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Are Directors Narcissists?


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#1 Justin Hayward

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Posted 20 October 2014 - 11:27 PM

I regularly direct commercials and short projects and other things.  When I'm directing, I am a dictator. I'm running 100% on instinct and I don't listen to anyone that has an opinion outside of my own. That said, once the spot is done, I am a slave to other peoples opinions. I turn to jelly. I recently read a definition of a narcissist, and one of the qualities a narcissist possesses is being a slave to other peoples opinions.  I really need to work on this, because I don't want anyone to think I'm a narcissist... Ever.

 

Are any of you the definition of "narcissist"? 
 


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#2 Bill DiPietra

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Posted 21 October 2014 - 04:53 PM

I regularly direct commercials and short projects and other things.  When I'm directing, I am a dictator. I'm running 100% on instinct and I don't listen to anyone that has an opinion outside of my own. That said, once the spot is done, I am a slave to other peoples opinions. I turn to jelly. I recently read a definition of a narcissist, and one of the qualities a narcissist possesses is being a slave to other peoples opinions.  I really need to work on this, because I don't want anyone to think I'm a narcissist... Ever.

 

Are any of you the definition of "narcissist"? 
 

 

If I were you, I would concern myself more with being a self-proclaimed dictator.

 

The director is the one who has the vision, yes.  But if he or she does not listen to other peoples' creative opinions, it makes for a very single-minded project (whatever it may be.)  And they are usually easy to spot because you can sense the lack of creative freedom that was given.

 

As a director, I always know what I want.  But I also make sure everyone on the team knows that I want to hear their ideas.  The worst case scenario is that I say "No.  Nice idea, but it won't work."  Granted, commercials present different challenges than short films.  But nine times out of ten, the project is made better when you let others contribute their ideas.


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#3 Michael LaVoie

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Posted 21 October 2014 - 05:50 PM

I think your approach of singular vision  is valid.  It's usually good to stick to a plan when you're on set.  There's rarely time to have committee like discussions on things.  However, I think that in the prep stages, that's the time to get everyone's input and ideas on things.  Even if it's just to ignore it.  Act like you care and you want to hear everyone's ideas.  When people around you feel like they're creatively engaged in the project, they tend to work a little better.  Cause they're invested in it.  So, in the interest of not having people think of you as an egomaniac, I recommend taking their input during the prep stages and later on, let everyone know that while on set during the production, if they have suggestions, to direct them to the A.D. and let the A.D. filter through what's important and relevant for you to consider.  Then you'll at least appear like someone who's collaborative.


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#4 Justin Hayward

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Posted 21 October 2014 - 08:14 PM

Guys, I set this up wrong, my bad.  I wasn't referring to collaborating with the people working with me on set or micromanaging everyone.  Collaborating with the crew is part of the job.  Collaborating with agencies is required or they won't hire me again. I'm talking about being totally and honestly confident in what I like and don't like on set. If the DP presents something better than what I planned, I'm all over it because I honestly agree with them or I honestly don't.  I'm talking about honest confidence in one's own work.

 

It's the loss of that honest confidence whether something is good or bad after I've completed it that's a drag.  After a project is finished, my opinion of the job hangs on the opinion of others.  If someone tells me the work is genius, I'll agree immediately.  If they tell me it sucks, I'll agree shortly... after my self pity party.  I can't really be objective until much time has past.


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#5 Bill DiPietra

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Posted 21 October 2014 - 08:31 PM

Guys, I set this up wrong, my bad.  I wasn't referring to collaborating with the people working with me on set or micromanaging everyone.  Collaborating with the crew is part of the job.  Collaborating with agencies is required or they won't hire me again. I'm talking about being totally and honestly confident in what I like and don't like on set. If the DP presents something better than what I planned, I'm all over it because I honestly agree with them or I honestly don't.  I'm talking about honest confidence in one's own work.

 

It's the loss of that honest confidence whether something is good or bad after I've completed it that's a drag.  After a project is finished, my opinion of the job hangs on the opinion of others.  If someone tells me the work is genius, I'll agree immediately.  If they tell me it sucks, I'll agree shortly... after my self pity party.  I can't really be objective until much time has past.

 

Ah!...different story!...lol

 

Confidence in your decision-making is probably the most important thing to have as a director.  Everyone is looking to you for artistic leadership.  Sounds like you have that down on-set.  Don't be swayed by others' opinions afterwards.  If you think it's the greatest thing since sliced bread...stick with that attitude.  The confidence will probably get you re-hired.  If you think it's garbage, keep it to yourself but always be aware of what you can improve for next time.  But make sure they are your opinions.

 

On a side note, I checked your website and you have some nice stuff up there.  So you're doing something right,


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#6 George Ebersole

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Posted 22 October 2014 - 01:12 PM

Mister Hayward, if you constantly look at your past work, be it a commercial for glass cleaner, chili, cars, what have you, and perpetually show your reel to your wife and at parties at your house, and then cite whatever awards your won, and then tell funny anecdotes about B-list "celebs" working on your shoots, then YES, you are a narcissist.  

 

Otherwise I wouldn't worry about.


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#7 Richard Boddington

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Posted 22 October 2014 - 10:35 PM

Justin, people rip on my movies all over the internet

 

After a project is finished, my opinion of the job hangs on the opinion of others.  If someone tells me the work is genius, I'll agree immediately.  If they tell me it sucks, I'll agree shortly... after my self pity party.  I can't really be objective until much time has past.

 

Justin, people rip on my movies all over the internet.  The family genre brings out the worst in some people for reasons I don't quite understand.  I have no idea what "Red Box" is, we don't have it in Canada, but man those people sure do hate my last movie.  :D

 

I agree with Woody Allen 100%, "If you believe them when they say you are good, then you have to believe them when they say you are bad."

 

In brief who gives a *bleep* what people say? It goes with this job, you create and the chips will fall where they may.

 

R,


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#8 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 22 October 2014 - 11:00 PM

We are all narcissists, the only question is whether the condition is mild enough to leave us functional or extreme enough to make us dysfunctional.


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#9 Anthony Schilling

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Posted 15 November 2014 - 08:13 PM

It's a pathological focus on the self, most actors and actresses are narcissists. 


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#10 Diego Treves

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Posted 06 October 2015 - 02:43 PM

I regularly direct commercials and short projects and other things.  When I'm directing, I am a dictator. I'm running 100% on instinct and I don't listen to anyone that has an opinion outside of my own. That said, once the spot is done, I am a slave to other peoples opinions. I turn to jelly. I recently read a definition of a narcissist, and one of the qualities a narcissist possesses is being a slave to other peoples opinions.  I really need to work on this, because I don't want anyone to think I'm a narcissist... Ever.

 

Are any of you the definition of "narcissist"? 
 

 

I am replying without reading others' replies first.

 

But the definition you are giving of Narcissism is more of a technical definition, like a psychological one: like highlighting all the traits of a narcissistic personality.

 

What common people refer to when they judge someone as a narc. are more rough and less subtle features, not listening to anyone else's opinion being perhaps one of them.

 

So, in your case, I would say that it's more likely you'd be called a narc. for your self-sufficiency on the job than for your dependency to other people's opinion. According to what you said of course


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#11 Macks Fiiod

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Posted 05 February 2017 - 08:01 AM

One could argue light to heavy narcissistic tendencies are required to make it in competitive fields. Creating an ego for yourself may not be the best thing on set, but creating an ego for the work culture you wish to articulate and establish while allowing others to join in could be beneficial for crew morale.


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#12 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 05 February 2017 - 01:36 PM

The old rule is "Take your work seriously and don't take yourself seriously rather than the other way around."


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#13 Macks Fiiod

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Posted 05 February 2017 - 01:51 PM

Everyone seems to be reaching similar conclusions but I'm legitimately trying to think of a director who's gone off the deep end on set, lost in power, etc. I've heard plenty of actors do it, but no behind the camera people at all, at least not publicized.


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#14 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 05 February 2017 - 02:01 PM

Not publicized is the operative phrase here, but there's nothing new about people in charge of things having power trips, it's not limited to any one industry.


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#15 Macks Fiiod

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Posted 05 February 2017 - 02:31 PM

I mean, yeah I guess. I just feel like for every TMZ "actor freakout" there's a "director freakout" or "grip freakout" somewhere out there.

 

One could say "there's no famous grips" but the public seems to take in freakouts regardless of the individual's status. Not every fight video on YouTube features celebrities after all.


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