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Wisdom of the greats: Inspirational quotes from your favorite film directors

There’s knowledge & wisdom to be found in the suggestions and musings offered by some of the most revered directors of our time.

Wisdom of the greats: Inspirational quotes from your favorite film directors

One of the best ways to learn about film is to draw inspiration from other filmmakers. Whether you’re an aspiring or established director, producer, scriptwriter, or cinematographer, there’s knowledge & wisdom to be found in the suggestions and musings offered by some of the most revered directors of our time. Get ready for some goosebump-worthy inspiration.

Stanley Kubrick

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

In other words, just get out there and make it happen. Kubrick says so!

Spike Lee

“I think people who have faults are a lot more interesting than people who are perfect.” – Spike Lee

A little reminder that it actually helps in the filmmaking business to not be perfect.

Park Chan-wook

“I’d love to do a sci-fi movie, a Western, or an espionage thriller. But I’m not going to limit myself. If a good script comes along, I’m not going to discount it because it doesn’t fit into one of these genres.” – Park Chan-wook

A sound piece of advice for all filmmakers out there: don’t limit yourself when it comes to seeking new stories.

Jordan Peele

“That’s my advice with dealing with writer’s block: follow the fun. If you aren’t having fun, you are doing it wrong.” – Jordan Peele

If you’re struggling with writer’s block, try to lighten up and have fun with it. All together now: “This too shall pass!”

Ava DuVernay

“Be passionate and move forward with gusto every single hour of every single day until you reach your goal.” – Ava DuVernay

Take it from the most badass girlboss in Hollywood right now and never give up on your passion.

Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu

“Filmmaking can give you everything, but at the same time, it can take everything from you.” – Alejandro Gonzalez Iñárritu

Even the most talented directors suffer for their art.

David Lynch

“It’s better not to know so much about what things mean or how they might be interpreted or you’ll be too afraid to let things keep happening.” – David Lynch

Surrealist filmmakers, take note!

Ryan Coogler

“To recognize yourself in a character onscreen, and to connect with them, you gotta recognize their flaws; they gotta feel like a real person.” – Ryan Coogler

Tap into the flaws in yourself and in your characters to make them seem real.

Steven Soderbergh

“The great thing about the business is how Darwinian it is. We have to swim or die – if you are found wanting over a period of time, you’ve either got to change what you’re doing or find something else to do.” – Steven Soderbergh

From one of the greatest innovators in the business, Soderbergh (Unsane) advises if you find yourself treading water, it’s definitely time for a game change.

Sofia Coppola

“I never studied directing and I never really thought about doing it, and then I just found myself in that situation and tried it.” – Sofia Coppola

Proof that you don’t need to go to college to learn the art – you just need to be a good storyteller.

Dee Rees

“The only advice I can give is to surround yourself with people who are friends and people who believe in you and your material and who are going to help you take it to the next level. It doesn’t mean you don’t listen to criticism, but you listen to it and edit it, and you figure out what you can take.” – Dee Rees

No matter where you’re at in your career, it’s always good to heed the advice of your loved ones.

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Daisy Webb is an outspoken, opinionated writer with a passion for all things horror and cult comedy. When she's not watching films, she likes listening to music, cooking too much food, and writing short stories with unhappy endings.

daisyp@filmdaily.co