1. Films used to be about sex, violence and cigarette smoking. Smoking is no longer permissible and sex is barely permissible, so you’d better get good at violence.
2. The word “f*ck” in an actor’s mouth is hardly worth the effort. You’ll be asked to cut it or be given the wrong rating. If you win the fight and manage to keep it, you’ll have to overdub it for the television versions with “freak,” “frig,” etc. Try getting an actor to say “motherfrigger.”
3. Prepare everything and you’ll be amazed at how much of it ends up on the screen. Write it, draw it, note it, talk it out. Then keep shooting until you make sure you get it—even down to the weather and the available light.
4. You’ll be held responsible for everything that ends up in the finished film. So if people tell you it doesn’t matter, don’t believe them.
5. There is no longer any difference between the independents and the studios. That was eliminated sometime in the 1980s. Most independent movies now are put through the same grindhouse as the studio projects.
6. To entertain an audience is never a crime.
7. To challenge an audience is never a crime.
8. To bore an audience is a crime punishable by extremely low figures in the top two boxes.
9. Work with good actors and make sure you like them. If they are good, their instincts about the script you’ve written are often better than yours.
10. Remember what a good time you’re having. Making a film is the greatest antidote to boredom yet invented.
11. Always tell the truth on the set.
12. Never tell the truth on a junket.