Most Important Part Of A Director’s Job – Thomas Verrette

Film Courage: Should a good director be open to interpretation of a line or of a character from an actor’s perspective?

Thomas Verrette, Director, Producer, Editor: Yeah, absolutely the collaboration let’s say is part of where magic really can happen and if I am so stuck in my ways as a director where this it has to be this and only this, I’m just going to create so many problems for myself down the road. It might not be apparent but I do think that the director’s role though of course is to guide everybody toward a common vision but collaborating in a way where let’s say an actor wants to do it this way I’m always going to be open to that conversation essentially. I may disagree or agree depending on what the answer is or where this is going or at least maybe this isn’t the right time for it but I see what you’re saying. There’s a 100 ways to kind of invite that in so that it’s a safe space and people feel they’re being heard and listened to. That for me is one of the most important aspects of directing in general is to be a collaborator. If you tell people or you give the impression that you’re not there for that, then it can be very off-putting for people that are working with you and working for you even to try to get your vision told. But that doesn’t stop with an actor, it applies to any crew member really at the end of the day. Maybe it doesn’t on a hundred million dollar movie where I’m assuming the PA that’s there isn’t going to go up to the director with an idea but I’ve never worked on that size story. I am of the opinion that if somebody has an idea that’s going to make this movie better, I want to hear it too so it’s exhausting too and some people have great ideas that you never even think of because you’re so focused on just getting the shot done or moving to the next setup or whatever it is that stuff is important if people feel they can be a part of the process sure so if a character is so embodied in that actor and they’re just what I’m sorry Thomas I just don’t think that she would do this in this scene I feel she would go here you you would be open yeah don’t don’t get me wrong I’m sure like that there’s been times where that’s actually difficult to hear because you’re well the whole scene I now need to rethink how it’s gonna get shot and stuff that but at least you’re solving it at that moment as opposed to seeing it in the edit where we’re maybe even more problematic or you have to reshoot the scene what yeah sometimes you’re you don’t have the freedom to do those things either and you just need to get it done and as long as everybody’s under that understanding. There may be a time realistically where an actor says I’m sorry we have to do it this way but can we find a way to make it a little bit more comfortable for you as your character. What can we do that simplifies how to get to make our day because you have the realities of the production that you have to deal with as well. 

Film Courage: Do you still recommend Judith Weston’s Directing Actors? 

Thomas: I haven’t read it in a long time but I do remember it being really valuable to me when I was young. There’s a lot of things that I remember about it but also again that book and actually any book that’s related to filmmaking is about providing people with a structure to begin their…(Watch the video interview on Youtube here).

BIO:

Thomas Verrette is an award-winning director, producer, and editor in Los Angeles. His most recent work is “Zero Gravity”, a feature documentary about middle-school students who compete in a nationwide competition to write code for a satellites aboard the International Space Station, which premiered at the Cinequest Film Festival in 2021, and has continued as an official selection at DOC NYC, Heartland International Film Festival, Dances With Films: LA, and SCAD Savannah Film Festival, among many others. Verrette is best known for producing the FOX Sports docu-series, “Phenoms”. The series was shot in 20 countries and follows the professional and personal lives of 60 young star players as they fight their way to their respective national teams for the World Cup in Russia 2018. Verrette also edited the “Goalkeepers” episode, which premiered the series at the Tribeca Film Festival in 2018. Other featured work includes editing the feature “Parallels”, co-producing the series “Small Shots”, and executive producing the documentary “Ordinary Gods”. He also produced and edited the promo campaigns for multiple seasons of the critically-acclaimed series “Kingdom”, as well as “Ice”, “Rogue”, and many others while working for DirecTV/AT&T’s Audience Network. He also directed promos for “The Dan Patrick Show”, “The Rich Eisen Show”, and “Undeniable with Joe Buck”.   

   

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