Richie Cunningham: On Filmmaking

The title should read Ron Howard: On Filmaking, but having grown up with Happy Days playing on the tube – I will forever associate this man with the famous television show. That being said, when I look at the incredible selection of enormous films he has worked on, his accomplishments as a director far overshadow his early acting career.

In this brief clip, Mr. Howard gives us some insight into how he got started in the film industry. He talks about the power of editing and shares some great thoughts that are applicable to any aspiring filmmaker. A few pieces of advice particularly resonate with me. One is his recommendation that anyone who plans direct films should take a few acting classes and even be in some plays. Having acted in the show Line and a few of side projects, I can honestly say I found that being an actor is one of the most difficult things to do well. I myself was a pretty bad actor, but working with the cast of Line taught me a lot about the process, studies required, and what actors go through do their jobs. It was one of the most interesting periods of time in my life and I was lucky enough to work with some very dedicated, non-pretentious people.

In the video Ron also says something simple, but so true – “taste and judgement, that’s what it’s all about”. I laugh when folks go out and buy the most expensive gear available, only to find that the gear doesn’t have nearly as much impact as the execution of great ideas and writing, which are things you cannot buy as an independent filmmaker. The last piece of advice that stuck with me is probably my favorite. When you find a scene you like in any film watch it with sound first, and then watch the footage without sound. This will help you break the scene down into a series of shots and more clearly understand what was done to capture those images. Sounds ultra simple, but it really works. I even found this useful when reviewing videos from my quadcopter. The footage takes on a different life when you kill the sounds of the props, airflow, and motors. It’s helped me isolate my crappy footage from the good stuff. No sound – try it, you’ll like it.

So take your mind off of MultiRotors for awhile, kick back, relax, and listen to what ole Ron has to say about being a director and filmmaker.