|Katie Holmes and Aaron Eckhart in Thank You for Smoking. Photo: Dale Robinette/Fox Searchlight|
Trust your script. It’s easy to fall in love with something that’s “set funny.” Trust the document that made you want to make the film, even if you wrote it yourself.
Make sure every scene has a beginning and ending. This could just mean someone closes a door behind them or puts down a telephone or enters frame. You don’t need to use it in editing, but more often than not, you’ll be happy to have it.
Be honest. Always ask yourself if the action/dialogue is honest and real to the situation and the characters. A funny line or a cool shot is not as important as preserving the tonal line of the film.
Be prepared. The morning of a shoot day, re-read the scene that precedes and follows the one you are shooting. It’s important to know where your characters just came from and where they are going.
Use a hard line on your headphones instead of a wireless set. You’ll hear the dialogue clearer, which is often a better way to measure a performance than watching it.
Don’t eat shellfish off the catering truck. Why chance it?
Relax. If you are lucky enough to be directing, your nightmares are other people’s dreams.