At the early stage of production, my husband and I were covering all the production needs.
At the same time, I was re-writing the script while running the campaign and working on my director’s notes.
I’m one of those directors who need to have everything in place before going into production. I believe that the more prepared I’m, the easier it will be to adapt when the unexpected happens.
The budget was still up in the air as we needed to wait for the outcome of our campaign, to know what we could afford and what we couldn’t.
My usual work on the script includes: script breakdown and analysis, working on improvisation exercises that I can use during the rehearsals, working on character’s background stories, coming up with questions for the actors about scenes and actions that the characters take.
I’m not an actor and don’t have the tools the actors have to help them develop their characters. I try to help them as much as I can and give them the push in the right direction. Since all the actors are different and work differently, I know I need to adjust to them as much as they need to adjust to the screenplay.
Some actors just needed a screenplay and a short chat. Others required more from me, and I always tried to deliver to the best of my knowledge.
I believe that directing is a life long learning process, and I’m just at the start of it.
I analysed the script from the art department pov. I tend to work on low budget productions, so resourcefulness is my first name.
I always have to be realistic, flexible and adjust my expectations accordingly to what is achievable and do-able on the budget available.
I usually start by making a list of required locations and props.
When it comes to props, I try to use whatever I already have in the house.
I also often use locations I know and have free access to.
I always provide my Art Director and Production Designer with visuals regarding to the locations and props, so we are on the same page from the start of the project.
In the case of ‘Anna and Modern Day Slavery,’ my parent’s house was turned into one big location and sleeping quarters for the crew.
When it comes to costumes, I never have specific outfits in mind for every scene. I usually have a general look in mind for each character, which I discuss with the costume designer.
When I worked on Anna & Modern Day Slavery, I recorded a video with visual references, which I posted on YouTube for my Spanish designer to see what I had in mind for every character.
Since we were on a budget, we used our actors’ clothes as well as some private Marta’s (costume designer’s) clothes.
I usually find references to my visuals and framing online, which I share with my DP. But I always remain open to suggestions and ideas.
Typically, I have a shoot list (unless it’s a documentary and it’s hard to predict what will go in the frame) with all the shots I need for coverage.
Nowadays there is a lot of software’s to design shots, which I think I might use for my next feature. It makes life much easier both on the set and while editing.
You ALWAYS need to sign contracts with your cast and crew. There are no excuses. You may be friends at the time of the shooting, but you never know how the friendship will develop so better be safe than sorry.