How collaborative is your role?
It’s very collaborative. As a director, I think you need to know a bit about all the elements of filmmaking – sound design, acting, production – but then someone better than you is going to do the actual work. It’s about giving enough space and guidance to get the best out of people, and steering the project. It’s important to make sure your vision is clear in your own head beforehand, so that you can articulate it to other people.
To make a film as a director, you’ll have a producer, who is above you in some ways – where you are responsible for the creative, they are in charge of making sure it gets done. Then in terms of finance, above that you have the investors, then the executive producers – who all decide whether a film happens or not.
In terms of my team, for my last short I had about 150 people working on it. You’ll have your HODs (heads of department), the cinematographer (DOP), editor, screenwriter, a VFX supervisor and an animation team. Then you have casting, production designer, sound designer and sound editor, composer – and each of them has their own team, for example the camera team the cinematographer might have a first camera assistant, a focus puller, a loader (who changes the batteries and cards).
Then for a commercial it’s a completely different set-up; there will be countless people on set, many of whom you might not know who they are!