A pep talk from past Tropfest Finalists

Thu 10.Sep.15

Category: Inspiration


Making a film is no mean feat, and sometimes, you just need to hear a few words of wisdom.

We asked some past Tropfest Finalists to share the best filmmaking advice they've ever received.

Their answers are here:



Frazer Bailey
Director: Silencer (2006) Finalist

When you are starting out you look up to all the talented people around you and it’s easy to procrastinate about taking the plunge to become a director. A good friend of mine Darren Ashton (also a Tropfest Director) just said you know enough mate now go and do it. So it’s just taking that initial leap of faith and facing your fears and spending your own money to make your first film. The best idea wins. In that you may have some good ideas but be open to other ideas that may come from the actor or the runner.


Alethea Jones
Director: Lemonade Stand (2012) Winner

Ahead of directing a TV series over here in the States, I asked my first AD what was the best bit of advice he could give me. He said "Listen to everyone but know when you're right."

Joss Whedon told him that.


Kevin Lim
Director: The Pledge for Mr Bunny (2013) Finalist

Everyone has 10 bad films in them. The sooner you get them out, the better. So stop procrastinating and start now.


Ruben Pracas
Director: Revive (2013) Finalist & People’s Choice Award

Keep trying to create your own work. Listen to everyone’s opinions or suggestions but at the end of the day, you know the story you want to tell so don’t be afraid to keep telling it your way.

This was told to me by a highly experienced focus puller, who had opportunities to direct and DP when he was younger but had never taken them.


Akito Hirai
Producer: Scab (2008) Finalist

Always be grateful to everyone that is involved in the project. The final product is not what you made, it was made by every crew member.


Dimitri Ellerington
Director: The Squirrel King (2013) Finalist

Failure is the fuel that drives me. I learn the most from my mistakes.


Adam Zwar
Producer: Wilfred (2002) Finalist

I can’t remember who said it, but it goes like this: “What’s the most important thing about film? Story. What’s the most important thing about story? Story.”


Diana Ward
Producer: Jailbirds (2011) Shortlist

As a filmmaker you learn by mistakes - sometimes you have to make bad things to learn how to make good things.


Kieran Cato
Producer: Inside (2013) Finalist

Instant coffee doesn’t cut it. Always place extra shot bags on a KD!

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