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What Does a Film Director Do? Profile on Brandon Landers
May 10, 2012
Silver Lake res-ident Brandon Landers said he got his start in filmmaking while in college.
"I took filmmaking classes while I attended Kent State University," he said. "After getting my B.F.A.in Political Science & Criminal Studies I had private lessons from Rohn Thomas teaching me filmmaking for the motion picture. I attended multiple interactive classroom style filmmaking sessions. I've studied from over 135 books on filmmaking and film producing in the process that was highly recommended."
Landers said he has been in filmmaking for five years, and has directed, produced and acted in several films, as well as being a screenwriter.
"I am a Public Talent Representation Executive at International Management Group (IMG)," he said of his day job. "However I consider filmmaking to be a job and a half, ha ha ha."
How would you define your job?
I am involved in any writing, financing and editing of a film, as well as the responsibility for working closely with the cast and crew to shape the film. I handle business and legal issues. One of my biggest responsibilities I have is overseeing creative aspects of a film. I take part in hiring the cast and key crew members.
What is one aspect about your job that many people might not know?
I think that one aspect of this industry that many people don't know is how much work actually goes into making a film.
What is your most impressive career moment so far?
My most impressive moment so far was when, at the premier for my film, The Ridges, The National Film Council presented me with the 2011 award for Best Director. Being that this was the first film that I directed, I was so surprised and honored.
What kind of training do you need to do this job?
I would suggest formal education such as film school. It allows for a more rounded understanding of techniques, artistic approaches, and offers the opportunity to gain from the knowledge and experience of professional instructors who work in, or who have worked in, the industry. A great benefit of film school is the opportunities available to students to work as an intern for filmmakers or in related businesses, such as post-production editing.
What do you find most rewarding?
The thing I find the most rewarding by far is when I see people truly enjoying the film that I made. I put so much hard work into my film. By the time it is finished, my blood, sweat, and tears have gone into making this film absolutely perfect. I feel like it is a part of me. So when I see and hear about people loving the film that I lived and breathed, that is the best feeling.
What would your dream come true be, in regards to this job?
My dream come true would be to be the first African-American to win an Academy Award for Best Director and Best Picture.
What are some projects you are working on currently?
Currently I am Executive producing the films Benaniah and City of Lost souls with Randy Clark& REEL ONE Films. I'm doing Pre-Production with Leonard Brown of PBS/TLC Channel for the 1876 Ashtabula Train accident project. I just finished work on SuperHero 101 with Bryan Pixler of Pixler Perfect Productions. I am also getting the best help and advice from my mentor Robert Banks of New Bridge Center for Art and Technology in Cleveland about putting the final touches on my follow-up scripts with Amazon Studios.
Critically hailed as an instant classic, The Ridges is the one psychological thriller DVD to own that plays on your most primal fears, and guarantees you'll need to sleep with the lights on.
The Ridges: Special Edition is available exclusively at Amazon.com.
Landers said one of the most challenging aspects of his career "was dealing with people when it came to locations."
"I would think we had a location locked in and at the last minute, I would have to find a new one because the person in charge of the location backed out," he said. "Then I had to work twice as hard and twice as fast to find a new one. A second challenge was working around the schedules of the cast and crew. To deal with this, we would film very late nights and on the weekends."
The biggest challenge?
"Losing over six hours of footage, some of which I thought were the best scenes," he said. "I ended up working with the footage I had and moving the story around to fit in with it."
Landers said he "learned a lot about myself during my years in college and afterward."
"I faced challenges that I never thought I would come across and in turn, I have become more confident," he said. "I am sure that my passion and talent in filmmaking in combination with my confidence as an artist will enable me to be successful in the film world.
Landers said one thing that changed for him was his lack of belief in the supernatural while working on "The Ridges."
"I wanted everything to be authentic for The Ridges, so I filmed the asylum scenes in places that are rumored to actually be haunted," he said. "Before this, I was a non-believer of ghosts. I was shocked when I realized that we had real evidence of the paranormal on our film! There are two very clear voices we found in the footage as well as numerous other eerie noises."
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