I took my first dip in directing over the weekend, and if anyone is wondering whether any of Clint Eastwood’s greatness rubbed off on me, the answer is no.
People familiar with Clint Eastwood’s screen persona of “Mr. Tough Guy,” might be surprised to find out that he’s a softie in real life. Actors who were initially nervous to work with him, told me they were surprised at how relaxing the set was. There was no intimidation factor and I don’t believe he ever raised his voice on set. Clint Eastwood himself has said that he doesn’t like to yell “Action!” or “Cut!” because it’s disruptive to the actors’ concentration (and also because he’s used to working with horses that get jittery.) In fact, some of the Japanese actors said they weren’t exactly sure when they were rolling. “Well, that’s enough of that shit,” is purportedly one of Mr. Eastwood’s alternatives for “Cut!”
It’s no surprise that Morgan Freeman considers him the best director he knows. “What I like most about Clint is the great feeling on the set,” he has said. “Because he trusts the material, and he trusts you. He hires you because he believes you can do it. He spends his time on other things, like getting the film made. He doesn’t direct the actors. He directs the film.” I have to concur with Mr. Freeman. Mr. Eastwood only needs one or two takes from the actors, and he usually doesn’t have any notes on the script. My agent and I were both shocked when that happened with me.
Clint Eastwood’s trust and confidence not only extends to his actors and writers, it also is evident with the crew. He has been working with some of the same people for over 25 years. They are like a well oiled machine, and as a result, they often get the film done on time and under budget.
As for myself, being a newbie, I had none of Clint’s confidence. Instead, I shot the hell out of my short. I ended up with something like 2 and a half hours of footage for 3 minutes. (It’s called trying to save my ass!)
As for budget, what budget? I blew it immediately on insurance, rentals and food. Was I supposed to save something for post? And as for being on time, that remains to be seen. I currently have my editor locked in a dungeon, praying that he will get it done in time for the panel on Sunday.