Dancing at the Blue Iguana

Sandra Oh, Sheila Kelley and Daryl Hannah
in Dancing at the Blue Iguana.

On Making Movies
Always make movies for yourself. Never
try to second-guess the public in any sort of way because you will
always fall flat on your face.

Don’t do anything in which you don’t believe because life
is too short.

On Details
Pay attention to details. It’s in the particular that you
find the universe.

On Choosing Actors
Once you have chosen an actor, forget about everything that you
have thought before because you now have a living person to work with.
You will always be told how well you cast your movies if you build
the character around the person you have in front of you.

On Working With Actors
Pay attention to your actor’s eyes, because it is in the
eyes that you see the windows of the soul. The eyes are the most important
things in cinema.

It’s more difficult to film two actors in front of the camera
than anything else.

On Using Technical Tricks
Don’t be overwhelmed by technique. Technical tricks get dated
faster than anything else in cinema.

Films that appear to be so exciting and interesting actually have
no soul, because all they are doing is exposing new techniques to
jaded appetites.

On Collaborating
Don’t be afraid to collaborate because it is in collaboration
that you truly express yourself. Cinema is a collaborative medium.

On Others’ Opinions
Don’t listen to critics. Listen to your heart. Critics are
notoriously fickle. They have their own agendas and, quite frankly,
they can destroy you and your own vision.

You should seek to please the public, but not at all costs. The public
is a very good test, and you can deliver them something without pandering
to them.

On Initial Reactions
Never judge a film by the first reactions to it. Always wait a
couple of days, because a couple of days later people have a completely
different vision of your film.

On the Ideal Crew
Always surround yourself with people who are good at their job;
not with people who love you and care about you.

It is very important to have a DP who is fast. You can’t afford
to be robbed of time as a director.

On the History of Cinema
Watch cinema; know and understand the history of cinema. You should
go to the movies and understand where your place is in its history.

You will find in the old films of D.W. Griffith and Eisenstein things
that have never been bettered.

On Gender
Remember that there are two groups of people who go to the cinema:
there are men and there are women, and cinema should appeal to both.

On Film Music
Never use music as a crutch. Always use music to provide another
element to the movie–a psychological element. It is something
difficult to do, but if you are using music as a crutch then there
is something wrong with the movie.

On Metaphors
Always remember that everything is a metaphor for something else.
Film is a metaphor. The exterior world is a metaphor for the interior
world of the characters, and that every shot, every stroke that you
use, every cut that you make, is a metaphor for human existence.