Making a movie is a privilege. Many aspiring directors go to film school and work as apprentices each year. However, few follow through and find themselves in the esteemed position of directing a feature film. If you are a first-time director, consider these essential tips for success on the set.
Surround Yourself with Talented, Honest People
The last thing you want on a film set are "yes" men. Make sure that you are surrounded by talented crew members who are encouraged to be honest with you without facing negative consequences. Hire talented, experienced people to work on the film. Also, reassure them that you can handle the truth when they think there is an issue that should be addressed on the set.
Have Ongoing Discussions with the Actors
Directors usually learn quickly that actors must trust them, or they are not likely to feel comfortable enough to be vulnerable and give an excellent performance. Therefore, it's extremely important for you to create a positive professional relationship with your actors. Sit down with your actors before you even start rehearsing to share your thoughts on the individual characters and story. Ask for their thoughts and feelings on their characters, too.
Also, coaxing the best performance from an actor often takes knowing what works for the individual. Every actor will excel a little differently. Express your appreciation for the work each actor does. Heap praise on actors when they deliver a strong performance in a scene.
Stick to the Budget
Many actors make the mistake of thinking that things will just work out without careful planning. They may spend too much money on one scene while hoping that they can cut something else from the budget later on. It's not always possible to do that without the film suffering. Make sure that you have a careful budget for each scene and stick to it.
Take Chances Only When They Serve the Story
A lot of new directors mess up when they try to make a film too artsy for the sake of being unusual or innovative. The film will ultimately suffer if you try to experiment without a purpose. It's good to take chances and let your creativity soar, but you should always keep the story first and foremost in mind when deciding if something is going to work for the movie. If it brings the audience out of the story and doesn't move it forward, the scene probably doesn't belong in the movie.
Finally, making a great movie is within the power of every director. Stay true to your vision and listen to the opinion of those you trust on the set. When you work hard, follow these tips and keep stellar storytelling as the focus of your movie, you are setting yourself up for success.
To learn more about film production, consult a resource in your area.