3 Basic Directing Tips For Indie Filmmakers - Raindance

Dear Filmmakers,

It seems as though we have covered most of the industry roles in our videos and articles, except for one of the most important ones – directing! Kat and Dušan are back with their filmmaking tips and in this article we are going to list some basic points and discuss what makes a good quality film director. The director controls a film’s technical and dramatic aspects, and is tasked with the job of putting the screenplay on the big screen while also taking care of the cast and crew.


The Basics of Being a Director

Let’s list some of the basic personality traits that you as a director should consider developing when embarking on the journey of making your film:

A good director has to:

  • Have a strong vision
    • You need to believe in your idea more than anybody in the world. Your vision needs to be really clear to you so that you can make other people see how passionate you are about what you want to create!
  • Be confident in their idea
    • There is no such thing as the perfect film or perfect idea – you need to make films all the time in order to learn from your mistakes, so don’t sit around for too long with one idea and just go out and make it into a film.
  • Be collaborative
    • Remember that filmmaking is a collaborative process – a good director needs to want to work with people and be surrounded by people most of the time. You need to find a way to make your collaborators want to work with you in the future.
  • Be inspiring
    • Be the best version of yourself and enjoy what you do – trust me, this is enough to inspire.
  • Be respectful
    • This is a no-brainer. You HAVE to respect everyone and anyone you are working with. You need to respect the time, effort, talent and money that people put into a project. Check out this article we wrote on set etiquette for more useful tips.
  • Be aware of the budget
    • We indie filmmakers need to make sure we create within our budget. Make sure to have a good producer on your project, but still be aware of what you have and what you can make.

The Director During Production

The director is considered to be the auteur of the film, so it goes without saying that it would be best for her or him to be involved in all of the stages of the production – to a certain extent. Let’s take a quick look at what a director does during the different parts of production:


  • The director develops the script with the screenwriter
  • Creates a visual style with the Director of Photography
  • Works on a filming schedule with the 1st Assistant Director
  • Makes creative decisions while the producer manages the logistics


  • Motivates the crew
  • Tries to get the best out of actors
  • Has to make sure to get all the shots

Post production

  • Works closely with editor after 1st cut

Check out what director Patty Jenkins says about transitioning from directing independent films to entering the studio system

Different types of directors

With saying all of these things, the most important thing about any kind of position you wish to pursue is that you develop your own unique style of directing. Watch and listen to what people before you have done and pick up what works best for you. Here’s a couple of types directors we’ve all encountered at some point in our lives:

Techie director

  • A director that comes from a technical background – shares many similar traits with a director of photography. Is very focused on the visual aspects of filmmaking, and loves anything that has to do with cameras, angles and equipment. Doesn’t really focus on the acting side of directing as the love and passion lies within the camera.directing indie film

Performance director

  • The director who is all about performance – shares many similar traits with a theatre director. Probably an actor/actress who enjoys developing characters and story, rehearsals and getting the best out of the actors. Isn’t that confident in the technical aspects of making a film and relies on the director of photography.film directing

Introvert director

  • The quiet director who uses only but a few words to describe what they need to get out of the film. Is quite shy on set and gives the floor to the 1st AD while shooting.directing

Guerrilla director

  • The extremely passionate director who doesn’t really care all that much about structure, lives from day to day and feeds off the adrenaline. As long as there are things happening around them and a film is being shot this director’s creativity blossoms



So just always remember that there are no strict rules to how you approach the art of directing, as long as you have a vision and respect the people that you work with.


Book of the week: Naked Cinema by Sally Potter


Read more about Kathryn Butt here!

Have you considered coming to our Hands-On Directing with the legendary Patrick Tucker?



Dušan (pronounced (Scooby) Doo Shawn) joined the Raindance team as Campaign and Community Manager in 2018 after pursuing an extensive career in reviewing cheese. After acquiring a BA in Media and Marketing in Serbia, he completed an extensive year in filmmaking which lead to an MA in Film and TV Production from the Cambridge School of Arts. You can find him vigorously supporting indie filmmakers whilst pursuing a career in acting at the same time.

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