What Makes A Good Director?

 1. The passion to be a storyteller.

2. A love for actors.

3. An outgoing personality.

4. Intelligence.

5. An ability to use the camera well.

6. An outgoing personality.

7. A facility for political gamesmanship.

8. Dogged determination to succeed.

9. An outgoing personality.

10. Communication skills.

11. A vivid imagination.

12. An outgoing personality.

You get what I’m saying.  This all comes to mind because I’ve had a few shadows (people learning to direct by watching) lately, and the Warner Brothers Directing Workshop (which I teach) is gearing up for its first open-application season, so I’ve seen first-hand a fair number of people who want to direct.  They are unique individuals, as different from each other as can be, but they share a common desire to direct.

For most of them, I want to say, “Give it up, it’s probably not going to happen for you.”  It’s not that I want to be negative, but realistic.  They don’t seem to have what it takes (see above).  But they will try.  They will make shorts, they will submit to festivals, they will spend their weekends and hard-earned cash to keep making movies.  And very few will succeed.  I’d like to save them the heartache – but then I think, it’s all a subjective business, that’s just my opinion, who am I to judge them?

And yet… I know what I know. This aspect of having an outgoing personality is not a learned skill, it’s an inherited trait that you either were born with or not.  It’s really about leadership, about having the ability to enlist others to follow you.  It’s about sparking their enthusiasm because they sense yours and judge you to be worthy of their time and attention.  And many of the people I’ve met lately who want to direct are not leaders in that sense.  I wish they could see themselves as I and others do, those who do the hiring, the producing, the financing.  I wish the wannabes could objectively grade their abilities and decide whether they really want to pursue this elusive goal of being a director.

Yet again… I’m grateful that there are those who crave to live in this magical world of make-believe where the collective consciousness doesn’t always matter, where money isn’t always the bottom line, where with faith and hope you can sometimes succeed when everyone predicted you would fail.  So I’m not going to rely on my realistic perspective about these directing hopefuls, I’m going to shut my mouth and wish them well.