Setting Your Film Up For Success

July 3, 2015

Imagine going on a road trip with a group of your closest friends, each driving their own car. You present each person with your starting point, destination, and the instruction “We are taking the scenic route, now go”. What are the chances that your caravan will travel together, making the same stops and taking the same roads? The chances aren’t good and ultimately your caravan will be pulled in so many different directions with respect to each person’s creative choices that your journey together will suffer.

A still from Much ado about nothing, a film by Joss Whedon

A still from Much Ado About Nothing, a film by Joss Whedon

As a filmmaker and director of your film, it is up to you to provide the detailed instruction that will allow your team to move together as one functioning unit. If you ask four different people for their advice in a scene, you will receive four different opinions. It is your duty to your film to be the filter that keeps your film pure and true to your vision. It takes careful planning and guidance to lead a team successfully through the making of a project. Each scene should be consciously thought through prior to shooting and then carefully communicated to the team.

For example, take cinematography. Perhaps you don’t want to be a cinematographer, but the more knowledgeable you can be about the various cameras, settings, lenses, filters, lighting set-ups, etc. will allow you to make the right and educated choice, to execute and achieve the look that you’re wanting . It is not about micro-managing your team so that you are doing their jobs, but rather you are giving them the direction that they need to keep their creative choices on the same route as yours. Setting your film up for success means learning to see from others perspective, and guiding them into your vision.

Neil Gaiman Photo Credit Kimberly ButlerAuthor and Screenwriter Neil Gaiman said this:

The one thing that you have that nobody else has is you. Your voice, your mind, your story, your vision. So write and draw and build and play and dance and live as only you can.1


Now, having provided each driver with clear and actionable directions, your road trip will move in harmony to your desired end goal. Your vision is the unique map of your story and how well you can communicate that direction will determine your film’s success!

The Audience Awards is film’s social network connecting audiences to films, filmmakers, film schools and film festivals. The Audience Awards hosts short film competitions where the audience chooses the best films.


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