Film director Roger Spottiswoode gives his invaluable tips for aspiring filmmakers

The Video Mode caught up with film director Roger Spottiswoode to quiz him on his best filmmaking tips for anyone seeking to carve out a career in the film industry.

As 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, Roger has plenty of expert advice.

His most recent film was a feel-good biographical story called A Street Cat Named Bob, which was well received by critics when it was released in 2016.

Get out and do it!

Roger advised: “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 gt a low level job and work your way up.

“I think telling stories is a great thing and I think people can come in from different places – the ones who really want to do it stay in [the film industry].”

Filmmaking tips: The only way to improve is to get out and start filming

Put the story first, then pick your camera

When asked about the best type of camera to use Roger said: “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.”

Filmmaking tips: Get a simple camera as filmmaking is all about the story

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 recalled: “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 continued: “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 they were both very good influences.”

Check what advice another director, Daniel Kleinman, had to offer budding filmmakers here.