Directing a film can be an extremely rewarding creative experience. The finished product is truly incredible to watch because you know it is the fruit of your labor. But the process leading up to this wonderful moment can be long and stressful. When you’re directing a film, especially if it’s your first, it can be difficult to know where to start. Here are a few tips to make the filmmaking process easier:

Plan as much as possible.
Before you start directing, it’s a good idea to create a scene-by-scene plan for the whole film. You should make a shot list of every scene throughout the entire firm. It may be tedious but it is extremely helpful to the rest of the filmmaking experience. This way, you become familiar with every detail within the script, even details that an experienced director might overlook. After you make your shot list, you can storyboard every single scene. It’s okay if you’re not the best illustrator. The point is that the process allows you to think through your story. You can then send your storyboards to an illustrator to make them look must more high-quality.

Really feel the performance.
A director’s job is to be the barometer for the emotional truth of the scene. When the camera starts rolling, immerse yourself fully into the performance and try to feel it. It may help to stand close to the lens. You should continue to be emotionally invested throughout the editing process, the music selection process and more. Feel the movie the way you want the audience to experience it.

Make sure you work with the right people.
The people you collaborate with for a movie have to be people whom you can spend a lot of time with. You need to surround yourself with like-minded, selfless people whom you trust. The way to create a successful film is to have a cohesive and hard-working group of people behind it.

Find someone who can wear many hats.
You need at least one person on set who can do nearly anything they put their mind to. You may call this person on set to be a production designer and find that they can also be an assistant director. This person should be not only skilled, but also fearless enough to step up to the plate and take on a role that they haven’t done before. Make sure when you find this person, you continue to empower them and constantly have them on set to help with whatever is necessary.

Be open to new ideas, but don’t stray from your vision.
When you’re the director, you have a very particular image of what you want your finished product to look like. While it’s important that you still to this, it’s a good idea to get feedback so that your production is the best it can possibly be. Be open to other ideas but make sure you aren’t damaging your initial inspiration. Only make suggested changes if they don’t completely alter your vision.

Being a new filmmaker can be overwhelming, but with these tips, the process of directing your film should go much more smoothly. After the process is over, you can look back on the experience fondly, and with greater insight for your next film.