EUROS LYN takes us behind the camera as we explore what life is like as a TV director. Euros is known for directing some of the most popular British drama in recent years from ‘Sherlock’ and ‘Doctor Who’ to ‘Black Mirror’ and ‘Broadchurch’.
Over the course of the past decade, Euros has won and been nominated for various BAFTA Television Awards. Alongside his work in the UK, the Welsh director has also worked on FOX’s ‘Gracepoint’ and Netflix’s ‘Daredevil’ – directing multiple episodes.
AC: To what extent does a director have to compromise on their own creative style with episodic TV directing?
EUROS: Historically in TV, the writer is king. I think that’s changing a little; TV commissioners are hungry for (brilliantly written) shows that also have more authored direction. There’s a big difference between being the lead director on a show where you’re making all the key creative decisions about tone, style, casting etc and being an episodic director further down the line where you inherit those decisions. Creatively, a director must always give their all, but the parameters within which you work are stricter when you join later in the season.
Would that frustrate directors who haven’t worked in TV before?
The rules are pretty clear. When you direct a later episode it’s possible to have an incredibly satisfying creative experience – as long as you go into it with your eyes open.
Is there a difference in the pace of filming an American production compared to a British one?
The Americans are much better resourced but have less time. US shows have ten days of prep, in the UK we have several weeks. Shooting time is similar. Editing in the States is crazy – four days in the cutting room before they boot you out. In the UK we have many weeks and the director stays on to picture-lock, which I think makes the work better.
How do you go about preparing for a new project?
At the start of pre-production I’ll create a blueprint in consultation with my [Director of Photography], Production Designer and other [Department Heads] which is shared with everyone on the production. With so much drama being made, being innovative and distinctive is essential. If you want to create something that breaks with convention you need to communicate clearly with your crew so they can best deliver your vision. I try and be as organised as I can when I’m in production with shotlists and storyboards for action or VFX – I want every minute of the shooting day to be used to create good work.
Do you have a particular way of working with your actors on-set?
I want actors to be as unburdened by the industrial processes of film-making as possible so they can be free to do their best work. The more ownership I can give them over their work, the better – less direction is always more.
What will buzz around your head on the night before a shoot?
Will the film in my head be the film I make.
As a director, what are you still trying to learn?
When something’s worked in the past (e.g. how to shoot a piece of action, or how a piece of music sits on a scene) it’s easy to try to replicate that, because I know it works. I’m always kicking myself to take a risk and try something new. It doesn’t always work, but I always learn something.
Across all the projects you’ve worked on, which has taught you the most about the craft of directing?
Early on I worked with a terrific [Director of Photography] called Ray Orton who was extremely patient with my lack of experience and taught me a huge amount about visual storytelling. I’m very grateful to him.
Looking to the future, what are your ambitions as a director in terms of projects?
I’d love to be directing TV and films till the day I drop dead.
INTERVIEW: ADAM CROOKES