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Value of the Director

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Rich RubaschValue of the Director
by on Nov 6, 2012 at 3:07:41 am

Hi guys....can't believe that today I tried my best to explain what a director brings to the production....and I might have failed. What's worse, this video is being redone because the first time they didn't have a director!

So in the fewest words you can, make your best argument or explain what the director brings to the party....things that otherwise would make an inferior product. Every angle I tried the client just kept saying that it wasn't enough to justify the cost. That they could do it themselves and had done it before. And the reason we are doing it over is because the person they interviewed didn't deliver a coherent message.

When I suggested that a good director would have made him look great, it didn't resonate.

Totally befuddling. Thoughts?

Rich Rubasch
Tilt Media Inc.
Video Production, Post, Studio Sound Stage
Founder/President/Editor/Designer/Animator
http://www.tiltmedia.com


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Mike SmithRe: Value of the Director
by on Nov 6, 2012 at 9:47:21 am

This client may be beyond help ... I guess you just need to be very clear on what's the crew's responsibility and what's up to them if they don't have you supply a director.


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Michael GriggsRe: Value of the Director
by on Nov 6, 2012 at 4:48:50 pm

I would say the director is like the Editor, except he's actually on set. His responsibility is to make sure the message is delivered, the same way the Editor's job is to make sure it's coherent.

Or you could put it this way....When the footage is delivered to Post, and some critical piece is missing/jumbled/down-right-wrong, he's the one who gets blamed, cuz it was his responsibility to make sure everything necessary was all there correctly before calling the shoot wrapped.


Or in the case of a one-man-band that shoots and edits, you look in the mirror and say, "get your S#*! together!"

:-)


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Todd TerryRe: Value of the Director
by on Nov 6, 2012 at 6:34:23 pm

Well I logged in to write my response, but then realized I'm too dumbfounded to do so.

"There's all these people here in the operating room... do we really need the surgeon? Seems like a wasted expense."

T2

__________________________________
Todd Terry
Creative Director
Fantastic Plastic Entertainment, Inc.
fantasticplastic.com



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Malcolm MatuskyRe: Value of the Director
by on Nov 6, 2012 at 7:11:31 pm

Director! they don't push any buttons on the equipment! Useless... don't films make themselves?

I watched an industrial recently, the production company was Florida based, they hired a local shooter to interview at a doctors clinic, shoot some b-roll and ship the footage back to Florida. The editor used more stock footage than was shot on location and the "interview" was pathetic, the subject was looking off camera and never connecting with the audience, mostly voice over was used to tell people how great the doctor was, hardly believable. No one from the "production company" ever went to the location, they made a "profit" and the "loss" was the clients.

I do not know how some people can operate like that, I'm 100% involved with my projects. They must have had a fantastic salesman to pitch that project.

Malcolm
http://www.malcolmproductions.com


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Mark SuszkoRe: Value of the Director
by on Nov 6, 2012 at 10:07:06 pm

I would describe the Director's role in terms of the General Contractor on a house-building project. He knows a lot about each of the sub-contractor's jobs, knows what they need and when. Because of that knowledge, he can communicate the client's needs and the Director's overall vision for the project to each member of the team. He coordinates these subs and the crew while keeping the overall vision of the project intact. Where there are differences of opinion or aesthetics, or problems pop up, its the Director's personal vision that rules and keeps the effort unified.

You could also go with a team captain sports metaphor.


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Greg BallRe: Value of the Director
by on Nov 6, 2012 at 10:03:54 pm

Interpreting the script and making it into a video. This can involve planning locations, shots, pacing, acting styles and anything else which affects the feel of the video.

Overseeing the shooting and technical aspects, including lighting, sound, framing, etc.
Coaching actors and non professional talent and directing them towards the best and most believable performance
Coordinating the staff on set, directing the shooting timetable and ensuring that deadlines are met.

All of this takes knowledge and experience.



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Todd TerryRe: Value of the Director
by on Nov 8, 2012 at 6:25:51 pm

Curiosity is getting the best of me about Rich's original post...

In the original shoot... if there was no "director," was there at least a producer? Who was calling the shots (if it was the producer, then they were the defacto director)? I've yet to see a leaderless film crew suddenly break out and start making a movie.

At minimum there is someone making it happen (even if it is badly)... whether it be the producer, the camera operator acting as his or her own director, or someone...

T2

__________________________________
Todd Terry
Creative Director
Fantastic Plastic Entertainment, Inc.
fantasticplastic.com



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Rich RubaschRe: Value of the Director
by on Nov 9, 2012 at 7:25:34 pm

It was the client...then the brazen CFO came in and started asking his own questions....then the COO came in over his shoulder and said they might try it this way....and so on.

We got such a jumbled mess of sound bites that we didn't make a compelling video....but we did it with their budget (which didn't include a director).

We saw the questions in advance, we had a DP, Gaffer sound and makeup...then the client did their best to ask the questions and make the guy (their co-worker) feel comfortable and answer the questions....they just didn't know exactly how to make sure we got good stuff that would work in edit.

Then there is the fact that they thought they knew what the purpose of the video would be, but that changed after they saw the interview.

Rich Rubasch
Tilt Media Inc.
Video Production, Post, Studio Sound Stage
Founder/President/Editor/Designer/Animator
http://www.tiltmedia.com


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Malcolm MatuskyRe: Value of the Director
by on Nov 9, 2012 at 8:52:33 pm

If the "client" was also the producer, and hired you as technical crew, then they got what they deserved, even if they are stupid.

"Just because you can watch T.V; doesn't mean you can make it!"

I'm a producer/director, no "client" of mine would ever be permitted to "ask questions" or provide direction, that's my realm, if they don't like it then I walk. If they don't' like the film "they" made, they are going to blame you anyway and you won't work there again. I don't' make crap, and when the "client" directs his own film, that's the only thing they can make.

I have asked, tersely, employees to leave the set. I am not there to please anyone, I'm hired to make a film. If the film is not good enough to show on my personal website, why did I make it? For money? it's easier to make money doing something else than filmmaking.

A note from a client this morning...

"This is extraordinarily well done, Malcolm. Thank you SO much. Pat already has
it up on his Facebook, with a gazillion comments from friends and relations.

You are extremely talented. I think we need to put you up as one of our
associates - if you are OK with that - just send me a blurb and a picture, and
your professional contact information. :)

Martha

You don't get reactions like this from "clients" or the audience if you let them direct and produce, it will never happen. Part of being a "consultant" =filmmaker/producer/director; is to tell (TELL) the client when they are being stupid and to back off and let you do your job without them screwing up the project. I really don't care if they "like me" I'm there to do a job; I've been out of grammar school for decades, all I care about is doing great work and collecting a check and going on to the next client.

M

Malcolm
http://www.malcolmproductions.com


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Mark SuszkoRe: Value of the Director
by on Nov 9, 2012 at 11:27:23 pm

If the crew is like an orchestra, the DP is like the First Chair Violin and the Director, the Conductor. You can have the First Violin take over in the absence of a conductor, it usually happens for practice sessions. But you don't get the same result as the real thing.


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Nick GriffinRe: Value of the Director
by on Nov 11, 2012 at 10:31:43 pm

While I'm not as blunt about who's in charge as Malcolm says he is, I leave little doubt as to how the process works. Nowhere is this more true than in interviewing talking heads. The client can provide questions either to begin the process or supplement our first draft of them, but the interview portion is mine and mine alone.

I also ask to be the only person in the room during the actual interview but if they insist I limit it to one person who must stand or sit directly behind me. The reason for this, and just about everyone understands it when I explain it, is to prevent what I describe as the "Tricky Dick Nixon look" of eyes darting back and forth because the interviewee is checking the reactions of multiple people in the room. The only thing that creates is lots of unusable footage.

It's also important for me to build a relationship with the interviewee so that their focus is on just me and my questions. And I also rarely stick to just the pre-written questions. Often the best responses come from a discussion and the re-asking of the same question approached in a different way.

This must be a simpler process for me because while a grip can help set lights, I don't want or expect him to be in the room during the interview. I also have the boom mic on a stand or a lav mic on the talent that, once set for volume, doesn't require much adjustment. And one final thought, as the one who will be doing the edit it's much easier to know when you have what you need versus when to re-ask or re-approach a question.


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Andrew RendellRe: Value of the Director
by on Nov 14, 2012 at 5:20:20 pm

It is the Director's job to ensure that what you need in the edit in order to tell the story gets filmed and in the edit must oversee how the story is conveyed, taking an overall view when the craft people are consumed by their individual details.


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