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Harmony Korine's 11 bizarre "golden rules" of filmmaking


There’s no one quite as dedicated to the experimentation of independent American cinema as the director of Gummo and Spring Breakers, Harmony Korine. Known as one of the most significant subversive pioneers of the independent scene, Korine helped promote grassroots, low-budget filmmaking with the release of his writing debut Kids in 1995, directed by Larry Clark. 

Embracing absurdism and grimey debauchery, the cinema of Korine exists on the very periphery of independent cinema and American life, with the director having created his very own brand of filmmaking despite releasing just six feature films. Each exploring the intricacies of modern life, Gummo, Mister Lonely, Spring Breakers and The Beach Bum analyse the dark truths of life whilst elevating its sheer absurd greatness. 

As an artist and filmmaker, Korine is an all-encompassing creative, much like his fellow American innovator David Lynch, the filmmaker finds inspiration from every corner of cinema, looking to the likes of Federico Fellini, Stanley Kubrick and Michael Powell. 

With an enduring boyish charm, however, Korine feels different and always has, embracing the subversive ideals of the skater aesthetic with films that continue to question identity, style and good taste. 

This was proven in 2008 when Korine spoke to MovieMaker and revealed his bizarre “golden rules” of filmmaking, which included a number of strange inclusions that differed from the usual, “plan, plan and plan again”. 

Marked with several references to drug-taking, including, “Acid casualties make good movie makers,” and “make sure the gaffer isn’t addicted to opiates,” Korine’s filmmaking tips need to be taken with a large handful of salt. Take a look at all 11 rules they won’t teach you at film school, below.

Harmony Korine’s 11 rules of filmmaking

  1. Acid casualties make good movie makers.
  2. If you have a missing hand it is good to use your stumped wrist as a tripod.
  3. Never let a leper serve you coffee during the shoot.
  4. If one of your actors is ugly then you should at least make sure they have all their teeth.
  5. Impotent producers are usually spunky. I like to work with producers who shoot blanks.
  6. If your entire crew is gay then your film will be gay flavoured.
  7. Make sure the script is over 10 pages long.
  8. It’s good to hire at least two handicaps.
  9. Make sure the DP is a Communist.
  10. Don’t jerk off for the six weeks leading up to principal photography. It’s very good for your overall vision.
  11. Make sure the gaffer isn’t addicted to opiates.