I fool you not!! – Why Indie Filmmakers will take over the world.
Every member of the production team has been there. The phrase, “hurry up and wait” comes to mind. But the word ‘wait’ stands alone.
I worked on a big commercial shoot a few years ago where I literally stood for an extra hour and a half because the director thought he should get more coverage than he already had. Trust me, he had enough.
A director who takes and takes and takes… and takes the same shot of a scene over and over again from multiple different angles because he thinks that the more coverage he gets will help the editors at the post production house have an easier time of making a brilliant commercial or movie edit is a lot to handle. See this run-on sentence? It’s like that.
This is an example of a director who does not know how to edit. As a freelance editor and someone who has many friends who work at post houses, this situation is daunting. Imagine having to look at 25 takes of an actor’s performance only to have to look at 25 more takes of the same performance from another angle (and maybe 25 more for good measure) and finally having to choose which take is the best fit!
Sure, an editor’s job is to put the shots together and ultimately tell a story in 30 seconds or 2 hours.
And yes, a good director should have as much coverage as possible to ensure that the commercial (or movie) will be a successful campaign and appease the clients and producers.
However, there are too many directors out there who go completely overboard and can’t tell when they’ve gotten the golden shot or need more coverage. They cannot tell the difference between overkill and necessity.
In my opinion, a good director should know how to edit. A director who can envision the whole picture and decide what shots he/she needs to make a good end product is someone worthy of the role ‘Director’… Notice the capital D.
Time and time again, an editor will have to work with the footage a non-editing-director has shot. That editor has a voyage ahead to produce a final cut. It’s an editing nightmare because that editor has to appease the director, the clients, the production company, producers… you get the idea. Without going into tedious detail of how editing a cut in a post production house works, it’s safe to say that there are a lot of heads to please.
That said, working with a director who knows what their end product or final vision in Final Cut Pro or AVID looks like, is someone you want to work with.
Presumably, a director’s job is to take an idea and make sure that the rest of the team sees the same vision and translates that vision into a cohesive product. A director must be able to convey what he/she is looking for to the Director of Photography. A director must be able to direct talent to embody a script that he/she may or may not have written. A director has to make sure that the clients, sitting in the “video village”, are happy with the commercial as it is being shot.
That said, shouldn’t a director know how to edit? Yes. But, all too often, this is not an actuality.
This frustrates me. Some people would argue that a director is supposed to direct and an editor is supposed to edit. Period. However, if all creative people took the time to learn about each other’s craft, everyone would benefit. No one benefits from ignorance.
Please note that not all of the directors I have worked under are bad at directing. On the contrary, they are all much more experienced and knowledgeable than I am in their art.
I merely would like to suggest that directors should learn how to edit to better their ability to ‘see’ what they need as opposed to prolonging an already long 12-hour production day.
For any aspiring filmmakers out there, there is something to be said about being both a director and editor.
With the revolution of camera availability, namely DSLR’s, indie filmmakers can produce their art and have a hand in editing. This is fantastic! There is a new generation of directors, writers, and cinematographers who have an understanding of how to achieve the perfect final edit. This understanding makes them better at their craft.
What can we all take from this?
Power to the Indie Filmmakers! Patience, we will take over the industry soon enough.