Jump to content
Vinicius Marconcin

what does a film director need to be successful?

Recommended Posts

Hi, I am sorry if this questions is pretty vague. you can answer with any all along the lines of technology, character traits, knowledge of the medium, and anything else anyone finds useful and thinks I should know.

 

Thank you

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Success can mean having a long-term career and making more than one movie, it can mean artistic success, it can mean financial success, etc.

 

One common characteristic tends to be unflagging drive despite obstacles. As Winston Churchill said, "Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm." Strength of will.

 

Another director once told me that his job was to be able to separate the believable from the phony, whether it is in a story development or an actor performance. You could also call this as having a sensitive b.s. detector.

 

Of course, Kubrick used to say "Yes, it's real -- but is it interesting?" So there is a skill in sniffing out or bringing out what is interesting.

 

Truffaut, in his Hitchcock interview book, said that many successful directors were blessed with having interests and tastes that aligned themselves with a large audience, but he said Hitchcock was unique because he made his own neurotic, idiosyncratic fears and obsessions interesting to other people (one could argue that these personal fears were more universal than you'd think.)

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Could you elaborate for me please?

 

 

Well on a more serious note.. to make a living as an indie /low budget director isnt easy.. even for some of the established players..getting projects off the ground can takes many years.. research can takes many months.. shoots get canned etc.. I think quite a few.. eg Terrence Malik.. came from quite wealthy families or have wealthy partners.. as its pretty much the only to survive to get your career going and continue to get projects off the ground.. or live off cup noodles in a garret and never have a life ..! of course a tiny percent will have a massive success on their first film.. but thats a hand full out of many thousands .. so my point is.. I would consider success as being able to have a decent life style.. house, car, wife/husband kids, holidays etc.. while doing the job you love.. but dir is a hard one.. its not so much a "trade " with gear Dp,audio,specail effects etc..your running the whole show from start to finish..its all on your shoulders.. so its alot harder to get that job.. and family money or monetary support can be a huge factor in attaining the goal.. not the only one but it really has to help.. alot of doc directors Ive worked with, after you get to know them.. you find out they have family money or their partner is a high flying lawyer :).

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

 

Well on a more serious note.. to make a living as an indie /low budget director isnt easy.. even for some of the established players..getting projects off the ground can takes many years.. research can takes many months.. shoots get canned etc.. I think quite a few.. eg Terrence Malik.. came from quite wealthy families or have wealthy partners.. as its pretty much the only to survive to get your career going and continue to get projects off the ground.. or live off cup noodles in a garret and never have a life ..! of course a tiny percent will have a massive success on their first film.. but thats a hand full out of many thousands .. so my point is.. I would consider success as being able to have a decent life style.. house, car, wife/husband kids, holidays etc.. while doing the job you love.. but dir is a hard one.. its not so much a "trade " with gear Dp,audio,specail effects etc..your running the whole show from start to finish..its all on your shoulders.. so its alot harder to get that job.. and family money or monetary support can be a huge factor in attaining the goal.. not the only one but it really has to help.. alot of doc directors Ive worked with, after you get to know them.. you find out they have family money or their partner is a high flying lawyer :).

then how does one make a living being a film director?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Work on anything that can pay the bills. Direct TV drama, which tends to be where the indie type productions are these days.

 

Even Steven Spielberg started out on TV.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

then how does one make a living being a film director?

 

Yes thats the hard part.. Tarantino worked in a video rental store.. but he also had alot of support from this girlfriend at the time.. no one can answer your question really.."how do you become a successful director" any artistic endeavor its hard to get started and get to a level of that being your main course of income.. you will just have to do what everyone else does.. give it a try and see what happens.. as you are a student I would recommend trying to get a job as an assistant director/runner and build up some contacts ..if your family is rich and will support you.. then get a good script and make a film.. hope it gets picked up from there festival circuit ..Im not sure I would want to be too worried about being a successful dir before you even start out ..you might decide to do camera/art dept /acting.. who knows .. don't lose sleep about if you will have an Oscar before you are 35..

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Obviously, you need a good project to interest producers and financiers.

 

What Ive observed about most successful directors is that they have relationships with known actors. The first thing a producer will want to know is what name cast you can bring to a project.

 

I can only suggest that if you dont have already relationships with famous actors, that you start building relationships with the best young talent you can find. If youre lucky, some of your friends will become known and may still want to work with you. Even if you get started through some other path, these relationships may be your biggest asset as a director in the future. And at the very least youll have the pleasure of having so many talented friends. Good luck to you!

  • Upvote 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

you'll need lots of good contacts and even more pure luck I'd say :lol:

 

being talented and having good projects will also help but that is mandatory anyway and there is millions of excellent directors out there who never get to do projects. so you have to be very good in what you're doing but that is absolutely not enough in any case.

 

Being in right place at right time knowing the right people will make all the difference... and even a very mediocre untalented person could be successful if only having the needed support from producers and investors (sometimes they just like persons making s**tload of money for them even if the end product is otherwise garbage).

 

and, of course, it doesn't harm if you have good physical and mental health to begin with, you will lose at least 90% of it in the process so better to start with more than 0 and prepare for psychotherapy if things go wrong :lol:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Inspire the actors so they feel their association with you is making them better performers. Even in your earliest, smallest films. Sometimes that can mean being tough on them, but not in a way that makes them feel you are telling them how to act. They will rightly think you are worth working with. Most great directors are interesting people with a lot of knowledge of art and culture, and are natural leaders in creative production, though it mightn't be obvious at all. Some of the loudest hot shots are the least talented.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

First is talent. A handful of people in a million have it. You can learn the science and craft of cinematography but without talent you can never achieve lasting success. You may get work, you may direct low budget films or soap operas or commercials, or you may get nowhere. But talent is rare and recognizeable and without it you can't go very far.

The ability to sell yourself and get jobs.

A record of doing good work once you get it.

A good business sense and the ability to make money for yourself and others.

The ability to motivate people.

Edited by Bob Speziale

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

First is talent. A handful of people in a million have it. You can learn the science and craft of cinematography but without talent you can never achieve lasting success. You may get work, you may direct low budget films or soap operas or commercials, or you may get nowhere. But talent is rare and recognizeable and without it you can't go very far.

 

I don't think talent is really mandatory in film business most of the time. It will help a lot on certain type of projects and make life easier but normally you are not making auteur films where you can really decide everything by yourself (the producers and investors and distributors will say NO all the time and may alter your work even so much that it is barely recognizable anymore) . it is an INDUSTRY anyway, the main goal is not to make high class art but to produce entertainment for the masses which mandates whole different skill set than just making good movies which don't sell.

 

I don't think talent is even that rare. Nobody can do films without training and talent could only help with the basic storytelling part and maybe a little bit with the visuals and the rest needs to be learned... and one needs to train oneself with the visualization skills, editing etc. anyway like everybody else, talented or not.

 

The "one in a million super talented extraordinary person" mentality is mostly an American thing I think (the society pushing people down and the enermous amount of competition in all fields, making it mandatory to differentiate yourself from others to get forward. people also love Cinderella stories) , it is just not a very realistic approach to film industry where it is more handy to be very persistent and absolutely fireproof and to never give up even if it takes 20 years to archive something (you will just try another route and explore and train yourself more and more in the process until you're somewhere you like to be.

Finding your own style is of course mandatory but that is not "talent" , rather a SKILL which develops with enough time and training (talent being something people born with rather than something they can learn... talent is not their own achievement, just something they got in birth like three nipples or good hearing :lol:

Remember Disney's Cinderella? she had some SKILLS (housecleaning, singing etc.) , her TALENT being that her own shoe fits her foot B) how mentally ill poor person talking to animals got married to a prince? good contacts, lots of help from others and pure luck ;) )

 

Social skills are really really important though and may make lots of difference. at least they will make progress much faster. Talent not important, SKILLS are ;)

Edited by aapo lettinen

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well of course this is true at the present time in American films. As I said in another post I haven't seen a good one in several years now. There's no quality, no talent on display. It's all a quick dash to the bank. The same is true in the music industry. The same is true in politics. The dumbing down of America is complete.

 

I don't think talent is really mandatory in film business most of the time. It will help a lot on certain type of projects and make life easier but normally you are not making auteur films where you can really decide everything by yourself (the producers and investors and distributors will say NO all the time and may alter your work even so much that it is barely recognizable anymore) . it is an INDUSTRY anyway, the main goal is not to make high class art but to produce entertainment for the masses which mandates whole different skill set than just making good movies which don't sell.

 

I don't think talent is even that rare. Nobody can do films without training and talent could only help with the basic storytelling part and maybe a little bit with the visuals and the rest needs to be learned... and one needs to train oneself with the visualization skills, editing etc. anyway like everybody else, talented or not.

 

The "one in a million super talented extraordinary person" mentality is mostly an American thing I think (the society pushing people down and the enermous amount of competition in all fields, making it mandatory to differentiate yourself from others to get forward. people also love Cinderella stories) , it is just not a very realistic approach to film industry where it is more handy to be very persistent and absolutely fireproof and to never give up even if it takes 20 years to archive something (you will just try another route and explore and train yourself more and more in the process until you're somewhere you like to be.

Finding your own style is of course mandatory but that is not "talent" , rather a SKILL which develops with enough time and training (talent being something people born with rather than something they can learn... talent is not their own achievement, just something they got in birth like three nipples or good hearing :lol:

Remember Disney's Cinderella? she had some SKILLS (housecleaning, singing etc.) , her TALENT being that her own shoe fits her foot B) how mentally ill poor person talking to animals got married to a prince? good contacts, lots of help from others and pure luck ;) )

 

Social skills are really really important though and may make lots of difference. at least they will make progress much faster. Talent not important, SKILLS are ;)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Bruce nailed it...

 

The main key to being "successful" is who you know. The industry works on nepotism and if you have a modicum of provable skill (next paragraph), then it's not a difficult road to being successful in your given segment of the industry.

 

I think having a consumer friendly mentality is critical. If you aren't interested in making that new low budget kids movie direct to TV or some silly horror film, then don't bother trying. At first ya gotta take any gig you can get and get you resume boosted. Clout will come over time when you've got a body of work to prove you can helm a production. This is really the 2nd most important thing because even though your friends may open doors, if you can't prove that you've done an indy sci-fi/horror hidden footage film with a minority female lead shot in the desert, then you may struggle to get bigger movies like it. (yes this is exaggerated, but it's why so many filmmakers get pigeonholed into certain genres)

 

I also feel, being able to come on board without any preconceived notions helps a lot. I've seen a lot of directors struggle trying to plant their own ideas into scripts they didn't write. I think it's great to taylor the script a bit, but I also think a director's "spin" isn't necessarily just a script thing. The director will bring a lot of other things like production design, casting choices, blocking, shot composition and pacing. Directors who go with the flow and just add their 2 cents in those more technical areas, I feel have less friction down the road with the producers. If you're a smooth going, very easy to deal with person who brings a sensibility to the table, it's very easy to build relationships that last a long time.

 

Recap

 

- Who you know (these are people you'll meet along your journey)

- Very open to making pretty much anything in order to build your resume.

- Make what you're being paid to make, don't try to re-invent the wheel. Visual spin's are always welcome.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It's not that people with talent don't have to work hard to learn the skills necessary to do and keep their jobs, it's more that they have an undefinable ability to excel at what they do. The Beatles, the Stones, Clapton were talented. They garnered millions of fans when they were in their 20's, after just a couple of years in the business. Spielberg, Coppola, Kubrick, Hitchcock were talented. Picasso was talented. What they did clicked with tens of millions of people. It was unique and fresh and people loved it and still do decades later. These people are all rarities. 10,000 people audition for American idol and one very talented person gets to win the title. None of these people had connections. What they had was talent and a work ethic that was recognized and which propelled them to the top of their fields. A million other people without that talent can learn the skills but they can't do what these people did.

....The "one in a million super talented extraordinary person" mentality is mostly an American thing I think ...talent being something people born with rather than something they can learn... talent is not their own achievement, just something they got in birth like three nipples or good hearing :lol:

Edited by Bob Speziale

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't believe anyone's born with talent but it certainly can't be actively learned. Only passively acquired through life experience, adversity.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Passion in any field can lead to talent, with hard work, intelligence, wisdom, good teaching (in some form or other), opportunity, and (crucially) opportunity taken/chosen. Than add tenaciousness. A close friend is a music teacher and he says that, to his continual surprise, the kids who go on to be a pro are not usually the "talented" students. It's the ones who are passionately fond of music and just stick with it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

A big ego and a big heart wouldn't hurt, either, for a film director. Hard to drive a good project to completion without both, surely. And balls (that is not a sexist comment).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If i may give my dirty 5ç cents to this? I hope i do NOT offend anyone. To become successfull, one should STOP watching Youtube Tutorials from so called "Professionals" and learn from the real Masters such as David here on CM. If you can not afford a Pro School like New York Film Academy then i highly Recomend http://www.mzed.com

Vincent Laforet is the Man! Also Shane Hurlbut ASC (terminator salvation etc...) The 1 Year subscription is not Cheap but worth every Penny! I have learned more in 2 Days than in my first 3 Months at Filmschool. Thats the Place you want to be.

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.



  • Broadcast Solutions Inc



    Metropolis Post



    Ritter Battery



    Rig Wheels Passport



    Paralinx LLC



    Serious Gear



    Visual Products



    Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS



    New Pro Video - New and Used Equipment



    Gamma Ray Digital Inc



    Abel Cine



    Wooden Camera



    Glidecam



    CineLab



    Tai Audio


×
×
  • Create New...