Film director Roger Spottiswoode gives his invaluable tips for aspiring filmmakers

The film director Roger Spottiswoode is an industry veteran with an impressive CV that includes editing Sam Peckinpah’s ‘Straw Dogs’, directing the movies ‘Air America’, ‘Turner & Hooch’ and ‘Tomorrow Never Dies’ and co-writing the smash hit Eddie Murphy/Nick Nolte comedy ’48 Hrs.’. The Video Mode recently caught up with him to discuss his latest film, ‘A Street Cat Named Bob’, and also took the opportunity to quiz Roger on the best tips he would give to anyone seeking to carve out a career in the film industry…

Get out and do it!
Roger advises, ‘Go out and do it [shoot] a little. Find a little story and try and start doing it… then you’ll know if you really want to go to film school or get a low level job and work your way up. I think telling stories is a great thing and I think people can come in [to the film industry] from different places – the ones who really want to do it stay in [the film industry].’

Put the story first, then pick your camera
When asked about the best type of camera to use Roger says, ‘Don’t worry – just a get a simple camera that you can use, as it’s really all about storytelling. It begins and ends with storytelling and then you find the simplest and best tool to do it with.’

Learn and figure it out
In a career spanning over 40 years Roger has worked with, and learnt from, a few of the greats of cinema. He recalls, ‘I was very fortunate to work with two very different and wonderful directors… Karel Reisz, who believed in shooting a great script and then had great masters and very little editing… that was a wonderful thing.’

He continues, ‘Before that I’d been with [film director] Mr. [Sam] Peckinpah, who was famous for shooting a vast amount of film, and, as I discovered, would never tell you how to cut it. I was his editor for three films and he said, “If I have to tell you how to do it I’ll get your assistant to do it and you can go.” So you have to figure it out… and [by the way] they were both very good influences.’

Find out more…
To view our exclusive interview with Roger Spottiswoode about how he shot his movie ‘A Street Cat Named Bob’ just click here. You can also watch our video interview with filmmaker Daniel Kleinman giving his top tips for young filmmakers by clicking here.