|Rather than make a speech, I like to write out my thoughts so everyone has them on paper.
All our skills, our expensive equipment and our hard work is for the purpose of doing something very simple---involving and affecting the emotions of the viewers. As the director, my most important job is to see everything in this perspective.
There is a tendency in this business to think that if a shot is really difficult and complicated, it will be great. There is no guarantee of that. I am not doing shots to impress other directors or to be listed in film history books. I expect all of you also to work toward whatever effect is right for this film, not your sample reel.
When I say "cut", give me a few moments to deal with the actors before the technical feedback---it can be maddening for an actress to pour her heart into a scene and then, before any appreciation of that, to hear someone yell, "No good! Lamp out." or "We had a plane!" Communicate with me after I speak with the actors.
Knowing how to stay out of the eye-lines of the actors is part of Set Behavior 101. We should not have to ask you to clear the eye-line. Likewise, stay on a set, especially a small interior, only when you have a good reason to do so.
Please do not whisper in my ear after a take. It is too easy for an actor to assume those hushed words are a criticism of what he or she has just done---even when it's about something totally unrelated to the performance. Be as open as you can be, or write me a note, or take me out of the room.
Clear and quick communication is essential. "He said it's ready" tells me nothing. Use the names of props or departments, not pronouns. There is nothing wrong with being redundant. It's better be extra clear than to talk in shorthand. Remember that what's inside your mind is not necessarily inside someone else's mind.
The pie is only so big. Extra minutes of the shooting day that one department adds have to subtract from what's left for everyone else. In the best of all worlds, we will all be ready to shoot at the same instant. Unfortunately, that rarely happens. I am not saying that Camera or Sound or Makeup should not have the time they need, but the bottom line is that minutes added by one department often take away from the minutes available to another department.
The script is our book---but not our Bible. Look at the basic purpose of the scene before you assume that each detail has to be exactly as written. If you spend a lot of time on an unnecessary prop or badge or sign, then the whole production is losing, not gaining. If something is difficult to find, ask me if it really is necessary.
Movie-making involves stress and it takes its toll on all of us but we do not have to make it any worse. I am not a screamer and I don't like working around them. A tense set is a very inefficient set. As someone once said:
Be kind. Nearly everyone is fighting a hard battle.