Written by David K. Irving
As the leader of a production unit, the effective director will select the right tool at the appropriate moment with command and confidence. And each director is different – some come laden with gear, while others manage to get by solely on their wits. Most fall somewhere in between.
Let’s start with clothes. First and foremost are the shoes. Directing can be physically brutal, and frankly, it’s an endurance test. Standing up all day requires the director to identify a comfortable and dependable footwear. Depending on the nature of the production and a self-imposed image, directors sport a wide variety of outfits. From all black, to the coat and tie look. Filming in a rain forest requires specific attire, as would a shoot in the arctic. Exteriors require a hat and sunglasses and rain gear when called for. One key word – layers. A six o’clock a.m. call time can be chilly, whereas by noon, it could be very warm.
Directors love tech gadgets for a reason. Filmmaking is about the frame and composing what’s specifically in it. That viewfinder and a high contrast filter, (both worn around the neck for easy access) and a wireless monitor, can be indispensable for getting that look, feel and action on the film that you have so clearly in your head. And while you’re at it, keep ready a pair of headphones to listen to a scene as it’s happening. Yes, a director pays attention to it all, all the time. For large-scale communication don’t go shouting across a field, let walkie-talkies and bullhorns do the amplifying for you. And, it doesn’t hurt to carry a good luck charm. I keep a piece of marble I collected from Carrara in my pocket.
Of prime importance is a director’s health, for when he or she shuts down, so does the unit. Most directors will tell you that eating and drinking properly plus getting a good night’s sleep, are not negotiable. My own toolkit includes a B-12 shot.
“I would be in good physical condition. Avoid drinking and abusing yourself in any way because shooting a film is so physically exhausting. So, get as much sleep as you can.”