For those who often knock on my door and desire to be a director, what I want to emphasize most is that it takes a lot of money to make a movie today, and it is difficult to become a director. You have to learn and experience everything to become a director, which is not so easy to achieve.
But if you really want to make a movie, then you should write the script first, you only need paper and pencil. Only by writing a script can you know the details of the film structure and the nature of the film. This is what I want to tell you, but you still won’t write because you find that writing is too bitter. Yes, writing a script is a hard work. However, Balzac said that the most basic and necessary for the writer is to be able to withstand the boring of one word at a time, which is the primary condition for the writer. If you remember this and go to see a lot of Balzac’s work, you will find him really amazing, because he has written a lot of articles, we can’t finish it all our lives.
Do you know how he wrote it? The process is very interesting: he writes it and sends it to print immediately. The page is printed on a large piece of paper, and then he changes it in the blank space. Only a few parts will not be modified. Finally, he will Send the revised manuscript to the printing house. This is a very good way of working, although it may be very sad for people in the printing house.
Balzac has written so many articles, but the most basic method is to have the patience of writing a word and a word until you reach the length you need. Too many people lack this patience, but once you get used to it, there is no difficulty in writing it. When the Japanese film master Cheng Yuxi and I stayed in a small hotel to write, I often went to his room to visit, he would have paper and a pencil on his desk, and when we talk, he would write something from time to time. Then it will become a good book for him and become something interesting.
But when I wanted to see what he wrote, he just smiled. The characters he wrote were just “doing something” in the house, with no other details. This is enough for Cheng Yu, because he will guide, not so specific, just “do something”, it is enough interesting. Boring writing must be your second nature. If you sit down and write quietly for one day, you can write two or three pages, even if it is very hard, but if you can stick to it, you can end up writing hundreds of pages. I think that today’s young people don’t know this trick. They want to finish writing immediately.
When you go hiking, the first thing to be told is not to look at the summit, but to focus on the road under your feet and climb patiently step by step. If you keep watching the top of the mountain, you will be discouraged. I think writing is similar to this. You have to get used to writing. You must study hard to respect it. It is not a hardship, but a habit, but most people tend to give up halfway.
I told my deputy directors that once they gave up, they would all be finished, because giving up became a habit. They will give up once they encounter difficulties. I told them that they should write to the end anyway, until they achieve something. I said to them: “Never give up, even if it becomes difficult in the middle.” But when things get tough, they give up and make people feel sorry.
In addition, today’s young people do not study, which is also very worrying. I don’t think anyone among them has read Russian literature extensively. It is very important that they read at least some books. If you don’t have a rich knowledge base, you can’t create it.
So I often say that “creation comes from memory.” Memory is the source of your creation. You can’t live without it. Whether it comes from reading or from your own experience, there is something in your mind that you can create. In this sense, reading is very important. The current novels are all good, but I think people should read more classics. If you want to build a film school, it is very important to emphasize reading.