Inside the Director’s Folder

A camera operator needs batteries, lenses, cards, filters. A wardrobe supervisor has racks of costumes. A sound recordist carries a dead cat on a stick. But a director needs only his folder. Like Her Majesty’s handbag, the contents of this hallowed portfolio have forever been a mystery. Until now.

Here’s what I kept in my Stop/Eject folder while shooting the film:

To-do list
To-do list

The first thing I see on opening the folder is a to-do list. These are all things that need doing the day before the shoot begins, including things that I need to pack in the van for the journey up to Derbyshire.

Budget
Budget

A copy of the production budget comes next, with highlighted figures like catering and travel being the ones that are still available to spend.

Schedule
Schedule

Next up is the schedule, one of several documents I can satisfyingly cross parts off as the shoot progresses. You can download the schedule here.

Contacts
Contacts

A list of contact details for the cast, crew, locations and people we’re borrowing props and equipment from.

Script
Script

Then we come to the script. The fact that it’s this far back in the folder tells you how many other things a director who is also co-producing and has no AD has on his mind. Ideally the script and the storyboards would be the only things in my folder. You can see that I’ve drawn tram lines. Normally a script supervisor does this during shooting to indicate which part of the scene a shot covers, but I’ve drawn them in advance to remind me which part of the scene I want¬†each shot to cover.

Storyboards
Storyboards

The largest section of my folder is the storyboards. The ones with the pink highlights are shots I felt would make good production photos, the idea being that we would switch the camera to stills mode after the take and snap a few – but we usually forgot.

Lighting plans
Lighting plans

Next are the lighting plans for each location. I covered these in detail in my lighting breakdown posts.

Artwork
Artwork

Sophie’s concept art is next. Not much use by the time you’re in production, since it’s all been built and dressed already, but nice to look at.

Expenses forms
Expenses forms

Then comes a wallet of expenses forms for the cast and crew to fill in. This is based on a template from Terry Cartwright’s DIY Accounting package.

Insurance policy
Insurance policy

Finally, I carry a copy of the public and employer’s liability insurance documents in case any location owners ask to see it.

Inside the Director’s Folder