The Greatest Piece of Filmmaking Advice

DON’T PANIC. I am not going to be the one giving the advice. Given the fact I know fuck all about film I think its for the best. Instead, I am going to let someone with “slightly” more experience then me do it.

Akira Kurosawa.

To preface, I am just stealing this from an interview. If you don’t want to listen to me ramble, the video is just below (one day I will turn this into my own edit on youtube).

Unlike a lot of directors Kurosawa admits how much harder it is to make films now.

It costs a great deal of money to make films these days and its hard to become a director.”

Older directors seem to give the same piece of advice. Go out and shoot films every weekend and edit it and then you have a movie blah blah blah. This sounds cool right? But realistically there is a huge over saturation with how many shitty short films are being made and uploaded out there (myself included). I just think in this day and age you need at least a solid setup to make something that grabs people’s attention. But Kurosawa offers much better advice.

“If you genuinely want to make films then write screenplays”

Kurosawa emphasises that all you need is a paper and a pencil. Nothing more. More importantly, by writing scripts you learn the structure of a film. You learn more deeply what keeps people engaged and how to make a good picture.

I believe that if you are a great writer, you will at least be a good director. For example, Sorkin, Koffman, Tarantino. It just goes hand in hand. Similarly, Spielberg gives the same advice to young directors. These guys are masters in their field and know how much a good script can change the world.


Once again, Kurosawa is on it. Who would expect it from one of the greatest filmmakers of all time? Most writers emphasises the importance of writing every day. But it’s very hard and he admits this – especially for young people who have no attention span.

The most essential and necessary thing is the forbearance to face writing on word at a time”

Patience. Writing is extremely hard, and you need this skill if you want to write an entire screenplay.  When you climb a mountain, you are told never look up at the mountain or you will be disheartened. Instead, you take one step at a time. Writing is the same, one word at a time. The tedious task of writing has to become second nature to you.

If you give up once, that will be it”

While this is directed towards writing, I think it applies to all of film. If you quit once it becomes a habit. Every time things get challenging you will just bail. Honestly, it is simply about routine, nothing more.

“Do a certain amount of reading”

While Kurosawa emphasises reading widely in literature and in particular Russian literature, reading at all is pivotal to becoming a writer and also a filmmaker. He explains that unless you have a rich reserve within you can’t create anything. Essentially, you need a place for the idea to come from. This can either be literature or memories. Your next film idea is not just going to appear in front of you. By reading different authors, it sets of that light in your head.

Kurosawa’s advice ultimately changed how I view writing. I accepted how challenging I found it which made it easier to do. It sounds weird but if you just built it into your daily routine, you will see a jump in what you are producing.