In his 35-minute film DICKS, director Max Joseph tackles that age-old question: do you need to be a d*ck to be a good leader – and consequently a good director?
In his noble quest to find out what really makes a good leader, Max Joseph travels across the US to talk to some big names in the industry who can shed some light on whether you really do have to be a d*ck to be respected on set.
Like most people starting a new job, new directors may feel the need to make friends with everyone on set, be buddies with the actors, chum along with the crew. But could this undermine the crew’s need to have more than a friend, but a boss to look up to, and whose vision is the very reason everyone is there?
On the other end of the spectrum, Hancock director Peter Berg is said to have recommended firing somebody within the first two hours of your first day on set to make people respect you. Too far, perhaps?
Max’s quest also takes him to leadership expert Michael Maccoby, who thinks the cause of the phenomenon is narcissism – something he considers a common trait among all great leaders. On the other hand, Aaron James, the man who literally wrote the book on being an a-hole, chalks the behaviour down to an inherent sense of entitlement.
Of course, other points of view are also required in order to really challenge the perception of the d*ckish, alpha-male, socially unadapted director. Karyn Kusama, director of indie-thriller The Invitation and Amazon’s The Man in the High Castle, explains the problem of double standards in the industry when this same trope is seen in women directors.
Other opinions include just having an honest personality: be true to who you are, and people will gravitate to that. Or, as John Hamburg puts it, be an open-minded control freak, who aims to provide the best energy on set for people to feed off of, but isn’t afraid to channel his inner a-hole when the going gets tough.
DICKS is certainly an enjoyable watch that will give you something to think about for the next time you get to sit on that director’s chair. Make sure to visit Max Joseph’s YouTube channel for more.
Have you worked with d*ck directors? Share your experiences in the comments below!