Notice to Directors – Tag, You’re It
December 13, 2008 Leave a comment
The topic of directing in general is a little scary to most of us. There are reputations at stake and careers on the line. The flow of spirit, vision and creative collaboration that it takes to make a film can be intimidating. If your momentum is stopped in some manner, the whole project becomes clouded with doubt and apprehension. Film crew of all stripes can smell that arrested movement almost immediately – sometimes even before the Director and Producers.
The purpose of this article is to give the director another philosophical viewpoint to help stabilize his/her ability to create. It may even sound at direct odds to what you would normally think. Here it is:
Collaborate with the Producers By ‘Directing’ the Money
Beneath the noble flows of creative spirit and collaboration runs the green flow of money. NOTHING happens without a corresponding effect on that money flow. Begin to think like a film director, but in the area of money flows. (It’s really just a minor skill, like playing bridge.) Would a good director worry about the small stuff? (Okay, maybe, but let’s hope not.) Then don’t put your attention on every penny – think in concepts of $1,000 at a time.
Keep those creative juices flowing; however, like it or not, your performance is measured to some degree by how well you can ‘Direct the Money’ – in whatever level of production you choose, but especially if you’re an aspiring, or working, Film Director. How well you can do that is how well you control your career in film.
Anything that’s bought (I mean ANYTHING) is tracked and compared to the budget. Every conceivable type of film equipment, prop-holding rooms, toilet paper, you name it, is compared to the ‘approved budget’. But, you’re not going to get fired because you wasted toilet paper. On the other hand, if you ‘Direct the Money’ (and know it when you’re doing it) by borrowing the Construction Department’s forklift for a couple of hours, instead of renting your another one, you’re ‘Directing the Money’. Now you just need to learn how to parley that into a truce with the Studio Exec, Producer, Production Manager, etc. by talking competently in terms of budgets and costs.
The very first task is to be able to make comments intelligently about the budget. Read the shooting schedule (and other script breakdowns) from a viewpoint of money. Ask the accountant what is the average cost of shooting per day and multiply by the number of shooting days. Become familiar with the terms of the budget and learn how to comment about the most important elements (read as, know what categories of costs could benefit you, or hurt you, the most). Become familiar with the ‘look’ and presentation of a budget, so that you’re not mistaking a subtotal line for an expense (actually, I’ve seen that happen too often to laugh).
So, yes collaborate with the Producer, but get in there and change your viewpoint …… Tag, you’re it.
Check out my free articles at http://www.talkfilm.biz/filmarticles.htm for more information on how to Direct the Money.
When you read my articles, print them out. Make your own examples. Reread them. Email me if you get stuck. You’ll find that you’ll be way out in front of the pack! For the full information, simply click this link Walk The Talk to buy the book.