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Set Positions that can lead to Director position


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#1 Miguel Zamora Jr

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Posted 07 March 2012 - 08:33 PM

I am a current Film Student, and am wondering what kind of positions I should gear for that can lead me towards a career as a Film Director. I was thinking of working as a Grip, but I'm seeing they work more with the DP, and it seems more geared towards that path. I was also thinking of Editor.

I basically want to be able to have a job that will A: Help me pay ends meet when I am out of college and B: Will help further expose me to the type of connections that I need to make in order to become a Director.

Thank you,

Miguel

Edited by Miguel Zamora Jr, 07 March 2012 - 08:34 PM.

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#2 Brian Dzyak

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Posted 07 March 2012 - 09:45 PM

The real answer to this question is much to long to explain in a forum format, which is why I wrote the book "What I Really Want to Do: On Set in Hollywood." Once you read it, you'll understand how the industry works and then you'll get a better idea of what jobs MAY help you become a working Director and which jobs won't and why they won't.

But I'll try to summarize a bit. First, ANYBODY from anywhere has a shot at building a career as a working Director. It doesn't matter if you went to film school or not. Some things can help, like being a whiz in film school, but even that is no guarantee. Many working Directors either begin that way directing a short film that gets attention somehow... or they fall into a directing opportunity coming from other jobs in the industry, such as Screenwriter, Director of Photography, First Assistant Director, Editor, Production Designer. Those jobs in particular are perceived as "artistic" in some way plus they have direct access to studio executives and Producers who have access to the green light.

The problem with trying to work their way up through the ranks as a crew person is that you are seen as a non-artistic cog. This isn't to say that you can't make the leap to Director from Grip or Camera AC or anything else, but the odds are less than if you make a first impression on a Producer in some other artistic way.

If directing is what you really want to do, then you are best off just trying to start off that way by making a movie. Or if you are a great writer, try to get into the industry as a Screenwriter. There is no one way to do this, but there are things you can do to improve the odds and first is understanding how the industry really works.
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#3 Miguel Zamora Jr

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Posted 07 March 2012 - 10:22 PM

Very interesting, Brian, thank you. I am looking at the book, now. I am currently living out of NY, and I understand that California is THE feature film haven, but is there any thing to be said about pursuing that path out here in NY?
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#4 Brian Drysdale

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Posted 17 March 2012 - 03:04 AM

To be a director you usually have to direct your own short films and often make a low budget feature film. I suspect the route is the same no matter where you are, it helps if you've got a producer or at least a would be producer working with you.

Another on set position that could lead to directing is being an actor. It's a more likely route than being a grip or a number of the other crew positions.
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#5 Stephen Williams

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Posted 17 March 2012 - 04:20 AM

To be a director you usually have to direct your own short films and often make a low budget feature film. I suspect the route is the same no matter where you are, it helps if you've got a producer or at least a would be producer working with you.

Another on set position that could lead to directing is being an actor. It's a more likely route than being a grip or a number of the other crew positions.


As Brian says, however there is a potential shortcut if your a writer, if something you write is sucessful, there is a good chance you will be able to 'insist' on directing the next blockbuster.
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#6 Richard Boddington

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Posted 18 March 2012 - 10:24 PM

Shortest route possible, producer. Get the money and you can write your own ticket to do anything you want. ;)

R,
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#7 Stephen Williams

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Posted 19 March 2012 - 01:50 AM

Shortest route possible, producer. Get the money and you can write your own ticket to do anything you want. ;)

R,


That was your route, you even made money on the first film!
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#8 Richard Boddington

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Posted 19 March 2012 - 03:52 PM

That was your route, you even made money on the first film!


Yep, but I gambled, not sure I recommend that to everyone. :blink:

R,
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#9 Miguel Zamora Jr

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Posted 20 March 2012 - 09:29 AM

Thank you everyone! This was all very helpful!
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Visual Products

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Tai Audio

Aerial Filmworks

Broadcast Solutions Inc

rebotnix Technologies

Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS

Metropolis Post

Rig Wheels Passport

Abel Cine

CineTape

Wooden Camera

Technodolly