Day in the life of
Film Writer and Director – Grace Roebuck
When I am writing alone, I do my best to find days where I’m not rushed for time or working my other jobs (nannying, working at a restaurant, etc.) and I try to spend from late morning to evening writing. I like to work on multiple things at once so it can be anything from a screenplay to a pilot to an outline or treatment that correlates with one of those.
Editing probably takes up the most time just because it is the best way to hone in on your craft. I give myself notes but also appreciate and use any notes from others who are reading my work. When my father (Daniel Roebuck) and I write together, it’s mostly the same thing, but feels easier because there is another person to take it on with. And ideas just come easier when other people are involved. I like to say the two of us have a very small, but very loud “writer’s room.”
When directing, it’s much more chaotic, but in the best way possible. I think half of the job is planning and preparing, knowing the script and your vision like the back of your hand. So many things that are out of your control can happen while filming (weather, a location backing out, or maybe the cat you were going to use decides she actually doesn’t want to pet by a stranger) so I think having backup plans in your head and also learning to be lenient where you can be when it comes to your “vision” really helps in the long run.
A day on set is spent trying to ensure you finish filming your scenes for the day. You talk over shots with the DP and plan the camera set-ups for the day, rehearse the day’s lines with your actors and see if the performances correlate with what you wanted, you oversee everything that comes into play from the props to how the set and costumes look. My father and I are more hands-on directors so we’re very involved with helping other departments if they need help and enjoy participating in every process.
Everything takes time, but when everyone works together and it’s “all hands on deck,” completing your scenes for the day is much more obtainable. We have been so fortunate to have worked with the kindest and most talented crews.
Pros and cons
I truly believe the pros immensely outweigh the cons for both jobs. This industry and environment require extremely long days, early wake-ups, and perseverance. But the magic of bringing a project to fruition and creating something with hardworking people is the best feeling in the world. It is pandemonium, but also fun and rewarding. You meet incredible people and never stop learning, it’s an ongoing education. These jobs have reminded me to be patient and to stay dedicated, some projects take a very long time. And that’s OK. Always remember no matter what you do, work hard and be kind. People notice it and appreciate it.
A film director is responsible for managing the creative side of a film. They must interpret the film script to create a compelling film that will appeal, and doing so is a very involved process.