A Director’s Greatest Fear

A Director’s role on a television production is that of a leader.  Your production crew will accept your leadership as a ships crew accepts the guidance of the Captain.  In essence you are the one steering the ship.

As the person setting the course – what is your biggest challenge?  What is the number one concern keeping you up at nights?

As a person who has directed numerous shows I can tell you there could be a lengthy list of potential details to worry about, but for me the number one fear I have as a director is missing something during the show or in other words missing a key moment in the action.

In the following article I will outline how to deal with this concern and not lose any sleep over it.

Directing is a learned skill just like many other jobs are.  The thing that keeps the job interesting and enjoyable is that it is not only a job it is also an artistic craft.

As with all artistic endeavors there should be room for subjective interpretation.

I could be one of the worst people to sit and watch a television show with.  I’m forever groaning and complaining that the director missed this shot or should be on a different shot than the one being shown.

The reality of the situation is that the director, viewing a vast array of choices, made his or her decision as to what the best shot at that specific time was to “take” to air.  And that decision was the right one.

The viewers at home ended up seeing a shot or image that tells a story.  That image may be part of the original storyline or it could be a reaction to a previous event that unfolded on camera.

As long as the shot is not out of focus or completely in the dark, it can’t be considered a wrong choice.  One way, or another, the shot adds to what is being described in the overall arch of the story.

A director must come to terms with this.  The choice of shot that is placed on the screen for the viewer to see is never the wrong shot.  There will always be other choices but as a director you must go with your gut in the heat of the battle and stick with your decision.

I’m a big believer in constant growth in any craft. After an event has ended you should review your work.  After watching the recording, you may think “I could have cut that show slightly differently”.  Or you may come away thinking that was a great cut.

In the moment of cutting a live show there will always be choices.  The biggest thing to remember is that as a director you’re trying to succeed by making the best possible choice at any given moment.

There are no wrong decisions on choices.  Go with your gut and stick with it.  Once you come to terms with this you will find that your skill as a director will blossom.  You will feel confident in pushing the boundaries you set for yourself and your final product will improve.

If you follow my suggestions I know you’ll enjoy your chosen role immensely and more importantly I can ensure you’ll get a good night’s sleep before your next event.

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To download this article as a PDF:  A Director’s Biggest Fear

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