The Secret To Being a Successful Director

We all know that things like appearance are not important in Hollywood, but I believe that it is always important to feel and look the best you can.  When I recently directed a project for our company, Post Haste, I was faced with a myriad of decisions that contribute to a successful shoot.  Choosing good material, casting great actors, finding a cooperative crew – these are all important.

But there is one thing that in my opinion is the most important decision – the thing that I believe influences everything else.

And that one thing is comfortable shoes. 

And a nice outfit. Okay, that’s two things. As a director, there are two things that are vitally important. Actually, since the outfit will most likely consist of some kind of pants and a top, technically that’s three things, unless you opt to direct in a jumpsuit which I DO NOT RECOMMEND. Many shoots are long and you tend to drink lots of coffee, so trust me – you do not want to be struggling with a one piece jumpsuit in some tiny port-o-potty while the actors are off discussing motivation with each other. That can only lead to very bad things down the road.

Okay – so – the three most important decisions when you are directing. Shoes, pants and a top.

I find it helps to view your directing outfit as a costume. Like any good costume, the clothing you choose to direct in should convey something about the character of “The Director.” The director is responsible for everything that happens on set. This is very stressful. One thing that helps ease this stress is that you have power. Your costume should properly capture this tension – this ying and yang, if you will. The costume should also be appropriate for the activities required of “The Director.”  These activities can include waiving your arms about as you argue with the producer, nodding as you pretend to listen when the DP talks about technical stuff, crouching in a corner with an actor to discuss his emotions, having a heated argument on your cell phone with “someone from finance,” and gazing silently at the empty set thinking about your vision.

For this last shoot, I elected to wear my Adidas sneakers, which were very comfortable.  Unfortunately, I didn’t realize until it was too late that they were lacking in the cool factor. The cool factor is a subtle yet vital part of the director’s mien. While the Adidas allowed me to spring into action, I feel that my black P.F. Flyers would have imbued me with a je ne sais quoi, which of course, would have been something. There is nothing in the world worse than standing on a set, with the entire cast and crew looking at you, and not feeling cool. But that’s okay.  I am always learning as a director, and I will bring this lesson with me into the next project. 

Now, let’s consider the pants.  Jeans are classic of course, but I find jeans slightly restricting. When I’m directing, I need to be able to reach the heights of my creative vision, and I don’t want to feel bound by budget or fabric. That is why I chose “activewear.”  This type of clothing is perfect for directing. Activewear is specifically made for people to be active in. The activity is completely up to you! Directing is a very active activity, therefore activewear is perfect. I wore the walk about pant from retailer Lucy, and considering the amount of walking about I did on the set, I think I made the right choice.

For my top, I choose the soy jersey long-sleeve hoodie, also from Lucy. Not only was this an environmentally conscious choice, it was also soft and comfy. Since this project was all about emotions and expressing emotions and feeling emotions, the soft comfy top sent a subtle cue that I was a director to whom you could be comfortable expressing your emotions. I choose the top in pink, because I don’t want to lose my femininity in a male-dominated profession. Also, I look good in pink.

I know this whole issue of the outfit may seem like another huge decision, when you already have so many decisions to make. But I honestly believe that if you choose your outfit well, you will be assured of a successful directing experience.  Happy Directing!

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3 Comments on “The Secret To Being a Successful Director”

  1. Blythe says:

    I hope Susan is reading this, she will be so proud of your apparel consciousness.

  2. And the flip side of the coin, if you are a sadistic director, you have all of your actors in jumpsuits. Then you can scream at them when they are not on the set when you are ‘ready to roll’.

    But, if this feels to harsh, a one-sie can be interpreted by the actor as quite considerate.

  3. […] may remember in my recent post about dressing for directing, I stressed that the most important choice a director makes is footware. Directing is all about […]


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