6 min read

#398 - How to Crawl Inside The Mind of a Director

Crawl inside and learn from what you find in there...

Part of the job of an editor is to find their way inside the mind of the director, understand what they're after and help bring that dream back into reality.

And maybe, if they're lucky, set up a little birdhouse in their soul and build one of those career-spanning collaborations we all aspire to.

But how do you get inside the mind of a director, and what's it like in there?

Well, one way is to understand what directors are like in general and then apply those lessons to your director specifically.

And one way to do that is to read Director Ed Zwick's memoir on, and guidebook to, a career in film and television: Hits, Flops and Other Illusions - My FortySomething Years in Hollywood.

"Everybody else on a crew goes from one director’s set to another.
A director, meanwhile, lives in a lonely world of his own devising, reinventing filmmaking according to his unique obsessions, eccentricities, and fetishes."

— Ed Zwick, Hits, Flops and Other Illusions

In this issue of Cut/daily, I'll share some of my favourite quotes from the book and offer a few thoughts on why you should read the whole thing too!

The most valuable thing I took away from the book was a fresh appreciation for and empathy towards those who take on the mantle of director. It's a tough calling.

So if you take away nothing else, pause to ask yourself these three questions about your current director:

  • What is behind their passion for this project?
    • And where do we overlap on this?
  • What pressures are they currently facing?
    • And how can I empathise with those?
  • How do our personality traits converge/diverge (or conflict/counterbalance)?
    • And how do I EQ those to bring about a harmonious working relationship?
Why not forward this issue of Cut/daily to a director friend and get their take on it or another editor who might benefit from reading it?

The rest of this post is waiting for you when you subscribe for free, plus you'll get a free issue of Cut/daily in your inbox every Friday!