First-Time Directors Have a Chance


A leading question for all beginning filmmakers has been: how do I get that first opportunity to direct?

Up until this year, answering that question has been like untying the Gordian knot. (Definition: 1. An exceedingly complicated problem or deadlock.
2. An intricate knot tied by King Gordius of Phrygia and cut by Alexander the Great with his sword after hearing an oracle promise that whoever could undo it would be the next ruler of Asia.)

However, based on a recent article in The Hollywood Reporter (19 Feb 2011), at least half-a-dozen "first-timers" will be directing their first feature-length movie this year, with budgets exceeding $100 million!

I would have said that’s crazy – if you were a business owner (studio executive), would you entrust more than $100 million to someone who’d never done it before?

That’s a lot of $ for ANYONE to handle, let alone be responsible for. However, upon second look, it may not be such a bad business risk.

First, if an experienced "spectacle" director (e.g., James Cameron, Steven Spielberg, et al) were chosen, his fee would be enormous, and his control would be nearly total.

Second, a first-timer, properly chosen, would be so anxious to please, so desirous of not messing up, and, most likely, so reasonably priced, that the risk is not as great as it first seemed. Furthermore, that person could, most likely, be reprimanded or even fired if things weren’t going well.

The common denominator to all of the people now in that position is that they are dedicated filmmakers who’ve (a) made commercials or music videos or short films, and (b) sat behind a computer for up to two years and made, entirely on their own, a "demo" film that showed their abilities to create interesting shots, emotionally powerful scenes and tell stories (the three points that qualify anyone to direct).

So, the next turning point will be if their big features are successful. If yes, then we’ve got a new era in the film industry. If no, it might be back to the same old same old – only established directors helming big projects.

For a real kick, go to You Tube and type in Panic Attack. You’ll see a truly remarkable four-minute short with special efx at an unbelievably high level.

My VERY best wishes to all these makers!


One Response to “First-Time Directors Have a Chance”

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  1. Val Gameiro says:

    Man, this is awesome news for us indie filmmakers… if these guys do well, it means we may one day have a shot at making a film with a budget we would normally not be able to commandeer… fingers crossed for these guys. I will definitely go and support them at the theaters 🙂

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