Ridley Scott Says Young Directors Have ‘No Excuses’ for Not Making Movies

Ridley Scott. Photo: Michael Kovac/Getty Images for Moet & Chandon

Ridley Scott has some tips and some tough-love motivation for all the aspiring filmmakers out there, and it can be loosely boiled down to: “Get off your ass.” The venerable director was honored at the BAFTA awards this past weekend at an event called “A Life in Pictures” that celebrated his storied career, from which Variety reported. “There are a lot of them now,” said Scott, referring to up-and-coming directors. “I think they think it’s going to be all fun and parties. When I do a movie I’m shooting by 8:45 a.m. You have to or you’ll never catch up.” And for those willing enough to work enough to earn their big break, Scott says the ubiquity of affordable tech, like digital cameras and editing software, means they have “no excuses” for not starting work on their own films, regardless of institutional backing. “Go out and make a movie this weekend or stop moaning,” said the director.

Other pro tips included making sure you shoot your films on time and on budget, and avoiding hovering round the post-production bays, saying, “If you sit in the editing room with the editor every night you’ll drive each other crazy. I shoot. I see rushes. I leave it.” Your mileage may vary on that second piece of feedback depending on personal managerial and directing styles, but in any event, try to visualize yourself 40 years into a legendary career as a filmmaker and telling the moderator at your BAFTA retrospective about how it wasn’t that big of a deal to recast a central role in your prestige picture just six weeks before its theatrical release, and reshoot more than 20 scenes in time to keep your premiere date. “I can make it sound really difficult but it’s not,” Scott told the crowd about the scandal-plagued reshoots for All the Money in the World. Now go out and make that movie, you young and hungry filmmaker.

Ridley Scott on New Directors: Get to Work or ‘Stop Moaning’