THE FILM DIRECTOR Part I

A good director makes sure that all parts of a film are creatively produced and brought together in a single totality. A director interprets the script, coaches the performers, works together with the montagist, etc., interrelating them all to create a work of art. According to Film Scholar Eric Sherman, the director begins with a vague idea of the entire film and uses this to help him determine what is to be done. He gains most when others are given their freedom to show what they know. The position of the director in the traditional filmmaking process varies greatly and is extremely complex. The film director is seen as a leader of others, as providing a kind of guiding force. According to this view, the final outcome is more or less predetermined by requirements of the script, camerawork, acting, and editing; the director providing certain organizational context to the picture. Judging from the comments of most professional directors, there is very little agreement as to what exactly their function is. There are some directors who say that they must concentrate primarily on the structures of the script. If their films are to be works of art, it will be because of the inherent beauty in the narrative and dialogue patterns in the script. Other directors are occupied primarily with the performance of actors. To them, the beauty of the film will be correlative with the quality of acting. These directors attend not only to the performance as a whole, but to endless minor nuances and gestures throughout. Some directors attend primarily to the camerawork, their chief concern being for a pictorial beauty and smoothness of execution. There are still other directors who say that the art of film resides in the editing process. For them, all steps prior to editing yield crude material, which will be finally shaped and lent an artistic worth through their imaginative juxtaposition. The point is that there have evolved nearly as many theories of film directing as there are directors.

Only the director stands apart from any one particular contributory element but lends to all of them a sense of the pictures entirety

We cannot, while watching a film for the first time, point out particular shots or lines of dialogue and fully appreciate their ultimate relationship to the entirety of the picture. Similarly, the actor concentrating on every gesture, the writer concerned with logical narrative and captivating dialogue, the cameraman dealing with isolated images, and the editor concerned with the rhythmic flow are not in the position that the director is to grasp the film as a whole. Only the director stands apart from any one particular contributory element but lends to all of them a sense of the pictures entirety. Many of the strongest directors have refrained from virtually any function besides that of an overseer of the film. The director, whether he explicitly controls all the subordinate work in a film or merely creates a certain context through his very presence, is the only participant in a film's creation whose moment of self-expression is wide enough and, thus, whose artistic vision may come to characterize the film as a whole. The director's very role in the filmmaking process forces him to attend-explicitly or implicitly-to the entire film. The director approaches a film with more or less a welldefined sense of its meaning. For him, this limits and determines what the basic drive should be of all the other contributing elements. As previously stated, the director's concern is always conditioned by a sense of the whole. He selects and guides all work and shapes it along the necessary route to achieve (as close as possible) what he has in mind. When it is said that the director approaches a film with a sense of the whole in mind, obviously it is not meant that he has a complete knowledge of the finished product in all its parts. In fact, a director learns, as the production of the film progresses, exactly what it was that he had envisioned. There is no "beautiful shot" or "great cut" that has not been conditioned by the overriding vision of the whole that only the director provides.

What and Who Is a Director?
By definition, the director creatively translates the written word or script into specific sounds and images. He or she visualizes the script by giving abstract concepts concrete form. The director establishes a point of view on the action that helps to determine the selection of shots, camera placements and movements, and the staging of the action.

The director is responsible for the dramatic structure, pace, and directional flow of the sounds and visual images. He or she must maintain viewer interest. The director works with the talent and crew, staging and plotting action, refining the master shooting script, supervising setups and rehearsals, as well as giving commands and suggestions throughout the recording and editing. Could a director be compared to an architect? A bricklayer laying brick upon brick? A conductor of a great orchestra? These descriptions fall short of the mark because what is being build is more volatile than stable, more fluid than secure. Director Roland Joffe (The Killing Fields) stated, "being a director is like playing on a multilayered, multidimensional chessboard, except that the chess pieces decide to move themselves." Every director has his own vision of what they feel directing entails. Roman Polanski finds that "First of all, directing is an idea that you have of a total flow of images that are going on, which are incidentally actors, words, and objects in space. It's an idea you have of yourself, like the idea you have of your own personality, which finds its best representation in the world in terms of specific flows of imaginary images. That's what directing is." Polansky, director of films such as Rosemary's Baby and Chinatown, also stated that, "Directors are like generals, political dictators, aggressive people. You don't have to be aggressive in a malevolent way, in a hostile, disagreeable way. Actually, you have to be the opposite way. You have to be a real leader. That's to say that you have to let those who are doing their work do their work. You are a guide, and you're a 'tell-it-to,' and you're a prophet, and you're a boss, and you're a slave, and, in the end, it's your fault. And everyone in the film is always grateful if you tell them what to do." Obviously, to be a director, you have to take on several different roles depending on the particular situation at hand. Entering the Business Whether it is intentional or by accident, there is probably as many ways to enter the business of filmmaking as there are filmmakers. Some directors, such as Paul Mazursky (Next Stop, Greenwich Village) and Woody Allen (Annie Hall, Manhattan Murder Mystery) started out as comedians and then actors. Eventually this led them both to screenwriting and finally directing. Allan Dwan (The Iron Mask, The Three Musketeers) planned to be an electrical engineer. Quentin Tarantino (Pulp Fiction) worked in a video rental store. Louis Malle (French films, India) and Irvin Kershner (The Hoodlum Priest, A Fine Madness) began by making documentaries.

There are those however, that knew from the beginning that directing was what they were going to do. Peter Bogdanovich (The Last Picture Show, What's Up Doc?) stated, "I always considered myself a director who was sort of making a living writing about pictures, not the other way around. In other words, I always wanted to direct films, even when I didn't know it." Stephen Spielberg (E.T., Saving Private Ryan, Schindler's List) grew up directing his siblings in the family room of his house, then after sneaking on to a lot at Universal Studios, he set up an office and there began his professional career. Oliver Stone (Platoon, Wall Street) and Martin Scorsese (Taxi Driver, Goodfellas) both attended film school on their way down the director's path. The Script The first basic element in creating a film is the script. The script is basically the guideline. Even if it is very precise, it is a guideline. Later, the period of the shooting will bring you a lot of surprises. Then, the editing is a completely new experience. Every picture starts out with an idea placed on paper. These ideas come from a multitude of places, including plays, poems, paintings, music, etc. There are thousands of people currently writing scripts in hopes that theirs might attract the attention of a producer, studio or director. There are a lot of well-written scripts that for one reason or another will never make it to the screen. Martha Coolidge (Rambling Rose) has said "You're always looking for a metaphor that is extremely visual and dramatic so that it becomes a picture and not just words on the page." Besides the fact that the budget of a film is the underlying determinant as to whether a picture is made or not, all films begin with a visualized concept. This concept represents an attitude towards characters, events, environments and objects. Michael Winner (Scorpio, Deathwish) has quoted "What normally happens in this town (Hollywood) is that somebody gets a script and says, 'Let's give it to somebody else, which I really can't understand at all, and ten writers later and six arbitration's later…. Sometimes very good films are made that way. Some of the finest films ever have been through many writers in the most extraordinary manner." Case in point: One of the American Film Institutes 100 greatest movies of all time, MASH, was turned down by 12 different studios/directors before Robert Altman decided to take a chance and make the picture. "One sets out to make a film because one likes the subject matter. I believe the script is never finished. I constantly work on the script, either with the writer, or, if the writer is

not there, with another writer, or with the people that are working with me. I think the script is the blueprint and then it has to have a life of its own," John Schlesinger (The Manhattan Cowboy, The Marathon Man). Still there are other directors whom take a script word for word, action for action, never changing a thing. Steven Spielberg sent his actors through boot camp and had them live in very primitive conditions before he began the filming of Saving Private Ryan For many directors, the creation of an unforgettable character in a script is the key to winning them over. Many directors begin by considering how the character's journey through the story will ultimately affect the audience. For Ron Howard (Backdraft, Apollo 13) this is the single most important consideration. Directors like Howard tend to seek out material that will confirm their own worldview. More often than not this involves an attempt to carefully select the kind of stories that will have a lasting and positive impact on the audience. Once a director has finally settled on a project, the next step is to begin the development process. Normally research is a big part of this process, considering many scripts are based on other scripts, real-life events or adaptations from other previously written materials (such as books, plays, etc). Ron Howard spent many nights with firefighters and at firehouses learning what he could about their lifestyle before he began production of his film Backdraft. Roland Joffee traveled to Calcutta several times over a period of 4 years to learn what he could from the culture before filming City of Joy. Stephen Spielberg sent his actors through boot camp and had them live in very primitive conditions before he began the filming of Saving Private Ryan. The best research is that which yields a true vision of the arena in which the story takes place. Ideally this means going beyond the cultural clichés to create a dynamic and insightful script that will result in an honest movie. As the process of researching material comes close to completion, it may sometimes become apparent that parts of a script need to be reworked before production can begin. Reworking the script may consist of minor changes such as different locations, seasons or character situations. On the other hand, major changes may also be necessary, such as changing the entire scope of a character. For example, in the script for the movie Alien, the character eventually played by Sigourney Weaver was initially a man. The Director/Producer relationship The relationship between the producer and the director is

an extremely important one in the making of successful picture. Ideally, the producer is the first person on the project. He/She is the one whom finds what they feel is a bankable idea or script and presents it to the studio or director. Although the producer appears to be a crucial role in getting a picture made, the studio does not necessarily believe so. As a matter of fact, the producer is paid far less than the director of the film, and is not a big consideration when deciding whether a film receives the "green light" (the go-ahead for a film to be made) or not. Due to this, one of the greatest tasks of the producer is to find a director that is affordable and acceptable to the studio. There are a handful of directors that are considered "bankable," meaning that many studios are more than happy to have them on a project because of the almost guaranteed success the film will have with their name attached. Among these are such names as Steven Spielberg, George Lucas, Oliver Stone, and James Cameron. However, not every director can direct every type of film, no matter how talented or accredited they are. The producer must take into high consideration how the director relates to the particular project in mind. A great deal of persistence and enthusiasm in the project are once again key roles the producer must play in trying to bring a director to the project. As the preproduction process begins, the director and the producer should work closely together and collaborate about how the production process and the entire scope of the film should take place. From the start, the director and the producer should have a shared vision of the picture. If the director goes into the project with the agenda of making a film that will promote or benefit his status then the film is bound for disaster. The producer and the director must share a common goal; to make a picture that they both believe in. It is inevitable that there will be an overlap of interests and responsibilities between both players, and they should discuss these areas and try to figure out the most effective way to deal with them. The producer and director should work closely together while deciding the cast and crew, as well as location scouting and a lot of groundwork in preproduction. It should be considered helpful to the director for the producer to look at the dailies and be objective as to what they see During the production process, the producer is very helpful because they can be present in areas that the director is not. While the director is busy with their specific duties such as filming, the producer can be dealing with the

studio, supervising crewmembers and their work, handling the press, etc. The producer is also extremely helpful to the director in providing an objective point of view on the film as the process moves along. It should be considered helpful to the director for the producer to look at the dailies and be objective as to what they see. As the picture begins to take shape, the producer's objective point of view will help to siphon out minor discrepancies that may plague the film in the future if not corrected. Often the discrepancies are missed by the director and others, who spend countless hours daily with eyes glued to the camera lens. The point of view of the producer may pertain to both the performance and the technical aspects of the film. Budget and Studio Involvement Packaging means the combining of two or more elements, such as a writer, actor, or director into a single project, which is then presented to prospective financiers. When a package is brought in front of a prospective financier, it has a better chance of approval. This is because when a buyer is offered a script along with an actor and a director they can more easily make an intelligent decision on the creative and financial aspects of the film. A package deal can relieve some of the stress that stems from unknown aspects of the project. One of the many obstacles a director has to overcome if he is bringing a script to a producer or studio is convincing others that he can make a profitable picture. Sometimes the script may be very good, although studios will still have questions before giving their ok on a project. A perfect example of this is given in Martin Scorsese's book Scorsese on Scorsese. Michael Powell (of Michael Powell Productions) wrote to Scorsese, "Dear Marty, RE: the script of Wise Guys (working title of Goodfellas). It is one of the bestconstructed scripts that I have ever read. At the same time it is not academic, it is not a script just on paper. It is very much alive. The first question I would ask you, is what is the tone of the director? It is a take-it-or-leave-it tone? It is a dispassionate tone? ….." These, amongst other questions, are necessary elements that a director must deal with on day-to-day bases to survive in the industry. It is important for the producer to keep the studio informed of the progress of the film, and to keep them off the directors' back Motion picture studios are the principal source today for obtaining the funds needed by a producer to produce and distribute their films. Some of the major studios today are Dreamworks, Warner Brothers, Fox, MGM and Paramount.

Once the studio has settled on a project, the production process can begin. Paul Mazursky has found that "Once the director gets to work on the picture, he is always aware of the budget somewhere in his head. But once you start the actual work, I don't think you begin the morning by saying 'I'm making an eleven million dollar picture. What am I going to do?' You say 'what am I going to do about this scene between this guy and that guy?' and 'How am I going to photograph it?' Throughout production the producer will be in constant contact with the studio. It is important for the producer to keep the studio informed of the progress of the film, and to keep them off the directors' back. It is much easier for the director to do their job when they do not have to deal with the constant pressures of the studio. In this respect, if the producer can assure the studio that all is going as planned and within budget, the director will be able to keep their concentration on the film itself Bringing a Script to Life There are several techniques a director may utilize in order to obtain a visualization of a script. One of the most common of these techniques is through the use of storyboards. These storyboards are hand drawn frames establishing exactly what it is that the camera will be shooting. The storyboard tells the story or the message in still pictures. Narration or dialogue, camera movements, sound effects and music are usually specified under or next to each frame. The storyboard suggests how images and sounds will be ordered, the placement of the camera and the design of the set. Some directors may choose to drawn their own storyboards, that is if they have any sort of artistic ability. Directors may also choose to work closely with an artist whom will draw up the storyboards for them. Storyboards may consist of anything from stick figures to fully rendered drawings. Some directors such as Ridley Scott (Alien) always use storyboards as a means of relaying their thoughts. Others, such as David Zucker (Naked Gun) rarely use storyboards, while still others feel that the use of storyboarding actually inhibits their creativity (ex. Ron Shelton, Bull Durham). Other techniques directors may utilize are diagrams, sketches, mimeographs and/or cards. Similar to storyboards, these techniques are all ways a director can visualize the scenes before beginning the shoot. For instance, William Friedman will make sketches first, then from these sketches he will write out long hand a complete verbal description of the entire shot sequence. These are

then mimeographed and duplicated for the entire cast and crew working on that particular part of the film. Although this process may seem very time-consuming and a bit tedious, it is a way for Friedman to get his exact thought across to everyone concerned. "I see an entire picture in my head before I do it," States Friedman, "and then, like a novelist I set out and write a visualization, instead of prose-narration and dialogue. I write out a visual novel of the movie. Directors may also use such instruments as viewfinders or director finders to plot out their script. These pieces of equipment are helpful in that the director can look through it and visualize what the shot will pick up when filming. They can imagine a clearer picture of what the shot will look like at specific angles, in different lighting, etc. For the film Duel, director Stephen Spielberg had the entire picture planned out on IBM cards. The cards were mounted on a bulletin board in his hotel room, and rather than bringing along a script, each day he would choose a number of cards. On each card was the "gist" of the scene, how the scene was to be shot, and the setups for each sequence. Once the cards were gone, shooting for that day was complete. Casting While working on the storyboard and other preproduction processes, the producer will be able to determine when each actor will be working during the course of the filming. Because there is such a wide range of prices asked for by different actors in today's film industry, the casting of the film is a great factor in determining a films budget and visa versa. In an ideal situation, a producer and director will pick the best actor for the part. Betty Davis once told Ron Howard "95 percent of directing is the script and the casting. Once you've done that, the rest is knowing how to stay the hell out of the way and still get the movie shot." There is perhaps nowhere in which directors differ more than in the way they interact with actors. This begins from the very moment a part for a picture is cast. "One of the blessings is to cast well, to cast carefully. I have a terrific associate in this. We tend to cast for good actors. People who have emotional availability, who have technique and skills. I'm under the assumption that once we cast the person, they are that character. After all, a character on a page is really only a dozen lines of dialogue. Once you assign those to a whole person, he or she becomes that person," quoted Arthur Penn, director of such films as Bonnie and Clyde and Night Moves. To cast a specific role effectively, the director must of

course have a firm idea of the character. Each role, no matter how big or small, is extremely important to the final outcome of the picture. It has been reiterated numerous times that a film is only as good as its worst performer. Likewise, it is often said that almost any director can evoke an excellent performance from an experienced, talented actor but that good direction is most evident in the quality of the smaller roles. There are at least three major factors that should be taken under consideration when a director is casting a role (budget aside). These factors are the audience, the character or role and the physical appearance of the actor. It is crucial to take audience expectations into consideration when casting a role. Because audiences tend to type-cast certain actors in certain types of roles, placing an actor known for big muscle action films (a perfect example being Arnold Schwarzenegger) in a role such as Dustin Hoffman played in Tootsie would no doubt deter audiences. The personality projected by the actor must match audience expectations for the role. Rehearsal Once the major roles for the film have been cast, a director can begin preliminary run-throughs (rehearsals) to help the actors develop their specific characters. The amount of rehearsal time afforded depends greatly on what the director requests, the availability of the actor, and the overall time constraints on the film. Generally rehearsals last 2-3 weeks before the actual shooting process begins. Rehearsals can be very helpful in establishing relationships with the actors, along with determining if a specific scene plays out as believable or not. It is a time when the actors can give input, ask questions and collaborate with the director on whether a scene will relay well to the audience. If not, this is the time to make changes. Different directors have differing points of view as to whether rehearsal is important to the overall production of the film or not. On one side (say, the left side) there are those such as Paul Williams, "I am very actor oriented, and am very concerned with performance. I don't know how to do it without rehearsals." Next there are directors such as Bernardo Bertolicci, "I don't rehearse too much. I try, if I can." Leaning over to the right side there are directors such as Robert Altman "I don't have any real rehearsal period. I'm embarrassed to rehearse because I don't know what to do." Finally there are those on the far right, like Michael Winner, " I don't believe in rehearsal for a film." There are many directors who would rather take several shots during the filming process than waste that time in rehearsals. Then, when that perfect impromptu action

occurs, it is more realistic because it has not been played over previously. Once a scene has been rehearsed and the perfect action for that scene has been discovered, to recreate that perfect scene when the camera is rolling is sometimes difficult, because now the actor is trying to act out that impromptu action. Shooting the Picture With the rehearsal period coming to a close, preproduction ends and shooting begins. At this point, the director of photography usually works in close collaboration with the director to set up how each scene is to be shot. This collaboration could make or break the film. The first and most important question is where should the camera be placed. Before selecting the final placement of the camera, it is natural for the director to run through the basic actions of the actors, called blocking. It is rare that the movements of the actors are precisely set, rather, a general sense of the action is determined which helps to facilitate the camera actions. The director has a number of options as to where to place the camera. It can pan back and forth, up and down. It can move (through the use of a hand-help or steady cam) or can even follow the actor, or dolly. Directors usually begin with a master shot, in which everyone in that particular scene is included in one take. Next, the same scene will be shot several times over, but now the camera moves in and focuses on medium shots, over-the-shoulder shots, two-shots, or close-ups. It is important to get several shots (at different angles) of the same scene so there are a number of shots to choose from. A director's ability to select and control visual images begins with an understanding of specific types of shots. Long shots orient the audience to subjects, objects and settings by viewing tem from a distance. An establishing shot generally locates the camera at a sufficient distance to establish the setting, while a full shot provides a head to toe view of a particular person or persons. Medium shots provide a ¾ view of a person, while a close shot (or closeup) refers to isolation of elements in the shot, normally the head and shoulders of a person. Camera angles are frequently used to establish a specific viewpoint, such as the involvement of the audience in a particular characters perspective and or action. By placing the camera in the approximate spatial position of a character, a point-of-view (POV) shot can be established. This type of shot often follows a shot of a character looking in a particular direction, which establishes the spatial POV

in the scene. A variation on the POV shot is a subjective shot, which shows the audience what the person is looking at or thinking about. Other shots include reverse angle, low or high angle and overhead shots. Once the editing process of the picture begins, which shot to use will be determined. Along with this, one of the director's key jobs (which is shared by the editor during post-production) is to determine the precise duration of each shot. A director can only coordinate the production effectively if he or she can communicate with everyone effectively. Because of this, directors have developed a relatively precise terminology with which to communicate with their crew. During multiple camera recordings, this may be crucial. The director generally begins each command with the specific number of the camera to which the command is directed (i.e. if there are 3 cameras used, they will simply be called cameras 1, 2 and 3). When the commands are given the director is specific and brief. For example, commands such as "ready camera 1" or "camera 1 zoom in to close-up" are very common, rather than saying something like "camera 1, if you're ready we're going to zoom in a little closer on the subject." Some directors, such as Curtis Harrington (What's the Matter with Helen) say they are very dependent on the cameraman. Suggestions are welcome, although generally he has an idea of where he wants the camera to be placed and what lighting he wants present. James Bridges (The Paper Chase) admits that he still doesn't know that much about the camera. "I hire the best people, and I work with them and tell them what I want." Franklin Schaffer (Planet of the Apes, Patton) agrees, "Talk to a cameraman and tell him what you want, what conceptually you see the picture as. He will then come back technically and say 'I can get it this way…" To take pressure off of a director, camera operators must anticipate what camera positions, lens types and positions, and framing they are to use for the segments they are to shoot. This must all be worked out in advance, in collaboration with the director. While it is possible for the director to make instantaneous changes during the final filming, the risk of making major mistakes is greatly increased with each major change that is made. This is especially relevant while filming on location, where substitutions of cameras and other materials may not be readily available or even accessible. "I divide in my imagination the directors I know in two big categories," Jean Renoir once stated, "One category is the directors from whom the work starts from the camera. I am

the opposite. I like to start with the actors." The actor is the most vulnerable person on the set, and it is up to the director to bring out a great performance in the midst of the actors uncertainties and insecurities. Unfortunately, knowing what exactly it is that each individual actor needs to accomplish their goals is not an easy accomplishment. There are those actors who are willing to listen to whatever the director says and try and comply with them. On the other hand there are actors who are very strong-willed and have their own ideas set in stone. Sometimes the director must be willing to give in a little in order to reach the desired result. The best and most creative directors will constantly be in search of solutions, and will usually find them. Some directors are willing to change everything possible in order to appease their actors. Other directors, like as Brian De Palma, have been known to be very strict on their set and inform actors from the very beginning that they run the show. A director can make or break the entire experience for an actor. Good directors can create great experiences, while poor directors can create unworkable situations. Actors are looking for directors to protect them on the set. By this I mean that they want the set to be a place where they are able to transform themselves into the character they are supposed to be, without any reservations or distractions. Actors become dependent on directors and vise versa. One last item of importance for the director-actor relationship is that of keeping the "thread" of the story on track. This means that the director must sometimes step in and inform the actor if their emotional line is off track or if they are getting out of sequence with the shot. Many directors end up using the same actor's picture after picture. Once a good working relationship becomes established it is only natural that the collaboration continues. The director and actor will know each other's idiosyncrasies, their style of filming and their approach to a picture. Once they have worked together and established a good working relationship, it is much easier to collaborate together again rather than moving on to someone new. A perfect example of this is the relationship between director Martin Scorsese and actor Robert DeNiro. To date the two have worked on eight different pictures together. Scorsese and actor Harvey Keitel have also collaborated on numerous films. Film Editing Like director-cameraman or director-actor relationships, the director-editor relationship is of great importance. Once a good relationship is established between and editor and

director, they tend to work together on numerous projects. Each will know what to expect from one another and will in turn create respectable work for one another. An editor is looking for flexibility; enough material to work with to create the best overall production possible. When there is plenty of coverage of scenes, it gives the editor much more to work with in order to accomplish this task. Film editing is used to determine which shots are to be used where and when. Editing is also used to determine which shots should be preserved, which should be broken up and which should be cut out completely (called outtakes). Because many films are shot out of sequence, it is the job of the editor to put the film in the order in which it is intended and to create the final product. Films are often shot out of continuity. That is, all shots to be made at one location are recorded at the same time, regardless of when they occur in the script. Film editing usually begins the same time as the production begins. The raw footage of that particular days shot will be given to the editor, which in turn is presented to the director (known as a daily or work print). The editor, director and producer view each day's work print in order to evaluate how well things are going. After viewing and approving the footage, the editor catalogues it before beginning a rough-cut. The best editors are able to determine immediately which shots will work visually and which will not. They will try to integrate the best aspects of every shot, determining how to make it seem as though everything occurred in one single shot. Once the picture has wrapped, it is now up to the editor to produce an initial cut of the overall production. The editor cuts together various pieces of film into a single visual track and an accompanying sound track. The sound editor is a specialist who constructs and organizes all the various sound elements so that they can be properly blended or mixed together into a final soundtrack. Typically an editor will try and make the film as close a relation to the shooting script as possible. Sometimes this is just not a possibility for some previously unseen circumstance, and the editor must decide the best version of the picture that they can possibly put together. The film will take on many versions during the post production process. It will go through the editing room where the editor will make his cut and the director will make his cut, both leaving the scenes that they believe will create the best picture. Differing viewpoints are common, and when the studio gets involved it may even become quite hectic. The producer may work with the director on the editing and some of the composing of the final picture, but in general the director, editor and composer work

together on the final cut. The best way to describe the director-composer relationship during the editing process is summed up perfectly by Abraham Polonsky. He states, "Although I don't tell the composer what to do, because I'm not a composer, I tell him where the music should go, and I tell him what it should be like. And ten I treat him like an actor or a cameraman, even though music is an independent art. So is acting. So is editing. So is writing. So is photography. They're all independent arts subject to the director or the script. So I treat music the same way. I try and get the musician to respond to my sense of what the picture means, and then hope his talent, which I don't have, will invent something that will make my idea even better that it is." The importance or unimportance of editing is all dependent on the particular director. Alfred Hitchcock left little room for editing. It was his concern that you spend millions of dollars creating a picture and then place it in the hands of someone who may be indifferent to the film and may leave you with a less than satisfying result. Brian De Palma once said, "When I shoot a film, I know exactly what's going to end up on the screen. There are few surprises in the editing room." There are those that do believe that editing is a crucial part of the filmmaking process, such as Franklin Schaffner, "Some of the most stunning moments occur when you are in the editing room." Because the film Born on the Fourth of July took such a long time to develop (the initial talk for the film began in 1978 and was supposed to star Al Pacino), along with the story hitting so close to home, director Oliver Stone took a very different approach to the editing process for this picture. Stone himself was an ex Vietnam war vet, and had been in close contact with Ron Kovic for a number of years before the picture was finally produced in 1989 (staring Tom Cruise). Most directors normally have their editors prepare what is known as a "rough cut," the dropped sequences, or outtakes. Instead, for this film, Stone had his editors choose "selects," which were camera takes that they put in sequential order (according to the script) for further consideration. For example, for any particular scene, fourteen thousand feet of film might be printed, then five thousand feet of "selects" chosen, including two to five takes of that scene. When they had finally finished the first cut of the entire film, it was eleven hours long. The material was then discussed between the directors and the editors; what they felt were the more important scenes in the picture. Stone and the editors decided upon what they felt was the best of

the takes and stored the others as "alternates." The first version of the final cut suffered from technical mistakes and an excess of material, which made it tiring. Version two lacked emotional impact. The next version was done documentary style with no reaction shots. Finally after weeks of deliberation a version was settled upon, which is essentially what you will see today. Previews Once a film is complete, the time for an audience to view the picture begins. Studios will typically have a sneak preview for a film, in which they can gauge audience reception to the picture. Unfortunately, there have been instances where a studio has hindered a great picture because they felt the audience reaction was not what was to be expected. They then go back and interject unnecessary sex or action scenes to try and compensate, essentially butchering the film. The reception of the previewing audience is, however, a good device to estimate the overall reception of the film. These audiences are often given a form to fill out, stating what parts of the picture they liked, disliked, what made sense, what was confusing, which parts dragged and were unimportant, etc. Through this, the directors and editors can go back and make any revisions needed before releasing the film nation (and eventually world) wide. Having finally received the approval needed from the studio, a film will finally be scheduled for release. Depending on how the studio feels the film will fare on the market, it may be released in anywhere from a dozen to thousands of theaters across the U.S. Predicting how well a film will do is never foolproof however. Some small budget films have gone above and beyond all expectations, for example, the multimillion-dollar success of the independently directed and produced film The Blair Witch Project. Other big-budget films such as Waterworld, even with big name stars, studio support and directing, lost a great deal of money. There are mixed feelings amongst directors as to whether the concern for the audience will effect the final product in which he produces. Samuel Fuller (House of Bamboo) stated that he is "positive that every director or artist, painter, whether he says 'I don't care whether the people like it,' instinctively does. Otherwise he wouldn't be doing it for public acceptance." There are others whom say they are indifferent as to whether an audience will affect the final outcome of a picture. One such director is John Huston, who explains, "I can't do anymore than make a picture that I believe in and hope that there are enough like me that

want to see the picture too." There are of course, those directors whom emphatically deny that the audience has anything to do with the pictures they make. Stanley Kramer (Guess who's coming to Dinner?) said making his pictures has nothing to do with the audience. Jacques Demy (Lola) says he never considers the audience. Both Federico Fellini and Roberto Rossellini have admitted that they have never seen any of their own pictures and therefore cannot even comment on audience reactions to their pictures. Reviews from Critics Many directors take what critics have to say very personally, and therefore find it better not to read reviews of their films. There will be some critics that dislike a film very much, while others find the exact same film very enduring and delightful. From a critical standpoint a film may not possess all the qualities of an Oscar-caliber picture, although the film will still bring in millions of dollars at the box office due to audience appeal. It is important for the director to take constructive criticism well but with a grain of salt. The director cannot allow one bad remark about their film to alter their thoughts and beliefs about that film. If a director truly believes in the quality of their work than reviews should account very little to them. As Paul Mazursky once stated, "I don't take most of the critics seriously. I don't see how you can see ten pictures a week and do a legitimate job day to day." Robert Altman has mentioned that the only thing that he has really learned from critics is that there are people that look at film from a different point of view then his own. An example of how reviews do not necessarily reflect the impact a movie may have is seen in a 1980 review in Variety magazine of the film Raging Bull. Directed by Martin Scorsese, Raging bull was given mixed reviews for both its so-called "lack of quieter, introspective moments" along with "audience alienation." Scorsese was also criticized for DeNiro's character being a "turn-off" in that same article. Despite these criticisms, Raging Bull went on to be nominated for several Academy awards including those for best actor and Best Director, and is today considered on the of the American Film Institutes 100 best films of all time. Directors are in charge of both the technical and artistic aspects of the film. They conduct the auditions, supervise the rehearsals, and approve locations, scenery, costumes, and even the music "If a movie gets spectacular reviews but doesn't do business, the director is off the hook," Michael Crichton

(Westworld) explains, "If a picture gets hideous reviews and does a lot of business, everybody is content. A picture that gets bad reviews and does no business is probably going to be laid at the feet of the director. That's the style of the times." Directors are the individuals who "translate" the script from the written page into a film. To do this a typical director may supervise hundreds of people at a time, including (but not limited to) the scriptwriters, cameramen, costume and set designers, etc. Directors are in charge of both the technical and artistic aspects of the film. They conduct the auditions, supervise the rehearsals, and approve locations, scenery, costumes, and even the music. In short, they direct the entire cast and crew during shooting. Frequently they will have several assistant directors helping them with details such as handling extras, transporting equipment, and arranging for food and accommodations when needed. Usually, individuals who want to become directors start in another phase of filmmaking (like assisting or acting) and use their experience and varied job opportunities to eventually advance to directing. It is rare that even those who attend film school specifically for directing will graduate and immediately become a leading director on a film. There are exceptions (as mentioned), like Quentin Tarantino. Ultimately, the screenwriter's concern is with the situational flow and the vocal sound of the film. The cameraman must attend to the particularities of each shot. The actors must concentrate on specific gestures and movements. The editor will be confronted with the piecing together raw materials that either make implicit an already finished artistic vision, or evidence so little unity that his work becomes one of reconstruction, of attempting to produce some coherence, although his contribution in such a case will have been obstructed at the level of professionalism rather than art. Successful directors are involved in every phase of production, from the very beginning to the very end. Some directors will assume multiple roles in their films, such as director-producer, writer-director, or even writer-directoractor-producer. Whatever the role they take on, as the director, they must know how to hire the right people, fire the wrong people, and how to handle people so that they work as effectively as possible in a team atmosphere. FilmMakers recommendations ACTION CUT - This is the most unique series of learning

tools in the film industry that provides an in-depth look inside the directing craft on a step-by-step, shot-by-shot professional level of production from the written page through the moviemaking process to the final film. The Director's Journey : The Creative Collaboration Between Directors, Writers and Actors by Mark W. Travis Directing Actors : Creating Memorable Performances for Film and Television by Judith Weston Directing 101 by Ernest Pintoff On Directing Film by David Mamet The Directors--Take One : In Their Own Words by Robert J. Emery, Leonard Maltin Directing Your Directing Career, Support Book & Agent Guide for Directors: 2nd Edition by K. Callan From Script to Screen : The Collaborative Art of Filmmaking by Linda Seger, Edward Jay Whetmore Interpreting the Moving Image (Cambridge Studies in Film) by Noel Carroll The Cinema of Oliver Stone by Norman Kagan Breaking into Film : Making Your Career Search a Blockbuster by Kenna McHugh Scorsese on Scorsese by David Thompson, Ian Christie, Michael Powell The Film Producer : A Handbook for Producing by Paul N. Lazarus Martin Scorsese by Andy Dougan