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Joe Riggs

Discussing new project with a director

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When you are discussing a project with a director what are essential questions to ask and topics to cover, (other than dates, # of shooting days, payment)?


Thank you

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How s/he envisions the film. What type of coverage they'll want to get, how they plan on shooting it. What formats are they considering. What references do they have. If you can take a peak at the actors. Basically anything going on which is going to effect your job. There's a lot to cover.

I tend to take it more casually. I get to know the director, as best I can. We talk about what films, or paintings best tell the "feeling," of the story. Sometimes the director may speak more "musically," like I want it to feel like.. for example, Take 5, by Dave Brubeck and then you translate it.

I try to find out who the production designer is, if they aren't already there, and schedule to meet with them. I generally work in broader strokes here, such as, if I've read the script, " how do you see scene x playing out?" How do you want to establish, visually, X or Y character trait... things like this.


Payments, shooting days, dates, ect, are almost entirely secondary in my talks. Generally by this point I've already been hired on, one would hope, and we've worked all that out. If not, we talk look and feel of the film first, then, If we're still interested in each other, we go into the nitty gritty. Often times you'll find, speaking with the director, that you absolutely don't see the script the way s/he does, and it's your obligation to let them know. Often, too, they'll love this, so long as you make clear they are the boss, but being devil's advocate with some works really well (depends on your working relationship of course).

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