Q: You were the director of LKT’s first of two Shadow Week productions this past week. What drew you towards wanting to direct this short film?
A: Being fairly new to LKT, I have noticed that each field of expertise has its own established brothers from audio specialists to editors to graphic designers and so on. As one of the new kids on the block, I wanted to make a name for myself as a director. I typically direct projects that are manifestations of my own stories and never got a chance to make someone else’s concept a reality. When I saw Seth and Tyler post the script and make a call for directors, I saw it as a chance to showcase my skills as a director and as a leader while getting to work on an LKT set.
Q: How was working with the cast and crew? Were certain things easier and/or harder than you anticipated?
A: I cannot begin to say how proud I am of my Shadow Week cast and crew. I wanted to treat this like a real-world shoot for the benefit and experience of everyone involved. Brothers to Out-reachers, everyone, I felt, not only lived up to my expectations but also to LKT’s standard of professionalism. That said, like a real-world set, some things didn’t go as planned. From a lack of photo paper for prop making to incredible winds and freezing conditions, this semester’s Shadow Week really put us through the ringer and tested the dedication and resourcefulness of everyone on both sides of the camera. Likewise, there were also several things that did go easier than I had anticipated; the solutions to on set issues for example. I have been on some projects where when problems arise for any one department, they quickly become a problem for others. From using a crane mic stand as a make-shift boom pole to gathering sandbags to secure light stands against gusty winds, nothing proved impossible.
Q: We’re sure that your crew learned from you, but did you learn anything from your crew?
A: Like many serious film students, I had gotten used to guerrilla style film shoots and doing everything, essentially, on my own. Since joining LKT, I have been trying to grow out of that and start letting go of responsibilities to delegate them to the people who will get the job done and done right. I was so used to being one of the few people in a film class that took it seriously or had any proficiency in it that I never really had the ability to trust others to do their job to the standard I had set for myself. I had gotten to work with a few brothers prior to this production and started to loosen my grip on the total control I was accustomed to. With the completion of Shadow Week and working with this phenomenal crew, I think I have grown more as a person, an artist, a film maker, and as a director. I got to orchestrate a cast and crew of incredible people and finally learned how to let go and enjoy the shoot. Thank you, guys.
Q: If you were to give a piece of advice to anyone who was interested in directing but has limited experience with it, what would you tell them?
A: Do it. I was asked how I felt when I was first told I got the job as director. I told them “pure, unadulterated fear.” This was the largest scale production, crew-wise, I had ever done. It was the first major LKT shoot I was on in an official capacity and was very nervous that it would all blow up in my face. I had more resources and personnel on hand than I had before. It was great and scary at the same time. For those who want to try directing or get into directing I would suggest you be open to suggestions. I asked others for their opinions, ideas, input, and advice; I encourage those interested to do the same. Talk with your department heads. Share your vision as best you can and listen to theirs as well. Learn what gear you all have and what will be needed. They want to make sure this goes well too. Yes, you’re there to conduct an orchestra comprised of the cast and crew you assemble but know that you should never mute a single voice that might help to enrich and improve the vision you set out with. In the end, a script or even a plot is only an idea. An abstract. An article of fiction until you do something about it. Until you capture it on film. Until it airs in VB, The Senator, or even in your living room – watched only by those who worked on it. Remember what you create when you come together with the brilliant minds you have stepped in to direct: a reality derived from fiction.