What do you think of institutionalized film-making? Do you think someone can learn to make films by going to school?I can answer that very quickly. No.Somewhat in line with that: I won't tell you the director's name. I know him and he's a very successful director. About a year ago, I turn on the TV set and there he is, giving a talk at the American Film Institute - a place, I'm proud to say, where I'm not liked. There were about twenty eager, hopeful directors listening to this man. I said to myself, "This I've got to listen to. Now I'll find out how to make pictures." When that man was through I was so damned confused I wondered how the hell I ever made a hundred pictures. It was pathetic, tragic.What is the best way to learn to direct?You have to learn how to live before you learn how to direct. About fifteen years ago, twelve of the so-called "successful" TV directors asked me to come and talk to them. They wanted to know if there was any way I could suggest for them to break into the making of motion pictures. I've never been in TV but I said, "I'll tell you one way it might be done. Find out what some of our great writers have got that the producers wouldn't buy. Guys like Ben Hecht, Johnny Lee Mahin. Get to know these guys, find out what they've got that they think is great. Then read it, see if it's any good and, if it is, go sell yourself to one of these stars. Don't go to the agents, they'll kill you. See one of the stars and sell it to him with the idea that you make it." That's the only suggestion I could give them.
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