Rory Dorling

Rory has been making films since he was 12 years old and has been making corporate videos since he was 15. Originally from the isle of man he attended film school in London and worked on over 20 short films in various roles. Since graduating he continues to make short films, while at the same time doing freelance work for a variety of companies.

I contacted Rory through linked in as he is a successful director in london, and a great example of dedication and hard work. I also feel that having a contact in london, a city well known for its film opportunities, would be very useful in the future if I should choose to live their.

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Brian Harley

Brian Harley is an award filmmaker and founder of short night films, a Coventry based film making company. He has directed such films as A Dream I Had’ (2013) and ‘Eventide’ (2012), which have even been broadcast on British television.

I came across Brian while researching local directors that I could perhaps shadow and learn from. I emailed him and he got back to me within a few days and was more than happy to help with my research about how to become a director. I felt that having someone who has made it into the industry and lives in the local area, would be an excellent contact to have.

unfortunately with his busy schedule he was unable to actually have a meeting with me, however he did respond to some questions that I sent to him.

Q1. What is your name, and profession?

 Brian Harley, filmmaker

 Q2. How long have you been making films for?

 Over ten years.

 Q3. What would you say was the hardest part of your job?

 Working without a budget is hard but quite liberating. It forces you to be more resourceful, develop  and maintain relationships and and work more imaginatively.

 Q4. What would you say to any aspiring young filmmakers looking to make a name for themselves? 

Accept that everything you do will always be a compromised vision in some form or another but this is a good thing. Never get complacent and never give up. Also, don’t be a c*nt.

 Q5. What first inspired you to become a filmmaker? 

I’ve always been interested in film but my dad had a significant influence. He was an amateur filmmaker himself. Watching movies with him inspired me to want to tell stories in some format. Initially, I had my sights set on being a comic strip artist, and this is where I formed some of the skills that I later transferred into my filmmkaing (such as script writing and composition). The filmmaking really came into focus though when I discovered Kevin Smith. He may not be the best director but I credit his independent spirit as the force that made me realise that I could also just take the initiative. Up to that point, I thought the only way into the film industry was to write and sell a script. A few years later, I was invited to be an extra in one of Kevin Smith’s movies. I got to observe the cast and crew working at the highest level. That was a sort of catalyst for me. Later, I discovered the likes of John Cassavetes, another director whose cinéma vérité style of work, and manner of working, I relate to very much. 

Q6. If you wasn’t a Director, what profession do you think you would have? 

A writer perhaps. An illustrator. A comic strip artist. 

Q7. What would you say was the proudest moment of your career? 

Many moments. Winning the best short drama award at the Isle of Wight Film Festival was a proud moment. Being an extra in a Kevin Smith film. I got to sit next to Ben Affleck once on a film set. Nira Park agreeing to be my mentor, praise from ‘Sideways’ author Rex Pickett (Sideways was adapted into one of my favourite films), having a film shown on the television. But nothing quite beats the exhilaration of knowing that your own work has connected with people. Getting postive feedback from utter strangers who have seen your work is very humbling and encouraging. 

Q8. If you were to compare yourself to another director, who would it be?

I try to make films about the complexities of the human condition, well observed, intimate, amusing, dramatic depictions of people. I’m very fond of Alexander Payne, Michael Winterbottom, Roger Michell, John Cassavettes and Andrea Arnold but I’m influenced by a whole range of other directors too, from Alfred Hitchcock, Billy Wilder, Woody Allen, Kevin Smith, Richard Donner and Steven Spielberg. 

Q9. I see you’ve made a lot of short films, would you ever make the transition to feature? 

Yes, I very much plan to shoot my first feature within the next two years. I want to tell longer stories with more density. Shorts are great though. They enable you to demonstrate your prowess and establish your style and tone. If you’re the reflective type, you’ll also begin to notice the poetics of your work; the subconscious sensibilities and choices you make. 

Q10. What was you favourite project to work on? 

All of the films I have worked on have unique meaning and memories attached to them.

My latest short A Dream I Had is a particular highlight because it was one of the first occasions when I  felt complete trust in the people around me and that was quite enjoyable and invigorating.

 

Q11. Have you ever created a character you didn’t like?

 

Not really, no. I have written some antagonists, who might arguably make for unlikeable  people in real life, but I enjoy them as film characters. Nowadays, I just try to write authentic, enduring characters, to create motivations for their ‘unlikeable’ behaviour, to essentially reflect real life. If when writing, I suspect I have idealised a character, I will introduce some ambivalence – to mix the feelings a little, to complicate the taste if you like. I’d much rather the audience formed judgements and opinions about authentic characters than just passively watching them. David O. Russell recently said something along the lines of a character’s flaws being the windows to their beauty and I agree wholeheartedly with that. 

Q12. Of all the different roles you have played in the film making process, which one is your favourite and why? 

My favourite role is directing, as this is where I feel most intuitive and sensory.

 

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Gorilla

Gorilla is a site that attempts to shine a light on little to no budget films and their directors. Their guide book, ‘Gorilla Film Magazine’ is full of articles, reviews and tips for hopeful directors. The site also posts short film reviews on their webpage and often hold interviews with the director of the short films.

I emailed Gorilla asking them to look over not only my EPK but also if they would watch the trailer for my film, and perhaps review the film on their site. Alternatively I asked if they had any feedback about my film that would help me in the future.

cropped gorilla email

Unfortunately they have yet to respond, but it was good emailing somebody my work, and I will continue finding sites to contact.

 

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Contacts

As mentioned in the previous post, linkedin is designed to keep in touch with others in your chosen profession. With this in mind I went searching for people I could perhaps learn from, or perhaps gain work through.

The simplest thing to do in linked in is to search through those who list their job as director. You do have to be careful here though as there are many different types of director that have little to do with film making. Below are a list of the people I added and contacted on Linked in.

Richard wood – Richard is a local freelancer who has worked in the industry for over 1 years. He has worked as an AD for both television productions and feature films.

https://www.linkedin.com/profile/view?trk=contacts-contacts-list-contact_name-0&id=13226684

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Peter woodbridge – Peter has worked on a range of digital media projects for companies and organisations including the BBC, BT, HEFCE, United Nations, NHS and many more. 

https://www.linkedin.com/profile/view?trk=contacts-contacts-list-contact_name-0&id=29423547

 

Silvia Bellito – Silvia is currently a production manager for Breakneck films, and has had experience in script supervising and being a line producer.

https://www.linkedin.com/profile/view?trk=contacts-contacts-list-contact_name-0&id=211564356

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Carol Hallows – Carol is a freelance director while also having her own production crew, she specialists in advertisements however has had experience in both feature and short films.

https://www.linkedin.com/profile/view?trk=contacts-contacts-list-contact_name-0&id=38940496

 

Barnaby Fletcher – Barnaby has a wide variety of experience having started working in the industry at a young age. He has worked on Short film, documentaries music videos as well as some private events around the UK.

https://www.linkedin.com/profile/view?trk=contacts-contacts-list-contact_name-0&id=94203010

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Proffesional Networks

Another sector in  this module is becoming part of some of the online networks available to me as an aspiring director. These networks vary from website to website, but it is always useful to be an active member of as many as possible. This is because the more times people see your name, and your work, the more likely they are to remember. Also, if you put your work on one of these websites, it is a good way to get feedback from industry professionals.

The websites that I have joined are all useful to me but for very different reasons.

I’ve joined:
Starnow
UK Film Network
Linkedin

All of these websites are designed for industry professionals, and I am an active member of all three. The reasons that I have joined these network sights specifically are all very different.

 

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Startnow.com for example is a great place to get actors and crew members to work on your project. You can get a lot from this website without having to upgrade your account. It is also a great way to show off your work experience, and the variety of the work you do. While the website is mainly used for actors, by posting a listing on the website, and the list of roles that you need filling, actors will contact you applying to be in your film.

cropped film network#

The UK film network however is a better place to get feedback on your work, their facebook page is a great place to put examples of you work, and have real media professionals give you feedback. It is also a great place to meet other director and film makers who are also trying to get into the business. Finally I have used this network to compare my work to others, this has benefited me as not only have I learned how to improve my own work, but it can also give me inspiration on the type of film I may want to make next.

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Finally there is linkedin, this website is designed for all types of industry specialists, it features jobs, other networks, pieces of work users have submitted. I mainly use it however for the contacts you can gain using the site. Not only can I be kept up to date with my fellow students, but I can also contact people much further along in their career path than I am, and ask for their insight on how I can improve my chances of getting into the industry. While some do not reply, if only 1 does, then I can use that information to great use.

 

 

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Career path Director

You’ve finally made it, adter years of helping other acheive their dream its now your turn, youve paid your dues as a runner. You’ve worked with extra’s as 3rd AD, you’ve handled the main talent as 2nd AD and you’ve dealt with all the paper work as 1st AD. But now its your turn, its your dream, you and only you are now the director.

But what exactly does a director do, on your journey to this role you would have worked with many different directors, all of whom have their own idea what a director does. Some will spend hours analyzing  every little detail of the script, others will concentrate more on the quality of acting, the way their talent moves, facial expressions, positioning. Other you may find generally concentrate on the camerawork, the way the characters are positioned in shot, the depth of field. the lighting. The truth is, every director is different, and only with experience will you be able to discover the type of director you are.

Not only does the director need to be creative, focused and organized. He also needs to be flexible in order to deal with any unforeseen changes on the shoot. He will need to be authoritative to ensure that he gets the best out of his crew, while at the same time listen to their suggestions and be able to create a good rapport with any new crew or talent he meets.

The skills that you will need to be a director are all those that the AD’s needed and more, over the past, how ever many years, it has taken you to get to this point, you should have honed these skills, mastered them, turn them into your own personal weapon against the film making process.

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Career Path 1st AD

Once you have gained enough experience as a 2nd AD, you will then be asked to be a 1st assistant director. The 1st AD plays a large role in pre-production and the production itself and is vital on any and all sets. There main roles during pre-production is to look over the script, creating a schedule, having a location list as well as other forms of paperwork.

As 1st AD it is your role to look over the script and make notes of any special requirements that may be needed, this could include props, special effects or any other specialist equipment that may be needed. It is also his job to break each page of the script into 8ths, this is very useful in both schedules and call sheets.

When creating a location list the 1st AD will often put the real name of the location as well as the name used in the script, this will solve any confusion for other departments. For this you would have to communicate with the location manager if there is one, alternatively the production coordinator.

Once you have all these documents you should be pass them to the 2nd AD to ensure that he can organize the various departments, and the 1st AD’s responsibilities move onto production.

For the production the 1st AD is the voice on the floor, it is his job to call action, cut, ensuring that the day runs on schedule. They work directly under on the director and assist him in everything outside of the creative process.

Communicating with the separate heads of departments is crucial at this point, whether it be about pushing  lunch back to ensure you are kept on schedule, telling them to move to the next starting position or location, the ability to give clear and precise instructions is a very important quality in a 1st AD.

Another task that it is wise for the 1st AD to perform is to introduce themselves at the start of the shoot, this will allow every cast member to know who you are, and it will allow you to make sure that they all know where they are supposed to be. This is your chance to make an impression on the crew and show them what kind of assistant director you are. You should be able to appear approachable and friendly while at the same time demand a certain level of respect.

Overall being a 1st AD is something that can only be perfected with experience. When you first do it, it will be daunting and scary, but over time, you will become more and more comfortable with the role. Just keep the day on schedule, ensure that the director does not compromise their vision, and know when it is time to move on to the next shot, and when you can allow yourself a little extra time.

http://howtofilmschool.com/working-as-a-1st-assistant-director/

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