Working on Finding Nemo
(L to R): Lee Unkrich, Graham Walters, Geoffrey
Rush and Andrew Stanton on Finding Nemo.

Never second guess your audience

Never try to second guess what you think an audience
will want in your movie. Just listen to the audience member in yourself.
Stay in tune with the part of you that loves going to the movies.
It will keep you on track.

Find the best collaborators

Surround yourself with people that can do your job
better than you.

Don’t stifle criticism

Do not stifle criticism from your crew, if (and only
if) they all want the same thing-a great movie, rather than a career
boost. A healthy debate will either lead you to a better answer,
or reinforce the choice you were going to make.

A good director doesn’t have all the answers

Being a good director doesn’t mean you have all the
answers. It means you know where, and from whom, to get them.

The meaning of “good writing”

Good writing is rewriting.

It’s always the quiet ones

Oftentimes the people who talk a lot have the least
to say. Look for the quiet observant one in your crew and ask them
what they think.

All the great stories have already been told

All the great stories have already been told. All
you can bring to them is your thumbprint, your unique point of view.

It’s all in the ending

Inspiration for a movie can be derived from anything,
but inspiration to make a movie should ideally come from an idea
for an ending-not a beginning. It’s all in the ending.

Moviemaking is highly collaborative

Moviemaking is highly collaborative, and you will
get many opinions from above and below. Several times you will become
overwhelmed and not know what the right choice is. When that happens,
imagine that you are alone in a cabin only making this movie for
yourself. Nobody else will ever see it, except you. What would you
want to see? Whatever you conjure up in that image is probably the
choice you should make.

Learn from the masters

“Nobody knows anything.” ?William Goldman