Direction


Today there was an open house/panel discussion at the Director’s Guild. I saw the announcement for it a week or so ago and realized that it happened to fall on a weekend that I happened to be free. Being at the DGA meant that the Curmudgeonly Lion and I could have breakfast at our favorite pancake restaurant, The Griddle, beforehand and make an outing of it.

So we found ourselves getting up early on our Saturday to drive to Hollywood. It was a beautiful morning to be out and about so we sat outside and enjoyed our breakfast and the people watching that only Sunset Boulevard can provide. After breakfast it was just a matter walking next door for the actual panel discussion.

The thing about directing is that so many people want to do it that very few people take you seriously when you say that you want to do it. Being a student of the art form and having the chance to go inside the hallowed halls of the DGA is like having the chance to see the inside of a secret clubhouse.

The other thing about directing is that the people who “make it” are just as confounded by how they got there as we, the aspiring, are confounded about our forthcoming journey. The question of “how do you become a director” is a question with no answer ( aside from “direct stuff”, I suppose), but it gets asked at every Q&A. It’s as if the uncertainty itself has a gravitational pull on our attention. It sometimes seems as if it is more important to quantify the “right” path than it is to actually walk it.

That said, however, it was edifying to have the chance to hear successful directors describe their own paths; not the least because every director in the panel had walked a path that was unique to them, but consistently difficult, arduous, unpredictable, and frustrating. And successful- let’s not forget successful.

The best piece of advice that I think I gleaned from the experience was to worry less about getting a break from the people ahead of me- the “upperclassmen” as it were, and to look to the people beside me for the jobs and supporting which a career is built. This seemed like much more quantifiable action that I could take than spending my time worrying about being on the right track.

All in all it was a great morning. Not a bad way to spend a Saturday.

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~ by Gwydhar Gebien on April 11, 2015.

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