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What It Takes To Be A Movie Director?

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  • What It Takes To Be A Movie Director?

    If I'm a screenwriter and one of my scripts gets the green light, how
    could I discuss with the company the possibility of letting me direct the movie?
    What are the qualifications for this?
    Should I have made some shorts films before or what?

  • #2
    I'm confused. Can I have just a couple more details on this.

    If you wrote the screenplay and its yours, then you can direct it. No matter what.

    Now if you sent it somewhere, they will most likely hire a director.

    So my question is.

    Who are you sending it to exactly?


    • #3
      I'm talking hypothetical, in case I sent it somewhere and gets the green light
      how is it possible for me to direct the movie instead of having someone else doing it.


      • #4
        Very good question KevinAvis,

        So if your projects gets green lit, how do you convince them to allow you to direct the film. Well it really depends, If a company is putting up the money to pay for this film then that means your now dealing with investors etc... Now there is a good chance that you will not be able to direct your own script unless you can somehow prove you have Directing abilities. You have to think about it from the other end, you are the person putting the money up to get this movie made and you know a great director that knows the ropes and has had successful films with great reviews, then you have "you" someone that has never directed a film before. This would be considered a "liability" in filmmaking. UNLESS, they know you and they know you are good with directing and working with people and getting stuff done. Directing is tough, its a hard job, everything comes down to what the director wants and if you dont know the basics of directing then I would suggest against using someone elses money to learn. I not talking about directing some small shorts either, Im talking about directing a movie that has 45+ people on set at all times, you have a to know how to handle the stresses of that.

        There is a good chance if this happens that they already have someone they want.

        What ever you do, dont pull a "Troy"
        Distribber - Keep 100% of your film's revenue


        • #5
          If you sell the script outright, I'm afraid you no longer have control over who directs it. If it's a high budget film and you don't have any experience in directing, they won't even entertain the idea of letting you direct it. If it's fairly low budget, say 100K or under, you can ask, but if you really don't know what you're doing, directing wise, you could be delivering a train wreck at the end of it all, and now your name is mud.

          My suggestion is to start off making small shorts and low budget projects so you get some experience under your belt. You need to know how to interpret a script, how to deal with and direct actors. Additionally, you really need to know every aspect of the film making process. I'm not saying you have to be an expert in every phase, but you should at least know a little about all of it.

          For a new filmmaker I highly suggest you pick up this book "The Guerilla Film Makers Handbook" and you can find it here: The Guerilla Film Makers Handbook (All New American Edition): Genevieve Jolliffe, Chris Jones: 9780826414649: Books

          This book will give you a lot of insight into what goes into a production. Pre, Production, and Post process.

          Hope this helps.


          • #6
            Originally posted by Nick Soares View Post
            Very good question KevinAvis,

            you have a to know how to handle the stresses of that.
            Amen to that. Directing on the set of "Tied in Knots" was the hardest I have ever worked in my life, both physically and mentally. The director has to keep everybody going in one direction simultaneously. It's not easy.


            • #7
              Originally posted by kevinAvis View Post
              I'm talking hypothetical, in case I sent it somewhere and gets the green light
              how is it possible for me to direct the movie instead of having someone else doing it.
              Let me start by saying that nothing is impossible, Kevin, so don't let me discourage you from trying.

              But the reality is, if you've never made a film nor sold a script before, you'll have better odds of winning the lottery.

              To begin with, as you know, it's very difficult to write a good screenplay.
              Once you've written a good screenplay, it's very difficult to get a production company to read it.
              Once you get a production company to read it, it's very rare to get your material optioned.
              Once you get an option, it's very rare for the material to be selected for active development.
              If you're lucky enough to have your material optioned by a production company and have it go into active development, you may or may not be hired to do additional writing work on the script.
              As part of the development process, the production company will be looking for funding sources. In order to raise funding for a large scale production, name talent generally has to be attached to the project -- usually actors, but often both actors and director. Often, the biggest name actor will have a say in choosing a director.
              If you're very, very lucky, the film may be "green lit", to use your phrase. "Green-lighting" a film is usually done by a studio chief, not by a production company. It's possible that your material could be optioned by a production company with a studio deal. That production company then develops the material - along with its other projects - and submits them to the studio in the hope of receiving a "green light" for one or more of them.
              If you're very, very, very lucky, the movie that was developed from your script will be the chosen one, at which point you will be paid the balance of the purchase price for the screenplay and the movie will enter into pre-production.

              There are thousands of screenwriters out there who would give anything to experience that kind of luck! I'm one of them. I've written dozens of scripts over more than thirty years. They've attracted attention at the biggest production companies in Hollywood, and have been taken to several studios by the biggest names in the business, and haven't even gotten past the option stage. I've directed 3 feature films, 60+ commercials, and 19 stage plays, and I wouldn't have a prayer of being hired to direct even if my script was "green lit".

              So, that's what you're up against. Again, do not be discouraged -- I'm serious about that. Some people in this world are born lucky, and you could very well be one of them.
              2001 Productions Web Site


              • #8
                Wow, we were all posting at the same time! :)
                2001 Productions Web Site


                • #9
                  RE: 2001 Production's post.

                  He's right, getting the green on a script is like winning the lottery. I have a good friend and writer I've known for years, John Darrouzet. He co-wrote a script and wound up on the front page of Variety Magazine (along with his writing partner Steven Katz), as having sold a spec script for the most money ever paid (close to a million). Of course, this was during the spec script frenzy in the early 90s, and they had a William Morris agent. Yet, guess what happened? The script got shelved and never made.

                  John and Steven went on to write "The Contract" starring Morgan Freeman and John Cusack, but that was 9 years after their first sale.

                  You can starve to death in 9 years.

                  Here's my point. Start making your own movies. If you're really serious about it and you study the art of film making like your life depended on it, you probably have a better chance of getting some recognition that way as opposed to sell a spec script and getting a green light on it.


                  • #10
                    Well thank you all.
                    I was thinking the same thing. If I was a producer, I would hire someone who knows the job better.
                    I understand what you're saying but does it work always like that? I mean it's better for
                    someone to start with low budget films but is it impossible for someone to start with high budget films, or
                    he has to be very lucky or very talented or both. However that not the point whether it will be a high budget or low, it's just
                    that I was wondering if I had a filming-directing background would they take me into consideration even if I'm not a renowned director?


                    • #11
                      Maybe I'm not following your question, but I don't quite understand why you're even asking it? Will our answers make any difference insofar as how you approach selling your script?

                      In other words, if a production company is interested in optioning your script, will you refuse unless they let you direct it?

                      If so, you're making an already improbable scenario virtually impossible.

                      If not, then nothing we say is really relevant. If the opportunity arises, ask to be considered. Worst they can say is "no."
                      2001 Productions Web Site


                      • #12
                        Yeah, I'm just speculating to get an idea of how things work.


                        • #13
                          Frankly, if you've never made any kind of film, you really don't want to direct your script anyway.

                          What I mean, is that your inexperience can ruin the project right outta the gate.

                          If you can arrange it, try to be on set and learn from who is directing your first script sale. On the first day, you'll learn tons.

                          Kurt Hathaway
                          VikingDream7 Productions
                          Video Production & Editing