How Directing Has Made Me a Better Person

Ron Howard was probably one of the most beloved and best child actors of all times.  He has since became one of the greatest directors.  In his interview with the editor of AARP the Magazine, he attributes his success to learning from the many actors he has worked with.  Not only his TV dad, Andy Griffith, but others such as John Wayne had a big impact on his life as he grew up in the film industry.  He has listened to each one of these people and found out what it was that has made them great, not only in their careers but in their private lives as well.  They taught him along the way that to be a great actor, you have to become the character you are portraying.  You have to truly know that person and understand what makes them tick in order to portray them on screen in a more believable way.

As a director myself, it is my job to get the actors to truly become the characters they are playing.  Just like the actors, I first need to know each character and how I want them portrayed.  I want the audience to have sympathy for the characters and be able to relate to them.  I also need to be able to help the actors feel how their roles need to play out.  This can be the most challenging part of my job, as I also need to understand each of the actors and what their strengths and weaknesses are.  I also have to have a good understanding of each one of them personally so that we can work well together and get the most out of every role.  Being in harmony with the actors helps bring the full emotion and humanity into each scene.

I have found that my skills as a director have spilled over into my personal life and have made me a better person.  Being able to work with actors and help them to step out of their self and into the mind and body of their character takes work.  I have developed the skill of listening to each person and having empathy for what they are going through.  I use this in my every day life as well, and try to put myself in another person’s shoes as I interact with them.  Each person reacts differently to similar situations because of many things, whether it is their background, their current station in life, or simply due to what is happening in their life that day.  By being aware of the possibilities, I can more fully engage with that person.  I am not so quick to rush to judgment of the person.

If we each could learn to be more like this, we could be “directors” in our own lives.  This would serve us all well in any situation and with whomever we come into contact with, regardless of race, creed, religion, or other differences.  With such tolerances and harmony, this planet could become a much more peaceful place for all to enjoy – leading to more happy endings!

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