Zack Snyder’s 10 Golden Rules of Moviemaking

Zack Snyder began his career directing TV commercials for such car companies as Audi, BMW and Nissan. He launched into features with the gloriously gory remake of George Romero’s Dawn of the Dead. His ambitious follow-up, 300, an adaptation of Frank Miller’s graphic novel, had critics hailing him as a technical genius.

Since then Snyder has been busy directing features such as Alan Moore’s graphic novel, Watchmen, and the computer animated Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’Hoole, while also writing and directing the female action flick Sucker Punch. His latest directorial effort, the highly anticipated Superman origin story, Man of Steel flies into theaters this coming Friday, June 14.

The last few Wisdom Wednesdays have revealed the intelligent, wise, and sometimes hilarious Golden Rules of directors Danny Boyle, Steve Buscemi, and Jim Jarmusch. This week MovieMaker brings you Zach Snyder’s 10 Golden Rules of Moviemaking from 2009.

zack snyder 1

1. There are No Rules.
Every job, every story, every shot is different. And each time you do it, it’s like doing it for the first time

2. The Will to Suffer.
This is a phrase I got from my friend Marc Twight. He used it in reference to mountain climbing, saying that the person who can endure the most pain will be the one who succeeds in the end. That applies to moviemaking as well.

3. Your Point of View.
It’s the thing that is not right, not wrong. It’s the thing that can’t be put into a technical box. It’s the tone and texture of a story. It’s the individual way of looking at things that makes us different. It’s why we go to the movies.

4. Storyboard.
Storyboards are not for everyone. As a matter of fact, I think some movies would be seriously damaged by the storyboarding process. But for me, it is how I make a movie; it is how I structure a scene. It’s not a shot list, it is an edited sequence. And although it can all change later, it is a good place to start.

5. Movies are Pictures.
For me, visual style has the same importance as story, as character and as the environment. In the end, a movie is a series of pictures and I try to be aware of that at all times.

6. Respect.
Respect the material, respect the process, respect the audience and, most of all, respect the countless incredible people who work their asses off helping you to bring your vision to the screen. Everyone has immeasurable value when it comes to making a movie, so never take it for granted.

7. Throw things.
Not at people, just for fun. On the set this means: Football, tennis ball, rock, ball of tape—basically any object, it doesn’t matter. Then throw: To a person, at an orange cone, into a distant trash can… again, doesn’t matter. At least for me, any version of throwing shit makes even the shortest break relaxing.

8. I Still Shoot Film.
I always shoot film, then move into the digital pipeline. I’ll be the first to admit that the future of moviemaking will be led by advances in digital technology. But the reality is there is just something about film that digital cameras still can’t replicate. Call me a purist, but it’s just how I feel.

9. Passion.
It is almost impossible to duplicate your original passion for a project late in the process. But if you can recall the feeling of that original spark of excitement, you’ll be able to keep your creative ferocity throughout the long haul.

10. Shoot Every Shot.
It goes back to what I was saying about point of view. This is not to say that a second unit director wouldn’t shoot it better, but doing it yourself keeps the tone consistent.

Don’t forget to visit us next week for Wisdom Wednesday!

For more information on subscribing to MovieMaker Magazine click here.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Comments are closed.

Latest Stories
feat

Happy Bastille Day! Directed by the colorful, hyper-kinetic, and very French Michel Gondry (Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind), Mood Indigo tells the story of two lovers against the backdrop of Gondry’s typically fantastical Paris. Visual effects supervisor Romain Strabol explains how the team crafted two key elements of Mood Indigo‘s surreal mise-en-scène: a mouse-house […]

Copy of Road to Paloma 2

Towering over six feet four inches tall, Hawaiian born actor-director Jason Momoa’s powerful presence on screen is unmistakable. In the HBO series Game of Thrones, he is Khal Drogo, the fearsome Dothraki warlord who weds exiled princess Daenerys Targaryen. In Stargate Atlantis, he transforms into dreadlocked military specialist Ronon Dex. He goes mano y mano, […]

New Filmmakers LA is back with even more moviemaking wisdom, featuring interviews with directors Edward Shieh, Sam Barnett, Evan Matthews, Marko Grujic and Michelle Yu. NewFilmmakers LA (NFMLA) is a non-profit organization designed to showcase the innovative works by emerging filmmakers from around the world, providing the Los Angeles community of entertainment professionals and film goers with a constant surge […]

New Filmmakers LA is back with loads of moviemaking wisdom, featuring interviews with directors J.D. Ramage, Adam Rosenbaum and writer Matt Godfrey, Ross Kolton and lead actor Ryan Mazzei, Bettina Bilger and Chris Valenziano. NewFilmmakers LA (NFMLA) is a non-profit organization designed to showcase the innovative works by emerging filmmakers from around the world, providing the Los Angeles community of entertainment […]

hal-hartley_feature

This week, on the heels of Independence Day, director Hal Hartley (No Such Thing) discusses his latest feature film, My America, which knits together the emotions and people that define the United States. Commissioned by Center Stage, the state theater of Maryland, the film consists of a series of spirited monologues written and performed by […]

Boyhood2

Richard Linklater is no stranger to the workings of time—both as thematic device in his films, and as necessary ingredient to the moviemaking process. After all, his two previous features had unusually long gestation periods: 2011’s Bernie had been cooking in the director’s head since 1997, while 2013’s Before Midnight comes 18 years after Before […]

feat

Filmmaker and editor Dean Pollack’s work has appeared everywhere from Bravo and Hulu to Adult Swim. He just completed his second directorial effort, the feature film Audrey, which traces a single hour in a woman’s day. He discusses the advantages and disadvantages encountered shooting a film set in real time on a single location. Not […]

Still from James Broughton film The Bed. Courtesy of Frisky Divinity Productions.

Stephen Silha is the co-director of Big Joy: the Adventures of James Broughton, a lyrical documentary about the beloved director of The Bed, The Pleasure Garden, This is It and other counter-culture classics. Here, Silha recounts his friendship with the late Broughton, the subject he brings to luminous life along with fellow filmmakers Eric Slade […]

New Picture (12)

“The food in that movie looked so good.” There’s nothing quite as aggravating as delicious onscreen food. Think of the plump, glistening, jeweled globs of sashimied perfection served to the camera in Jiro Dreams of Sushi, and weep with frustrated desire. Let’s face it: That film, and others like it, have honed the fine art […]