By Laura Varley
Dexter Fletcher, one of the stars of cult film Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, gave some professional advice on breaking into the film industry before the weekend screening of his directing debut.
Hard work and initiative is the key for any student aiming for a successful film career, according to British actor Dexter Fletcher, star of Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels.
Fletcher explained the mindset that will bag your dream job: ‘I’m going to write to all the individual sound recorders out there who stand there on the set with a boom and ask, how do you get to be that guy?’
‘You’ve got to want it’
‘Write to them all, it’s about initiative but I think the thing about our industry is that you come in at the bottom and work your way up. You’ve got to want it.’
Fletcher is looking forward to showing off his directing debut Wild Bill at the fifth BFI Future Film festival this coming weekend, a big change of career path after nearly 40 years of acting.
‘The response was really good from that teenage audience, so I was keen to get more of that kind of reaction,’ he said after last year’s showcase of Wild Bill at the BFI.
Characters are the essential ingredient
Wild Bill follows a father who has just come out of prison after seven years to discover his two teenage boys have been left by their mother to fend for themselves. The story is focused around characters, which the director considers essential.
‘Obviously the story’s important, but you’ve always got to find good, strong characters to go with it – being an actor I suppose that was my jumping off point and that’s why I worked with the writer to develop a good story for those characters.’
Fletcher hopes his film will inspire those attending the festival and explained how it takes hard work and dedication to do well in the film industry.
Short films are also a great way to get recognised and earn yourself a place in the film world; Dexter once advised a young runner on a film set to go to film school and was surprised where he ended up.
“Four years later when I met [Tom Green] he was directing Misfits because he did a short film at film school that got him noticed. He’s a great director, he’s going to go on and do great things because he had a vision and he found a way of getting it out there.
How to edge doors open
“Short films can be a great doorway and once the doors are open they’re really open, it’s just how you edge them open.”
Although you have to work hard to get into the industry, Fletcher shows how you can become a director even if you start off an actor, as long as you have an idea you’re passionate about.
“You’re not exclusive, once you’re in the world you’re in. That’s what’s exciting about our industry. You can start as a runner and end up someone like Eric Fellner [producer of Shaun of the Dead]. Really, all bets are off.”
Fletcher’s Wild Bill is in cinemas nationwide March 30 2012.