Ron Howard on Filmmaking: 'It's All About Taste and Judgement'
Ron Howard has been a presence in Hollywood, either as an actor or director, for decades. As a child actor, he was beloved as the character Opie Taylor on The Andy Griffith Show and Richie Cunningham on Happy Days. As a Hollywood director, Howard has worked in almost every genre, from family films like Parenthood to thrillers like Ransom or his newest, Rush. Howard sat down to give a few thoughts on filmmaking to BAFTA (The British Academy of Film and Television Arts), and when as consummate a filmmaker as Howard speaks, we would be wise to listen. Click below to hear Howard's thoughts on acting, editing and the role of a director!
Howard is not only one of the few child stars to successfully make the transition to an adult career in the industry, he has done so in rather stunning fashion, directing dozens of film in his career. Starting his career working for the legendary low-budget filmmaker Roger Corman, Ron Howard has made films in almost every genre imaginable. Some of his thoughts on the art of filmmaking:
Key Qualities of a Successful Director
When it comes to directors, Howard wryly notes:
You know directors, some of them -- some of us are sweethearts, some of us are jerks, some of us are talkative, some are very quiet. None of that really matters very much -- although, you know, I always think it's nice to be decent to people, but that's me. It's not imperative. The big thing is taste -- taste and judgement. That's what it's all about. It's understanding, you know, what exists in the possibilities in the story you're interested in telling, and how many of those details can you capture, how can you sequence them in the editing? What does that add up to?
Indeed, Howard has a reputation as a nice guy in Hollywood, but at the end of the day, being nice isn't what matters as a director. For Howard, the most important element is "taste" and "judgment" and that the crucial question for all directors at the end of the day is, "What did you get? What does it mean?" To Howard, it doesn't matter how you get there, only that you get there.
He also makes the point that a director's main job is to have the taste to make the decisions that will affect the final film. Very rarely are they able to control every aspect of a film, but a director is able, by the people they work with and the way they explain their particular "vision" to everyone, from the DP, to the actors, to the Costume Designer, to influence the film -- to direct it, as it were.
Howard advises anyone, from directors to writers and producers, to do some acting work, whether it's taking classes or appearing in plays. By being an actor, he says, the director will have a better view of "the story," and an appreciation for one of its most important parts.
On Wanting To Direct
Howard says that, even as a child, "I had it in my mind -- that I might one day want to be a director." He used the 8mm camera he received as a gift to make short films, and it is here that he discovered and began to "grasp an understanding of the power of editing."
When Ron Howard's speaks, I think we should all listen. He always proves to be interesting and informative. What is your take on Ron Howard's thoughts on filmmaking? Let us know in the comments below.
[via BAFTA Guru]