The things I've learnt

Last week I looked back over the past twelve months and wrote of how much I’d learnt during that time. In this week’s blog I thought I’d list some of those things. These are in no particular order and are a combination of things I’ve learnt, things I already knew but had to learn again, and things I should have known but realised I didn’t. Some of these you may have heard before and others may seem like statements of the bleeding obvious, but many of them have been minor revelations and all of them have been part of the journey.

  • Trust your gut instincts
  • If you cut corners, for whatever reason, you’ll be made to pay for it somewhere down the line
  • You can never do enough preparation
  • The director/cinematographer relationship should be built on mutual trust and respect
  • Everything should serve the story
  • I don’t want to work with people who put their ego before the project
  • People will forgive a lot, but they won’t forgive bad sound
  • It’s when you need help the most that you find out who your friends are
  • You never have enough money
  • You never have enough time
  • You can fix a lot of things in post, but focus isn’t one of them
  • Good editors are amongst the most gifted of storytellers
  • If you’re going to shoot late at night, you should let your neighbours know first
  • Working with talented, driven, passionate people is one of the best things about filmmaking
  • Never underestimate the importance of having an abundance of fresh, healthy food on set
  • Actors are some of the most generous people you’ll ever meet
  • A good colourist can perform miracles
  • The secret to directing is surrounding yourself with talented people and then creating an environment in which they can do their best work
  • You never know what you’re capable of until you jump right in and do it
  • It is possible to find exceptionally talented people who are also nice to work with
  • I am an introvert who likes to collaborate with others
  • Coloured cellophane isn’t an adequate replacement for lighting gels
  • Actors are their own worst critics
  • Wrap parties are both enjoyable and necessary
  • You really do need conflict in every scene
  • A good producer not only makes your job easier, but also inspires you to do your job better
  • When a scene involves a character sending a text message, work out the time and date that message is sent prior to filming. It’s much easier than trying to fix it in post 
  • No matter how much you think it’s going to cost, it will probably cost more
  • A sense of humour is a very important quality in both cast and crew
  • Listen to what others have to say, but own the decisions you make
  • Shooting in someone’s house is stressful, especially when it’s your own
  • No one likes a tired, grumpy director
  • When shooting, don’t leave a scene until you’re sure you have what you need
  • You can’t be sure you have what you need if you don’t know what it is you need
  • Music is much more important in a scene than I realised
  • You can’t please everybody
  • As a director, your primary responsibility is to the story
  • I can do more than I give myself credit for
  • The audience will respond to your work in ways you never anticipated
  • Not all of those people whose projects you’ve supported over time will show the same support for yours
  • Meaningful subtext is very difficult to write
  • I probably shouldn’t wait for a season launch to get a haircut
  • No matter how careful you are, things (including friendships) will get broken
  • Contrary to what the mainstream Australian press would have you believe, there is a demand for stories about female protagonists
  • I now know what I want to be when I grow up

 By Julie Kalceff