Everyday Filmmaker: You're The Director

It's your life.

You set the scene, you call the shots, and you choose the cuts. The responsibility is on you.

Working with commercial directors, along with learning about top filmmakers, it's easy to see the resemblance between video setup and life setup. A lot like these directors, you are the driving force behind your life story that your peers come to watch. And a lot like film directors, I've noticed that there is one huge rule that can teach the everyday person about success.

But before I explicitly say it, I want you to think about your current state. Think about your life in the past year. 2 years. 4 years. Think about your growth that led you to your current school /work /life. Are you happy with this progression?

If you are, I applaud you to keep going at that rate. If not, I want you to direct yourself upwards. [Either way, keep reading]

And to be that director, I want to share three big responsibilities that transfer over from filmmaking into your life… responsibilities that all fall under one huge rule that can teach the everyday person about success.

1. Take responsibility for what you SEE

Literally. Take a look around you and take a look at yourself. Is it what you want to see? Do your physical surroundings aid in telling your story? Are your belongings the type of props that help you move along the plot you want to live? Is the man in the mirror the character you really want?

Every detail is a concern to the director's eye, and should likewise be to yours. Single scenes can take days to shoot -- and I'm talking about quick 1 minute advertisements -- so the fear of time shouldn't stop you. Everything the director wants to see on camera will be on camera, everything unnecessary will be removed, and everything less than ideal will be fixed. So honestly ask yourself if what you're seeing is what you want to see. If not, be the director and change that.

2. Take responsibility for what you FEEL

The mood of a film is the driving force for all that happens -- the soul that creates every scene. What you feel internally leads to external action. It's hard to work if you're not feeling it; you can't interact if you're not feeling it; things just don't feel right if you're not feeling it. And that has the biggest toll on your growth.

Granted: bad things will happen, roadblocks will appear, and forks in the road will have you questioning your route… and it's only human to feel lost, stressed, or bummed out. Don't let these antagonistic forces consume you. Acknowledge them, question their validity on your roadmap, and trust yourself to keep moving. Emotions are the driving force for all that happens, so take control of them, and learn to cruise with the wind. Don't let it blow you away.

3. Take responsibility for what you HEAR

A director knows what sounds he wants in the film. And just like the sounds around the character, the sounds around you will be an indicator of your character progression. Carefully listen to people when they speak to you. Are they small-talkers who don't care for your personal opinion, or do they dig deep for your insight and guidance. Are they sarcastic clowns who can't make sincere conversation, or do they stimulate meaningful discussion. People will often mirror dialogue based on the other characters involved. If you can't take them seriously, they probably can't take you seriously.

And analyzing yourself this way can be tough, since everyone finds different things meaningful to talk about. So don't solely base dialogue on the content, but more so on how it's delivered. Hear respectful connections being made, hear important relationships thriving, and listen for the most powerful compliment you can hear:

"Wow, you've grown"


So keep promoting those diegetic sounds that indicate growth, feel your emotions working with your storyline, and see your life the way you honestly want to see it. The one huge rule that transfers over from filmmaking into your life…