tips how to direct your first film Jenny McQuaile


In 2017, a female film director shouldn’t be an anomaly. After years of directing being a boys club in Hollywood, women are starting to take the helm and tell stories that reflect our own experiences. Two to make headlines as of late: Wonder Woman director Patty Jenkins, who is pulling down major box office mojo for her superhero film (the first that focuses on a woman, no less) and Beguiled director Sofia Coppola who took the prize for best director at this year’s Cannes International Film Festival. Now, Jenny McQuaile, director and producer of the upcoming film Straight/Curve, is tackling the topic of women and body image with her new documentary, which can be streamed at Epix. Below, she shares her top five tips for directing like a boss and getting your movie made.
director tips Jenny McQuaile research
Watch hundreds of films in the genre you want to explore. Seek creative influences and find forms to emulate — or just create your own form! Most of us have subscriptions to on-demand content, like Netflix, Hulu and HBO – get out there and start studying while horizontal on your sofa with a pen and paper. Take notes of graphics, opening titles, characters, shots, color palettes, narration and music you like, along with any interesting techniques that are employed in the shooting and edit. Keep these notes and re-read them when you make your own movie.
As far as great films that show the real life of a director, there are none that I have seen.Unfortunately, I think much of filmmaking has been glamorized in film, which is ironic. However, I would recommend watching Lost In La Mancha for a super meta and fun look at the world of filmmaking and how it can all go wrong.
director tips Jenny McQuaile be open
Be open to having your mind changed or being proven wrong, as you will be.
 director tips Jenny McQuaile have a voice
Don’t be afraid to have a point of view and follow your instincts as a director. Being able to fight for your convictions and stand by your direction is key.  If you are still unsure as to the direction of your film, work it out before pitching to producers — they’ll take you more seriously if you have a specific direction, motivation, and wish for the end product in mind.


When someone challenges your direction, vision, or instinct, I recommend self reflection more than an outward retort. It is so important that you are open to being proven wrong and open to different points of view – all while maintaining your vision. If you are making a documentary, the hope is that you go on a journey of exploration about a topic. You don’t start the process knowing it all, so you have to learn and absorb information, even if it goes against what you think. This is sometimes a complicated process and even the most acclaimed directors still struggle with this.
director tips film Jenny McQuaile collaborate and collaborate some more
Sharing ideas and inspirations is the way to making the best film. Movies are team efforts and should be! Don’t think you have to do this all alone. Email, Insta message, and Facebook people who are interested in the same subject matter or who are actively working in that field and meet them for coffee or arrange a Skype chat. You never know who people can introduce you to in order to get your film off the ground. Don’t be afraid to cold call or email people — the worst that can happen is they ignore you and you move on.
how to be a movie director tips film Jenny McQuaile build a team
Surround yourself with people who inspire you, challenge you, push you to the brink and don’t always tell you what you want to hear.  And if you are new to the industry, find experienced producers who are passionate about your subject matter. Passion is key! If it’s a new project with no budget, people have to want to be involved.
I would start by researching people who share your passion or work in the field you wish to make a film about. One of my producers on Straight/Curve is a former model and we couldn’t have made the film or gotten the access that we did without her. She had no experience producing a film, but that didn’t matter — she brought the fashion industry experience with her, which was invaluable in a different way.
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