The writer/director Kenneth Lonergan (You Can Count On Me, Margaret, Manchester By The Sea) has said that when making a film, he’s thrilled if he gets 80-90% of what he originally envisioned in his head.
As a director (film and theatre included), you must do everything you can to create the conditions for an “A” project to emerge. Some of which include…
-Ensure the script is as tight as it can be.
-Cast a wide net for each role. Be open to all ideas and possibilities. Don’t settle.
-Only hire designers and crew who are as passionate and care as much about their job as you do yours.
-Communicate your vision clearly to all your artists and crew. (A well written concept statement goes a long way.) Then step back allow them to dazzle you.
-Be organized and efficient in rehearsals (especially if it’s theatre) and principal photography. Respect people’s time.
-Maintain a safe and fun environment where everyone can fully explore and do their best work. No egos allowed.
When you’ve worked as hard as you possibly can and done all you can do, realize that because it’s art and a collaborative medium, there are just some things beyond your control. And it’s okay if you end up with a B or B+. A B+ is still pretty damn good.