Short Film Toolkit Direct It

Write It | Plan it | Shoot It | Direct It | Edit It Show It

Step 8. Directing

We could talk about directing for ages, but here are a few pointers.

Do you want to become known as an indie auteur? Your challenge as a director is wrapping the story into a distinctive visual style. Be fearless, but stay grounded in your story. Chances are, you have something to say, so the challenge is finding the best way to say it without. As “Calendar Girls” director Nigel Cole put it, it’s a fine balance between subtlety and clarity.

In a more practical way, you need to know what you want when you’re shooting, and know how to get it.  So you can’t be afraid to do another take. Obsessive directors such as Warren Beatty or David Fincher have been reported to sometimes go over 100 takes to get it right, and if you take a look at their filmography, you know they did.

Reshoots are expensive, and virtually non-existent in indie film, so be confident enough in yourself, in your vision and in your material to do what is necessary to get it right. You can’t even afford to go to 100 takes, because you’re on a no-budget production. That means you need to be effective, hence be super prepared.

Efficiency can be learned by thinking like a producer. (It will help you, and the relationship with your producer.) But don’t forget: effective certainly doesn’t mean cheap, and it doesn’t mean you can’t do grandiose or extravagant.

Write It | Plan it | Shoot It | Direct It | Edit It | Show It