Filmmaking / Directing : How Directors Help and Hinder Production Designers by CJ Powers

CJ Powers

How Directors Help and Hinder Production Designers

I'd like to hear about how directors can either help or hinder production designers on film project. For instance, a good director will cast his vision for the film and leave room for the production designer's creativity and that of his or her team. A bad director might hand over full designs he's developed and ask for the team to make it happen, cutting off the creative process. What are some of the things good directors have done to prepare and bad directors have done?

D Marcus

Interesting that you see a director who hands over full designs he's developed and asks for the team to make it happen as a bad director. I've directed a lot of theater (only one short film) and I almost always have detailed designs for the sets. No designer has every suggested that makes me a bad director. Maybe they're just scared? I always thought that showing the designer my vision in as much detail as I can is helpful.

CJ Powers

The reason I said "might" hand over full designs, was because I heard about one director that did everyone's job. I wasn't suggesting the person was a bad director, as I don't know -- That's why the question.

Tommi Brem

I've had the pleasure of working with one director (theatre) on many occasions of the past years and the set design (or should I say production design) was always a collaborative process, where the director would express his goals and his intuition about the piece and we'd take it from there. I personally am a developer, not an executor, so I wouldn't have it any other way. But I guess that if a director has the design ready and needs someone to make it fly, why not. Let's hope he (or she) is a good set designer, then. IMO it only starts getting fishy when you're hired as a developer and find out your job is that of an executor. So to answer your question (and that's just my 5cents), a director can help by being honest, by being direct direct and by having trust.

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