Jul 26, 2012|
As a young child, I loved watching Thai films, even though many saw this as unfashionable. I would always read the end credits and imagine what I would have done differently if I had made the movie.
I was really intrigued by the film Mueng Nai Mok when it was released in 1978. Most movie posters back then just focused on the actors’ faces but this one had a black background with one line of text followed by “Directed by Permpon Cheiarun.” I had no idea what directing was but from then on I dreamt of seeing my name written up like that.
My parents had no idea what communication arts was when I was admitted to Chulalongkorn. When they heard I had got in to study motion pictures, my mom rubbed my back and said, “Don’t worry, you can try again next year.” She feared I would graduate and become a poor journalist like one of her friends.
I was given the chance to make Thailand’s first ever music video for Pun Paiboonkiet’s “Fun Tee Lud Loy” over 20 years ago. I had no idea what a music video was. I tried to buy some examples from a market but there weren’t any. I eventually just made it based on my imagination and it turned out to be really successful.
My next job was as a commercial director, which I did for more than 10 years. My most well-known ad is for Thai Chu Rod (a brand of MSG).
I was drawn back to films when my assistant director (Yongyut Thongkongtun) began the movie project, Iron Ladies (2000). I asked to join as art director. This eventually led me to turn my back on advertising and become the director I had always dreamed of being.
To make it as a film director I decided I would have to be a professional like a doctor or an engineer. I wanted to disprove the common belief at the time that a director couldn’t earn good money. I worked on another three successful movies, Mekhong Full Moon Party (2002), Iron Ladies II (2003) and My Girl: Fan Chan (2003), before establishing GTH seven years ago.
Making films is hard but making people love your films is harder. Making a film that you love and getting people to feel the same way is the hardest.
I’ve never felt as much pain as when no-one liked my movie. I was totally distraught when Mahalai Mueng-rae (2005) flopped at the box office. We spent B70 million on it, but only made B10 million.
I decided to make up the lost money by creating new movies. And I am so proud that I succeeded.
Only you alone can face your problems. You might take advice from others, but in the end you must be the one who fixes things.
I love talking to young, aspiring directors. They are so keen to learn and show their creativity. I always tell them to make their next film as if it were their last.
There are no overnight success stories in movie making. It takes time to understand your audience, then at least six months for the production process. Things take time.
Human life can be broken down into seven-year cycles. You’re a child living with your family for the first seven years, then your hormones start kicking in and you hang out with your friends more at 14. At 21 you start working, at 28 it’s time for serious relationships and at 35 you look at settling down. And 42 is when you become a real parent. Because of this, I decided to celebrate GTH’s seventh year anniversary.
I don’t believe in a seven-year itch for lovers. Everyone is constantly changing. If you accept this fact, then you can understand and prepare to forgive the one you love. Then you can grow old together.
Reading interviews is really fascinating. I believe that no one is the same. Reading interviews is like reading of a life that I’m never going to lead.
I’ve dressed the same way for the past 10 years: white t-shirt and khaki trousers. Browsing for clothes was the thing I hated most in life until one day I settled on this outfit. It’s suited to any activity.
Dedicating yourself to a new task is like renewing your life. I feel this way every time I start a new movie.
My next dream is to direct an educational movie. I’m always saying to my colleagues that we need to make a movie that can help rural people improve their lives as they have fewer opportunities.
A director has no right to judge things. If we try to act like we’re leaders, we’ll just come across as dictators in the entertainment field.
Directing is a difficult profession. We spend our whole life thinking of what we want to say. But it’s not always as glamorous as winning awards.