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Has Zack Snyder Been Following His Own Ten Rules Of Filmmaking?

With high-profile films like Watchmen and Sucker Punch in his rear view mirror, director Zack Snyder is about to unleash the biggest film of his career to date with Man of Steel. (Until, of course, the sequel or the Justice League movie or whatever.)

And even though you and I aren’t directing a movie about a nearly invincible superhero, we can now know the core ideologies behind the man who did, before he ever knew about it, as MovieMaker (via The Playlist) takes us back to 2009 for Snyder’s “10 Golden Rules of Filmmaking.” Here are the first five; you can click over there for the rest.

1. There are No Rules. Every job, every story, every shot is different. And each time you do it, it’s like doing it for the first time.

2. The Will to Suffer. This is a phrase I got from my friend Marc Twight. He used it in reference to mountain climbing, saying that the person who can endure the most pain will be the one who succeeds in the end. That applies to moviemaking as well.

3. Your Point of View. It’s the thing that is not right, not wrong. It’s the thing that can’t be put into a technical box. It’s the tone and texture of a story. It’s the individual way of looking at things that makes us different. It’s why we go to the movies.

4. Storyboard. Storyboards are not for everyone. As a matter of fact, I think some movies would be seriously damaged by the storyboarding process. But for me, it is how I make a movie; it is how I structure a scene. It’s not a shot list, it is an edited sequence. And although it can all change later, it is a good place to start.

5. Movies are Pictures. For me, visual style has the same importance as story, as character and as the environment. In the end, a movie is a series of pictures and I try to be aware of that at all times.

Far be it for me to criticize the guiding forces that drove this man to the top of the precipice of the tentpole, but his first rule is “There are no rules.” Classic rookie mistake. I kid, of course. His point is that every film’s shot is different in some way, and to treat it as such. And though the rest of the list contains general nouns and ideas, there are a still a couple of rules in there, so he’s broken his only rule. And “Ramp the Slo-mo up to 11,” isn’t even on the list! Though his fifth entry, “Movies are Pictures,” refers to his opinions that visuals are as important as the story being told, so his aesthetic decisions are covered here.

Snarky remarks aside, there isn’t a lot of profound insight to be garnered from Snyder’s words, but he does lay the foundation for what it is to be a good filmmaker: get ready to suffer, keep the passion alive, and respect the countless amount of people busting their ass to follow one person’s vision. Snyder also shares his personal tastes for storyboarding, shooting solely on film, and shooting all of his own shots, as “doing it yourself keeps the tone consistent.” I’m not sure how much of his own advice during the massive undertaking that was the production of Man of Steel, but I bet he made much use of rule number 7. “Throw things.” Like a Sucker Punch DVD into a trash can, for instance.

Man of Steel will premiere at midnight showings on June 14, mere hours from now. Need to know whether to see it in 3D or 2D? Let Katey tell you.

Nick Venable

Nick is a Cajun Country native, and is often asked why he doesn't sound like that's the case. His love for his wife and daughters is almost equaled by his love of gasp-for-breath laughter and gasp-for-breath horror. A lifetime spent in the vicinity of a television screen led to his current dream job, as well as his knowledge of too many TV themes and ad jingles.