Mo Film: Task 1

Critical Review on the Role of a Director

Assessment Task 1 (Criteria 1.1 & 1.2)

You are required to produce a critical review of the role of the director.

Critical Review on the Role of a Director

The role and responsibilities of a director greatly vary and differ depending on the production and personal intent of the director. In some productions, the director is responsible for planning and creating a film from start to finish, including sourcing locations, actors and overall artistic style, this usually occurs in lower budget independent films appose to big Hollywood feature length productions, these types of film usually have a separate department responsible for each area. Other directors take a more casual approach and simply overlook the filming process and ensure the film is being produced according to a plan. Either way, the role of a director is essentially to be in charge of the film and to get the best possible result out of every strand of the film. The director has final say so on decisions and responsibility ultimately lies with them. Most directors are hired to work on a film so they can input their own creative vision in to the script along with creating a feel for the film by using personal judgement to decide, shot selections, pacing and other technical aspects. The director will be in direct contact with most of the production team, from the runners to lighting and sound engineers.

I think the most important role of a director is to make a film visually unique. A personal favourite director of mine is Nicolas Winding Refn, director of Drive and Only God Forgives. Refn uses his personal perception and interpretation to give his films a visually artistic and intense feel in a way that only he can do. He creates a certain atmosphere in his films through lighting, sound effects and directing actors to portray characters in a specific way. It is common for directors to have an assistant or team that he or she usually works with, in Refn’s case he likes to work with actor and friend Ryan Gosling, who starred in his films Drive and Only God Forgives, playing a similar, silent yet deep character in both films. Once a director has worked with an actor, assistant or producer and achieved success, it is often found that they will continue to work together in future projects to try and imitate the success.

Whilst a director is responsible for the overall filmmaking, in some cases a director also takes responsibility for the budget and logistics side of the production, although they might have separate people in charge of finance, once again the final responsibility still lays with the director or in some cases the producer. After the filming process has finished, a director is still actively involved in the editing and post production side of the production. In a lot of cases, the director will sit in and work closely with the editor of a film to ensure his or her vision for the film is realised and shown on screen. The director has the most involvement in a production because they are present from the pre-production stages, all the way through to the final stages of post production. Directors-chair-006

To be a successful director, you have to have certain traits. If you aren’t confident to talk to all members of the production team then the overall process will not run smoothly. People need to have direction and be told what to do so that everybody is working towards the same concept. A successful director must have a style in mind for all aspects of the film, not just the cinematography. The lighting, sound, script, setting and editing must all flow fluently and look as though it is all in sync with each other, once again the director is responsible for sewing all these aspects in to a finished piece.

Directing is a difficult field to be a part of. It is very difficult to gain recognition. The vast majority of directors started off in a different aspect of film, ranging from script writers to runners, the likes of Martin Scorses and Steven Speilberg have previously been greatly involved with the script, screenplay and directing of their respective films. Goodfellas, for example, was directed by Scorses, he is also credited with the screenplay. Stanley Kubrick’s A Clockwork Orange was written and directed by Kubrick himself; this allows the director to have total control of the project from the very beginning of the concept. In order to in recognition for directing skills, I think any involvement with film is positive so even being a runner for small productions is a great place to start, but by filming personal projects in free time allows the public to see the kind of work you can produce and with ever growing online presence and competitions it is easier than ever to get a personal project seen online by people in high places. I believe that if you have a unique vision and style to filmmaking, your talent will be recognised provided you produce enough material, I think directing is very much a case of quality over quantity, meaning that you can produce hundreds of short films that are mediocre and forgettable and get nowhere, but one short film that is presented well can be enough to grab somebody’s attention and lead to more opportunities. It is nonetheless a very competitive and challenging path.

To conclude, directors are often referred to as the ‘captain of the ship’, this sums up their role well. With the right characteristics, provided a director can handle the immense responsibility of creating a film, directing is a great way to portray a personal vision or interpretation of a story and I think directing is the only position that allows you to take full control over the film.

Criteria 1.1 & 1.2