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The Director’s Chair Issue #134 – September 18, 2012 (Mistakes of First-Time Directors)

Free Monthly Ezine for Independent Filmmakers

September 18, 2012                Scene 13 – Take 9

Published once a month.

Publisher: Peter D. Marshall
Email: mailto:pdm@actioncutprint.com
Website: http://actioncutprint.com
Blog: http://filmdirectingtips.com


Dear Filmmaker,

You are receiving “The Director’s Chair” because you (or
someone using your email address) requested a subscription.

PRIVACY STATEMENT: This Subscriber List is a private mailing
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individuals. I value every Subscriber and respect your


1. Introduction
2. Bonuses for Subscribing to The Director’s Chair
3. Advanced Blocking: 2 Day Filmmaking Workshop
4. FEATURE ARTICLE: Mistakes of First-Time Directors
5. Subscriber Shameless Self-Promotion
6. Filmmaking Links of Interest
7. Product Promotion and Film Workshops
8. Subscribe and Unsubscribe Information
9. Copyright Information

1. Introduction

Welcome to Issue #134 of The Director’s Chair September 18, 2012

1. Feature Article – The feature article this month is called:
What are the common mistakes first-time movie directors make?
by Eric Wood. “I don’t often chime in, but I couldn’t resist.
Rather than get into the list of mistakes that a director
could possibly make (a list which could get out of control
very quickly), I’ve decided to make this a list of thing a
director must do in order to avoid common pitfalls.” (Read
article below.)

2. Please send any comments, suggestions, questions or advice
to: mailto:pdm@actioncutprint.com

2. Two Bonuses For Subscribing To The Director’s Chair

Thank you very much for subscribing to this ezine.

BONUS #1 – Here is the link to download Day One (30 pages) of
“The Art and Craft of the Director Audio Seminar.”

BONUS #2 – Here is the link to download the first 27 pages of
the “Script Breakdown and Film Scheduling Online Course.”

3. Advanced Blocking: 2 Day Filmmaking Workshop with
Peter D. Marshall (December 8 & 9, Toronto, Canada)

When you first start directing, blocking actors in a scene can
be one of the hardest (and most embarrassing) parts of your
job. If you get it wrong here, you could waste valuable
shooting time trying to get out of the mess you created!

But like anything else in life, blocking takes practice and
the more times you do it, the more comfortable you will

Blocking is simply working out the details of the actor’s
moves in relation to the position of the camera. Because
viewer emotion is the ultimate goal of each scene, how (and
why) the actors move, and where you place the camera, involves
knowing what emotion you want the audience to experience at
any given moment.

Audiences today are very sophisticated and they will assume
that every shot, movement or word of dialogue in a film is
there to further the central idea. Therefore, each shot you
use can either enhance or detract the audience’s understanding
of what the scene is really about and what the characters are

To help you enhance your blocking skills, I have partnered
with Raindance Canada again for another weekend workshop
called Advanced Blocking on December 8 & 9, 2012 in Toronto,

This 2-day hands-on workshop concentrates on constructing
shots and blocking actors in a scene and is designed for
directors and actors who want to better understand the
complicated process of scene analysis and blocking actors on

In this workshop you will also have the opportunity to
participate in blocking a scene with professional actors and
the scene will be recorded to play back for discussion and


1. Introduction
2. The Tools of a Director
3. The Tools of the Actor
4. The Actor/Director Relationship
5. Creative Script and Scene Analysis
6. Character Development and Analysis
7. The Psychology of Movement
8. Blocking and Staging Techniques
9. Practice: Blocking and Subtext Demo
10. Tips for Blocking and Staging a Scene
11. Tips for Working with Actors on Set.
12. Homework for Day Two


1. Practice: Scene Presentations with Actors
2. Review Video of Scene Presentations
3. That’s a Wrap

Who Should Take this Course

Film Directors, Screenwriters, Actors, Producers who want to
more deeply understand the techniques directors use to create
great shots and block scenes on set and directors and
producers who wish to better understand how to communicate and
work with actors.

For more information on how to register for this 2 day
Advanced Blocking workshop, please contact Tiska or Jaimy at
Raindance Canada.

4. Feature Article: Common Mistakes of First-Time Directors

This article was written by Eric Wood in response to the
question: “What are the common mistakes first-time movie
directors make?” on the filmmaking website Quora.

I don’t often chime in, but I couldn’t resist.

Rather than get into the list of mistakes that a director
could possibly make (a list which could get out of control
very quickly), I’ve decided to make this a list of thing a
director must do in order to avoid common pitfalls.


In order to do this the director must see the complete film in
his/her head and generate the tools needed to communicate that
vision to the talent and production team.  The list of things
a director must consider is very long but let’s suffice it to
say that the script is not the final vision.

Yes, a script has to be sound as far as story, character
development, pacing, etc. but ultimately the goal of all
involved in the creation of the film should be to help the
director realize his/her vision for how that story is

The director’s job is to create a working environment where
his/her vision can be realized.  This includes Camera,
Production Design, Performance, etc.  There’s a lot of ground
to cover, but a director must make the time to be prepared.


Many of the above comments include issues that a first-time
director will not have encountered in the past. If they have,
they are often easy to loose site of on the day.  An
experienced producer, UPM, AD team, Scripty and department
heads will help flush out these issues in advance and help
keep a new director on track once the chaos of production

This is their job, not an indication that the director is
somehow lacking, but rather a statement on the complexity of
the filmmaking process.  An experienced director totally
depends on his/her team, this is even more critical when a
director is new to the roll.  If an inexperienced team doesn’t
know what concerns to look out for, how can they have a
director’s back?


Let’s face it, it doesn’t matter how long a person has been in
production, directing for the first time is learning a new
process.  Approaching the opportunity and the responsibilities
of a director with humility and an open mind is critical. That
said, being able to listen to good ideas does not mean you
have to use them all.

If a director OWNS THE CREATIVE VISION he/she will be able to
evaluate what “works” simply because good ideas will expand
and improve on the final vision.  Acting on every idea can
only lead to “creative confusion” and chaos. Uncool.

So, only one more issue to address.

In the indie world, it is very common for a first-time
director to also be a first-time producer.  You know the
scenario.  Filmmaker writes script, expecting to direct
his/her “baby” and the only way to get it made is to produce
the picture themselves.

This happens and can be perfectly fine IF the producer is able
to take off the “producer hat” completely and immerse
themselves in the responsibilities of directing.  In order for
this to happen there must be an experienced production team in
place that can take over when it’s time to for the director to
direct. If this isn’t possible the chances of the film ending
in success (creative, financial, etc.) are indeed slim.

Eric Wood is a Creative Producer and UPM from Los Angeles.

5. Subscriber Shameless Self-Promotion (Free Advertising)

The Director’s Chair gives you an incredible opportunity to
get Free Advertising for your services and your films.

Each month, I give two subscribers an opportunity to promote
themselves, their company or their productions in this

So if you want over 5500 filmmakers around the world to know
about you and your films, please send me your “shameless
self-promotion” to: mailto:pdm@actioncutprint.com.

Please limit your promotion to 300 words. I reserve the right
to edit the promotion for length, spelling and formatting.


(1) No one submitted a self-promotion this month. 🙁

6. Filmmaking Links of Interest

1. ‘El Mariachi’: 20 Years Later

2. Six Filmmaking Tips From Monty Python Features

3. Innovative Cloud Filmmaking with Tiffany Shlain

4. Storytelling through Composition

5. The Hellish Productions of 6 Great Movies

6. Female Saudi filmmaker creates landmark cinema

7. Five of the best films made about filmmaking

8.  China: Filmmaking‚Äôs new frontier

9. Looking to Get Your Movie Made?

10. Independent Filmmaking: Passion or Profession?

7. Product Promotion And Film Workshops

From time to time, I will contact you to inform you of film
workshops, filmmaking products or Online courses that I feel
are beneficial to filmmakers like yourself. Of course, you are
under no obligation to purchase anything – I only offer this
information as a service to subscribers of this free ezine.

8. Subscribe and Unsubscribe Information

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9. Copyright Information

Copyright (c) 2000-2012
Peter D. Marshall
All Rights Reserved