In part I of “Client & Director: The Two Amigos,” we talked about the importance of the relationship between the client(s) and the director. We also attempted to identify and define clients and their role. In part II, we discuss directors and explain what they do.
• The Director – CEO of production. The director is the one person who must take ultimate responsibility for the finished product. During pre-production, the director develops the creative direction with the client. During production, the director instructs the crew and the actors. During postproduction the director works closely with the producer, editor, narrator and musicians to make certain that the vision becomes reality and that the goals and objective are met.
• Trust the director (part one). It’s very important that the client trusts the director because once production begins, they must turn the project over and step back. It is tough to stand on the sidelines when you are responsible for the budget and the project may affect your career and yet it’s crucial if the project is to stay on track.
It is the responsibility of the director to lay the groundwork for the client’s trust. Transparency and discussion will establish expectations as well as help avoid misunderstandings. The director must make sure that there is consensus at every point along the way. The producer helps with this by managing expectations, encouraging dialogue while keeping everyone apprised of the schedule.
• First among equals. Although producing a video or TV commercial is very much a team activity, directing is not. A team of directors (unless they are the Coen brothers) will result in chaos and added cost. There must be one person who is running the show and that person is the director.
• Role reversal. As production moves along, the relationship between the client and the director changes. In the beginning, the director is there to support the client, assess their needs and come up with a strategy. Once the plan is established, the client needs to support the director and make sure they have the information, resources and approvals they need to create an effective video. Great clients provide a buffer for their directors from corporate politics and other distractions.
In the next installment we will look at shoot preparation as well as the production process the day of the video shoot.