How to become an award-winning first-time filmmaker
Dhyan Vimal shares his tips for success, fresh off of winning ‘Best First Time Director’ for ‘Temuan Takdir’ at the Los Angeles Film Awards.
Dhyan Vimal is on a hot-streak. After premiering his debut film Temuan Takdir at 30,000 feet in the air, on 33 Air Asia flights (a first for Malaysian cinema) and attending its premiere on the ground, the director/actor has picked up an award for ‘Best First Time Director’ at the Los Angeles Film Awards – just the latest in a string of accolades the film has already received.
“[With this film] I wanted to show, in the background, a little bit about Malaysia and I wanted to capture the essence of how, as Malaysians we come together and how we live – our simplicity and our grandness. So I’m happy it won some international recognition,” said the director as we caught up with him fresh off of his latest honour.
The monthly LA Film Awards also honoured Krishinthen Shanmugam for Temuan Takdir’s original score.
With a successful film under his belt, we picked Dhyan’s brain to find out what it takes to become an award-winning first-time filmmaker.
Love and Passion
“I have great love for filmmaking and cinematography, and with my background in editing it came quite naturally. It was really not even a business venture, it was a celebration of something I’m passionate about.”
“Learn, learn, learn! Be an apprentice. Go to other filmmakers and get any job. Work in at least 10 movies before you work on one of your own. Hone your skills and find out the best way to use them.”
Tell your story
“A movie is your view on the story you want to tell and share. Not everyone can tell every story; you need to find out what story you can tell and how you’re going to tell it, so start with the movies you would want to watch.”
Know the business
“Not knowing the other aspects – like distribution – was challenging. So that was a big learning curve. I could make the movie, but I had to learn the entire set-up, the promotion, and how to get it out to viewers.”
Put yourself out there
“Another big challenge for me was the PR – putting myself out there and advertising it – I’m still learning that.”
Build a good team
“Finding talent and people who can contribute can also be a challenge, but we were quite lucky – we had a very dedicated team and it came out well.”
Films are gifts
“Ultimately, movies are a gift you give others – so create a gift you think is worth giving. When I made this movie, the gift was giving young people the chance to act, but I also wanted to tell a Malaysian story. So if you approach it as a gift to everybody, I think most often you will do well.”
Temuan Takdir tells the story of sibling police officers, who investigate a robbery that has more to it than meets the eye. The film stars Dato’ Zahim Albakri, Amai Kamarudin, Ery Zukhairy, Maleiq Abdullah, Vanidah Imran and Thanuja Ananthan.
Before you can be a good film maker, you should know how to be a good film viewer. Here are the 10 commandments of the movie theatre, that should never be broken.