Finding direction: A look into what it means to be a director

A portrait of a man against a blue wall.
Asia Society/Courtesy

Dripping in the silky limelight, peering out at an audience from the stage or watching a camera pan from the periphery of your eye — being an actor is largely about being seen. And as audiences, we know the faces of these actors, and we recognize them as the narrators of the stories we are about to consume. But we often forget that these actors are only posing as the faces of these narratives throughout their experiences on set, they are looking just outside our frame of sight to the director, waiting to be told where to take their character next.

Whether it be in film or theater, the art of directing is one that is vastly foreign to the general public. Directors are the silhouettes dancing gracefully but almost anonymously behind a curtain, the quiet inventors with secret talents for sculpting narratives. Each director has a process, a background and an inspiration informing their decisions. And the on-screen works of art that we as audiences crave are the products of these inventors who work in the shadows. The Daily Californian arts & entertainment department is pulling back the curtain and revealing the silhouettes of three prominent directors: Jia Zhangke, Sebastián Lelio and Tracy Ward.

— Maisy Menzies

Love in time of rapid modernization: An interview with director Jia Zhangke

“I was born in 1970,” Jia began. “So all the changes I’m reflecting in my productions, they kind of coincide with my own personal growth. But the focus in my films is still people.” And Jia’s sentiment of studying relationships’ evolutions under the influence of economic shifts is at the center of the romance “Ash.”

Jackson Kim Murphy


Sebastián Lelio on reimagining ‘Gloria’ with Julianne Moore in ‘Gloria Bell’

Lelio was invigorated by the idea of a new “Gloria.” As he explained in an interview with The Daily Californian, his motivation came primarily from one source: Julianne Moore.

— Julia Mears


Director, stars of Aurora Theatre’s ‘Actually’ discuss significance of consent

The production’s director, Tracy Ward, is guiding the two young lead actors, Michael A. Curry and Ella Dershowitz, as the central pair, Tom and Amber.

— Nikki Munoz

Contact The Daily Californian’s arts & entertainment staff at [email protected].