The Text and the Throughline
In the beginning there is the word— and the text is always the beginning for a director. Every choice we make, every character outline, design element, staging idea, and so on derives from the play or screenplay. So the first order of business is to examine the material thoroughly. The throughline doesn't have to be a heavily weighted or a philosophical or social treatise. It can be something as simple as "Everyone should have a good laugh as often as possible. It is true that construction of the throughline is the hardest part of the director's work and surely the loneliest, most introspective part of all. If one looks closely at the opening sequence in the film, a surprising amount of information about the director's throughline can be gathered. Look at the first few cuts of the film.