This is the director’s director. This director knows exactly where everyone is at all times. They have met with all their key people and trust that those positions can handle their work. They know that they can delegate and whatever needs to be done will be accomplished. While they may not be completely chill, they are confident. And we all know that there is nothing better than confidence especially in a high stress environment.
The Prepared One can gracefully let the Line Producer know that they know they are going over time but they also know where they can make it up. They are dedicated to keeping the project on time and on budget. They have also made it clear how the chain of command works. They have protected themselves in a bubble of dedicated professionals but they can still make themselves available if someone is being mistreated by their higher ups. They don’t put up with hijinks or the “mean girl” attitude. They respect everyone on their set. After all, everyone’s safety is in their hands.
You will learn something everyday you work with the Prepared One. You will notice how they talk to an actor to bring out the performance of a life time. You’ll believe them when they say “One take, one shot” and they only make a single take. You’ll know that single take is simply amazing and when you take your mother to see it, you’ll beam with pride saying “I helped with that. WE did it one take.”
When the Prepared One gives you a compliment, simply say thank you. Don’t defer, don’t self deprecate. Accept it because you have earned it. If you have screwed up, the Prepared One will privately chew your ass out. Stand at parade rest, accept it, and then if you’re like me, cry in the car whether its 5 mins or 8 hours later. The Prepared One will never chew you out in front of others. They give everyone respect until you’ve shown that you aren’t worthy of respect. They believe in private discipline but public admiration.
You will learn more from them than you can from film school. If you are as lucky as I am, you even become friends with them. You break bread with them, and you talk. You will be on their short list which is always the best place to be. They inspire and I’m thankful I have one in my life.