What are you doing to better your directing? Where do you get ideas from? How are you challenging yourself? I personally believe that in everything you do you should be shooting to always get better. No matter if it is you or your team, what are you doing to inspire better directing or better quality in yourself and in others?
When I first started directing my mentor and I would sit down and watch everything we could get our hands on. We would always critique the things I directed, what he directed and then we would pick up DVD’s of concerts and critique their directing. We would find what works well, and what doesn’t and why. This exercise became one of the most valuable tools to better my directing that I still do to this day.
When I worked at Eagle Brook Church we would watch Saturday’s service first thing on Sunday. The most valuable thing about this was that all the volunteers were there watching their work too! So as I was watching what I was doing I had volunteers watching their work too. I constantly herd people critiquing themselves, so much that I rarely would go and point stuff out to them as they were catching it faster than I was. This exercise is so valuable for many different reasons. And if you aren’t in the habit of watching back you work with the idea of finding ways to improve, you are doing yourself a disservice. I personally believe if you are not growing in what you know, you are only growing in what you think you know. In other words if you aren’t finding ways to make yourself better then you just think you are good and don’t need improvement.
The exercise of finding concerts and other live DVD’s to watch is still one of my favorite things to do and it is a way to find new ideas and challenging myself. I have my DVR set to record concerts all the time, and my iTunes library is rapidly increasing on the number of concerts I own.
Watch stuff that inspires you and use it to inspire creativity in you directing. If you visit my Vimeo page you will see a few different styles. Some of these videos I can tell you exactly where the inspiration came from, and some of them I can’t, all I can tell you is that it has come from watching many Concert DVD’s and having someone challenging me in order to make me better.
Here are some of the video’s from my Vimeo page. You will notice I’m a sucker for the Black and White effect.
Song: I still haven’t found what I’m looking for
Inspiration: Keane Live 2005 DVD
Learning/ Idea: Dip to black between transitions (I took an Idea and took it further while making it my own)
Song: This is your life
Inspiration: Many concerts DVD’s doing Black and White effects
Learning/ Idea: Black and white to color (Symbolism)
Song: The Middle
Inspiration: Music Videos of all sorts
Learning/ Idea: I start and end the song the same way. (overall I’m not a huge fan of my directing on this video)
Song: Amazing Grace
Learning/ Idea: I watched a Jewel concert and it was just her on stage. I learned how to focus on 1 subject and to keep it interesting
Song: Love is not a Fight
Inspiration: Being Challenged by Richard Funderburg
Learning/ Idea: I learned to stick with a shot, let it trail before cutting away. Don’t always cut on the beat
Song: The Motions
Inspiration: Being Challenged by Richard Funderburg
Learning/ Idea: Using movement and rack-focus to add flow and transition to shots
Inspiration: Self Learning
Learning/ Idea: I wanted to push myself and see if I could successfully cut 2 feeds at 1 time (how’d I do?)
Song: Louder Still (Behind the scenes)
Inspiration: The Killers at Royal Albert Hall
Learning/ Idea: Cuts only Keep it fast, really fast
Feel free to watch all of my stuff. Not all of it is great or even good. But either way I worked towards something new, pushed myself in a new way. Many times I had a plan before going in and I communicated what I wanted to do with my team. Then we just took it one step at a time.
I didn’t do this just with music, I did this with speaking too. Watching award shows, comedians, and other speakers.
Another thing that has greatly increased my directing skills is music. Understanding rhythm and anticipating music is something I learned as a drummer and has naturally flowed into my directing. Many of the other good directors I know have some type of musical background and understand how to anticipate what is coming next. This skill is invaluable, and pairing this with proper camera framing and good directing is a lethal combination. This is both helpful for music and for speaking. Maybe it is time you picked up the guitar, or some sticks.
When I first started EBC we had a volunteer director who had some basic musical talent and that made him an amazing director, especially for someone who only did it 1-2 times a month.
Find a new way to push yourself.
Here are a list of concerts I have greatly benefited from. Don’t get hung up on the number of cameras or the things they do that you can’t. Find a nugget and use it. Find out what they did well and what they didn’t.
(Most of these are secular bands, Sorry)
Kean Live (2005)
The killers: Live from Royal Albert Hall
Muse: HAARP tour & Germany 2010
John Mayer: Where the light is
Coldplay: Live in Tokyo
Airbourne Toxic Event: All I ever wanted at the Walt Disney Concert Hall
That is just a few. I also have my DVR set to record on Palladia, a lot!