The dictionary says that a consultant is one who provides expert or professional advice. When I decided to dedicate my life to films – making them and assisting others to make them – I discovered that there were VERY few, if any, stable pieces of information.
I read more than 100 biographies and autobiographies of filmmakers, and EVERY one of them had a different route toward achieving their career goals. This was unlike becoming a lawyer or a doctor or even a professional athlete, where there are well taped-out paths.
Then, in writing my book DIRECTING THE FILM, I interviewed 85 filmmakers, and I was further confounded. No one agreed on anything! Should you rehearse your actors? Should you tell the cinematographer exactly where to put the camera? How do you raise money to make your movie? Should you give interviews to everyone who asks?
But finally, I had this realization: the disagreements were regarding the solutions to the problems. But EVERY director and producer DID agree on what the problems were they’d have to solve! As a result of that book, I was asked to teach at Art Center College of Design. My approach became: here are the problems you must be willing to face and solve IF you want to make movies professionally.
If that excites you, you may make it. If it doesn’t, get another job! So, when I’m teaching directing, producing, writing or acting, I outline the situations that arise, offer an array of possible answers, and then steer the student toward a solution that works FOR THEM.
As I became more confident in my instruction methods and took on a wide variety of private consulting clients, I found that there were many people who were on the outside but wanted in. And there were also many who were already inside who wanted more information so that they could be more responsible for their careers.
With the consultee, I first learn about their current knowledge base. Then I find out what they consider are their strengths, and in what areas they want more information. I then create an individual program, which involves theory, practical exercises, lots of examples, and, finally, I evolve a step-by-step plan for each person to achieve his/her SPECIFIC goals.
I’ve found that with this approach, the client will make many fewer errors, and they’ll cost him a lot less! The person in some cases just has a smoother time. In other cases, we can make the difference between having the project fail and getting it DONE, finished, and out into the world. Because I have worn nearly every “hat” in film – producer, writer, director, actor, cinematographer, editor, money-raiser, distributor, etc. – I feel uniquely qualified to work with others on a consulting basis.
Nothing is more thrilling to me than to see a client succeed. I am willing to take on anyone with a strong interest in this most powerful medium, whether a complete newcomer or an experienced pro branching out in a new direction. I enjoy tackling what they want to accomplish and helping them to do so!
All best wishes,