Teamwork Between Three Movie Directors
by Max Fox
Jerry was co-directed by Melody Rock, Alex Rock, and myself. A couple days before shooting a scene, we would go to the location and take test shots. We used natural light for most of the movie, so observing the sunlight and how each shot looked at different times became a necessity for scheduling a day of shooting. The blocking for the actors, camera placement, and lens choice were also a focus during these test shoots. Each person on the directing team had a number of scenes that they were directing, and each director was in charge of their test shoot. The other two directors would act as stand-ins and the director worked with Brandon Ballard, the cinematographer and camera operator of Jerry to determine how the scene would be shot.
The three people who directed Jerry - myself, Melody Rock, and Alex Rock - were also the co-writers of the screenplay, so it was not new for us to discuss characters, what was coming before and after a scene, the structure and pacing of the story, and the look and feel of a shooting location as we found our approach to shooting a scene. There were always lots of discussion and idea-sharing during the test shoots between myself and my co-directors. Discussions of shots, dialogue, and other elements of a scene was commonplace at this stage.
When it came to the actual shooting, the directing team was responsive to the movie set environment, which is a complex, time-sensitive, demanding, and crazy interpersonal/financial maze, among other things. We used a production process that prioritized teamwork, and everyone participated in different aspects and production roles throughout the making of Jerry.
The director's confidence with the process, and having clear and effective communication with the actors is key. This is what I meant when I said that we were all responsive to the movie set environment. The effectiveness of a collaboration is dependent on the quality of the working relationships between everyone involved in the creative process.
With post-production came another stage of storytelling, and our collaboration once again was reflective of the choices we now had in front of us. The pressure and finality of shooting was gone, and our discussions around story decisions between the directors were back. Collaboration continued to the completion of post-production between the directing team on Jerry.
Max Fox is a co-founder/filmmaker at DreamStreet Limited, an independent movie company. To get filmmaking stories and "Jerry" premiere updates sign up for our email newsletter at www.DreamStreetLimited.com