Andrew Stevens FoolProof Filmmaking for Directors
Countless people aspire to direct movies. Some try their entire lives to have their movie made only to fail. Others get opportunities to direct and squander those opportunities in a number of ways, either out of not having the tools to be ready when the opportunity arises, or out of a misguided, self-serving agenda.
As much as the artistic side of us does not want to acknowledge this, films are products that are imported and exported in all territories around the world. They are manufactured for the purpose of making a profit. Each film, depending on the elements it contains, such as budget, genre, stars, production values and domestic release plan has a definitive, worst-case market value just like real estate and to exceed this market value in production costs is a recipe for failure.
If you as an aspiring director want to make filmmaking a career, there are several musts that any director must adhere to, otherwise you risk making one film and never being given another opportunity:
- You must be fiscally responsible and stay within the time and budgetary constraints you’ve been given;
- You must stay true to the genre of the film you’re being entrusted to make;
- You must be malleable and have the ability to engage fluid shifting strategy if your plan on a given day for any number of reasons is not possible or feasible;
- You must be a good communicator with actors and crew and inspire them rather than alienate them;
- You must treat your producer, distributors, investors and completion bond company (if applicable) with deference and respect;
- You must have editorial knowledge, as well as knowledge of music and it’s power when used appropriately;
- You must realize that delivering a film with the expected elements and within the genre that you’ve been entrusted to deliver, rather than having a personal agenda to create something that you feel might artistically better show your talents, is of paramount importance.
If you deliver an excellent product within the structure you’ve been given and your film performs and makes money for the investors and the territorial distributors, you will become an asset and desirable for future projects rather than becoming a negative that no one wants to work with again. Now more than ever, with a discerning world and market, it is fundamentally important for directors to understand the business side of the business as well as the creative side, because in today’s world one cannot exist without the other.