10 Moviemaking Tips From Stanley Kubrick

Learn from the meticulous master himself.

Stanley Kubrick was probably the most calculated filmmaker of all time. The guy had ways he wanted things to happen, and he did them over and over again until they happened exactly that way. Kubrick is frequently cited as one of the greatest filmmakers in movie history. His films span a wide range of genres and are notable for their realism, dark humor, unique cinematography, expansive sets and evocative use of music. His filmography includes classics such as A clockwork orange (1971), Barry Lyndon (1975), the brilliant (1980), Full Metal Jacket (1987), and Eyes wide closed (1999).

There’s so much we can learn from Kubrick, so let’s dive in together.

Watch this video of Outstanding Scenarios and let’s talk about it afterwards.

10 Moviemaking Tips From Stanley Kubrick

1. The hardest part of making a movie is getting out of the car.

This is one of Kubrick’s most famous quotes. It’s about the bravery of baring your soul and undertaking the creation of a film. If you go ahead, make sure that when you get out of the car, you are ready for such a challenge. Be open to showing the world what you have and telling them why you are there.

2. Let the film speak for itself.

Ultimately, you can talk to the press and tell people what it should be, but the end product should speak for itself. Don’t explain too much, let your work share who you are and what you believe.

3. Your film should touch areas that people don’t want to touch sometimes.

It’s clumsy wording, but I think the meaning is to be a provocateur. Go to places that people are afraid of and get out aspects of humanity that others have ignored. It’s your job as a filmmaker to tell the truth, so don’t be afraid to talk about the things other people want buried. It could create the best conversation with the audience.

4. When deciding which story to tell, there are many factors to consider, but in the end, like falling in love, your decision comes down to an abstract feeling that you can’t explain.

I tell people all the time: you shouldn’t start writing an idea unless you know how it ends. To truly fall in love with a project, you need to be able to see it through and understand how it evolves. Once you’ve done that, don’t hold back. Write it down and do it in a way that we see your love on screen.

5. Genius is 90% hard work.

These people that we put on pedestals, like Kubrick, weren’t just born with it. They have to work hard all the time to get there. And you too.

Make an effort. Don’t expect him to come. The more you perfect the craft, the more you profit from it.

6. In-depth problem solving is similar to problem solving anything. Create a generalized approach to solving difficult problems when writing and directing.

Always approach a project with a strategy. Identify the genre, characters, and beats you know should be there. Tackle things like theme and story as you go. Be ready to build and work on it. The lessons you learn on each project can be applied to the next.

Cinema is problem solving. You improve as you go.

7. Try to understand the potential of what movies could be and believe that cinema has no boundaries.

Cinema is a universal language. Kubrick’s ideas have transported people all over the world and brought us all closer together. When you know you’re talking to a global audience, create things that can resonate with everyone. Universal themes can make your content more accessible and help you build a career.

8. Make a movie with the resources you have, then learn from your own mistakes and fix them in the next one.

Stop focusing on what you don’t have and focus on what you do. You can be a filmmaker as long as you have any type of camera. Get the story right and budgets and extras will follow in later work. Write down what you know, see and can use in the immediate environment. Agree to build your career one block at a time, instead of jumping to the top.

9. Direct the eye and the heart.

Kubrick is often talked about for his deliberate shots and ideas. It was not only a question of appearance, but also of emotions. He chose these shots and themes because he knew they would move the audience in certain directions. Focus on both the heart and the mind. Think about who you are talking to and why.

10. Ask yourself all the tough questions about your movie before you write and direct it.

Work hard to refine the idea before realizing it. Perform it in front of your friends, protect it so you don’t feel like you’re working for nothing. Focus on the details and create blocks that can form a solid foundation for your success.