"Making movies is not nearly as hard as getting the opportunity to make a movie."
-- Duncan Jones
Welcome to the first installment of our 2011 Directors Series, featuring 'Source Code' director Duncan Jones. For more info on this year's Directors Series, see our inaugural post, but essentially this will be a series of themed discussions with some of the directors who have films arriving in theaters this year.
Our 2011 series theme is 'Their First Time,' which sounds a little racy at first (and it may go there eventually -- wink, wink), but for now we'll be focusing on each director's earliest memories of watching movies, making movies and so much more. We wanted to launch this series with Duncan Jones because he's a fascinating success story. From shooting dating show advertisements to launching his feature film career with an amazing movie called 'Moon' to parlaying that into a big-studio gig helming one of the year's most entertaining films, Jones is the very definition of an emerging artist, and he's right on the cusp of becoming a household name, not to mention the guy you definitely want directing all different kinds of movies for years to come.
For more on 'Source Code,' check out our video interview with Jones from SXSW. And before (or after) you check out the film in theaters this Friday (read our review), head after the jump to learn a little more about Jones' journey to the big screen.
The first time you experienced a movie that changed your life
Probably 'Star Wars.' I had a copy on a U-Matic video tape, 2 tapes, to be precise, (as you couldnt fit a whole film on a single one, back then.) The other nerdy kids from school would come around to my house to watch the film again and again... it was all we would talk about. Definitely made an impression like nothing else, at an age where nothing else seemed to matter.
The first time you asked someone in the entertainment industry for advice
I think the first filmmaker I ever got to talk to about making movies was Terry Gilliam. I was still at film school, and he had a post production facility in London. Another student and myself managed to get ourselves in to visit the facility by door stepping Mr.Gilliam enough times that it was easier for him to relent than to say "no." I think we were so in awe of him that we didn't think to ask him any questions beyond what the facility did.
The first time you were rejected for your work
Too many times to list! I started off at the end of film school trying to build up a showreel that would let me make music videos in London. It was hard work. I wrote so many treatments for so many bands, and none of them happened. It wasn't until later in life I realized that it wasn't what I was writing that was the problem. Like attracts like, and my showreel had nothing like a music video on it! Made me a very hard sell at the time.
The first time you gave up
I really don't think I ever did... not in film making, anyway. If anything, I think my pig-headed perseverance is the only reason I ever got to make 'Moon' in the first place! Making movies is not nearly as hard as getting the opportunity to make a movie.
Your first directing job
My first paying job as a director was for MTV for an advert for a dating game show they had. I got paid peanuts and had to rope all my friends into doing it, but I remember being so excited that I was finally going to earn money for directing. I remember me and all my buddies gathered around the TV to watch it when it was first broadcast. It was like the Moon landing, if it had been 30 seconds long, on MTV and pimping a dating show.
'Source Code' hits theaters this Friday.