Director’s Prep

Joey Daoud

Joey Daoud is an award-winning documentary filmmaker. His past films have appeared on Netflix, The New York Times, and National Geographic. He is also a YouTube creator across multiple channels with videos garnering millions of views. In his free time, he likes to climb mountains, scuba dive, and brew unique coffees.

The Director’s Prep was a lot shorter and painless than people had made it out to be (maybe because this is a fairly simple film). On the administrative side, the Head of Production, Cinematography, Screenwriting, and Editing teachers attended. Crew wise, it was the Producer, Director/Writer, 1st Assistant Director, 2nd Assistant Director, Unit Production Manager, Production Designer, Art Director, Editor, and Script Supervisor.

Here’s a rundown of how the prep went (in chronological order):

  • The teachers come in and grab some snacks provided by the Producer.
  • The Producer:
    • Goes around the table and introduces everyone.
    • Goes over the shooting locations, showing photos and descriptions.
    • Goes through all the actors, showing head shots and resumes.
    • Plays tone clips as the Director explains why he chose each clip.
  • Then the Cinematographer:
    • Plays a silent tone clip to illustrate the cinematography.
    • Shows sample stills adjusted in Photoshop to give an idea of the final image after color correction.
  • The Production Designer and Art Director:
    • Show various samples of clothing for each actor.
    • Show images to illustrate the set design.
    • Show some props that will be used.
  • The Editor:
    • Shows a silent style clip to illustrate the desired style of editing.
    • Explains how they want to edit the film.
  • The Director:
    • States the log-line, premise, elevator synopsis, and tag-line.
    • Goes through the entire storyboard, which was mounted on the wall beforehand.
  • Final questions are asked.
  • Director’s Prep is wrapped ((I realize some of these terms might be confusing or vague, such as tone clips and elevator synopsis. I’ll try to address them in future posts)).

The Prep went very well. During our part of the presentation, the Production Designer mainly explained what we were going for with the costumes while I passed out photos, and then I covered the ideas behind the set design and props.

During each person’s presentation the teachers would jump in with any questions or raise any concerns. The list above is a pretty good pre-production checklist, though I can see why some people might find Prep a waste – a lot of it is common sense.

But having a formal meeting with deadlines forces you to get everything in order well ahead of time, and I know for sure that some people would be waiting until the last minute if this wasn’t mandatory.

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