What makes a great filmmaker? For anyone with the desire to become a film director or creative director, this is an important question. One of the jobs of a director is to develop and show strong character traits in both the story and from the actors.
The four qualities that great directors have in common can be broken down to the following:
- They are leaders
- With a strong creative vision
- Who fully understand and can execute their craft
- And who are able to handle the job physically and mentally
To expand upon these points, great directors are ultimately creative artists. Many of those involved in the creative arts believe that viewing what they do as a job is detrimental. In fact, film-making, like any other creative endeavor, should be viewed as a lifestyle. Creative jobs tend to consume every waking moment and if viewed as a job will most likely lead to physical and mental burnout. However, when viewed as a lifestyle, it becomes a persistent drive to succeed.
Common thought tends to reinforce that hard work is what leads to success. But in creative arts, it’s less about working hard and more about working smart. Knowing goals and being decisive is very important. It’s also important for creative types not to let criticism discourage or depress them. Creative endeavors tend to be very subjective in terms of who likes them and why. It’s not possible for a film to be universally adored, someone is always going to hate it. Great directors don’t let detractors get them down and instead focus on those who enjoy their work.
Great directors will also tell you that it’s important to stay humble. However, they will also tell you that it can be very difficult to do that in the face of success. Everyone’s heard the saying, just believe in yourself. It’s cliche, but the truth is that if you do not believe in yourself, then it’s unlikely that anyone else will either. Believing in yourself is not just about knowing your own talent, but also knowing your limitations and working to strengthen them. Creative types have to learn how to self-promote without being an egomaniac. This means having confidence in your work while staying humble about it at the same time.
Great directors are ultimately diligent in pursuing their dreams, while also being creative and innovative at their craft.
Robert Gillings is an award winning writer, producer, actor architectural designer, philosopher and financial consultant.