Roman Coppola may have one of the best film pedigrees in Hollywood, but that doesn't mean he hasn't faced challenges as a filmmaker. "It's hard to get a movie going," he said. "People think, well he's from a famous family, but it's hard for everybody."
Coppola was in Sarasota this week as a guest lecturer at the Ringling College of Art and Design, where he taught a Digital Filmmaking Studio Lab Master Class along with American Zoetrope producer Michael Zakin. The pair's work at Ringling came on the heels of a visit to Ringling by actor Justin Long.
Hollywood royalty, Coppola is the son of legendary Godfather director Francis Ford Coppola, brother to Lost in Translation director Sofia Coppola and cousin to Rushmore lead actor Jason Schwartzman. Of course, he has made feature films of his own, directing A Glimpse Inside the Mind of Charles Swan III and the acclaimed CQ. He wrote both films, and shares a writing credit with Wes Anderson on the 2012 indie hit Moonrise Kingdom.
While proud of his work with Anderson, Coppola said he thinks of himself first as a director, but stressed that artists today can create their own niche simply by pursuing their own passions. "If you are a musician, you make music and should do it everyday, as often as possible, so you can have this body of work," he said. "One thing leads to another. Do what you love and the opportunities will come."
Zakin said his focus as a producer is finding artists with a great vision and helping them realize it. That means creativity and innovative thinking will win the day for filmmakers.In fact, American Zoetrope has utilized Ringling recently in its own business. After a guest lecture by actress Aubrey Plaza earlier this year, Ringling worked with American Zoetrope on the feature film Life After Beth, starring Plaza and John C. Reilly.
Coppola's advise to the budding filmmakers at Ringling, he told SRQ, is to realize their careers are already underway. Modern technology allows filmmakers on a tight budget to still put out professional work.
Original article published November 6 by SRQDaily.