you will be part DP, producer, leader, lunch time caller, therapist, councillor, production manager, AD and plenty more.

You may even experience people questioning and wondering what you do.. the answer to that would be " Everything".

For those just starting out don't be turnt away by the news. It can be a lot of fun getting to grips with everything. Though on your first foot it may seem like a lot to take on. Its always best to dive in find ways that you would like to better manage the chaos and take it from there.

Sure, you can find tons of advice out there from some of the best directors working today -- Quentin Tarantino says that Terry Gilliam once told him that being a director means being good at hiring talented people, and Kevin Smith says that it's all about being able to answer questions. However, if you're looking for more practical advice, The Guanxi Design team provide 5 tips that will put you on the right track:

1) Clear Direction

Being a Director needs a priority of assertiveness and direction. The saying goes " if you don't plan, then plan to fail" This is never more true than in the world of directing. Even though you will need to go of course and adapt have clear structure gives you the grounds to keep your flexibility to timely fashion. this is an art in itself, that takes practice and a good team.

2) Don't Always Stick to the Script

Sometimes on set, when shooting you will realise flaws in the script or speech that makes a scene awkward. You will need you gut instinct in full effect when directing to judge wether things need to be change. This can too be a challenging task as you will have to bear the bad news to the die hard writers who will most likely hate you for changing their piece of art. This takes clear communication and the ability to negotiate well.

3) Study Other Styles to Learn Yours

Don't be naive when entering this world. There is a lot to learn from so use it to your advantage. Study those you admire and mould your own style. Though we do not recommend copying scene for scene angle for angle. You will cover a lot of ground in short time, by taking lessons from the best.

4) Take Your Time and Be Efficient

This will quickly become hectic and possibly feel out of your control, there are many times you will need to take a deep breath without a moment to remove yourself from the task at hand. Its important to take your time and clearly execute what was planned. This can take a good AD who knows how to nudge you for scope of time. However our advice is not to rely on anyone. Make sure you are prepared, break down your story board into times, prep your team and let them know how you would like things to be.

5) Find a Clear Way to Communicate Your Goal

This tip could easily be the first tip, the ability to communicate is of the utmost importance, there will be people who rub you the wrong way, or perhaps do not like your communication style and you will need to be analytical and aware to adjust quickly. Having the ability to learn what motivates people, their communication style on job can be one of the most frustrating things on set. This is something you will improve with time, but be aware to note team members body language what make them tick and how to communicate your goal clearly.

For the more tips on improving you directing skills see our continuation of this article.

Leave your comments below if you have more useful tips.

How can we help you improve? Sign up to become a member to Guanxi and receive free consultaion.

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