1 May 2011

Edgar Wright – How To Make Films

The director of Scott Pilgrim gives his top ten tips on how to become a film director.

1: You don't have to spend a lot of money to get started

I got my start without rich parents, film industry contacts or even any modern equipment. I owe my film-making start to a second hand, battered Super 8 camera that my parents bought me and my brother.

I started making shorts with my schoolfriends when I was at comprehensive aged 14.

2. A good script is the best place to start

But don't be afraid to just experiment and have fun. I wouldn't say any of my first scripts I wrote as a teen were in any way profound, but I had a lot of fun making them.

3. Two heads can be better than one

Even if you are an auteur in training, you need the help and support of the people around you. I would shoot, edit and write all my old shorts, but couldn't have done it without my schoolfriends who gave up lots of free time to help me.

4. Think about what you are going to shoot before you press record

Planning is key. Know what you are going to shoot and your day will certainly go a lot easier.

5. Making a short film will teach you how to make a longer one

This is very true. Although I used to get really ambitious and make no budget video features that were 70 minutes long. That was really good training too.

6. Don't be afraid of being too clever, or too stupid

You may not make Citizen Kane straight out of the gate and it's not important that you do. The key thing is to experiment, try out lots of ideas and have fun.

7. Actors are your friends. Be friendly

It helps to be personable and make the process fun and fulfilling for the performers.

8. Shoot more footage than you think you will need

When I made a feature at age 20 with my school and art college friends, the biggest difficulty I had was not having enough material to cut with when I got into the edit. With coverage you basically cannot pace your film. So make sure you are covered.

9. Show your film to as many people as you can, using whatever media you can get your hands on, and listen to their feedback

More then ever, the world is your oyster. The internet is certainly a forum for your film to be seen all over the planet. Also show it to people you respect and take their criticism on board.

10. Even if your first film isn't a masterpiece, be ready to move on to the next one

Make as much films as you can. The more you shoot, the more you experiment, the more confident you will be in any situation. Don't wait for grants or handouts, you can make something amazing with absolutely zero money.

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