Thomas Jane stars as Andre Stander in Bronwen Hughes’ Stander

The filmmaking process is like a chemical combustion.

You need to have a very specific vision of what you are aiming for. But you have to simultaneously retain an openness to allow serendipity to creep in.

When you get actors to play the roles, things happen not the way you thought they would—but often in a different, better way.

Allow spontaneity to happen, but always retain the bigger picture.

On early inspirations.

I started watching films of the French New Wave and Bertolucci and that was really a revelation—it was electrifying.

When you first get a script

Think in dramatic structure terms, or how you will want to cover this and what kind of equipment you’ll need. It’s a dramatic exercise—a filmmaking exercise—and you begin the process of honing it to exactly what you think it should be.

Recognize great acting

The great challenge for an actor is to constantly play two opposing forces in most scenes. That’s what real actors can do. They can say one thing, but mean another.

Read the scripts people send you

Read as much as you can. Because sometimes your jaw will drop.

Trust your gut

As a director, this is imperative. If you read a script and you can’t stop thinking about it or you’re happy to wake up every day thinking about the character, or why the scenes are the way they are… If there’s something about it that’s that compelling, you know it’s something you want to be a part of.