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What does a typical day look like as an director ?

Im latianna miller im a 10th grader from hudson high school and I always wanted to know how a day in a life of a director would be like #film #artist #director

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Jennifer’s Answer

Hi Latianna! That's a good question but it is hard to answer because it really depends on the project you are working on and what stage that project is in. A director usually works for himself or a production company, and doesn't typically have to work 9 to 5 in an office, but works depending on the projects she or he gets. Let me give you an example:



  • Imagine you get asked to direct a film or a commercial, well first you would have to start working on revising the script (if it is already written or then you will have to write it yourself!) and then you have to storyboard it or work with someone who will do that for you if you can't draw. You have to spend time looking for a good team to work with you and then talk to them about what you want so they can all know what vision or ideas you have for everything in the film, like costumes, how the rooms where the characters live have to look like, what the film is going to look like. etc Then you also have to work with other people to plan each day of the shoot carefully, what will you shoot first? what days do you need each actor? All important decisions! You will also have to do auditions to find actors you like and rehearse with them so they are prepared when the shoot comes. Then, after all that work you get to shoot the film or commercial! Shoot days can typically last between 10 or 12 hours (very long hours!) but they are the most fun of the whole process because it feels like you are actually playing and the things you imagined in your head become real. It is sometimes stressful because you have to be 100% all the time, answering all the team's questions, talking to the actors, the director of photography and doing takes many times until everything is perfect but it is very rewarding. After the shoot has finished you will have to work with an editor (or edit the film yourself) and make the film look really good by correcting the color or putting in SFX!


All this depends on the project and where you are as a director. Depending on how small your project is, sometimes you have to do all of this yourself! So, all in all, each day in the life of a director can be very different. You also have to spend a lot of time answering emails and trying to get work or trying to get people to believe and invest in your projects, but it is a privilege to be able to work in something that you love, creating beautiful things.


I hope this answers your question! :)

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Cammie’s Answer

Hi Latianna - It really depends based on what kind of organization you work in. Did you have a specific type of company in mind?


Cammie

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Steven’s Answer

Hello Latianna Miller-


A typical day is long. So long it starts the night before, with going over the next day's scenes, shot lists, storyboards, and shooting schedule with various members of our team, especially the producer(s), 1st Assistant Director, Production Manager, and cinematographer at the end of that night's shoot. Early in a production this tends to take longer, as often you fall behind schedule and you need to become more efficient and start making up lost time. Usually once everyone gets used to each other and there is a good communication vibe, things move more quickly. You want to double-check that you haven't forgotten any details, that any equipment that needs to be on the set is going to be there, along with people, obviously.


Then, hopefully you get a decent night's sleep with all those details and other weird stuff (like potential issues with neighbors near your location complaining about the production) swirling around in your head. Then you show up at the set and invariably there are other unanticipated issues that pop up. But you have a crew of wonderful people helping you, and somehow it all works out. As a director your main job once you show up that day is to remain focused on keeping things moving on-schedule, not getting too bogged down with take after take of a certain angle and trusting that you're communicating well with your actors, getting a range of emotions and intensity levels out of them so that there are alternatives to choose from when you go into the editing process. For independent productions, like we just did (I'm putting the link to an interview I just did about the film's process at the bottom of this response) the days go long. Directors during principal photography can be on the set from 7 a.m. until 1 a.m. the next day. Of course this depends on what's being shot that day, and whether the production is on-schedule or behind.


What I described to you is an independent film process. On studio films with bigger budgets there are larger crews and generally things move according to stricter schedules due to union regulations and so on. If I can give you any advice it would be to make as many short films as you can, write your own material if you enjoy that aspect of the process, and just keep learning by doing.


Here's a link to an interview I did a few days ago about one of my group's projects:
http://www.wearemovingstories.com/we-are-moving-stories-videos/2017/5/9/ifs-film-festival-dogs-tacos

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Hank’s Answer

A film Director is the creative author of her film. "A film by..."


But...


Any activity in the broad area of the arts will likely never have a precise definition or even an explanation. Being a film or video Director seems glamorous. It's not. It's one of the most difficult jobs you will ever undertake. There's a reason many Directors are briefly hospitalized after making a film.


That said, it can also be one of the most rewarding. By definition, a Director is..., "responsible for the performance." Directors on small films usually end up doing a lot more, but everything else will be a distraction. It's important to remember that. And a Director will make a ton of decisions every day of a film shoot. Here's a brief article on that very topic.


Also, your responsibilities will likely be different if you signed on to direct someone else's project versus your own. If it's your own or that of a friend or colleague where you are clearly a collaborator, then one of the best decisions you can make is to bring a great First Assistant Director on board. You are the Captain and the 1st AD is the top kick sergeant. A good 1st will deal with the crew and keep everything flowing, allowing you to focus on the story and your actors.


A Director is partly responsible for placing the camera, but not 100%. A Director needs to rely on her D.P. But bear in mind that everyone wants to be a Director. You may have to assert yourself during the production to prevent your film from being spirited away by your team. You will always walk the sharp (and often painful) edge between being kind and being decisive.


There's a collection of one-hour videos called the Director's Series out there. Each DVD focuses on the career of one generally well-known Director. Google around or check your library. Most are pretty good.


Much of what I've said pertains to smaller films crewed by marginally professional individuals. If you move higher on the professionalism scale, you may encounter these sorts of issues less frequently. But they never completely go away.


Break a leg!

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Jerry’s Answer

Hello Latianna,

The answers you have received so far are all good. I will take it a couple different directions. A Director in the IT industry spends their time in two major areas. The first is usually dealing with customer escalations. Think about a company that just had a major upgrade to their Network and things did not go as planned. The Director usually gets involved as the point person to get all the correct support players to resolve the escalation. The second is usually personnel. They usually oversee a large group or team and have a number of associates reporting directly to them. In this case, there are usually a number of problems the Director is responsible for.

The second scenario would be a Director in Retail. Most of their day is spent usually addressing two issues too. The first is always around personnel. Keeping all of the retail stores staffed with Managers and Assistant Managers is a very time consuming job and it is always in motion. You lose people because Retail is not cut out for them and you have to replace them. You promote people to fill open positions and you have to back fill those positions. It can be very time consuming. The second major time filler is the numbers. The only way to survive in Retail is to make sure you have sales to keep the business running. When you have a store that the sales are down you ask the question why? When you have a store where the sales are strong you ask the question how can we capitalize on that and get additional sales and share that success and what they are doing right with other locations. You are constantly watching the P&L (Profit and Loss) statements for your territory.

Hope this helps!

Jerry

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