We get pretty particular at ReviewMyScript. One of these days we’ll probably take on something like “How to Name Your Fictional Country”, but this week we’d like to point you in the direction of a much looser collection of general advice. A beefy compilation of filmmaking and screenwriting advice straight from the horse’s mouth- aka Quentin Tarantino, Steven Spielberg, Martin Scorsese, David Lynch, George Lucas, Francis Ford Coppola, James Cameron and the generally accepted canon of YouTube clip-generating auteurs.
Enter here for the best of most worlds. Quick tips and lengthy screeds. Variety. Some points are totally at odds with each other, but all elegantly edited together, despite the fact that the excellent advice comes thick and fast. Most of these directors, plenty of them writer-directors as well, are visually-oriented communicators, so they don’t pontificate. They stagger out their brilliant but tentative advice to the youngsters. Some comments, like “Pick up a camera. Film something. Now you’re a director” are said with total authority. Some come dogged with or made from ego, as with the ever-opinionated Quentin Tarantino, the most literarily affinitive of them all, who naturally occupies the largest slice of the video-pie. Two of them. And, evidently, the lion’s share of the thumbnail, front and centre. Thankfully he makes a great point. Like any legitimate catalogue of film authorities, here you’ll find directors who’ve long since called wrap on their illustrious careers and avant garde foreign voices, surreal cult legends and driftless determined methodists of classical Hollywood style. Capitalists to Internationale reciters. Angelina Jolie and Greta Gerwig, both actor-directors, also appear which makes for encouragingly, but dispiritingly, at least two women.
Sometimes generally applicable stock clips play atop the comments, and occasionally behind the scenes snippets of the directors and writers dispensing their own advice replace them. Of course, the films make appearances. This slick aesthetic does hold to the truth that these sorts of videos aren’t usually meant to be followed so much as to illuminate the workings of a writer at best and lull listeners into a hypnotic and lazy egotism at worst. Sometimes that depends on the listener and the listener alone.
The thing that binds these disparate filmmakers is that you might call any one of them ‘successful’. Financially, some are the outright 1%-ers of moneymakers for big studios, while others have carved an essentially nonprofit stream of benefactors who’s motivations in collaborating with said filmmaker range from sincere appreciation to “the prestige” (not the Nolan movie). These directors have attained their status by exacting a unique appeal. They are the source of this ‘style’ and are therefore admired but more crucially are a rare commodity – that draws the financing. That gets you the greenlight on your next, bigger and brighter project. This is what a clipped bit of advice is good for. Not the secret key to unlocking freshly printed gold on paper, but to understand how these mighty few have come to be successful but inimitable, and some, visionary.