Sunday, June 6, 2010

How To Be A Director

How to be a director

I’m currently prepping an independent movie that I am spending my own money on. Hollywood rule number one is to never spend your own money on a project, but if you can’t invest in something you believe in, then burn your money anyway. I’ve been reluctant to make another movie unless a script comes across that I absolutely love, and that script has never surfaced. I think I hate the stories Hollywood wants to tell. They bore the shit out of me.

So with the Canadian Mark Palermo™ I wrote one. I’m assembling my video and commercial crew to make it in the way I want - no fucking interference. Anyone who follows my video work knows this is my modus operandi. I do one for them, I do one for me. Before I do my next studio feature, I just need to do one totally for me...and that may mean for you too. I’m going to make a movie I want to see, period. I think there are enough of you out there curious enough to see what that means. 

So as I start my journey, let me help you with yours. I am going to help you aspiring filmmakers by posting advice I wrote a while ago.

How to be a director.

Let me break it down for you, brothers and sisters.

Lets begin with the basics.

The Closed Eye Camera Concentration Pose is a fundamental skill that must be mastered. Notice the light touch Oliver Stone has on the extended eyepiece and the graceful arch of his back. Everything comes together effortlessly. A collared long sleeve shirt creates a nice slimming v-line down the front, making him look like a natural born killer.  

After about ten years, you can move on to Angry Director Pose in which the camera sits below you...

Here Mark Romanek demonstrates absolutely perfect form as his hand is extended onto a lens, mouth open, brows pressed. Notice how the video monitor lands right in front of the camera assistant's face, allowing us to take in the breathtaking power of the pose without distracting below-the-line interference. can still infer the assistant is female, thus granting Romanek a liberal, progressive political bent that will be very useful in wooing movie stars like Tom Hanks.

After decades of practice,  your Angry Director Pose can reach undreamed levels of intimidation. Here, Stanley Kubrick asks for coffee.


Another critical skill a director must wield is the power to make an imaginary camera with your hands. There are many variations of this technique, but the most simple and elegant I have ever seen is Steven Spielberg's Victory Point.

I have attempted to use the Victory Point myself, but could not wrap my eyes between the points of the fingers, and the mysterious positioning of the thumb adds a level of thematic complexity that is hard to fathom. What is the thumb? Why is he smiling? What does it all mean?

In the hands of a benevolent Spielberg, the power of the Victory Point can bring joy and laughter to the world. However, in the hands of an angry Spielberg, the Victory Point can bring death and destruction. Here, Spielberg balls his fist and brings down a rain of locusts on Brett Ratner.

The Hands of Cinema, as demonstrated by Ridley Scott, is a classic, timeless tool of the director. Peering between your hands at an invisible movie screen brings much joy to actors. Notice the rare pacified look on Russell Crowe's face.

One of the most powerful moves in a directors arsenal, the Hands of Cinema should be used sparingly and in complete silence. Here Steven Spielberg accidentily spreads the fingers of his left hand. Five production assistants died of heart attacks.

When you reach Grand Master status as Martin Scorsese has here, the Hands of Cinema will project beams of light and Leonardo DiCaprio will sit in awe, offering prayers to your Immortal Power.

Now, this is a very advanced technique...

Coppola has broken the Hands of Cinema and uses the remaining energy to turn the photograph black and white. The visual impact of using one palm is so great that Coppola has hypnotized Steve Jobs to pay him money.

Moving along students, study the following closely:


Notice how Naomi Watts is in complete awe as David Lynch weilds The Palm. The sunken headphones add a nice touch as Lynch is sending mixed messages: his ears are open, but he denies her his eyes. This push/pull technique is highly effective at controlling your actors, allowing you to mindfuck and then bang your lead actress, thus achieving ultimate victory for you nerds.

Which brings us to:


Now I love M. Night films, but here he is in poor form. His shoulders are hunched, his face shows slight concern, and he has allowed a man in a sweater to lurch over his shoulder. Even though Night later had the man executed, I still think it was poor form to allow this to happen. In my opinion, the entire Assistant Director department should have been executed as well.


Now here Night is in top form. His tight expensive t-shirt flawlessly shows his biceps and his nipples peek out from a set of well developed pecs. I think it was a good call not to look into the camera otherwise his physique would not have been in perfect alignment. He looks very fuckable.

And finally:


Now at first glance this would seem to be an innocuous photo of David Fincher demonstrating the Closed Eye Camera Concentration Pose, but if you look closely, Fincher is looking through with his left eye. Fincher believes that the left eye is connected to the right creative hemisphere of the brain, so by using his left eye he can process images with more nuance. This true story - I shit you not - is a perfect application of creating a completely insane mystique about yourself and scaring the living daylights out of stoned film students.

I hope this has helped all of you. Go forth and rule the world.