Good morning, everyone. I hope you all had a great 4th of July weekend. I spent mine out at the lake at the coast in Lincoln City, OR with my family. I grew playing as a boy out there in the summers and on the weekends… it brings back childhood memories as if it were yesterday.
I’m pleased to announce that as of last weekend, ‘The Astrid Experience’ is over 50% funded. This is incredible, and I can’t thank everyone enough who’s stepped up and supported us during this time. We understand it’s been a challenging few months for the majority of the world, and to help us push through despite trying circumstances means more than you know. We took a big risk launching when we did, but we believed we had to push through and continue in earnest longing and in diligent hope of a bright future, and so far that faith has paid off. Let us continue with this momentum and take it all the way.
In honor of this middle milestone, I wanted to share a little more about my job and what a film director does on the day-to-day. It’s quite obvious what the actors do. The writer writes the script, the crew sets up the set, and the producers run the business, but what does a director really do? It’s so much more than just barking orders or calling “Action” on set, which is less than 1% of it. I thought I’d shine some light on this highly demanding and articulate position this morning, and go into further detail about the role of the film director.
I like to use the analogy of the film director as a baker — the ultimate baker — the film director is baking a marvelous cake that will be presented to royalty at the Grand Ball, only instead of using water, butter, sugar, baking powder, frosting, food color, etc., the film director is using human beings and their individual talents, and great care is required.
First, the ultimate baker (the film director) must envision their cake (film). They must see it in their minds eye long before they undertake the trying task of attempting to bring it into physical reality. It is going to be presented before royalty at the Grand Ball of course, and it must not just be great, it must be extraordinary. Great care and thought is required at this step, many months or years before anyone else is brought into the creation process.
At a base level, it’s only physically possible for the cake to be as good as the ingredients that constitute it, so the first thing a baker (the film director) must do is go out and select the finest ingredients. The baker (the film director) must scour the globe if they must, but their ingredients must be great, and they must be perfect for the type cake (film) they are envisioning to create. The blueprints (the script) must be perfect and understood completely. The key ingredients (the cast) must be tried and tested beforehand to make sure they will hold up under the pressure and heat of refinement, to make sure their skills are fresh and flavorful, and not old and stale, and the frosting (the music, sound, and color) must be delicious. The culinary team (the crew) must be highly skilled and trust the baker (the director) completely and commit to their vision. A certain shorthand is required to move easily and proficiently while creating the film. All these elements are required for the ultimate baker (the film director) to begin creating their vision. This is, in fact, is the most important thing a film director must do — choosing the right people, and letting them work.
Once the ultimate baker (the film director) has their choice ingredients, the next thing they must do is make it. This is where the real skill comes in. They have everything of what they need, and now they must put it together in a way that not only works, but is as flavorful and as beautiful as it possibly can be. So much of making the cake (the film) is about timing and making sure to add the right amount at the right time — when to put the ingredients in, how much, and at what pace, are all tasks the baker (the film director) does intuitively on the fly using their knowledge and gained experience.
Once the cake (film) is mixed together (shot), it must be baked. I liken the baking process to editing, which is as trying and as articulate as mixing the ingredients (principle production) itself. The baking process is long and arduous, and so many things can go wrong during this process. The cake must be left to rise, but must also be checked on diligently to make sure everything is as it should. If the ingredients were mixed together properly and nothing was missed, it should rise quite nicely. If a step was skipped, watch out! Because it will be clear in not too long, and swift adjustments must be made to recover. For The Astrid Experience, our baking (editing) process has been going quite smoothly, because great care was put into selecting the ingredients and putting them together.
When the cake (film) is baked (edited) and ready, it’s time to finish it. The color, sound, and music constitute the frosting that not only make the cake (film) beautiful to look at, but also tasty and delicious when the time finally comes to experience it. These varnishes are, in fact, the key components that make the cake so much greater than the sum of its core ingredients. It’s what separates the cake as a true work of art, something to be marveled at and enjoyed, rather than just devoured and quickly forgotten. When these key components are finally added, the cake (film) is complete.
A final and important thing the ultimate baker (the film director) must do, is shepherd their project through the creation process and present it to the world. It is an all-consuming task, and diligent thought must be given to it daily for years on end to make sure everything constantly feels right. This is difficult to explain, but is an essential factor that separates good bakers (good film directors) from bad ones. In the artistic world, we usually just call this the “it factor”, which is that magic component that makes things work and takes dreams all the way to the top. I believe it’s a combination of a real love and passion for the work, and talent. Neither will get the baker (the film director) far without the other, but combine them together and there truly are no limits to creation.
Find love in your work, do it diligently, and the rest will follow.
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