Knowing the works of various filmmakers and actors can often make us more inclined to see one of their films, as the mere mention of their name can represent a sense of trust for style or quality, allowing us to feel a sense of confidence that our time watching will not be wasted. This is often one of the main things employed during marketing campaigns – ‘Starring [insert name here’, ‘From the director of [insert film]’ – as it can often make us more likely to go and see the film as we have an idea of what to expect, and whether we might like it or not.
This makes following the careers and filmographies of various directors/ actors/ writers/ cinematographers/ any filmmaker a great way to discover new films, and help you choose what to watch when faced with hundreds of DVDs or millions of streaming options. It can also be a great way to come to understand the person’s works and the medium of film itself better as you pick up on various techniques that are used throughout a filmography, or the trademarks of certain filmmakers.
After really enjoying a film, a useful way to determine your next viewing is to research the filmmakers and their other films (or rack your brain if you’re a bit of a film buff), and make your way through an actor or filmmaker’s filmography. As well as having the reassurance that you are more likely to enjoy your pick (than a film picked at random), making your way through a filmography can also give you the satisfaction of picking up on more things, be they traits and hallmarks or Easter eggs, allowing you to gain a more in-depth watching experience.
You can come to determine what types of films you like, or discover a whole new genre that you never knew you’d be interested in. Whilst some filmmakers’ filmographies can carry works all within the same genre or tonally similar, others can be wildly varied (particularly in the case of actors), and may encourage you to step into a type of film you otherwise would never have watched.
This new series ‘A Guide To’ will aim to take you through the filmographies of some of my favourite filmmakers and actors, to help you find your next film picks. I’ll go through the filmmaker’s trademarks and any commonalities between their films, as well as recommending the must watches (vs the occasional ones you may wish to avoid), amongst what can sometimes be very lengthy careers. As well as this, when looking back at a filmmaker’s work, you have the luxury of being able to watch them in whichever order you want or you think is best, which isn’t always chronologically by release. Certain films can compliment one another, and some you may get more out of having seen a later film prior.
It’s one of my favourite ways of finding what to watch, and it also might turn you on to looking more at new films when they are in development as you discover your new favourite director, whose filmography you’ve just devoured, has announced their next project. Whether you go all in and watch every piece of work from whomever your focus is on, or it just leads you to one or two films, you never know what you might find.