If you’ve worked on a film set, you’ve seen that magical things can happen when creative people come together under the right leadership. And no one has more influence than the director. Whether they realize it or not, cast and crew are continually taking their cues from the director. Questions like, “Why are we here?” and “How safe is it for me to be myself?” are answered by the director based on her demeanor: a nod, a smile, a word of genuine interest or praise.
The most influential thing a director can do in setting the tone is to show up and behave in the way they’d like everyone else to.
A director will get back exactly what he puts out. A director arriving on set late, steeped in fear, self-judgment, and negativity will bring out those qualities in the people around him. That will create separation and a production experience with conflict and suffering.
If a director can be open, vulnerable, appreciative, and joyful, it will give cast and crew permission to be the same. Not only will the experience rock – it will open the door to a better film.
To be a leader who is vulnerable, appreciative, and joyful while under the pressure of time, budget, creative restraints and expectations – is not easy. But self-awareness, integrity, humble gratitude and self-respect will get you through it. Your courage to be authentic, even when it scares the crap out of you will turn your cast and crew into devoted co-creators.