The number of people involved in movie making – directors, cinematographers, actors, writers, set designers, sound designers, sound engineers, and so forth – is the same in almost every industry. But that doesn’t mean they’re equals.
Every company has a set of directors whose focus is on production, and who are therefore expected to put their own individual stamp on the project. But sometimes companies hire people for a specific role in the process and then let them handle their own ideas as they see fit. That’s an option with directors who have a limited career, such the ones at DreamWorks; it is a more unusual option with movie personalities who make dozens or even hundreds of movies in a row.
Why are actors more important than directors?
The problem with having directors is that an actor’s image becomes a major part of what the movie is about.
An actor needs to be an actor, yes – but an actor can still fail. That’s how an actor gets his or her screen time, for example – the director has a role to play in that. But an actor has to be a person who loves acting. It’s a rare actor who can give the same performance to a whole theater; a typical actor won’t have his or her face plastered over the screen 24/7, but an audience can be convinced that the character he or she is playing is the actual person.
That said, there are exceptions. Even though he’s a director and an actor with only a fraction of the acting career that an actor might have, Woody Allen can play the role of a director in movies that others might have seen much more than him. He can be good at putting an audience at ease, and there is a bit of self-deprecating humor to his behavior.
Why is that?
Because directors can give life to the screen and people can relate to them in a way that an actor can’t easily do. But actors can’t have the same impact when they deliver the final images to the viewer. Woody Allen, for example, didn’t have the screen presence to give a character a story, but his face and gestures and body language were enough. Allen’s success is not directly dependent upon the screen presence of others, but in the same way a musician can make an impact no matter how many people see them play that instrument, there is always a reason for an actor’s success, no matter how much it’s tied to their reputation.
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