Practice Makes Perfect: The Amateur Films of Famous Directors

It’s pretty much impossible to establish your name as a hit Hollywood director if you haven’t spent a few years having a go at it on your own first! That’s just as true for the big names in the business as it is for the little guys, so we’re going to take a look at the amateur movies that came before some of the world’s most famous directors made it as professionals.

Christopher Nolan – Doodlebug

Christopher Nolan is one of those rare talents, a director who churns out nothing but hits. From early works such as Following and Memento to the recent blockbuster Interstellar, Nolan has enjoyed success with both critics and the public – but what was he doing before he became one of contemporary cinema’s golden boys?

The answer is Doodlebug, a claustrophobic short about a man’s descent into insanity as he chases a bug across his apartment. The dark mood of this early film would set the tone for Nolan’s later work – movies which have continued to delve into the philosophical and sometimes disturbing aspects of life despite their mainstream appeal.

Martin Scorsese – What’s A Nice Girl Like You Doing In A Place Like This?

The incredibly prolific career of Martin Scorsese has seen him moving seamlessly from genre to genre, putting his name to biopics, gangster flicks, dark comedies and much more. What’s A Nice Girl Like You Doing In A Place Like This? is an amusing short about a man with an obsession over a painting that begins to take over his life.

That’s right, it’s another film about insanity; we’re definitely noticing a trend here! Scorsese directed this film while he was still a student – check it out and see whether you can spot early signs of the talent that makes him one of the greats.

Quentin Tarantino – My Friend’s Birthday Party

Much more ambitious than the other two films on this list, Quentin Tarantino spent four years putting together My Friend’s Birthday Party, an amateur film which would have run to an impressive 70 minutes if almost half of the film had not been lost in a fire. Luckily the footage that survived was still edited together– and if Tarantino’s famous cameos have left you desperate to see more of his acting talent then this could be the film for you, as besides writing and directing this early offering he also cast himself in a starring role.

Made five years before the release of Reservoir Dogs would grant him instant cult status, My Friend’s Birthday Party is a great place to look for the tropes and themes which would later populate his work.

If you have home movies that deserve to be immortalised like these three then they’ll need to be transferred from 8mm Cine Film to DVD before you can start screening them among friends and family. Contact us at 0800 592 433 and we’ll be pleased to help you out!

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