Leading the discussion was PGA President Hawk Koch who asked Coppola the question everyone wanted to know: “How does an aspiring artist bridge the gap between art and commerce, and as an emerging artist either going to film school or out of film school and wanting to be a producer/director, what is one thing you can tell them?”
Coppola’s response was one taken to heart as he gave eager audience members some advice most filmmakers forget. “I think you have to ask your heart what you want to do and stick to that,” said Coppola. “You have to choose if you are doing the cinema out of a personal expression or do you want to be rich and famous? I don’t think it’s ever good to choose you want to be rich and famous. My feeling is every one of you here as human beings are unique individuals and every one of you don’t have another person like you, so if you make films that are really personal, those films are going to be unique and God willing they are going to be appreciated. My personal recommendation is make personal work about your time, what you know and what you feel.”
Coppola better then anyone knows the value of getting personal with a project. “I didn’t want to make The Godfather, we needed the money and it was a job, but I was able to find in The Godfather personal things,” says Coppola. “Whether you start out making personal work or whatever your opportunity is, you use what’s unique about you [to help create it.] Art should be personal and should be filled with life and you should somehow illuminate contemporary time.”
Great advice from a filmmaker who set the standard in cinema.