2015 roundup – Best Advice for Directors – from world class filmmakers

Hi Film Folk!

As 2015 draws its last breath, the Film Doctor team have compiled all the thoughts of the amazing creatives we’ve spoken to into one condensed super-boost post for you aspiring directors out there.

Get your eyes on this top-level stuff below!

Film Doctor


Qualities Top Directors Share
“Universally they are insightful and sharp.” Elliot Graham (Steve Jobs, X Men – interview here)
“With directors really at the top of their game it’s a total and utter dedication to the craft, which is really inspiring.” Lucy Bevan (Cinderella, Mr. Holmes – interview here)
“It’s a relentless drive to continually better things. It’s never just settling for ‘that’ll work!’” Suttirat Larlarb (Steve Jobs, The Walk -interview here)
“Curiosity about everyone and everything around them. They have no sense of hierarchy, the great ones, because they believe everybody can teach them something. An extraordinary attention to detail magnified by a thousand and a work ethic that is just 24/7.They love it, they live it, they breathe it – they could not exist in any other way, shape or form.” Caroline Goodall (The Dressmaker, Schindler’s List – interview here)
“The good directors I’ve worked with get the best script they can find, the best cast & crew possible and then encourage everyone to do their best work.” John McKeown (I Saw the Light, 50/50 – interview here)
“Everybody is different. Every Director is different. The only thing that they share in common, I think, is that it’s a very lonely job, directing. At the end of the day, of course, we are here to help, but it’s their film. And you have to understand that when they’re being difficult or hard to follow it’s because it is such a solitary job that they’re doing. It’s their film.” Jany Temime (Spectre, Gravity – interview here)
“The unifying quality or characteristic that they have is that they have a clear vision of what they want.” Shane Valentino (Straight Outta Compton, Beginners – interview here)
Tips for Directors
“The most important thing to realise is sound is vital. You’ve got to have good sound. You could miss the entire image and go and shoot something later to go with it but if you don’t have the sound , you don’t have the scene.” Ondi Timoner (Brand: A Second Coming, Dig! – interview here)

“There is no excuse to not make a film. Everybody has access to an HD camera in their pocket right now and they have access to editing material. So if you want to be a filmmaker then you must make films. Sure, you can get it more complicated and more people involved later on but there’s just no excuse any more to not do it. Get your phone out your pocket and make a film. It’s that simple.” Jon Drever (SuperBob, Virunga – interview here)


“You have to bring your own uniqueness to it. It’s kind of about bringing something that has your own personal stamp on it. There’s so much ‘formula work’, if somebody can bring something that’s unique to the table, then everybody’s going to pay a bit of attention.” Christine Blundell (Legend, Mr. Turner – interview here)


“Think maybe the most important thing is to find smart like-minded people to collaborate with. Movies are a uniquely collaborative art form. To make them you need others. The people you surround yourself with is very important to growing and developing as a filmmaker.” John Gilroy (Nightcrawler – interview here)

“It all starts with the script. If you’re a writer/director or writer/producer then you’re off to a good start as you control the material. If you don’t write but either direct or produce, you need to find a great script and get it made. It’s never been easier than it is right now to make a movie.” John McKeown (I Saw the Light, 50/50 – interview here)
“Get a really good script or idea. Script is king. If you’ve got a shit script, and you don’t discover that until you’re on set, you’re buggered. You’re going to hemorrhage cash trying to fix it later. Don’t go anywhere with a bad script and think it’s going to work.” Elaine Constantine (Northern Soul – interview here)
“Know your audience. Know exactly who you’re aiming your product towards. What kind of films you want to make. Whether you are just starting out or been doing it for a while but not quite where you want to be, know your audience. Like, Edgar Wright for instance: yes, he’s working on a very commercial level now – his career has exploded at such a rate, but he was aiming for a very specific audience.” David Allcock (Man from UNCLE, Edge of Tomorrow – interview here)
“Plan. The biggest weapon you have in your arsenal is to plan. Even if you veer off on set, still have a plan.” Simon Duric (Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Pride, The Inbetweeners 2 – interview here)
“Just go for it.” Terry Jones (Absolutely Anything, Monty Python and the Holy Grail – interview here)
Thanks and see you in 2016. Join us on FACEBOOK or TWITTER and sign up to our emails on the right hand side for articles straight to your inbox.

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