While Ron Howard might have been a young boy on The Andy Griffith Show, he was looking ahead to directing people. Howard, who played Opie Taylor for eight seasons in the CBS sitcom, grew quite fond of observing other people doing their jobs. It even influenced his direction later in his life.
“I loved hanging around with the camera crew,” Howard said in an interview with Fresh Air in 1995. “They were fascinating people. I liked seeing how the cinematographer lit the set, what lenses were chosen, and why.”
Howard asked people questions about their jobs. He learned on the job, giving him a leg up when being in film school with other students. Howard enjoyed his time in film school, too. He almost left Happy Days over a proposed new show name. He pretty much said that if they changed the name, then he’d rather just go back to USC Film School.
Ron Howard Learns To Be Aware As A Director
You see, Howard knew what he wanted to do when he grew up a little more. And yes, there’s more to the eye test than simply playing director on the set. You have to be aware of so many things. Howard offers up a little behind-the-scenes info from his perspective.
“It didn’t take me long to realize that the director was the person who sort of got to hang out and play with everybody…The job just always attracted me,” he said, according to MeTV.
Being a director gives someone the sense that all directions flow through him. When a director does a good job, word will get around and the director gets a good rep. Howard found something else to learn about the role that would be his future calling card.
“I appreciated the potential for the autonomy,” he said. “Actors are always waiting to get hired, and if you’re not an absolute superstar, you’re sort of at everyone’s beck and call.” That means an actor must almost sit by the phone and hope someone calls with a role.
As a director, though, the “need to wait” can go away. Why? Because movies and television shows are always looking to hire the best possible person. Howard also learned another valuable lesson in pursuing his direction.
Howard Decided He Wanted More Control In Career
“I wanted to have a little more control over my career and the work that I’d be doing,” Howard said. That’s quite true because actors and actresses are simply hired to play roles. Yes, they do fill an important spot in the moviemaking process. But do they get to call the shots on what types of stories they want to appear in? Let’s go back to something Howard said. Remember what he said about being an “absolute superstar” and being at everyone’s “beck and call”? Yeah, actors usually have to go along for the ride.
Howard, though, knew there was something really special about being a director. “As a director, there were all kinds of stories I felt I could get involved with,” he said.
This is something he’s done throughout his career. Howard directed comedies like Night Shift and Splash, while countering with dramas like Apollo 13 and Cinderella Man. Howard won the Academy Award for Best Director and Best Picture for A Beautiful Mind.
Yet his journey into a more advanced role beyond acting all started back in the 1960s as Opie. Howard can be quite proud of his efforts in the world of movies.
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