FOREWORD | LEWIS ARNOLD
Directors Now is a free document and online resource that brings together the breakout stories of 100 directors currently working in the industry today.
Created during the Covid-19 outbreak, the project was initially put together for aspiring filmmakers I was teaching at the University of Gloucestershire. These students had found themselves in the difficult situation of graduating without making their final year films and heading into an industry that had shut down. They were all understandably upset and anxious about their futures, and I wanted to do something for them. After giving it much thought, I decided to call on some friends and industry folk to help me create the following document.
The document was born out of my own experiences. When I meet aspiring filmmakers, the same questions always arise: How did you get your first break? Did you have to go to film school? How did you get an agent?
Over the years I’ve answered these questions countless times, as there is a genuine interest from young filmmakers to pick apart a filmmaker’s journey in order to imitate perceived success. It reminded me of being a twenty-year-old film student myself; reading and absorbing every directing biography I could get my hands on. Whether it was Robert Rodriguez’s ‘Rebel Without a Crew’ or Mike Figgis’s ‘Digital Filmmaking’, I was desperate to figure out how I could physically turn my passion into a career.
The journeys of the people I admired, however, were out-dated. My heroes’ careers started back in the ’70s. Their stories didn’t hold up against the industry in 2007. I should have been reading about recently emerged filmmakers, finding inspiration from the people carving a path ahead of me. Looking at the variety of ways directors closer to my generation have made it, I could have learned from their journeys as I plotted my own. However, these directors’ stories weren’t readily available in your local Waterstones, and I wasn’t aware of their work until much later in their careers.
This is why I set out to ask 100 successful directors, who are currently working and making their way in the industry, the same five questions, about how they got to where they currently are in their careers.
I have tried to assemble the journeys of directors from a variety of fields and backgrounds, to hopefully show you the varied and unique experiences of each of these filmmakers. These include BAFTA and Oscar winners from Film and Television, as well directors working in commercials, documentary and animation, in both the UK and the United States.
By putting these breakout stories all together in one place, you’ll be able to see the similarities and differences in each of these filmmakers’ journeys; their highs and lows, the obstacles they had to overcome, their steely determination and also the occasional bit of good luck that goes with forging a career as a director.