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Shops and Directors Have Much in Common

The cliché things we imagine film directors doing—barking curt orders and shouting, “Places everyone!”—include an element of truth.

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The cliché things we imagine film directors doing—barking curt orders and shouting, “Places everyone!”—include an element of truth. Francois Driessen, director of The Edge Factor, is a soft-spoken man. But on the days when footage is actually being shot, his role is to manage this work through definite and concise instructions conveyed clearly. The reason is simple: He has to keep things moving. All of the crew will be present only for a fixed amount of time, the location will be available for a fixed amount of time, and there is a list of scenes and subjects that have to be filmed before that time ends.

After working with a director for the first time, I observed to Francois that a large part of his role seems to come down to time management. He readily agreed that this is true. In a way, the challenge he faces—getting the most value out of the finite availability of high-value resources—is the same challenge a manufacturing facility faces.