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Question about the top directors


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#1 Lance Tang

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Posted 29 July 2010 - 12:30 AM

Once you are an established director, are you then pretty much hired by production companies, paid a salary, and then do your work and movie goes to theatres?

Or is it more like, you still need to come up with your own financing, make the movie, and then sell your movie to companies, etc.

Also part 2 of this question is, how do the top directors get to the top? Was it through making lower budget films and then slowly working their way up? I'm not talking about guys who already had connections to film industry (like an experienced actor), but the kids who went to film school, made their films, and then somehow got signed to do a multi-million dollar film (think Justin Lin)
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#2 Brian Drysdale

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Posted 29 July 2010 - 04:14 AM

They have agents, many of whom put together packages with their stars and writers. They often have a good producer who works with them putting the production together.

There are no set rules, but having TV drama experience is another route, together with commercials and a element of luck in the projects you are given or manage to get. They also make connections using their low budget films, so that the "somehow" falls into place.

Edited by Brian Drysdale, 29 July 2010 - 04:17 AM.

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#3 Lance Tang

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Posted 29 July 2010 - 06:04 AM

They have agents, many of whom put together packages with their stars and writers. They often have a good producer who works with them putting the production together.

There are no set rules, but having TV drama experience is another route, together with commercials and a element of luck in the projects you are given or manage to get. They also make connections using their low budget films, so that the "somehow" falls into place.


I am more interested in how they got to that level. I mean you can't just get an agent right off the bat right?
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#4 Brian Drysdale

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Posted 29 July 2010 - 07:29 AM

They get paying work on whatever they can.

Directors tend to work from production to production. They can come up with projects of their own that either they produce more likely get involved with producers who want to work with them. Good producers are an important element who enable a director's productions to happen or who will employ them on a production that they're making.

There's no set path, you need to build up the right contacts together with having some talent - that "who you know rather than what you know" thing. You need to build up your own connections, if you don't come from an industry background. You may make your own films, but you've got to use them to build up your contacts for the future.
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#5 Richard Boddington

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Posted 06 August 2010 - 04:05 PM

Well I know one guy personally who went from short film to 85 million dollar Hollywood movie all in one easy step. Now he's on his second.

It's a rare feat....but it just shows how a well made short film can open doors.

I've also seen a lot of excellent short films that got the director no place at all.

This whole industry is a riddle, no one can figure it out.

R,
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#6 Jon Rosenbloom

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Posted 10 August 2010 - 11:13 AM

Easiest job in the world: TV series Director. All the creative pressure is on the writers. DP and Operators know how the show is supposed is to look. Actors know their characters. You've got eight days to make a 43 minute show, so almost every scene is master, over, over and let's move on, so there's not a lot of getting too creative.
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#7 Richard Boddington

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Posted 10 August 2010 - 01:40 PM

Easiest job in the world: TV series Director. All the creative pressure is on the writers. DP and Operators know how the show is supposed is to look. Actors know their characters. You've got eight days to make a 43 minute show, so almost every scene is master, over, over and let's move on, so there's not a lot of getting too creative.


All valid points. Heck they even re-use the opening credits and music from week-to-week.

Only one problem, getting on the approved list of 18 guys that do this sort of work. Very very tough, akin to buying lottery tickets.

R,
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#8 Tim O'Connor

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Posted 10 August 2010 - 11:40 PM

All valid points. Heck they even re-use the opening credits and music from week-to-week.

Only one problem, getting on the approved list of 18 guys that do this sort of work. Very very tough, akin to buying lottery tickets.

R,


Some shows have regular directors who used to DP those same shows, so those guys really know how
those shows work. "Law and Order" for example has many episodes directed by Christopher Misiano and
Jean deSegonzac. I'll bet that experience must help production efficiency and give them more time to focus
on working with actors.

Richard, is there anything that you can say about the director you mentioned? Did his short film win a festival(s)
or was it seen by just the right person? Was it a 35mm. short made by a crew of industry people or something
that was done amazingly well with a Mini-DV camera and some friends helping?
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#9 Richard Boddington

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Posted 11 August 2010 - 09:42 AM

Richard, is there anything that you can say about the director you mentioned? Did his short film win a festival(s)
or was it seen by just the right person?


All of the above. It was made by semi-pros with a no name cast.

R,
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#10 Tim O'Connor

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Posted 11 August 2010 - 11:38 AM

All of the above. It was made by semi-pros with a no name cast.

R,



That's great.
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#11 George Ebersole

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Posted 13 August 2010 - 02:29 PM

Well I know one guy personally who went from short film to 85 million dollar Hollywood movie all in one easy step. Now he's on his second.

It's a rare feat....but it just shows how a well made short film can open doors.

I've also seen a lot of excellent short films that got the director no place at all.

This whole industry is a riddle, no one can figure it out.

R,

It's a matter of how much money the film makes back; i.e. does it pay for itself and then some? You could shoot the most beautiful, moving, publicly and critically acclaimed movie of all time. But if it doesn't gross dollar one, then you're screwed. A few exceptions. Some companies will probably try to harvest that talent into something profitable. But you as the director need to connect with the audience to make them want to come back for more. More audience equals more money, which equals you getting hired.

For commercials and industrials it's the same thing, only it isn't ticket sales but product purchase that's the indicator.
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#12 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 13 August 2010 - 03:14 PM

I guess this is why things like CSI get so repetitive, saying the same thing over and over again, repeating themselves, and being redundantly redundant.
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#13 Brian Drysdale

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Posted 13 August 2010 - 04:16 PM

I guess this is why things like CSI get so repetitive, saying the same thing over and over again, repeating themselves, and being redundantly redundant.


That's more writers, script editors and producers, rather than the directors who are less important in TV.
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