Author Topic: Jim Jarmusch's Golden Rules  (Read 1582 times)

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A Matter Of Chance

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Jim Jarmusch's Golden Rules
« on: March 25, 2004, 07:36:42 PM »
I saw this a while ago in a magazine and liked it, thought I'd post it here, you know, food for thought.

My Golden Rules by Jim Jarmusch

Rule #1: There are no rules. There are as many ways to make a film as there are potential filmmakers. It’s an open form. Anyway, I would personally never presume to tell anyone else what to do or how to do anything. To me that’s like telling someone else what their religious beliefs should be. Fuck that. That’s against my personal philosophy—more of a code than a set of “rules.” Therefore, disregard the “rules” you are presently reading, and instead consider them to be merely notes to myself. One should make one’s own “notes” because there is no one way to do anything. If anyone tells you there is only one way, their way, get as far away from them as possible, both physically and philosophically.

Rule #2: Don’t let the fuckers get ya. They can either help you, or not help you, but they can’t stop you. People who finance films, distribute films, promote films and exhibit films are not filmmakers. They are not interested in letting filmmakers define and dictate the way they do their business, so filmmakers should have no interest in allowing them to dictate the way a film is made. Carry a gun if necessary. Also, avoid sycophants at all costs. There are always people around who only want to be involved in filmmaking to get rich, get famous, or get laid. Generally, they know as much about filmmaking as George W. Bush knows about hand-to-hand combat.

Rule #3: The production is there to serve the film. The film is not there to serve the production. Unfortunately, in the world of filmmaking this is almost universally backwards. The film is not being made to serve the budget, the schedule, or the resumes of those involved. Filmmakers who don’t understand this should be hung from their ankles and asked why the sky appears to be upside down.

Rule #4: Filmmaking is a collaborative process. You get the chance to work with others whose minds and ideas may be stronger than your own. Make sure they remain focused on their own function and not someone else’s job, or you’ll have a big mess. But treat all collaborators as equals and with respect. A production assistant who is holding back traffic so the crew can get a shot is no less important than the actors in the scene, the director of photography, the production designer or the director. Hierarchy is for those whose egos are inflated or out of control, or for people in the military. Those with whom you choose to collaborate, if you make good choices, can elevate the quality and content of your film to a much higher plane than any one mind could imagine on its own. If you don’t want to work with other people, go paint a painting or write a book. (And if you want to be a fucking dictator, I guess these days you just have to go into politics...).

Rule #5: Nothing is original. Steal from anywhere that resonates with inspiration or fuels your imagination. Devour old films, new films, music, books, paintings, photographs, poems, dreams, random conversations, architecture, bridges, street signs, trees, clouds, bodies of water, light and shadows. Select only things to steal from that speak directly to your soul. If you do this, your work (and theft) will be authentic. Authenticity is invaluable; originality is nonexistent. And don’t bother concealing your thievery—celebrate it if you feel like it. In any case, always remember what Jean-Luc Godard said: “It’s not where you take things from—it’s where you take them to.”


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Re: Jarmusch's RulesJim JarmuschJim Jarmusch's Golden Rules
« Reply #1 on: March 25, 2004, 07:40:31 PM »
Quote from: A Matter Of Chance
Rule #5: Nothing is original.

Damnit, how many times have I read this on this site in the past week?  I hate when people say that.
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The Silver Bullet

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Jim Jarmusch's Golden Rules
« Reply #2 on: March 26, 2004, 06:53:45 PM »
Quote from: Slomb
I hate when people say that.


And what's more, Jarmusch's advice to "steal from anywhere," to me, at least, is sort of misguided. I don't think it's a crime to borrow from other films to fix problems within your own, but stealing for the sake of stealing itself [or because "nothing is original" anyway] is a really weak and lazy way of doing things.

To quote Pedro Almodóvar:

You can also learn cinema, to a lesser extent, by watching films. Here, however, the danger is that you might fall into the trap of hommage. You watch how certain master filmmakers shoot a scene, and then you try to copy that in your own films. If you do it out of pure admiration, it can't work. The only valid reason to do it is if you find the solution to one of your own problems in someone else's film and this influence then becomes an active element in your film.

One could say that the first approach – the tribute – is borrowing, whereas the second is theft. But for me, only theft is justifiable.
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Jim Jarmusch's Golden Rules
« Reply #3 on: March 26, 2004, 07:36:57 PM »
So ya gotta think about how All About Eve played into All About My Mother.  Interesting to hear Almodóvar's views on "borrowing" V.S. "theft."


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Jim Jarmusch's Golden Rules
« Reply #4 on: March 29, 2004, 11:46:43 AM »
The thing about references -- and I don't believe in outright theft, things you like/don't like will inherently influence you -- is that you need to have a broad knowledge base. Filmmakers who do nothing but reference other films show a limited understanding of the world. Great filmmakers are literate on multiple mediums.
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Re: Jim Jarmusch's Golden Rules
« Reply #5 on: March 26, 2010, 12:33:10 AM »
The limits of control is a breathtaking film. Loved it loved it loved it. I really like Jarmusch's humor profound and funny at the same time.
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