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The Film Director’s Vision

Finding Your Director’s Vision

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In this post, I’ll teach you how to understand and develop your director’s vision. You will  see that it’s not that hard to take any script you want and make it unique and original.

There is an old saying that if you can’t explain something to others, you probably don’t really understand it yourself. If you can’t you explain your vision in words, you don’t understand your director’s vision statement. Since The director is actually a form of a movie creative supervisor, the director’s vision statement is his leading tool of every production. The film director is in charge of all creative departments and they need to understand the way he has interpreted the script.

When the director knows his film director’s vision statement completely, he can translate the script into visual shots inside the shooting script. Off course, the director’s vision doesn’t stop here. The vision has to be in the director’s thoughts during the whole process.

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2 steps before working on your director vision statement

  1. The first time you read the script, you should notice what kind of images are appearing in your head while reading. Pay attention to sounds, locations, and emotions that are popping in your head.
  2. Watch different movies, paintings, read some books, listen to music, everything you think that will inspire you about this story. Do it with artists and arts you really connect to and not just the respected ones. Try to see what is it about them that connect you.

How to develop your director’s vision

The director’s vision will be expressed through the style of the film, the visual look, the editing and the sound design and music. The director is usually the one that is calling the shots for that kind of decisions. He does not have to be a specialist in all the filmmaking areas, but he needs to know the language of cinema to be able to express his point of view. Learn all the camera angles and movements  and all the types of camera shots and learn their emotional strength. Every aspect of filmmaking can be a tool you’ll use to express your vision.

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Find your film director’s vision through movie’s theme

The film director has to be an expert on portraying a message. The first step should be to understand your theme or the premise of the

The theme of the movie is, what this movie really all about in one or two sentences. It is the premise of the film.  For example the movie Back to the Future is dealing with changing your future, but it is not the main theme of the film. It is not the subtext of the film. The subtext theme is “true love is stronger than love out of mercy”. In Little Shop of horror, the story is the about a deranged and murderous plant, but the subtext of the story (The theme) is about capitalism in the modern world.

When you understand the film’s premise, you’ll understand the scenes. If you’ll know what’s the emotion behind the scene, you will know how to set the light for it. Even aspect ratio can deliver the director’s vision.

“The reason it’s important to have this (the theme) is because most of the time what a director really does is make decisions. All day long: Do you want it to be long hair or short hair Do you want a dress or pants? Do you want a beard or no beard? There are many times when you don’t know the answer. Knowing what the theme always helps you. “
Francis Ford Coppola

 

So this is what you’re probably asking now:

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How to understand your theme and vision?

The director’s vision should not be a political argument or a philosophical idea that you can copy. It should be a personal point of view of the director. Your point of view is something no one can copy and you also cannot be copied from elsewhere.

So how do you find your vision?

I’m going to explain it now:

  1. When you read the script for the first time you should write the thoughts that pop into your head while reading. You can write them on the script. Write everything you feel about each scene.

  2. Your next job is to understand why you were drawn to the script.
    It is usually the main character that attracts directors. As a director, you must decide what is you want to focus on the plot or the characters.

  3. Think about the values in the script. Are their ant values you identify with? Go through the film’s script and check the values you most identify with. There are directors that write the biography of each character. It helps them to understand the character motive and its nature and basically what it represents in the film.

  4. Go through each scene and see what is the subtext of each one of them. Write them down next to the scene title
  5. Eventually, understand what you want to achieve from the viewer. Do you want his love (like comedies usually), or you rather impress the audience with a complex story.

Quick tip
The important things to pay attention to when you work on your theme throughout the film are the moral of the story, the smaller themes in the script and the subtext throughout the script

 

Sticking up to your vision

It is very important that once you find your vision, you’ll stick to it.
Sometimes you might find a lot of pressure to change things in a way that’s against your vision (usually from the production company),
you have to make the decision of how much you want to sell from yourself, in order to make that film.
Here is  to sum it up:

“Trust yourself so that the mistakes you make are the ones you’ve made and not something you’ve made because you were afraid to do what you wanted to do. Own your mistakes, then you can own your successes.
Try to be as good a listener as you are a speaker.
Don’t just put the emphasis on saying things. Listen!”
Jennifer Lynch

Learn more about director’s vision

To learn more about this subject. I really recommend reading the book The Director’s Vision: A Concise Guide to the Art of 250 Great Filmmakers. This book is about all the classic Holywood big directors and their visual styles. It is an excellent tool for insparatioin and to understand how to develop your uniqe director’s vision.