Thursday, December 30, 2004

If you're serious about making films, why haven't you made one yet?

Originally uploaded by yasmin the storyteller.
I'm constantly approached by aspiring young filmmakers. At the Malaysian Video Awards, at Kelab Seni Filem, and very often, on the streets.

They come in various shapes, sizes and colours, of course, but I generally place them in one of two categories:

1) Those who genuinely love film, and 2) Those who love the IDEA of being into film.

And I can tell which category they fall in, just by asking one simple question:

"Have you shot anything yet?"

If their answer is no, then I instantly know that they fall in the second category.

Thankfully, this weblog is often graced by postings from some truly outstanding young film lovers who belong in the first category.

Seng Tat. The Visitor. Azhar. Minxiu. Just to name a few. (Don't tell them I said this, but I'm just so bursting proud of them.)

If you happen to fit into either category, here are some short quotes from various American directors, some concerning aspiring filmmakers. Nothing terribly profound, just some insights, and one of them remarkably close to how I feel about these things.

Read them. I hope they will inspire you in some way, enough to make you write a short script, borrow a camera, get out there, and finally shoot something.

Until then, see you on the streets!

"I still say, when people ask me how one gets to be a director, that you don't wait to be asked - go direct something! Even if it's in Super 8... the most important step in becoming a director is to find out if you ARE a director, and the way to find that out is to go and make a film and see if you can tell a story in a cinematic way." - James Cameron

"Film is your liberation, it's your demon, it's your nemesis, it's everything. It's your life." - Oliver Stone

"Anybody who tells you they're not influenced by past or current directors is probably fibbing. It's almost impossible not to be influenced. Me, I take the attitude that if it's a good shot and I can use it, I'll steal it. I have no shame. My goal is to make the best movie possible." - John Badham

"If young film students come in to see me for advice, I ask if they've ever made a film. If they say no, I forget about them. Because if they really want to be a director, then somehow they've gotten a hold of an 8mm camera and shot 10 minutes somewhere. That's a good way to learn. I remember judging a student film festival one year. I saw a film by a nine-year-old that showed inventiveness and thought about what he was doing." - Arthur Hiller

"...any kind of movie that makes me feel something is a good movie...because that's what it's all about!" - Harry Hurwitz