Wisdom Wednesday:
Marc Forster’s Seven Golden Rules of Moviemaking
by Marc Forster

Two decades into his career, director Marc Forster has 10 films under his belt— 10 diverse, successful, star-studded films.

Marc Forster

The talented director started off his career with a bang in 1995, winning the Slamdance Audience Award for his $10,000 experimental film Loungers. Afterwards he continued riding a filmic high with Monster’s Ball, in which he directed Halle Berry to a Best Actress Oscar, Finding Neverland, starring Kate Winslet and Johnny Depp, and Stay, featuring Ewan McGregor, Naomi Watts, and Ryan Gosling. The second decade of Forster’s career proved to be just as triumphant, as he helmed the comedy Stranger than Fiction and best-selling novel turned film The Kite Runner, in addition to becoming the youngest director to make a James Bond film with Quantum of Solace.

Recently, Forster continued to switch up his genres with a zombie apocalypse in this past summer’s blockbuster, World War Z. With experimental, drama (Oscar-nominated) biopic, mystery/thriller, comedy, and action already executed (and executed well, at that), why not continue to change it up? Though the film experienced some difficulties in reaching completion—you know, the usual script changes, going wildly over budget, re-filming an entire ending, and such—the Brad-Pitt-zombie-family-action-drama-end-of-the-world film made over $530,000,000 worldwide without breaking a sweat. World War Z was released on DVD yesterday, September 17.

Marc Forster shared seven of his golden rules with MovieMaker, revealing his process for capturing award-winning performances, making Oscar-nominated films, genre-bending, and attaining blockbuster success.

world war z

1. Life is about fluidity, and so is the process of storytelling. Moviemaking is about the discovery within the written word, that which cannot be found when spoken. The main focus should always be to keep looking for what is not visible, to keep striving for the image beyond the words.

2. As a filmmaker, I’m always in search of magic, but one has to accept that it has to happen organically; all you have to do is lay the groundwork. I  my case, I try to be in a state of total being and awareness that might take me above the realm of mere thoughts, feelings and words – all of which I hope to capture through the lens.

3. The narrative is a guide, but don’t let the narrative become your eyes, otherwise it becomes a nightmare from which you can’t escape. It will blind your power to create an authentic vision. Ultimately, storytelling is all about trying to find your truth, your authenticity.

4. Look into your actor’s eyes and see if they remind you of things you have forgotten. Listen to everyone and at the same time, no one – they might know something you don’t. Be open to receive while still letting your vision guide you, not your ego.

5. Every time I make a film, it’s like I jump for the very first time. Try to become your story and dance with it. Enjoy the journey, as it is a privileged one.

6. There are always moments where I feel like a blind man trying to learn to walk through his space without hitting the furniture in search of the doorknob. It is impossible to practice for this moment. Inevitably I start to feel my way through, find peace with my situation and understand the opportunities given in each circumstance.

7. Always try to remember that storytelling is the most ancient form of communication. Each story had been told; there are no original stories. What there is, and what will always remain, is the energy created in the process of storytelling. The more authentic and truthful that process is, the more inspired others become.

Don’t forget to visit us next week for more movie knowledge! Previous Wisdom Wednesdays have shared the expertise of Billy Bob ThorntonErrol MorrisBrian De PalmaJulie TaymorKevin SmithChris WeitzDanny BoyleSteve BuscemiJim JarmuschZack Snyder, Gus Van Sant, Neil Jordan, John WatersEli RothNeal McDonoughRandall Emmettand Wim Wenders.

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2 Comments

  1. DE

    September 20, 2013 at 8:18 pm

    Definitely WWZ is better without Mark Forster. I watched the film 3 times, and it was the best suspense and action of the summer, better than MOS, IM3, STDT. But only because of the rewrite, not because of original cut. Something completely blinded him during WWZ and it was a narrative with no end. Paramount saved the day with the rewrite and redirecting the last 30 minutes of the film.

  2. Diane Williams

    September 20, 2013 at 7:21 pm

    You mentioned all of Forster’s films except “Machine Gun Preacher.” No love for Sam Childers’ true story?

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