Famous Film Makers give their advice

17 Feb 2017

Famous Film Makers give their advice

“A film is – or should be – more like music than like fiction. It should be a progression of moods and feelings. The theme, what’s behind the emotion, the meaning, all that comes later.”

Oscar Winner Stanley Kubrick
Famous for: The Shining, Clockwork Orange, 2001: A Space Odyssey


One of the reasons we do what we do #FilmMaking 🎬🎥👏

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Having industry professional knowledge at your fingertips is one of the biggest benefits of studying Film at AFTT, as all of our lecturers have, and are still working in the industry day to day. However, having the advice of world renowned and famous film makers, that’s priceless. 

So, we’ve trawled the deepest parts of the internet to bring you our top pieces of advice from some of the most famous film makers around. You’re welcome. 

“My three Ps: passion, patience, perseverance. You have to do this if you’ve got to be a filmmaker.”

Robert Wise

Famous for: The Sound of music, West Side Story, The Body Snatcher.

"My approach with actors is to try and give them whatever it is they need from me. Direction to me is about listening and responding and realizing how much they need to know from me and how much they have figured out for themselves, really."

Christopher Nolan

Famous for; The Dark Night, Memento, Inception

"First cuts are a bitch for a director, because it’s been so many months and you put your trust in your editor and you’re going to see your film assembled for the first time. You look at it and go, This is terrible. I hate it."

Richard Donner

Famous for: Lethal Weapon, The Goonies

"You can’t start a movie by having the attitude that the script is finished, because if you think the script is finished, your movie is finished before the first day of shooting."

Stephen Spielberg

Famous for: E.T., Jaws, War of the Worlds


Quick throwback to our #ScreeningNight. So much fun was had, wish we could do it all again! Just have to wait until next year... #AFTT 📷 @jvo_julie

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"To me, movies and music go hand in hand. When i‘m writing a script, one of the first things i do is find the music i’m going to play for the opening sequence."

Quentin Tarenteno

Famous for: Pulp Fiction, Kill Bill, Djanjo

"Our feeling is that the most important thing on a set is that actors have enough confidence to try different things. If there’s stress or tension, they won’t go out on a limb because they won’t want to embarrass themselves if they don’t feel completely comfortable."

Peter Farrelly

Famous for: There’s something about Mary, Dumb and Dumber, Shallow Hal

"Perhaps it sounds ridiculous, but the best thing that young filmmakers should do is to get hold of a camera and some and make a movie of any kind at all."

Stanley Kubrick

Famous for: Clockwork Orange, The Shining

"I learn the most from making my own mistakes."

David Fincher

Famous for: Fight Club, Gone Girl, Benjamin Button

“Cinema is a matter of what’s in the frame and what’s out.”

Martin Scorsese

Famous for: The Wolf on Wall Street, GoodFellas, Shutter Island

"Don’t get seduced by your own stuff; work hard to keep a blank slate state of mind each time you watch your film."

James Cameron

Famous for: Avatar, Titanic, Terminator

Find out more about studying Film Making at the Academy of Film, Theatre and Television.