“My advice to young filmmakers is this: don’t follow trends, start them!”

By Sven Mikulec

In an interview he gave to American Film in 1978, legendary director Frank Capra talks about his life and how he made the movies that became a significant part of movie history. A brilliant interview and required reading for any filmmaker. Also, recommended viewing: in this undated interview, Capra recalls his remarkable career. He talks candidly about his time at the studios on Gower Street, his relationship with Columbia boss Harry Cohn, and the studio system’s inner workings. He also recalls his films, including It Happened One Night, It’s a Wonderful Life, and reflects on some of the actors and actresses whose names he put in lights.

What does it take to be a director? The ability to make quick decisions. Everybody’s asking you questions, ‘Where do I put this?’, ‘How do I play this scene?’ Problems have to be solved and you have to be able to solve them immediately. If I take a penny and toss it, I’ll be right in predicting it 50% of the time. In show business, if you’re right 50% of the time, you’re ahead of the game. It doesn’t matter if you’re not right all the time but you’ve got to make those snap decisions, fast! It’s got to be intuitive.Frank Capra in never before published interview

In our film profession you may have Gable’s looks, Tracy’s art, Marlene’s legs or Liz’s violet eyes, but they don’t mean a thing without that swinging thing called courage. —Frank Capra

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