It’s rare that I’ve had the pleasure of watching Steven Spielberg directing actors, and this afternoon I had a wish come true. I’ve seen many Behind-The-Scene featurettes, but never witnessed an uninterrupted clip of Steven Spielberg working. Jurassic Park became a big hit worldwide and became the movie that moved special effects in new direction. Despite the awesomeness of the special effects by ILM (Industrial Light and Magic), Spielberg was able to work with actors to make this world believable. He carefully speaks to the actors and helps them understand the blocking of the scene. He provides the actors backstory information about the characters and the film’s story. Spielberg is focused and tuned into the process at hand. He improvises and allows for changes on set. I’ve had the pleasure of directing films and I can identify with the process I just described. Working with actors is always a pleasure for me because you get to bring performers into a world that is hard to understand. As a director it is up to you to keep the actors informed about the scene, story and blocking. I noticed in the clip that everyone felt at ease, despite the work being done around them. This also shows the professionalism of the film crew which is tuned in to what Spielberg is doing. On top of directing actors and the crew, Spielberg camera operates! I’ve sometimes have taken over the operating of the camera when I need to see the action and move the camera accordingly. I enjoyed watching Spielberg do the same things that I do. It almost feels like my work was somewhat validated by watching him work.
For many years I have carefully studied film directing and Steven Spielberg’s techniques, and I am thrilled to see that I have emulated his style on set. In no way am I in his league, but like all teachers Spielberg has given new filmmakers a cinematic style and language that I hope to follow.
If you’ve been a film director, what is your approach?
Steven Spielberg Directs on Jurassic Park Set: