Biggest Mistake A Director Can Make Before Production by Mark W. Travis

Watch the video interview on Youtube here

Film Courage: What’s a biggest mistake a filmmaker can make before Day 1 on a movie set?

Mark W. Travis: Before Day 1…of shooting?

Film Courage: Yes.

Mark W. Travis: Wow…Okay. Let me think on that …the biggest mistake…

Film Courage: Aside from not showing up. [Laughs]

Mark W. Travis: You narrowed it down to before Day 1, in other words before they go into production?

Film Courage: Something they may have overlooked. Something they may have micromanaged that shouldn’t have been micromanaged. I don’t know.

Mark W. Travis: In terms of overlooking something or micromanaging now we’re down to details and that could be a lot of things. But I think one of the biggest mistakes a director can make and one that I have made frequently (way too often) is assuming that….(watch the video here on Youtube for the rest of this answer).

Watch the video on Youtube here

See all of Mark W. Travis Film Courage interviews here on Youtube


MARK W. TRAVIS is regarded by Hollywood and independent film professionals internationally as the world’s leading teacher and consultant on the art and craft of film directing. He is known as “the director’s director.”

Fueled by the desire to generate organic and authentic performances in an instant, Mark developed his revolutionary Travis Technique™ over a span of 40 years. Not limited to filmmakers, The Travis Technique™ has proven to be an essential set of tools for all storytellers, writers, directors and actors.

Watch the video on Youtube here

Mark Travis has taught at many internationally acclaimed film schools and institutions, including Pixar University, American Film Institute, UCLA Film School, FAS Screen Training Ireland, NISS — Nordisk Institutt for Scene og Studio (Norway), Odessa International Film Festival (Ukraine), CILECT — The International Association of Film and Television Schools, and the Asia Pacific Screen Lab (hosted by Griffith University Film School, Brisbane, Australia).

Productions directed by Mark W. Travis have garnered over 30 major awards, including: an Emmy, Drama-Logue, L.A. Weekly, Drama Critics’ Circle, A.D.A, and Ovation awards.

His film and television directing credits include: The Facts of Life, Family Ties, Capitol, Hillers, and the Emmy Award-winning PBS dramatic special, Blind Tom: The Thomas Bethune Story. Also the feature films Going Under (for Warner Bros. starring Bill Pullman and Ned Beatty), Earlet (documentary), The Baritones, and The 636.

On-stage, over the past 20 years, Mark has directed over 60 theatre productions in Los Angeles and New York, including: A Bronx Tale, Verdigris, The Lion in Winter, Mornings At Seven, Equus, Café 50s, And A Nightingale Sang, Wings, Linke vs. Redfield, The Coming of Stork and others.

Mark is the author of the Number-One Best Seller (L.A. Times), THE DIRECTOR’S JOURNEY: the Creative Collaboration between Directors, Writers and Actors. His second book on directing,

DIRECTING FEATURE FILMS (published in April of 2002) is currently used as required text in film schools worldwide. His third book, THE FILM DIRECTOR’S BAG OF TRICKS: Get What You Want from Writers and Actors was published in 2011. Mark’s popular DVD, HOLLYWOOD FILM DIRECTING, is available now.

MARK TRAVIS and ELSHA BOHNERT offer workshops and consultations on all aspects of storytelling for writers, directors and actors.


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