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Directing/cinematography


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#1 james donovan

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Posted 07 May 2007 - 02:16 PM

Hello, I always had the assumption that the role of director in filmmaking was primarily about the look and imagery of the respective films, but reading around the forums recently I have realised that, this job primarily rests upon the cinematographers shoulders, as the role requires the technical know how.

I am thinking about going to film school and direction seems to be the path everyone wants to follow. But isn't it more beneficial to try to become a cinematographer first and then enter into directing projects? Thanks, h.dog
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#2 Andy_Alderslade

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Posted 07 May 2007 - 03:31 PM

Hello, I always had the assumption that the role of director in filmmaking was primarily about the look and imagery of the respective films, but reading around the forums recently I have realised that, this job primarily rests upon the cinematographers shoulders, as the role requires the technical know how.

I am thinking about going to film school and direction seems to be the path everyone wants to follow. But isn't it more beneficial to try to become a cinematographer first and then enter into directing projects? Thanks, h.dog


Knowing what you want to do in life is one of the hardest things, perhaps ever. Even if you know you want to make movies or TV there are still hundreds of differnt jobs in the industry. What makes it harder is you also have to find out what you are good at too.

Some people are technicaly minded, some are visually minded, some are very literate, some people are socialable, some are good at organizing things, some people are musical and have a natural rythem, etc....

All jobs in the industry require at least several of the above traits, but if your going to a film school why not try every job (and do it with total comitment) and that way you will find what your passions, skills and talents are. The job you enjoy most will probably be the best one - not necessarily direction, infact remember that not every sailor can be the captain of the ship and not every one wants to. But when you do find your passion it is recomended to commit to that, for the time being anyhow.

Yes some cinematographers do become directors, like Nicolas Roeg (Don't Look Now) for instance, however the nature of the job, the level of the experience required to be a succesful DOP means that it requires total commitment to that job.

Now of course there are many people, many on this board who do promos, corprate work, short films and they often DOP and direct - but in the more rigid realms of the industry, particularly narrative films and TV, the jobs will very separate and experience in more than one role will most deffinatly not assist you opportunities wise or financialy. Practically and artisticly maybe.

If you definatly want to direct, then you must build up your directing skills and experience, however and this comes as the exception of the rule - if you want to get opportunities to direct you may also need to be able to produce, so learn those skills too.

What ever you decide to do, enjoy it and don't hurt people while doing it - that may sound obvious but film school will show you why I say that.

Best of luck,
Andy

PS. Oh and if you want a serious reply from one of the other forum users, you better change your user name to your real first and last name - its pretty strict here.

Edited by Andy_Alderslade, 07 May 2007 - 03:35 PM.

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#3 james donovan

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Posted 07 May 2007 - 04:26 PM

Knowing what you want to do in life is one of the hardest things, perhaps ever. Even if you know you want to make movies or TV there are still hundreds of differnt jobs in the industry. What makes it harder is you also have to find out what you are good at too.

Some people are technicaly minded, some are visually minded, some are very literate, some people are socialable, some are good at organizing things, some people are musical and have a natural rythem, etc....

All jobs in the industry require at least several of the above traits, but if your going to a film school why not try every job (and do it with total comitment) and that way you will find what your passions, skills and talents are. The job you enjoy most will probably be the best one - not necessarily direction, infact remember that not every sailor can be the captain of the ship and not every one wants to. But when you do find your passion it is recomended to commit to that, for the time being anyhow.

Yes some cinematographers do become directors, like Nicolas Roeg (Don't Look Now) for instance, however the nature of the job, the level of the experience required to be a succesful DOP means that it requires total commitment to that job.

Now of course there are many people, many on this board who do promos, corprate work, short films and they often DOP and direct - but in the more rigid realms of the industry, particularly narrative films and TV, the jobs will very separate and experience in more than one role will most deffinatly not assist you opportunities wise or financialy. Practically and artisticly maybe.

If you definatly want to direct, then you must build up your directing skills and experience, however and this comes as the exception of the rule - if you want to get opportunities to direct you may also need to be able to produce, so learn those skills too.

What ever you decide to do, enjoy it and don't hurt people while doing it - that may sound obvious but film school will show you why I say that.

Best of luck,
Andy

PS. Oh and if you want a serious reply from one of the other forum users, you better change your user name to your real first and last name - its pretty strict here.


Thanks for that reply Andy, I hope my user name is more appropriate. So I understand that directing is an amalgamation of everything involved with the film making process? I am moderately technical but coming to a forum like this one, the gulf between me and what people are discussing here seems to be huge.

I find it funny that when I watch films that aren't nessacerily any "good," in my opinion, technically they are pretty much perfect, what with lighting etc. - So in theory the director could put themselves in the position of acquiring the best people possible and take it from there, or rather my question should be how much technical hands on work should the director take on or is expected of them.

Excuse me for the daft questions!
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#4 Andy_Alderslade

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Posted 07 May 2007 - 05:25 PM

Thanks for that reply Andy, I hope my user name is more appropriate. So I understand that directing is an amalgamation of everything involved with the film making process?


Well yes and no, a director needs to be able to express what he wants from each department, he does not need to know how to do such things - necessarliy.

For example a director doesn't need to know how to light or build a set, but he/she needs the skills to express what style or feeling of lighting is required or what the set should be like.

Mostly a director will express these verbally and also in written notes, but also the ability to draw compentantly is a great bonus too. Thats why quite a few directors are quite gifted with a pencil too, Alfred Hitchcock used to draft all his story boards, Tim Burton does drawing and sketches of sets and costumes.

should be how much technical hands on work should the director take on or is expected of them.


Many directors don't know anything 'technical' - 'technical' as in whats going on inside the camera or how to boom swing etc.

Idealy a director should know the more artistic/visual technical formalities of putting a film together - for example they should really know which shots will cut together. Or how to control and shape a performance - those are technical aspects a director should know or understand.

However the perculiarity of the job is that some directors don't even know how shots cut together, they may let the DOP decide on the shots - instead they are perhaps very perceptive about humane behaviour and a good dramatic storyteller and those strengths shine through.

I was supprised when I met Steven Frears (The Queen, The Grifters, High Fidelity) how openly admitent about how limited his understanding of technical and some visual issues, but he's a master of understanding people and how they work and telling a story about their problems.

Someone like Ridley Scott probably knows a lot more about visual aspects, particularly lighting.

I remember the careers advice book found in my old school library said a film director is often someone unable to perform any other job safely - I think the oposite is true often a film director is multi talented, able to perform many different jobs very well - and they are able to apply their multitude of talents and skills to the job, but they are often very different.

They do however have to work incredibly hard to get there.
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#5 Zamir Merali

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Posted 07 May 2007 - 05:28 PM

The directors main job is to analyze the script and decide how it would best be told. Should there be frantic camera moves, dramatic lighting, quick cutting, etc. The director also needs to know how to pace a move so that it feels right. The reason why a movie like Eragon, despite being technically perfect, is terrible compared to E.T, which has a similar storyline . The director of Eragon did not know how the movie should be paced and could not recognize the bad performances his cast were giving. As a result the movie came out paced way to quickly and it didnt let you get close to the characters. The other artists on the crew are supposed to help the director shape the movie although the director has the overall vision.

Also, I think you should make your name two words. Like a first name and a last name seperated by a space. :rolleyes:
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#6 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 07 May 2007 - 07:17 PM

"rosencrantz", you need to go to My Controls and change your Display Name to a real first and last name (with a space inbetween) as per the forum rules. Thanks.
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#7 George Lekovic

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Posted 07 May 2007 - 09:29 PM

Yes,

please do change your name, as per forum's rules...
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#8 james donovan

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Posted 08 May 2007 - 02:30 AM

"rosencrantz", you need to go to My Controls and change your Display Name to a real first and last name (with a space inbetween) as per the forum rules. Thanks.


Hi, it will not let me change at the moment due to an error, will sort it out when i get back from work, thanks,
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Broadcast Solutions Inc

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Aerial Filmworks

Metropolis Post

CineLab

Tai Audio

Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS