A how to guide to attract a director.

You’ve spent good time honing your own screenwriting craft to work out how to operate a Canon 5D then find out a lot of the magic is to do with some pretty expensive lenses you have no clue about. Like yourself, directing is its own craft and not every director can write, but they like you, can be a perfect fit to the puzzle that is getting your piece of vision to fruition. Directors are much more likely to give you a chance than producers, as they are probably as desperate as yourselves and best of all, they probably have all the shooting equipment and know how to use it.

Finding a director is not all too difficult. There’s lots of them, Vimeo is the red light district of filmmakers. Take a gander and see who is got the right sass for you and your work. It’s always ideal to be somewhat local to a potential director, but partnerships can be formed from distances. As most writers will know, distance is a good friend, no one can see all your neuroses from afar.

How to attract a director’s attention is no easy feat. Directors are notorious good dancers. Although dancing is often a mating call, you do not want to step into their zone or interrupt their flair. It is often best to stand in a corner, looking philosophical and judgemental in equal measures. Directors want to know that you are masters of observation, knowledgeable and too self-righteous to conform to the normalities of society. If you cannot find yourself in a disco hall with a desired director, ask a night-club for CCTV footage of you standing in the corner and send that.

Obviously flattery is key to get a director to read your work, but refrain from using superlatives, you cannot appear as too being too keen, it will ruin any form of attraction. Always leave them with some form of doubt that they could have been better and you are their next Merlin.

If you have successfully negotiated a like for like and they want to meet up, first appearances are important. It’s important to smell nice, but you can’t opt for your run of the mill cologne, you don’t want to come across as an everyday citizen. It’s ideal to smell somewhat earthy but not like a hippy. Although an artist, your scent must connote some form of practicality. An ideal trick is to leave sprinklings of pot-pourri on your mattress the night before. Always start with your love for film, if you really want to sound impressive, say how you only saw Primer once because you understood it on the first showing. As a symbolic gesture offer them one half of a Twix or like minded snack confectionery with two equal parts. This shows you are willing to give them what they want but also its a sign that you expect to be equal partners.

Before any filming is to take place, the rewriting will be a natural process. The director will want to put their ideas in the film. It’s important to not throw a hissy fit, remember they have a 5D and know how to use it, you want the power of that 5D. An easy compromise is to take their ideas and make them your own. You don’t want to look like a bitch but you are willing to make compromises to make the marriage work.

If your script makes it to shooting stage, it is fairly important to be on set. Make sure you take your remaining finger of Twix as a visual reminder of the partnership you have formed with the director. You’re an extra pair of eyes, remember, you would have planted seeds of doubt into the director previously when talking about their work. This means they will not be on full ego mode. If you see an issue on set, make sure to whisper in the director’s right ear, as whispering in the left will be seen as playing Devil’s advocate.

Once your film is made and available to be seen. Start courting fellow directors for future work, you are now a merchant of imagination. It’s now important to pose as a piece of sex meat and you want everyone salivating over you. Remember, the less available you are, the more wanted you will be.

If for whatever reason you are not garnering a lot of success with attracting a director, you can resort to lying that you have an incurable disease or some form of cancer and you’re dying wish is to have your script made before you depart. Whilst this may seem unethical, it shows you are willing to go as far as a character in a piece of fiction. This can be seen as method writing and it is a perfectly acceptable and understandable approach in the name of art. What is good is that you can always lie that you are cured once your film is made. It might be a good idea to go to Cuba as they have a good health-care system but its a good place for a holiday for hedonism to drown out any feeling of guilt.

If you are unsure about any of the above processes, you could always go to film festivals and short film nights and meet directors there. Meeting people in person is so much more impressionable than over the internet, furthermore, you’re showing your support to the independent community. Be polite, complimentary, never shit talk anyone and don’t be offended if people decline to read your work and find the right blend of patience and perseverance.

Chris Aitken

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