I’m going to talk about something that not many film schools are talking about – Film directing is not just about telling “the facts”. The facts are just the cover to tell a more in-depth story with deeper meaning.
Before we start talking about how to make a film that will thrill your audience, I need to explain that I’m not talking about selling yourself to the audience. Don’t do something just because the audience seems to like it right now. If you don’t believe in your film, your audience will feel it. If you want to make a film that will indeed be remembered, You must think about your way of telling the story. Learn about Finding your filmmaker’s voice
Your first step as a filmmaker is to find a good idea for a film and even more important a good story. Notice that I didn’t write “a good script”. First of all, pay attention to the film’s story. Does the story work without the stylish dialogues and scenes?
It’s hard to define a good story, but generally speaking, it’s a story that will challenge the audience, but more important a story that interests you. You are about to do a lot of stories analyzing, so you better like it. Also, make sure the story’s world has to be reliable and also the characters. It also needs to have a dramatic structure.
The audience has to connect with your character. I’ve talked about how to do that in the Developing Characters post, but generally, you need to have a character that the audience will care about, and that will be strong enough to lead us in throughout the story. The audience should want her to survive and succeed.
The director needs to be able to make complicated interpretations of the script, so the first to do is to understand the story. The process starts with understanding your story’s structure and the dramatic conflict that is developing throughout the film. Back To The Future is a film that you can see the director knew every little detail about the plot, the characters, and their town.
Director’s vision is the director’s primary tool to translate the script into a movie. If you’ll find and completely understand your film director’s vision, you’ll make great films. Your director’s vision will guide you through all the crucial decisions on set.
Your director’s vision is an outcome of the message you are trying to portray in your film – the film’s premise. Only after understanding your vision, you can start directing actors and a camera.
The genre’s job is to organize some parts of our life, and you can find genres not only in films. If your movie is connected to a genre, make sure the script is following the basic genre rules of its genre. Genre films are great to play with because the audience is ready to see a movie with strict rules. You can take these rules and play with them so you’ll have your twist on them.
First, see the story within the genre rules, and then start playing with them, see what rules can you break or stretch without upsetting your audience.
Playing with a genre rule is fun, but it must be connected somehow to the theme of your film. It has to deliver a message. Breaking the rules to break the rules is worse than merely following them.
The production design is a film element that many low budget films tend to forget about, but if you handle it right, it can be one of the essential elements of your film. After you developed your characters, you can understand the movie’s atmosphere and theme, and you can start working on it. The production design will create your film’s look and should reflect the character’s emotions and the movie’s theme. You can also use a storyboard to make things more straightforward. If you put your mind (and some cash) to it, it will take your film to the next level.
What kind of emotion do you want your audience to feel towards the film? Is it love? Is it respect? Do you want to impress the audience with big-budget production? There are many ways you can turn the film’s watching experience into something worth remembering, but you need to know who is your audience and what you are trying to get out of him.
Every film director needs to find his way to touch the audience.
In Blood Simple, the Cohen Brothers are making the audience laugh while feeling revolted. Kubrick makes us feel uncomfortable as he built the violent scenes in A Clockwork Orange so we’ll be shocked on one side, but wouldn’t be able to keep our eyes off.
Every director has his style, and you should find yours. This is why it’s important to shoot shorts as much as you can. That way, you can test different things and see what works and what doesn’t.
A cool trick to make the watching experience more fun for the audience is to make them
a part of the film. One way of doing that by letting your audience know something that the hero doesn’t know. In the movie Hot Fuzz, the main character suspects there is a murder in the town. Everybody laughs at him, but we know he is right because we’ve seen the killer. Horror movies use that trick a lot. We know something bad is going to happen, and that’s what gets us excited -the waiting for it.
I like films that make you think, but if that’s all they do and they don’t have any emotion attached to it, then the movie was a waste of time. Find the emotion you want the audience to feel in each scene. Every scene should have an emotion attached to it, and that emotion should dictate all your directing decisions. For example, a close-up is a much more emotional shot than a medium shot.