Friday, February 6, 2009

So you wanna be a movie director!

In my industry, filmmaking, I would say that 90% of the people I come across want to be a Director. I guess it's not a shocker-- people in banking don't want to be a Teller at the end of their road-- they want to be a president or an officer. In the military, you don't want to be a private or lieutenant when you retire.

The director of a movie, in the secular world, is called the god of the set. What he wants, he gets. And dozens (or in some cases hundreds or even thousands) are running around to make his wishes come true. Yeah and you can see where this is heading-- many directors become "personality challenged" because they can't deal with the Ego. At what point do you turn off the "god" abilities? That can be a gray line that's easily crossed.

So you want to direct movies? Well, first, deal with your Ego. Learn how to kill it daily. Then... well, the road is varied and very narrow. Some people come to the directors chair via an incredibly well-written script they penned. Because it's sooo good, she can hold the script ransom in return for the director's chair. Very rarely does this happen, but it does. (Ben Younger, "Boiler Room" comes to mind).
For some, they are accomplished actors who gain some clout to be able to ask for the chair. Mel, Clint, et al.

A few rise from the rank and file of the BTL (below the line) crew. Maybe an exceptional Assistant Director jumps the large canyon from AD to director. But this is even more rare.

A little less rare is the person who raises or finds money for his film and gets to direct it. This is usually a low budget, very indie film, with investors who are not in the movie business. Or she directs her no budget short. And it's really good so she uses that to get the helm of a full length feature.

These are just a few of the hundred paths to the director's chair. If you really want it, you will most likely have to pay your dues. And even then, you will most likely not get to do it.

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