J.J. Abrams: His Secrets on Directing & Visual Storytelling

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J.J. Abrams: Breaking Down His Directorial Techniques

I’ve been a fan of J.J. Abrams since back in the days of Alias. As a director he always had a very unique style and voice. When I saw the Star Trek reboot a few years ago I was blown away.

I know a lot of the Trekkies didn’t like the film but I’m a HUGE fan of what he did with the material and mythos. He wasn’t even a fan of Star Trek and he made a kick ass film.

“Looking back on my childhood, I have a list of things that are massively important to me. Without question, Star Wars was on the list, and Star Trek was not.”

Related: Lawrence Kasdan & J.J. Abrams: Screenwriting ‘The Force Awakens’

J.J. Abrams has been working in Hollywood for years. He wrote and/or produced feature films like Regarding Henry (1991), Forever Young (1992), Armageddon (1998), and Cloverfield (2008).

jj-abrams-star-wars-star-trek

He also made his name in television with a number of TV drama series, including Felicity (co-creator, 1998–2002), Alias (creator, 2001–2006), Lost (co-creator, 2004–2010), and Fringe (co-creator, 2008–2013).

Then George Lucas sells the rights to Star Wars to Disney and all of us Star Wars geeks rejoiced. We are finally going to get a new Star Wars film but who will direct. Enter J.J. Abrams! I couldn’t be more excited!



I know, Star Wars with lens flares here we come. J.J. Abrams promises no lens flares so don’t worry.

His directorial feature film work includes the aforementioned  Star Trek (2009) and its sequel Star Trek Into Darkness (2013), Mission: Impossible III (2006), Super 8 (2011) and of course directed and co-wrote the highly anticipated Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015), the first film in the Star Wars sequel trilogy.

“As a boy, JJ Abrams was fascinated with magic. As a television writer, director, and producer, he has beguiled audiences with a masterful use of suspense, plot reversals, and special effects.” — Wired

There are a few ways to know that you are watching a J.J. Abrams film. There has to be a lot of lens flares,, the theme of secrecy and mystery, extensive character development and stories set in the future that deal with science fiction.

There is no doubt that J.J. Abrams is a talented producer, writer, director, and composer. Whether or not its a sci-fi movie, or an action packed thriller, with J.J. Abrams work and collaborations, you will be entertained.

I wanted to share with you the video below that breaks down J.J. Abrams’ directorial techniques as well as a series of videos and interviews with the man himself.

Get into the mind of the man who will bring Star Wars to a new generation. In the video below J.J. Abrams fills us in on balancing intimacy with hyperreality, why TV leaves room for surprises and the best advice he’s ever been given.

J.J. Abrams: On Filmmaking

“Directing’s the best part. Whenever I’ve directed something, there’s this feeling of demand and focus that I like. And secondly, it means that you’ve gotten through all the writing stuff, and the producing stuff, and casting, and prep, and all those stages that are seemingly endless.

So directing is sort of the reward for all the work you put in before. And then there’s the editing, which is another amazing stage of the process. It’s incredible the moments you can create.”



J.J. Abrams: TED Talk – The Mystery Box

J.J. Abrams traces his love for the unseen mystery –- a passion that’s evident in his films and TV shows back to its magical beginnings.

He purchased a mystery box from a magic store when he was young. He never opened it. He uses the mystery of not knowing what is inside the box as inspiration for a lot of his products.

Abrams said,

“The thing is, that it represents infinite possibility. It represents hope. It represents potential. And what I love about this box, and what I realize I sort of do in whatever it is that I do, is I find myself drawn to infinite possibility, that sense of potential. And I realize that mystery is the catalyst for imagination.”

Abrams’ enthusiasm — for the construction of Kleenex boxes, for the quiet moments between shark attacks in Jaws, for today’s filmmaking technologies, and above all for the potent mystery of an unopened package — is incredibly infectious.



Star Wars – The Force of Abrams

How’s the new Star Wars going to look with J.J. behind the camera? Beyond lens flares – what’s J.J. Abrams’ style? This video below breaks it down here in this video.


J.J. Abrams – How to Make Features Film & Tell Stories

J.J. Abrams will chat about his passions in the film & television world alongside the trials and tribulations he encountered as he rose to become one of the most respected individuals in the entertainment world. Richard Wolpert will be leading the discussion and this is sure to be one of our most thought provoking events.


BONUS: J.J. Abrams on Inventing Worlds


BONUS: J.J. Abrams Star Wars: Episode VII Interview on The Howard Stern Show


BONUS: Dinner For Five – J.J. Abrams, Kevin Smith, Jason Lee, Stan Lee, Mark Hamill


If you like this post on J.J. Abrams: His Secrets on Directing & Visual Storytelling, then you’ll love: 
David Fincher: His Secrets on Directing & Visual Storytelling

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9 Comments

  1. bookofmatchesmedia on December 16, 2015 at 9:49 am

    Love it. Thank you.



    • IndieFilmHustle on December 16, 2015 at 2:38 pm

      Your welcome!!!



  2. Jim Henson on December 16, 2015 at 2:37 pm

    Very timely, Alex. I’m sure that was just a coincidence. 😉



    • IndieFilmHustle on December 16, 2015 at 2:38 pm

      What do you mean? Does JJ have a new movie coming out soon?



      • Jim Henson on December 16, 2015 at 2:39 pm

        Alex I was going to cuss you out if you had another podcast. I just finished Linda Seger. Hard to keep up with your genius. 😉



        • IndieFilmHustle on December 16, 2015 at 2:41 pm

          LOL! I’m humbled by your comments. More great podcasts coming!



  3. Zanna Shirmana on April 18, 2016 at 2:58 pm

    I love J.J. Abrams! After watching one episode of “Lost,” I was (heavy breathing) hooked!

    PS — sorry for the delayed response. I fell behind on my blogger reading. 🙂



  4. […] I think for this reason the Directors Guild of America invited J.J. Abrams and screenwriter Lawrence Kasdan to discuss their experiences making of Star Wars: The Force Awakens. […]



  5. […] Related: Breaking Down J.J. Abrams Directing Style and Techniques […]