In part II of “Client & Director: The Two Amigos,” we looked at the role and responsibilities of the director (read part I of “Client & Director: The Two Amigos”). We now turn to the day of the shoot. Good preparation makes for a smooth day of production. Here’s how to insure that happens.
• The production meeting. Prior to any shoot, it’s important for everyone to have the same expectations about the day’s activities. Shortly before the shoot, there should be a production meeting or phone call that includes the client(s), agency team, director and producer. It’s imperative that the director reviews the day’s schedule and explains the role the client will play on the shoot day.
• Trust the director (part two). If expectations have been well established beforehand, the client should trust the director on the day of the shoot. It is the director’s job to draw the best performance from an actor or interviewee and to know when it’s been delivered. An experienced director will be editing the program in their head as the day progresses.
• Voice of authority. Each shoot has its own, unique atmosphere and the director sets the mood and establishes a rhythm. Every director has a different way of working and the client and crew should follow their lead. Control of the process is essential for the desired result.
• Closed vs. open set. Occasionally the director will want as few people as possible on the set. This is done for a variety of reasons. If talent is on camera the director will want to establish rapport and that is sometimes best done with a small crew. This can be especially important if the interviewee is a non-professional who might be nervous on camera.
• Client monitor. A monitor for client viewing is typically provided and usually positioned near the set (unless shooting conditions don’t allow for use of a client monitor). This allows the client to see the images, as they will appear to the final audience without the general distraction of the shoot.
• Feedback and review. Every director is different when it comes to feedback. For instance, at the end of an interview, most directors will ask the client and producer if there is anything that was missed or should be added. Since it’s very important to allow the director to find a rhythm, it is usually inappropriate to interrupt in the middle of a take, or series of takes. This can disrupt the flow of the shoot, stress the talent and crew, delay the schedule and even result in costly overtime charges. Interruptions can make it difficult to get back into a rhythm. The producer and director should make it clear during the production meeting how and when feedback should be given.
• Client adds value. It’s crucial for the client to be present during the shoot. The client has the expertise to make sure the content is correct and also captured in a way that is consistent with creative strategy. With the director, the client makes up a vital team. The better the communication, the better the working relationship and the more successful the shoot. When these roles are clearly defined they compliment each other and create the environment for a productive and successful shoot.
In the last installment, we will deal specifically with the role of the client and director during the shoot and how they compliment each other.