Learning from David Lynch

Learning from David Lynch
There are few storytellers as unique as David Lynch, who is often hailed as one of the most important filmmakers of recent cinema.

Known for his surrealist imagery and unconventional storytellingtechniques, director David Lynch can captivate, confuse, or disturb audiences with his films. He challenged norms with his 1977 body horror film, Eraserheadwhich went on to become a cult classic after playing midnight circuits.

In 1980, The Elephant Man jettisoned him into the mainstream. He went on to create critical successes like Blue Velvet and Mulholland Drive, the latter of which is a dreamy, nonlinear film that can be interpreted a number of ways.

Although it would be impossible to mimic Lynch’s creative process and style of direction, the following nuggets of Lynchian wisdom can perhaps help aspiring filmmakers to think outside the box — if the box exists at all. We might be dreaming right now.

1. Coach your brain to develop even fragments of ideas.

Lynch is often asked where he gets his unique ideas, and he usually gives a variation on this answer. Sometimes he says ideas are like seeds, small things that can grow into a larger, more cohesive whole. Sometimes Lynch likens himself to a radio receiver, ready to accept any signals flying throughout the universe.

In the clip below, he says ideas can be hooked. Even if you start with a partial idea, write it down, and use it as a way to draw in, hook, and develop the next part of your idea. “And pretty soon, you might have a script,” Lynch says.

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