So your kid wants to become a director?

The director is a very different animal to acting. Where an actor partakes in 1/3 of the production process, if they are the lead or even title character; a director is part of it from the very beginning.

The director

They tell the story, and are responsible for everything. You must always have an answer, and when the director sits, everyone sits. So don’t. Directors are the artist version of a CEO and leading politician. Part leader, part negotiator, professional compromiser, and always in charge. If your child wants to be a star they want to be an actor. Directors work tirelessly and very hard while never getting recognized for the work. If the project is celebrated, the actor is celebrated long before the director.

Thing’s you can do to help. Script writing classes and camera technology are good places to start. If they are old enough getting a job as a PA (Production Assistant) with a company or working director is the absolute best way to get hands on experience. Start by helping for free so they can develop skills and a reputation for their quality. PA-ing is a flexible role that can traverse the set hierarchy like a messenger. This is the position nearly everyone starts in, and not doing so is a disservice to yourself.

A love for stories and story telling is a must, where networking and business savvy isn’t as important as it is for an actor. The actor is a company of one, and a director often develops a production company with a few people around them.

 

What to take with you.

These are fundamentally different roles and the division is not simply on set, as a behind and in-front of the camera dynamic, but rather a theoretical and practical approach to story telling. One muses the other does.

Think about your young artist, and what parts of their life, at present, they thrive in and in which ones they struggle. This will help you sort out what direction to inspire them to work more at.

As fate would have it, many actors become directors but few directors become actors. I can’t explain that outside of the reality that as life passes, we all want more, and there is more storytelling in directing than acting.

Always keep in mind career choices are just that, choices. With one you un-select 9 others. This should be fun, and it’s up to you to let it be. I can recommend the book “The Artists Way”, and the podcast “Audrey Helps Actors”.

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