In conversation with Scott Mann

22 January, 2021

Screen and Film School Birmingham were thrilled to host an exclusive masterclass earlier this week for our Birmingham and Manchester applicants and enquiries with the incredible director Scott Mann.

Scott Mann is a British director known The Tournament (2009), Final Score (2018) and Heist (2015), a Hollywood action-thriller film starring the legendary Robert De Niro, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, and Kate Bosworth.

Joining us all the way from L.A, Scott discussed his journey from Manchester to Hollywood with his long-time friend and our Birmingham College Principal Hannah Stevenson. Delving into his love of both T.V and Film, and his experience working with Hollywood stars, Scott even stayed on for an hour longer than planned to answer all of your brilliant questions! Here are some of our favourite insights from this once in a lifetime masterclass.

What makes him choose a script?

“1. Concept. 2. Why this film, why now? 3. Can I make this film the best version of itself?”

On working with Robert De Niro

“I was petrified of course- it’s Robert De Niro! As soon as I hugged him it was easy after that, and we ended up sat in his office for a couple of days just working through the script and working on a new story. About four or five months later we were shooting it. He focuses so hard on detail that it was consistently in a character development place. That process was amazing and thoroughly enjoyable, I had a new level of respect after that- it was brilliant.”

The advice he would give to his younger self

“The best thing you can do is remove the barriers to you making things. Don’t not do it because you’re waiting for something- it’s not what matters and it’s not what you’re being judged on. People in the industry can see talent even if it’s shot on an iPhone. Do it, and do it to the best of your ability, but do it. Through doing you’re going to learn things you didn’t know you didn’t know. Start making something- that advances you ten fold vs any theory.”

Scott Mann on an online meeting

“Stories are a way of understanding one and other. We need to all experience our different stories to make the world better- new voices are so important.”

On networking etiquette

“Be genuine and be yourself. Everyone is just a human- it’s fine to be nice and respectful and say you love their work. Allow it to be a short conversation- people generally want to be kind.”

The hardest part of being a director

“Nobody warns you that the assembly cut of your film is always terrible! It’s never going to be worse than the assembly or better than the rushes. You go from an incredible high of finishing the shoot, to the lows of watching the assembly, and it’s a tough climb to get back up to those heights again.”

On letting go of ego

“You have to do what’s right for the scene- there’s an element of leadership to keep things going but its not about being personally right or wrong- it’s got to be for the film and the film has to come first.

His top tip for new filmmakers

“Doing it- even if it’s slightly the wrong path- is still the right path. Just move forward.”


A huge thank you to Scott Mann, our Birmingham College Principal Hannah Stevenson, and of course all of our wonderful applicants and enquiries for making this a session to remember!


Are you ready to tell your story?

The UCAS deadline has been extended to 6pm on 29th January!

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