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(Credit: Activités culturelles UdeM)


Taika Waititi offers crucial advice for young writers and film directors

At a time when the cinemas and theatres remain closed amid the health crisis, the spare time has allowed Far Out Cinema the opportunity to explore the creative thoughts of Hollywood’s leading filmmakers.

Academy Award-winning director, Taika Waititi, a filmmaker from New Zealand known for his beautiful filmography full of notable mentions like JoJo Rabbit and Hunt For The Wilderpeople, has delivered some crucial advice for budding writers and young directors. In an interview conducted a short while ago, he shared his insights on dealing with crushing self-doubt, creating the ideal creative space and continuing to write no matter what.

Talking of writing, Waititi said, “Writing is a very lonely part of the process”. Anyone who has ever written something will immediately agree to this sentiment. It’s a solitary journey and one often veers between crushing self-doubt and overwhelming triumph. It is comforting to know that acclaimed filmmakers like Waititi also have the same fears that beginners do. He used to get stuck on blank pages a lot and his advice was to write things by hand to get over that block. It helps to create a basic plan for your ideas and also leaves a little room for improvisation. The sense of achievement that comes from finishing a draft is unparalleled, according to Waititi.

Finding your comedic voice is also a vital part of the process. Waititi found his by performing for live audiences and figuring out what the audience responded to. Waititi added that it is also important to make sure that it is something you enjoy doing. If the audience likes it and you do not, it is often a recipe for disaster. “Be honest and authentic to yourself,” he suggested.

Another important aspect for young writers and filmmakers to consider, Waititi said, is to believe in your work. Waititi’s films strike a compelling balance between comedy and drama. His work explores deeper issues through comic adventures. While making his 2019 film JoJo Rabbit, a WW-II comedy, he often felt doubt creeping in but he continued because he believed in his work. “Taking the risk is a greater reward”, Waititi claimed, “When you’re on your toes, you come up with great new ideas and inventive solutions to the problems”.

If you had to take away one snippet of wisdom from Waititi’s hilariously profound talk, it is to “keep writing, no matter what”.

Watch the full talk here: