kwetu film institute

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A valuable DOSE to Filmmakers

From DIRECTOR OF PRINCE OF PERSIA.

Directors are solitary animals. They never see others of their kind at work; they detest intrusion and are dominant, silverback apes of uncertain tempers. Making a movie is a knife fight and there are no rules. Nonetheless, here are some guidelines to navigation- some private rituals that I don’t like to be without.

  1. WHEN I FIRST READ A SCRIPT, BOOK OR TREATMENT, I WILL GET AN IMMEDIATE LITTLE JOLT OF EXCITEMENT IF THE THINGS HAVE SOMETHING TO SAY ABOUT ME
  2. I have to nail that idea before anything else. If you have a big, clear idea of what you want your audience to feel and think- and above all, what you want- then, even in the times of the darkest chaos(which will quite certainly be upon you), you have a rock to hang on to.

  3. TRY TO KNOW THE SCRIPT NEARLY BY HEART.
  4. I work the scenes through in advance again and again with as much details as possible. Then, when the day we shoot, I am prepared to ditch all of that if better ideas come up. Spontaneity is the quality that only actors can bring and it’s quality worth it’s weight in gold. Be prepared for the fact that NO plan survives first contact with the enemy and listen really hard to the actors. Don’t impose on them. Instead, try to encourage them to be easy in their skin.

  5. EVERYBODY IN THE CREW WILL HAVE IDEAS ABOUT HOW SCENES SHOULD BE MADE; THEY WILL HAVE IDEAS, ANGLES AND MOVEMENTS YOU HAD NEVER IMAGINED.
  6. One of the best camera operators I ever worked with would listen to my opinions about where the camera should be put and then march off to complete opposite position.

  7. I HAVE A MANTRA THAT I TRY DESPERATELY TO REMEMBER THROUGH EVERY DAYS WORK: PLEASE LET ME NOT BE AN ARSE-HOLE TODAY.
  8. Vain hope, but it’s good to have an ambition!

  9. A LOT OF SMOKE GETS BLOWN UP AT DIRECTOR’S BOTTOM
  10. It’s worth not believing any of it. I try to survive without wanting to know what everybody thinks of me. Some think you are great, some think you are crap. A lot of rough things get said to you, so it’s good to have skin thick enough to take the damage and thin enough to understand why this stuff is being said.

  11. TALK QUIETLY
  12. HAVE GOOD MANNERS
  13. IF YOU ARE GOING TO LOSE YOUR TEMPER (DO TRY NOT TO), IT MUST BE OVERWHELMINGLY FOR REAL.
  14. There is nothing worse than fake anger.

  15. DON’T EAT CATERING AT LUNCH TIME
  16. SLEEP WHENEVER YOU CAN
  17. WEAR A COMFORTABLE PAIR OF SHOES.
  18. THE PROCESS OF MAKING A FILM FEELS LIKE BEING PECKED TO DEATH BY PIGEONS.
  19. A thousand tiny bites will slowly remove your reason for starting in the first place. You will forget why you are there. That’s when you must fall back on that initial spark of excitement (See #1) to get through.

  20. ABOVE ALL, ‘NEVER FUCK THE TALENT’