There's something oddly freeing about knowing you aren't in charge of something. Normally, when I make a film, I'm the head of the ship. Sure, there's the producer, but ultimately, especially when it comes to the creative side of things, the director is where the blame lies. And. while I most definitely do love directing and would never dream of giving it up, that's a lot of pressure. Especially when you consider film is a collaboration and there's a whole bunch of other people who rely on your ability not to screw up as well.
What's more, I predominantly write and direct my own stuff. So, when I'm working on a short as the director, oftentimes any issues with the script fall at my door too. Again, I love writing and I'm never going to give it up, but I also find myself very aware that in the end, when all is said and done, I'm pretty much entirely the author of that particular work. I wrote it, I directed it, usually I've edited it... if it's bad, well... that's on me. Sorry. I screwed up.
So, when I work on something that I'm not directing, something that I haven't written, the pressure feels like it's entirely off. If something goes wrong, well, don't look at me. This isn't my movie.
Not that I hope things go wrong. In fact, quite often I'll find myself going out of my way to make sure they don't. Putting my director head on for a moment I'll throw out ideas or suggestions and basically just try to do everything I can to make sure something is working.
This week I've spent most of my time acting as the Director of Photography on a feature film written by a good friend of mine. He's also directing the film, so I am literally just focusing on how things look and how best to get the ideas across visually. It's been great up. And, like I said before, oddly freeing. Knowing that I have only this one thing to focus on means that I'm focusing on it 100%, to the best of my ability, and I quite like that.
There's something exciting about untangling yourself from the other bits of work a director has to do. Knowing that the script, the actors, the costumes... none of that is your concern, and all you're focusing on is whether or not it looks good. Deciding where to place a light, deciding how to get the scene across in the most visually interesting way... it's a lot of fun.
I've enjoyed this week, and there's some more dates planned later this year, so I'm looking forward to returning to the role. Until then, I'll be searching for some more camera work, as well as focusing on my own projects, because I've enjoyed it. Basically, what I'm saying is that I'm open for business as a DoP. Hire me.