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Attention, First-Time Filmmakers: Here’s the Best Advice from the 2014 AFI Filmmakers

Attention, First-Time Filmmakers: Here's the Best Advice from the 2014 AFI Filmmakers

Indiewire invited AFI FEST directors to tell us about their films, including what inspired them and the challenges they faced. The festival runs until November 13. You can read all of their responses here.

When we asked the AFI filmmakers to share advice for first-time filmmakers, here’s what they had to say:

“Despite any kinds of obstacles, never give up. There is happiness waiting for you once you go over the hill.” – Park Jung-Bum (“Alive”)

“My advice for first-time filmmakers: don’t sit around waiting for the money to come your way; it’s much easier to go out and start. Nowadays, you can go out and shoot very inexpensively and discover whether or not filmmaking is your thing.” – Nick Broomfield (“Tales of the Grim Sleeper”)

READ MORE: Jon Stewart’s 5 Tips for First-Time Filmmakers

“Shoot what interests you for real. You are the main spectator of your film. If you yourself believe that the film you are making is cool, you will surely find a number of people who believe so. Be honest to yourself and trust your own intuition.” – Myroslav Slaboshpytskiy’s (“The Tribe”)

“Trust your instincts. On set the pressure is always on for you to say “great” and move on to the next set-up, but if a feeling in your gut says otherwise you must go for that extra take even if it bugs the hell out of everyone. If you don’t you’ll beat yourself up over it in in the editing room because that feeling is almost always spot on. It might be your first film, but 99 times out of a 100 you know best, just because you are the one that cares the most.” – Eskil Vogt (“Blind”)

“It’s a paradox I suppose, but you have to be stubborn and doubt at the same time.” – Bas Devos (“Violet”)

“Don’t let yourself be fooled by any other filmmaker advice that is not your friend, not even by this one.” – Carlos Marques-Marcet (“10,000 Km”) 

“Surround yourself with talented and professional crew.” – Shira Geffen (“Self Made”)

“Start with a story. Be open to letting the story unfold, but you need to know there’s enough of a nugget to keep you going through the uncertainty.” – Robert Kenner (“Merchants of Doubt”)

“Don’t be afraid to steal from others. Some of the most popular scenes in my films are lifted straight from other directors. Just make it your own.” – Joel Potrykus (“Buzzard”)

“Make as many shorts or whatever you can before jumping into a feature. That said you’ll never really be ready to director your first feature, you just sort of have to do it. Also, don’t forget to eat or eat more than you normally would on set. I lost ten pounds while shooting ‘Faults’ somehow and by the end of the shoot people were basically handing me stuff to eat in between takes.” – Riley Stearns (“Faults”)

READ MORE: “Cheap Thrills” Director E.L. Katz’s 12 Tips for First-Time Directors

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