Self-Motivation
David Goggins
Former Navy Seal
Career Development
Bryan Cranston
Actor
Critical Thinking
Liv Boeree
International Poker Champion
Emotional Intelligence
Amaryllis Fox
Former CIA Clandestine Operative
Management
Chris Hadfield
Retired Canadian Astronaut & Author
Learn
from the world's big
thinkers
Start Learning

Anyone Can Be a Director

Question: What advice do you have for aspiring filmmakers?

Guillermo del Toro:  You know, when anyone approaches me and says "I want to be a director," I always tell them, then you should be a director and don’t say, "I'm going to be…" because you can direct good or bad but you can direct from your iPhone, from your cell phone with your sister's cousin's video camera with a web cam.  Right now, except in the most abject circumstances, most people can get a hold of an image audio/visual generating machine and they can be directing and then realize that they are already directing.  

Directing doesn’t mean any more and shouldn’t mean any more directing feature films.  I think... as I said, with series like "Breaking Bad" I was not only amazed at the way it was written, but the way it was staged on camera.  It was a really well-directed series.  And video games also can do that.  And I think that as long as you have minimal access to any media you should be a director if you feel like you want to.  

And the advice I feel is that, it’s always better to answer through your work the things you don’t like in a media, in a piece of media.  If you dislike the movies that are being made, make your own.  Show the world what you want to do, what you think this medium should be.  And I find that much more creative than simply putting it down and complaining about it.  It is a more active, fascinating role to take. 

So the advice is that if you want to direct, direct.  And even easier: if you want to write, write.  You now, I think that writing is the only... one of the only things that can be done with very little resources and even if you die and you were unpublished, you still have a chance.  You know, it’s truly... you cannot do that with directing.  You need other people, you need a little bit of help, you need at least an actor in front of the camera, you know. But I think these are what I say is go and do it.  And you know, when they say, "I would like you to do this for me"—and I produce a lot of first-time filmmakers, but I don’t produce all the first-time filmmakers that approach me—and I say, “Look, if I say, no, and you give up, I’m sorry to tell you, but it’s the wrong job for you.”  Because you live with rejection for decades sometimes as a director and you end up making the movie you want to make.  So, if I say no, that doesn’t mean that I’m right or I’m wrong, you just say, "Fuck him, I’ll show him later.  I’m gonna make it and that fat bastard is gonna have to say I was so wrong and hit himself in the head because he didn’t do it."  And I think that’s the thing to do is like, show us.  Don’t tell us.  You know? Do the things. And if you do them wrong, what you do on your own terms, that’s how I define success; failing on your own terms.

Recorded on September 22, 2010
Interviewed by Max Miller

Directing doesn’t just mean directing feature films anymore. Almost everyone has access to video recorders these days, and they can begin directing from their iPhones.

LIVE ON MONDAY | "Lights, camera, activism!" with Judith Light

Join multiple Tony and Emmy Award-winning actress Judith Light live on Big Think at 2 pm ET on Monday.

Big Think LIVE

Add event to calendar

AppleGoogleOffice 365OutlookOutlook.comYahoo

Keep reading Show less

The mind-blowing science of black holes

What we know about black holes is both fascinating and scary.

Videos
  • When it comes to black holes, science simultaneously knows so much and so little, which is why they are so fascinating. Focusing on what we do know, this group of astronomers, educators, and physicists share some of the most incredible facts about the powerful and mysterious objects.
  • A black hole is so massive that light (and anything else it swallows) can't escape, says Bill Nye. You can't see a black hole, theoretical physicists Michio Kaku and Christophe Galfard explain, because it is too dark. What you can see, however, is the distortion of light around it caused by its extreme gravity.
  • Explaining one unsettling concept from astrophysics called spaghettification, astronomer Michelle Thaller says that "If you got close to a black hole there would be tides over your body that small that would rip you apart into basically a strand of spaghetti that would fall down the black hole."

Space travel could create language unintelligible to people on Earth

A new study looks at what would happen to human language on a long journey to other star systems.

Credit: NASA Ames Research Center.
Surprising Science
  • A new study proposes that language could change dramatically on long space voyages.
  • Spacefaring people might lose the ability to understand the people of Earth.
  • This scenario is of particular concern for potential "generation ships".
Keep reading Show less

Scientists see 'rarest event ever recorded' in search for dark matter

The team caught a glimpse of a process that takes 18,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 years.

Image source: Pixabay
Surprising Science
  • In Italy, a team of scientists is using a highly sophisticated detector to hunt for dark matter.
  • The team observed an ultra-rare particle interaction that reveals the half-life of a xenon-124 atom to be 18 sextillion years.
  • The half-life of a process is how long it takes for half of the radioactive nuclei present in a sample to decay.
Keep reading Show less

Your emotions are the new hot commodity — and there’s an app for that

Many of the most popular apps are about self-improvement.

Drew Angerer/Getty Images
Personal Growth

Emotions are the newest hot commodity, and we can't get enough.

Keep reading Show less
Quantcast