I remember sitting in the theater for Hereditary and realizing I was watching the work of someone unafraid to get things off their chest. 

Ari Aster is a highly acclaimed director known for his distinct and daring approach to storytelling in horror films such as Hereditary and Midsommar. His films are known for their unsettling themes, meticulous attention to detail, and immersive atmosphere.

All of us aspiring directors can learn valuable lessons from Aster's directing style, ranging from embracing discomfort to experimenting with genre conventions.

In this article, we will explore ten directing lessons inspired by Ari Aster that can help filmmakers elevate their craft and create unique and impactful films.

Let's dive right in. 

10 Directing Lessons Inspired By Ari Aster

Aster's career is trucking with the delightfully weird Beau is Afraid, a movie that is bold, inventive, and challenging for audiences. It's a story that made me want to sit down and assemble these lessons inspired by Ari Aster's work. 

  1. Embrace the Uncomfortable: Aster's films often delve into dark and uncomfortable themes, and he doesn't shy away from pushing the boundaries of what makes audiences uncomfortable. As a director, be willing to explore those uncomfortable territories and challenge your audience's expectations.

  2. Pay Attention to Detail: Aster is known for his meticulous attention to detail in his films, from the carefully chosen props to the color palette of each scene. Paying attention to every aspect of your film, no matter how small, can elevate the overall visual and narrative experience.

  3. Create Mood Through Atmosphere: Aster's films are also known for their immersive and atmospheric quality. Experiment with lighting, sound design, and set design to create a distinct mood that enhances the emotional impact of your story.

  4. Collaborate with Actors: Aster has worked with talented actors like Toni Collette and Florence Pugh, and he values their input in shaping their characters. Foster a collaborative environment on set and encourage your actors to bring their own ideas and interpretations to their roles.

  5. Experiment with Genre: Aster's films often blur the lines between horror, drama, and psychological thriller. Don't be afraid to push the boundaries of genre conventions and create unique genre hybrids that challenge audience expectations.

  6. Use Symbolism and Metaphor: Aster often incorporates symbolism and metaphor in his films to add depth and layers to his storytelling. Experiment with visual and narrative symbolism to convey deeper meanings and themes in your own films.

  7. Pace Your Storytelling: Aster's films are known for their slow-burning tension and suspense. Experiment with pacing in your storytelling, and be intentional about building tension and releasing it at key moments to create a gripping narrative.

  8. Take Risks: Aster's films are often unconventional and daring, and he takes risks in his storytelling that push the boundaries of traditional filmmaking. Be willing to take risks, break rules, and challenge norms to create unique and memorable films.

  9. Use Sound Design to Enhance Emotions: Aster's films utilize sound design to great effect, heightening the emotional impact of key moments. Experiment with sound design, including music, silence, and ambient sounds, to create an immersive experience that enhances the emotions of your story.

  10. Focus on Character Development: While Aster's films often feature supernatural elements, he places a strong emphasis on character development and explores the psychological depths of his characters. Invest time in developing well-rounded, complex characters that audiences can connect with on an emotional level.

Aster's unique approach to directing offers valuable lessons for aspiring filmmakers. Embrace discomfort, pay attention to detail, create mood through the atmosphere, collaborate with actors, experiment with genre, use symbolism and metaphor, pace your storytelling, take risks, use sound design effectively, and focus on character development to elevate your own directing style and create impactful films.

Hereditary-review-director-interviewDirector Ari Aster and Pawel Pogorzelski on the set of 'Hereditary'Credit: James Minchin/A24

Summing Up 10 Directing Lessons Inspired By Ari Aster

Go see Beau is Afraid and continue on the journey with filmmaker Ari Aster. His approach to directing offers valuable lessons for aspiring filmmakers who are looking to push the boundaries of traditional storytelling.

Take inspiration from Ari Aster's bold and unconventional approach to filmmaking, and go forth to create your own cinematic masterpieces.

Let me know what you think in the comments.