Top Ten must see films for aspiring directors?

meaneye

New member
Hey guys this is my first post but i have been lurking around the forums for a while trying to gather some information. I'm a young film maker who is trying to learn as much as possible as quickly as possible.So far I have learned that i must buy the two books; Rebel with out a crew and Directing Actors. My local bookstore has both of those books on the way.

As of late i have been writing and directing some shorts with my buddies and I have also been studying a lot of film. So my question to you guys is .... what are the top ten films you recommend a young film maker should watch?

Thanks Dave.
 

cybersarge

New member
Personally?

1. El Mariachi
2. Clerks
3. Reservoir Dogs

And pretty much any movies with a style you want to imitate or a director you aspire to be like. But those three are a decent basis I think for low budget films. Some other dudes may have some more ideas.
 

Bob Kessler

New member
Most beginning filmmakers completely forget about sound until they get into post. Plan the sound of your film in as much detail as you do the rest of your project.

With that in mind, you should read "Sound Design: The Expressive Power of Music, Voice and Sound Effects in Cinema" by David Sonnenschein. It focuses on the creative aspects of sound, although there is pertinent technical information.

You may want to check out my blog:

http://blog.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=blog.view&friendID=111888913&blogID=265521269

As far as films to watch the AFI Top 100 is a good place to start and the IMDB Top 250. Don't forget to watch "bad" films as well; you can learn more from the mistakes of others than you can by their successes. Also attend screenings of indie flicks in your area; lots of garbage but there are diamonds in the cesspool and you'll network with other up and coming filmmakers.
 

Geerawrd

New member
I don't know if I can give you ten different movies right now, but you must without a doubt see 'The Graduate'. I think it is the most beautifully crafted movie I have ever seen. I agree with watching bad movies as well. There is no better or faster way to learn than through the mistakes of others.
 

ralck

New member
I think Bladerunner is a great film and has so much in terms of visuals. What Dreams May Come is another great one (and my all-time favorite :p).

Of course, I personally think it's a good idea to watch the worst movies of all time. Sure, you can see how the great's visualized some of the best scenes, but that doesn't necessarily tell you what to do. My opinion is, by watching the bad movies you can learn what NOT to do.
But that's just my approach, you might find a different way to learn about film.
 

Kim Welch

Senior Member
Staff member
Ten?

Ten?

I don't know about ten must watch movies. I think you need to watch every movie you can watch that was a success. Watch watch watch and then watch again and watch some more. Love it do it and make it happen. Blade runner is good.
 
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director15

New member
Most beginning filmmakers completely forget about sound until they get into post. Plan the sound of your film in as much detail as you do the rest of your project.

With that in mind, you should read "Sound Design: The Expressive Power of Music, Voice and Sound Effects in Cinema" by David Sonnenschein. It focuses on the creative aspects of sound, although there is pertinent technical information.

You may want to check out my blog:

http://blog.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=blog.view&friendID=111888913&blogID=265521269

As far as films to watch the AFI Top 100 is a good place to start and the IMDB Top 250. Don't forget to watch "bad" films as well; you can learn more from the mistakes of others than you can by their successes. Also attend screenings of indie flicks in your area; lots of garbage but there are diamonds in the cesspool and you'll network with other up and coming filmmakers.
Your learn from mistakes if their your own. You can't look at someone elses filma and say thats a mistake because a mistake to one person is actually a piece of art to someone else.

Also the problem with AFI and IMDB top list are that in my opinion there are many films that don't deserve to be there. But anyways here are some directors I'd recommend that your check out there films:

Oliver Stone
Sergio Leone
Robert Rodriguez
Sam Peckinpah
Emilio Estevez
Clint Eastwood
Don Siegel
Francis Coppola
 
I

Ira

Guest
I don't think you should look at the big, huge budget epics--films that there's one-in-a-million chance you'll ever get a chance to create. Just an opinion because I'm not a student and have no professional aspirations at all, but I think you should see the good and clever small budget stuff.

Check out the 1965 "A Thousand Clowns" with Jason Robards (b&w). It's a brilliant script, and although it's dated, there's some really clever stuff going on with just a cheap camera or two.
 

Kim Welch

Senior Member
Staff member
Ideas Ideas Give Me Ideas

Ideas Ideas Give Me Ideas

I think you should watch any big or small budget film. It is not that you want to make one that cost that much as it is that you want to see how they did it. You want to get ideas and understand the structure and techniques used to tell the story. And, further, I would never be where i am today if i listen to the "...don't even think about it you won't ever get to do it." people. don't ever think you can't because someone tells you something like that. They won't be able to because they believe that about themselves. You can do it. Trust me. You have more creativety and strength than you realize or will even need to realize. Also, if you want to watch bad movies go right ahead but i don't recommend it at all. Infact it might rub off on you like a bad habit will. Garbage in Garbage out.



Truly
Kim


Kim Welch
917.743.8381
Publisher
StudentFilmmakers Magazine
www.studentfilmmakers.com

President
Welch Integrated, Inc

1133 Broadway #1503
New York, New York,
10010
 
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Top Ten

Top Ten

.....I think maybe something by John Cassavetes. He's the indie filmmarker. His films were made very cheaply and have much acclaim. There's a new film genre devoted to people who follow with cheap home made films made for nothing called Mumblecore and the filmmakers call themsevles Slackavetes. But there's no real list. I mean people are inspired by more than 10 films sometimes hundreds.
 

gcjennings

New member
SPACED -- Edgar Wright--LOADS of tricks to watch out for in this BBC series.
Time Bandits -- Terry Gilliam
Forbidden Zone -- Richard and Danny Elfman
Poultrygeist -- Lloyd Kaufman
The Evil Dead Trilogy (of course) Sam Raimi
Cabin Fever -- Eli Roth and I also recommend his interview with Lloyd Kaufman on The Make Your Own Damn Movie DVDs because he talks about how Hollywood is often your biggest obstacle-especially when the Unions show up.
 

temerson

New member
Deciding which movies to watch for a new or young film maker is really only half the battle. It is not really which films you watch as much as it is how you watch them.

What I mean is this: watch some really good, low-budget films. Watch them a couple of times just for fun. But after a couple of screenings, go back and really watch how the film is put together. What camera techniques did they use for a particular shot? What does their frame look like? Is it a cluttered back ground, or an empty background? Does that work with the scene? Why does the dialogue work the way it does? How does the sound integrate with the rest of the movie?

The movies you watch are going to look and sound better just because they have perfected the techniques that you see, they have some money, perhaps a name or two, and access to lots of very high-end equipment. But remember, you are watching to dissect techniques, not waste time wishing you had better equipment.

If you are new or low-budget, some good movies to watch that use low-budget techniques in very creative ways are:

Before Sunrise
Before Sunset
Clerks.
Napoleon Dynamite
Slacker
SLC Punk
El Mariachi
sex, lies, and videotape
Dazed and Confused
levelland
Who Is KK Downey?


What you will notice about all of these movies is the following:

1. They generally take place in the same place throughout the movie. In the case of Clerks, there are four locations: Dante's house, the car, the funeral home, Big Lot Video and, of course, the Quickstop/RST Video. If these movies take place in famous cities, they generally do not go out of their way to get into landmarks like the Mormon Temple, the Eiffel Tower, or wherever. These places only serve in background shots, not as locations.

Additionally, there are very few actual locations -- usually only four to six. Too many locations, too much geographic displacement, too much time displacement is a lot to do in a low-budget movie, and it makes a movie feel cluttered.

2. These movies have minimal characters. While there may be anywhere from 7-15 supporting roles, there are usually only two or three main characters. And even with these, they are not always together. Sometimes you are going to have different schedules from your main actors. The more evenly spaced apart they are, the easier it is to work with their schedules.

3. The stories are usually much more character oriented. There is not usually a big exciting moving around a lot type of story, where a bomb is about to go off or there are assassins moving in. Also, there are not a lot of scenes requiring a lot of extras. See above.

4. They usually take place in the same period as the director made the film. And if not, then they are set in an easy-to-replicate era. Like SLC Punk is set in the 1980s. But, aside from the clothes, Salt Lake City has not changed much since the 1980s. Easy to recreate. But you won't see a lot of low-budget period pieces set in the 16th Century.

5. They don't use a lot of fancy techniques.

6. The script is entertaining. If it's not funny, it is at least suspenseful. Story has to compensate for lack of funds in low-budget pictures.
 

Jade2000

New member
I understand what your saying. Though there are many other examples that are better. Army of Darkness, Time Bandits, Barton Fink, etc.

If you are wanting to point out using the same space check out "The Cube". It's is all technically shot in the same room. Very low budget and, if I remember correctly, was one of the highest profiting indie film that year. We are talking profits though, not gross. One room, six or seven actors. No wardrobe changes. Interesting to study for that point. Because the actors are moving from room to room, but it's all a one room set.
 
As a young filmmaker myself (I'm fifteen), really any movie that you can watch and at the end go, "Wow. That was incredible" is a good movie for you to watch. The inspiration for me to make movies was Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King.
 

temerson

New member
Some more that have come out lately or haven't been mentioned:

Glory Daze
Kids
Our Very Own
Peter and Vandy
Good Dick
The Believer
Napoleon Dynamite
D.E.B.S.

And finally, there are SEVERAL movies and series you should watch if you are a no-experience/low-experience director. They won't teach you how to make a movie, but they may very well teach you a few things about how NOT to make a movie. After all, smart people learn from their own mistakes. Geniuses learn from the mistakes of others! So, without further ado, I highly recommend the following as well:

Project Greenlight Season 1
Project Greenlight Season 2
Lost In La Mancha
Overnight
Wamego: Making Movies Anywhere (doesn't really teach you what NOT to do, but really shows the differences between "Hollywood" filmmaking and indie processes outside of Los Angeles and New York. Highly recommended)
 
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Mr Taylor

New member
But what sort of things did you want to show by example?

I was thinking that you want a perfect example of studio hollywood.
and...An example of French New wave. and...
A colorist example.
A light-ist example.
A character driven film.
An Action driven film.
A Concept driven film..
A spfx driven film.
A blockbuster.
A no budget film...

that sort of thing.
 
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