This feels like it's the year of Denis Villeneuve. He's dominated headlines with his movie, Dune, and he's been vocal about the need for theaters and theatrical distribution.

If you're not familiar with this French Canadian film director and screenwriter, he is best known for his feature films Dune (2021), Blade Runner 2049 (2017), Arrival (2016), Sicario (2015), Prisoners (2013), Enemy (2013), and Incendies (2010). His work on Arrival got him an Academy Award nomination for best director. 

Check out these helpful tips from Outstanding Screenplays and let's talk after the jump. 

10 Writing and Directing Tips from Denis Villeneuve

1. Surround yourself with people who love cinema, not people who love themselves.

Filmmaking is a humbling experience. People who aren't willing to help or learn lessons will be left by the wayside. Find a tribe that helps each other and that understands movies. 

2. Science fiction is a tool that allows you to take the relevant human journey and put it into context where you’re freer to express yourself about more abrasive subjects.

Know the genre you're working in and the strengths and weaknesses it has to develop stories. 

3. When adapting material from somewhere, find an equilibrium between giving out exposition for people who know the material and ones who are coming into it with no previous knowledge.

You're not writing the CliffsNotes, you're capturing the essence and recontextualizing it for an audience. Don't take for granted that they know. Tell a universal story. 

4. Create real sets to get realistic performances from your actors.

If at all possible, nothing is better than the real thing. Realness can ground any world and allow you to get the audience to buy into even the most extreme parts of the story. 

5. Make your movie for your past and future self.

What's a story you need to understand to make life better? What's a lesson that will help us now and in the future? Tell those stories. 

6. Great work will attract great artists to want to work on your projects.

Your work can speak for itself. If you want to find collaborators, put your best projects into the world. That will show people you're serious, and your passion will attract others. 

7. Cinema is a lot about planning. The more you plan, the more you can improvise.

Storyboard, outline, block, shot list; do whatever you can to make the days predictable. If you hit what you need, you have elbow room to try a few things. 

8. Create tension with realism.

Realism doesn't just mean sets, it means situations, choices, and circumstances. You can cause tension by making these all feel relatable and by allowing the audience to connect. 

9. In your early career, aim for your films to be noticed by other filmmakers, producers, or agencies, not necessarily wider audiences.

Make personal stories that showcase your craft. They may not be blockbusters, but showing what you can do with the tools you have on hand can prepare these places to give you larger budgets that allow you to work on bigger stages. 

10. Keep your integrity by protecting your identity.

Your voice and vision are what set you apart from others. Protect this even as you rise in the ranks. Your only way to stand out and to make meaningful art is to always keep things personal. 

Source: Outstanding Screenplays