In a list of the worst things you could possibly wake up next to in the morning, a severed horse's head would probably feature highly.
Roman Coppola's memory of one of the most well-known scenes in movie history is vivid. Unsurprising given he was in the room during the filming of the rude awakening. He and his sister Sophia accompanied their director father, Ford Coppola, on the set of The Godfather (1972) until it wrapped, each walking away from the experience having played their own tiny cameo roles in the film.
The Godfather went on to win three Oscars, including best picture. With such pedigree, it seems only natural that both Coppola and his sister have forged successful careers in film.
Coppola made a conscious choice to venture down a slightly different path to his family -- his early work was predominantly music videos. According to Coppola, this is where his eyes were opened as the music industry allows a film director much more creative freedom than the corporate clamps of Hollywood's movie business.
Of course, Coppola freely admits that you can't flex your creative muscles and get your own way on every project. Although he is renowned for his work in commercials, and generally within the advertising sphere, sometimes despite being a respected name in the business, what a client wants, a client must get -- even if it compromises your license for creativity.
Experiences, such as the one with Coca-Cola, inspired him to set up The Director's Bureau. Coppola, who also writes and has produced films for the likes of Wes Anderson and Walter Salles, wanted to establish a platform for film directors who are also interested in other creative outlets that can be incoporated into their work in film.
Of course every creative person has to accept that their ideas, once out, are vulnerable and open to judgement. The critics can be brutal, Coppola's first feature film CQ opened to a barrage of negative feedback. So how does the director cope with this side of the business?
Despite the critics, the clients and the corporate restraints that are rife in the movie business, Coppola's passion for his craft remains resolute. His father may have introduced him to the world of film, but it takes more than an initial spark to keep the fire burning.
Text by Leila De Vito for Crane.tv
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