2009 Directors Special Report: Peter Thwaites

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What are some of the best lessons you've learned about directing?
Always listen. Nobody has all the answers. Being a director is about listening and collaborating, and learning to channel all of the experience and creativity around you in the right direction. Sometimes fear and lack of confidence can make you stick to a pre-set plan too blindly. You can never be over-prepared, but sometimes you have to forget all the planning and just go with what's in front of you. At times it's difficult to remember to have a balanced approach to a job. I have been guilty of being so hung up on finding the perfect location that I lose perspective and spend days trawling round in a van searching in vain, while everyone around me goes crazy. Obviously other things get rushed and everything gets a bit fraught. Hopefully I'm getting a bit better at that, but if I fall back into my bad habits, I'm sure Anna Hashmi (my producer) will give me one of her stern looks and I'll get the message. Ultimately it's important to remember the big picture and not get too focused on any one detail.

What do you wish you had known when you were just starting out?
I wish I had realized that making mistakes was just part of the learning process rather than a judgment of my ability. I wish I had realized that directing commercials is not brain surgery. However it is immensely satisfying and enjoyable. So it is there to be enjoyed rather than fretted over. This is a lesson I am still trying to learn.

What else are you still trying to figure out about the job?

I'm always learning, and always will. This job is not something that can be "figured out." The very essence of creativity is exploring new ideas and delving into the unknown.

Watch some of Peter Thwaites' spots

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