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Successful filmmakers typically begin as movie fans first. This is especially true for J.A. Bayona, who at the age of 17 worked as a film journalist just so he could get into festivals and interview filmmakers in order to learn more about the process. And it worked out for him. During one festival, he met Guillermo del Toro, who saw potential in him and years later ended up assisting Bayona with the production of his feature directorial debut, The Orphanage.
Since then, Bayona has also directed critically acclaimed films such as The Impossible and A Monster Calls; works he considers to be a part of a trilogy in their own unique way alongside The Orphanage. Now he’s entered one of largest franchises of all time to direct Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, for which he not only stepped into the blockbuster realm but also got to work closely with legendary filmmaker Steven Spielberg.
Now that he has lived and learned from his own successes, having worked with indies and major Hollywood films alike, Bayona’s ready to give back the type of mentorship he’s received from filmmakers like del Toro over the years. Below we’ve collected some of his best pieces of advice for anyone hoping to enter the industry.
Love Making Movies
As noted above, Bayona truly loves movies and can’t see himself working in any other field. It’s clear he considers this to be the most vital part of being a filmmaker. In a Reddit AMA in 2017, he gave this advice to a young fan:
“I think you really need to want to do it. It’s such hard work to make a film, so you really need to want to do it. If you have doubts, try it. It’s a very tough job. But if you want to do it, try it non-stop. Because even though it’s very hard, it’s also very rewarding.”
He also gave this advice back in 2016 in an interview with Kamaron Leach, when asked about what he would tell someone hoping to be in his position one day.
“I think if you want to dedicate yourself to do movies, you really need to like it, because it’s such a tough world. For me it’s impossible to separate my life from movies. For me, everything is the same. So if you don’t feel it like that, you shouldn’t try it. But if you feel it like that, you should try it non-stop.”