Filming with the Stars

One of the clients that we’ve been fortunate to make videos with over the past few years is Disney. Together, we’ve produced content that is both humorous and heartwarming, for their vast product line including movies, events and merchandise.

Working with Disney has also provided us the rare opportunity to film with international stars on occasion. It’s definitely nerve-wrecking, but there are a few things that I always try to bear in mind as a director when filming anyone well-known:

1. Remember what you’re there for

While stars can be larger-than-life, they are not your paymasters. You’re there to do your job and produce a video as best as you can for your client. Stay focused on the task at hand and you won’t be as distracted or intimidated by who’s in the room.

2. Be prepared, but not rigid

Know the shoot inside out, but be prepared to change it up on the fly. The stars (or their publicists) may have certain ideas of how they want to do things. If you’re not confident of the objectives of the video or too stuck on filming things in one exact way, then it’s easy to get flustered and you’ll end up losing sight of what the video should look like.

3. Be equals

In those short few minutes that you have with the stars, they are technically under your ‘command’. Think of them as any other talent and treat them as any other colleague by ensuring that you give clear communication and confident direction to achieve what the video needs.

4. Move fast

Time is always of the essence when filming someone famous or important. However, moving fast goes beyond physical movements – it means being able to make decisions quickly even if you are not 100% sure that it is the right one. When you only have a few minutes to film someone or something, selecting the 2nd best option is better than no decision at all.

5. Keep it professional

A simple enough rule, but important to keep in mind nevertheless. Don’t ask for autographs, don’t snap pictures for the ‘Gram, and keep interactions directly related to the shoot itself.

While these are some of the things that have concretized out of the few shoots that I’ve experienced with major celebrities, they are the same simple rules that I also fall back on when dealing with similar situations: from subjects with tight schedules to strong personalities that require me to keep on my toes, even when the shoot itself is simple and straightforward.

Hopefully, you too find these tips useful in your directing journey! – Jeremy

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