Nicholas Jarecki
Breaking In: How 20 Film Directors Got Their Start
Book Review by Author Ross Anthony

Anyone with a script or itch to direct wants to know how to break into the movie-making industry. Unfortunately that path is not well lit. In fact, for many, it's pitch black. What better way to help you with your first few steps than sitting down for a chat with twenty directors who have walked that path to successfully complete their first films and beyond.

Jarecki interviews these directors, letting them do all the talking. Their stories are insightful, interesting, dare I say inspiring (at least encouraging). We're left with the feeling that the odds are against us, but this is something that can be done. The directors are straightforward and frank. I'd suggest viewing each of the films they discuss to add to the experience.

In his afterword, Jarecki nicely summarizes the common threads. Here's a quote from that 5 page summary:

Good ideas and good writing are the rarest of commodities. Everyone told me that if you can write scripts that contain a compelling and original story and that have more than a narrow appeal, you will find a market for your work and it will be produced. One of the additional benefits of "writing your way in" to the industry is that there is no capital investment except your own time.

And here are a few quotes from the directors that especially resonated with me:

First and foremost, my brother and I are screenwriters and that is what we are good at. ... we are not anything special in the directing department, we need a lot of help, and we are not afraid to ask for it from our crew. We keep a really loose set ... It is important to remember to have a good time. I don't want people to suffer for three months ... just so I can have a piece of "art." I want people to enjoy their lives for those three months and remember that time with fond memories. - Peter Farrelly

Every single day of the shoot something went wrong. I would walk onto the set and tell myself: "Tom, listen man, your attitude dictates the attitude of the production. If you come in with a bad mood everyone is going to pick up on it." So every single morning I would come in and try to make things as positive as I could. - Tom Dicillo.

I never took an acting class and I don't know anything about it... You also have to remember that I need to not only shoot the person delivering the line, but also shoot the reaction. And the reactions can always ruin things. If the reactions are wrong, then the scene just won't work. ...I want it to be like you're there with the people as this is happening. - Brett Ratner

It's a very difficult thing that I believe is only achievable from political and personal manipulation and befriending somebody who knows somebody who knows somebody... Speaking articulately is very important. Before they read the script and before they look at the movie, executives will listen to you, and if you can spin something attractive about yourself and you are able to make a connection with that person, that ... is the currency of change and you have to be able to talk to them and explain how you are going to make that film and make it better than anybody else. - James Foley

Read more Book Reviews by Author/Illustrator Ross Anthony.

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Copyright © 1998-2023 Ross Anthony, Author - Speaker - Solo World Circumnavigator In addition to reviewing films and interviewing celebs at, traveling the world, composing great music, motivational speaking, Mr. Anthony also runs his own publishing company in the Los Angeles area. While traversing the circumference of the planet writing books and shooting documentaries, Mr. Anthony has taught, presented for, worked &/or played with locals in over 30 countries & 100 cities (Nairobi to Nagasaki). He's bungee-jumped from a bridge near Victoria Falls, wrestled with lions in Zimbabwe, crashed a Vespa off a high mountain road in Taiwan, and ridden a dirt bike across the States (Washington State to Washington DC). To get signed books ("Rodney Appleseed" to "Jinshirou") or schedule Ross to speak check out: or call 1-800-767-7186. Go into the world and inspire the people you meet with your love, kindness, and whatever it is you're really good at. Check out books by Ross Anthony. Rand() functions, Pho chicken soup, rollerblading, and frozen yogurt (w/ blueberries) also rock! (Btw, rand is short for random. It can also stand for "Really Awkward Nutty Dinosaurs" -- which is quite rand, isn't it?) Being alive is the miracle. Special thanks to Ken Kocanda, HAL, Jodie Keszek, Don Haderlein, Mom and Pops, my family, R. Foss, and many others by Ross Anthony. Galati-FE also deserves a shout out. And thanks to all of you for your interest and optimism. Enjoy great films, read stirring novels, grow.

Last Modified: Monday, 29-Nov-2021 19:47:46 PST