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Better Director: It Starts with Attitude

Guest article by Jackie Connor.

Meeting film production deadlines with positive results separates the good directors from those who struggle to bring their cast and crew into a cohesive, productive team. Beyond the creativity and art of filmmaking, directing and producing a film is much like project management. If you are a director who doesn’t understand why things aren’t clicking on your set between you and your team, identify the problems so you can become a better project manager and director.

It All Starts With Attitude

You’ve heard the saying that big egos need to be checked at the door. The role of a director is to lead the team to produce results from the ideas generated by the writers and producers. If you bring a big ego to the set, the session grinds its wheels and doesn’t lead anywhere. You’ve shifted direction from the team to yourself, and an overpowering ego can silence meek crew members who have great ideas but lack strong voices.

In addition, several clashing egos leads to disagreements that are counterproductive and become cancerous as they lower morale. Course Park, a social learning network, suggests to steer the discussion into a beneficial sharing of ideas where your crew feels empowered to share their ideas and come to an agreement.

Planning, Organizing and Scheduling

Film directors constantly work with other production departments to develop, create, edit and complete a project. To bring everyone on the same level of knowledge and commitment, the director and crew must follow a timeline, share that timeline so everyone is aware of their roles, and schedule meetings to address issues and ensure the project is moving forward.

Project managers find software and resource utilization useful when planning, scheduling and organizing phases of a project that involves multiple departments, and this type of tool can be used in any industry.

According to The Next Web, some web-based apps you should integrate into your work include:

  • Asana: Asana is a task management app that allows you to always stay connected to crew members so you are never left out of the process. You can get a free version if your team has fewer than 30 people.
  • Dropbox: Gaining in popularity as essential resource management software, Dropbox allows you to manage and sync large files and folders from any computer. It’s perfect for sharing film and sound files.
  • Trello: When your film crew is larger than 30 users, Trello is the task management app to use. Organize all your large projects into onscreen cards that lets you keep track of a project’s progress.

Listen and Communicate With Your Team

Projects fail when directors don’t communicate with the crew, leaving issues unresolved. Listening and communication skills are the two traits that all film directors need to improve. Understand what your project needs, communicate in a clear manner the goals set for the project team and listen carefully to ideas that can move the project forward.

It doesn’t matter if you are new to the film industry or have several years of experience. Every director can build and hone his or her skills to increase the productivity of their crews and project. A well-oiled crew results in a well-produced film, and in the entertainment industry a director’s reputation is as important as box-office nets.

Jackie Connor was an extra in several short and independent films, Jackie loves going to film and music festivals.

If actors, singers and athletes have private coaches, why not Film Directors? If you would like help to achieve your dreams of being a creative and successful independent film director, please check out my Film Directing Coach services via Skype.

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Dan June 9, 2013, 9:13 PM

    I would recommend checking out Gtdagenda for an online GTD manager.

    You can use it to manage your goals, projects and tasks, set next actions and contexts, use checklists, and a calendar.
    Syncs with Evernote, and also comes with mobile-web version, and Android and iPhone apps.