Tips of
The Trade

Edition 1: Directing


Telling a story is an art that has been passed down for thousands of years. We are emotional beings and stories allow us to digest information as they connect and resonate with us in unique ways. Storytelling builds empathy and understanding. Saying so, the role of the story teller is no easy task. There is a significant difference between stories that are simply passed from one to another and a story that will stick with you the rest of your life. Directors take on this feat and we have some tips and tricks at Firetale of how we turn every-day stories into unforgettable ones.



Have a strong vision - You need to believe in your dream more than anyone. For you, it may be simple to have a strong image in your head, but for others they will never see it the same way. Create inspirational mood and vision boards to lay down your vision. Take a camera with you on your travels, as the smallest moments you capture may add value to your ideas. Document every part of your ideation process as having these visuals in front of you will lead you and your team forward. Passion always shines through.

  1. Be collaborative

    Your work is only as good as those who help you create it. Filmmaking is a collaborative process. To have the best performance, you truly need to look after your crew, making everyone feel as comfortable as possible. Have a clear aesthetic vision and create a space where people can bring their talent and experience to do their best work. Find collaborators who will challenge your ideas and push you creatively. Look after your filmmaking family and they will look after you in return.

  2. Identify your key moments

    When creating a story, often what we imagine in our heads isn’t reflected back on paper or on screen. Many limitations and restraints may be added through your creative journey, causing your story to have gaps and holes. Developing a key frame system will help distil each scene down to a single image or visual that represents what the scene must achieve. This way your story telling will remain fluid and consistent.

  3. Know your film’s heart

    The heart of the film is what will drive every aesthetic decision you make. Develop a clear and focused key message. You will be constantly questioned and asked how the film should appear, what type of colouring, light, camera movement, tone and mood should be created etc. With a key message and cohesive spine, you can link every decision made back to this structure.

  4. Over-prepare and then get ready for the mayhem

    The one thing you have before the camera begins rolling is time. Time to break down your ideation, script, storyboard etc. As soon as the first steps our placed on set, all organisation turns to dust. There never seems to be enough hours in a day with the story being brought to life. Do not fret, it is inevitable and it is these limitations that can shape and mould your work. Adapt to the changes and take on the challenges that collaboration brings. The creative process is a rollercoaster but it is these unexpected moments that could bring real magic.

  5. Back yourself

    Any creative knows how daunting presenting your work may be. “Comparison is the thief of joy.” ~ Theodore Roosevelt. We constantly compare ourselves to others and question the worth of our ideas. But being a director - a story teller means being a leader. Be bold and ambitious and take chances. Like minded individuals - your team members are drawn to you because they believe in your vision and are moved by your stories. The greatest gift you can give yourself is for your creativity to be noticed. There are too many unfinished manuscripts, canvases and projects, don’t leave your work unseen and your words unheard.

The Firetale Team