As a film lover and film maker, I’m a student of cinema. A lot of it the cinema that was wayyyyy before my time. From the movies of Hitchcock to those of Frank Capra. From the duos of Abbot and Costello,Lewis and Martin to the buddy films of Walter Matthau and Jack Lemmon.
Last week I met a kid that told me he wanted to become a film maker.I first of all asked him ,”on a scale of 1-10 how much do you love film” His answer was 4/10. I told him he had to increase that to a 12. I asked him what aspect of film making he was interested in, he was not to sure but mentioned directing. I followed that with “Who are your favorite directors” He had a hard time coming up with any names. Not that they were so hard to choose from but he just couldn’t identity who directed what. I was flabbergasted. Could not believe my ears. But he seemed determined enough to go ahead with this pursuit and asked I recommend a film school.
My advice to him before even looking for a film school was to become a student of cinema. Become the biggest cinephile he could possibly become.
Great auteurs like Tarantino, Woody Allen,Paul T Anderson(dropped out after a week) never went to film school , but are some of the best film makers in the world. Marty did, but he is one of the biggest cinephile on the planet.
Most great directors were and still are huge cinephiles long before getting behind a camera.They have seen films from all over the world, beyond their own nation. They’ve seen films from different eras, from their generation and films made long before they were born.
As an aspiring film maker if you only watch films made in your lifetime and only films from your own country, not only is your education limited,but you do yourself a HUGE disservice.
Watch films from the 30s-70’s. Look for films of directors like Charlie Chaplin,John Houston,Frank Capra,Cecile B Demile ,Orson Wells,Alfred Hitchcock,Billy Wilder ,Howard Hawks,Sydney Lumet, Roman Polanski etc
Then leave Hollywood(for a lil while) and watch films from Italy,France,Germany,Brazil,Mexico,Hong Kong,Korea,Japan etc.
Names like Jean Luc Goddard,Akira Kurosawa,Frederico Fellini,Pedro Almovadar,John Woo(the Hong Kong years) etc
Acquire a global cinema education and it will make a better film maker out of you, same goes for actors too.
After you watch, study, then watch then study then watch…I’m sure you catch my drift, but enjoy yourself as you do this.
But better it is to hear this from a legend than just lil ol me.