From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia
A film director is a person who directs the making of a film.A film director visualizes the script, controlling a film's artistic and dramatic aspects, while guiding the technical crew and actors in the fulfillment of his or her vision.
Film directors do not always have absolute artistic control. The director is usually selected by the producer, whose job it is to make the decisions that are in the best interests of the production company or studio or network. As such, the producers have veto power over everything from the script itself to the final cut of the film, often in anywhere from slight to extreme opposition to the director's vision.
Film directors are responsible for overseeing creative aspects of a film under the film producer. They often develop the vision for a film and carry the vision out, deciding how the film should look. They are responsible for turning the script into a sequences of shots. They also direct what tone it should have and what an audience should gain from the cinematic experience. Directing a film is a kind of storytelling. Film directors are responsible for approving camera angles, lens effects, lighting, and set design, and will often take part in hiring key crew members. They coordinate the actors' moves and also may be involved in the writing, financing, and editing of a film.
The director works closely with the cast and crew to shape the film. Some like to conduct rigorous rehearsals in preproduction while others do so before each scene. In either case this process is essential as it tells the director as well as other key members of the crew (Director of Photography, stunt choreographer, hair stylist, etc.), how the actors are going to play the scene, which enables them to make any necessary adjustments. Directors often use storyboards to illustrate sequences and concepts, and a director's viewfinder to set up camera angles.
The director also plays a key role in post-production. He or she works with the editor to ensure that the emotions of the scene and the close ups, mid shots and wide or long shots appropriately reflect which character is driving the narrative. The director also advises on the (colour) grading of the final images, adding warmth or frigidity to the composition of the shots to reflect the emotional subtext of the character or environment. He also participates in the sound mix and musical composition of the film.
Methods of film directing
Directors have different methods of filming. Some styles include:
- Outline a general plotline and let the actors improvise dialogue. Notable examples include Christopher Guest, Wong Kar-Wai, Spike Lee, Jim Wong, Wim Wenders, Mike Leigh, Jean-Luc Godard, Miklós Jancsó, Gus Van Sant, Judd Apatow, David Cronenberg, Ben Affleck and occasionally Robert Altman, Werner Herzog, Sergio Leone and Federico Fellini.
- Control every aspect, and demand that the actors and crew follow instructions precisely. Notable examples include Akira Kurosawa, Steven Spielberg, James Cameron, George Lucas, Francis Ford Coppola, Stanley Kubrick, Christopher Nolan, David Fincher, Guillermo del Toro, Tyler Perry and Alfred Hitchcock.
- Write their own scripts. Notable examples include Woody Allen, Werner Herzog, John Cassavetes, Ingmar Bergman, Stanley Kubrick, James Cameron, Albert Magnoli, George Lucas, J. F. Lawton, David Cronenberg, Charlie Chaplin, Billy Wilder, Ed Wood, David Lynch, the Coen Brothers, Francis Ford Coppola, Sofia Coppola, Pedro Almodóvar, John Hughes, Nick Park, Kevin Smith, Quentin Tarantino, Todd Field, Oren Peli, Eli Roth, Paul Thomas Anderson, Guillermo del Toro, Rainer Werner Fassbinder, Oliver Stone, Terrence Malick, John Singleton, Spike Lee, Orson Welles, Akira Kurosawa, Hayao Miyazaki, M. Night Shyamalan, Paul Haggis, Billy Bob Thornton, James Wong, Tyler Perry, Robert Rodriguez, Christopher Nolan, Sergio Leone, Satyajit Ray and Dante Tomaselli.
- Collaborate on screenplays with long-standing writing partners. Notable examples include Elia Kazan and Tennesse Williams, Terry Gilliam and Charles McKeown/Tony Grisoni, Wes Anderson and Owen Wilson/Noah Baumbach, Edgar Wright and Simon Pegg, Martin Scorsese and Nicholas Pileggi/Paul Schrader/Jay Cocks, Yasujiro Ozu and Kôgo Noda, Sir Peter Jackson and Fran Walsh, or Robert Zemeckis and Bob Gale, Luis Buñuel and Jean-Claude Carrière/Luis Alcoriza, Krzysztof Kieslowski/Krzysztof Piesiewicz, Frank Capra/Robert Riskin, Michelangelo Antonioni/Tonino Guerra, and Christopher Nolan/Jonathan Nolan.
- Be the cinematographer and/or editor. Notable examples include Nicolas Roeg, Akira Kurosawa, Stanley Kubrick, Steven Soderbergh, Josef von Sternberg, David Lean, Albert Magnoli, Don Coscarelli, Robert Rodriguez, James Cameron, Ed Wood, Gaspar Noe, Raja Gosnell, Tony Kaye, Takeshi Kitano, Andy Warhol, Shinya Tsukamoto, Kenneth Anger, the Coen Brothers.
- Appear in their films. Notable examples include Clint Eastwood, Orson Welles, Mel Gibson, Martin Scorsese, Sir Peter Jackson, John Waters, John Carpenter, Spike Lee, Tyler Perry, Rainer Werner Fassbinder, Kevin Costner, Kenneth Anger,Woody Allen, Jon Favreau, Quentin Tarantino, Eli Roth, Mel Brooks, Ben Stiller, Charlie Chaplin, Sam Raimi, Roman Polanski, Billy Bob Thornton, Sylvester Stallone, M. Night Shyamalan, Will Hay, Harold Ramis, Robert de Niro, John Woo, Kevin Smith and Ed Wood, Kenneth Branagh; Alfred Hitchcock made memorable cameo appearances in his films.
- Compose a music score for their films. Notable examples include Charlie Chaplin, Stanley Kubrick, Clint Eastwood, John Carpenter, Alejandro Amenábar, Satyajit Ray, Robert Rodriguez and Dante Tomaselli.
- Produce their own films. Notable examples include Robert Rodriguez, Quentin Tarantino, Ed Wood, Tim Burton, Eli Roth, Steven Spielberg and George Lucas.
- Create a number of B movies and Z movies. Notable examples include Ed Wood, Brian Levant, Uwe Boll and Frederik Du Chau.
- Alan Smithee (pseudonym for anonymous directors)
- Auteur theory
- List of directors
- List of female directors
- Hurry up and wait