Directing as a Team
We decided to attack the directing job as a team. Why? Because we both wanted to direct the movie and this was our solution. We have a very symbiotic working relationship because our story telling aesthetic is very similar. We both are intensely loyal to our instinct and intuition when it comes to creative choices, so we operate on a process based on "allowing" - we'll say: "okay, I know you're not gonna like this, but let's just allow and see what happens." It allows ideas into our creative space that we might both instinctively deny at first, but now we can explore - sometimes our initial instinct was right and other times it lead us into new territory we never even considered.
In the end the best idea that serves the story wins - because that's what it's about; the entire process is about telling the best story we can. Bottom line. We work pretty well together even when we disagree. We will follow each other's line of thought through to the end to try and understand each other's ideas completely, in the end we can agree to disagree - but if what's on screen is better than what either of us originally imagined, then the debate is over.
Getting to this working relationship was not easy. We developed it over the course of a year working on Bedrooms. We each had input on each other's stories all the way through post-production. It was a tenuous process to say the least, but in the end we developed a short hand in dealing with each other on a creative and personal level.
So, two directors - how does that work? Well, we came up with scenarios we'd gleaned from other directing teams, but the thing is, most directing teams started out that way - not us. We were two directors with our first features under our belts. Neither of us wanted to give up any directing tool available to us. After much debate, the conclusion was that we couldn't have creative debates on set -- no time or budget for that. That part of the process had to happen way before we got into production.
We decided to lock ourselves in an office and act out all the scenes, block, re-write, create the visual style, and structure the entire film. We did this for two weeks. For some of the bigger sequences and complicated scenes we created a shot list. Then later when we had our locations, we went there and did the same thing. Then we did it again on the tech scout with our department heads. Of course we also knew from experience that we could throw out any planned approach to a scene, leaving the door open for spontaneity and new ideas on the day.
The one caveat we had was that if either of us felt we did not "have it" on any scene we could jump in and get the extra takes or coverage we wanted, so that when we got to post we had those choices in the edit bay. Prep was everything -- by the time we got to set on the actual shoot, we were of one mind. We spent six months together in the edit bay, crafting the film - we've been working on the film for eleven months. It's been one of the most rewarding creative processes for us.
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