My First Time: Five Questions with Paul Haggis
In preparation for directing my first feature film, “After the Wedding,” I’ve asked some of Hollywood’s most prolific directors about their experience directing their first feature film, and what advice they can share. First up, director Paul Haggis. Paul Haggis wrote “Million Dollar Baby” and “Crash,” both Oscar winners. “Crash” was his feature film directorial debut, and won Academy Awards for Best Picture and Best Original Screenplay. Here, he shares his experience directing his first feature film, and advice to first-time filmmakers…
What was the first feature film you directed and how did it come about? Were you approached with the opportunity or was it something you created on your own?
As a director, what are some of the things you learned directing your first film that you were able to improve upon on your second feature? Did you interact with the actors differently after your first feature? What about with the crew? If so, how?
What is some advice you can offer to first time directors? Anything you would have liked to have known your first time directing a feature film?
Be open to input, but trust your instincts. A lot of people will try and help you — but if you listen to everyone the film won’t have a point of view. Be humble and grateful for the experience, but be the leader — that is what they are truly looking for – to be lead.
What is your advice to filmmakers coping with failure? (E.g. Having trouble getting funding or troubleshooting on set.) What are some words that you live by?
Lastly, what is one of your favorite films that you would like to recommend to first time filmmakers? What is it about the film, in particular, that we should pay attention to?
There are way way too many, sorry. Watch all of them.
Thank you, Paul, for sharing your story and this great advice!
You may visit our Kickstarter at: www.aftertheweddingkickstarter.com