25/06/2013 05:08 BST | Updated 27/06/2013 08:05 BST

Filmmaking Advice: Top Directors Reveal How To Find Your Voice

Quentin Tarantino arriving for the Orange British Academy Film Awards, at The Royal Opera House, London.

If there is one defining quality that unites the world’s most iconic filmmakers – those who can boast both critical acclaim and cult status – it is a unique, distinctive, unmistakable style that sets them apart from their counterparts.

From the pregnant pauses and surreal dreamscapes of a David Lynch film to the dramatic lighting and chilling suspense of a Hitchcock thriller or the darkly comic, macabre twist of a Tim Burton fantasy, a great director should be instantly identifiable to the audience by his ‘voice’ alone.

Take Quentin Tarantino and the Coen Brothers – so distinctive and influential are their styles they have even earned a place in the dictionary. According to the Collins dictionary, 'Tarantinoesque' is “(cinema) referring to or reminiscent of the work of the American film-maker and actor Quentin Tarantino (born 1963), known for the violence, style, and wit of his films” while 'Coenesque' is “(cinema) reminiscent of the work US film-makers of Joel and Ethan Coen (born 1954 and 1957 respectively), featuring bizarre and involved plots, use of irony and black humour, and allusions to film classics.”

The sign of a great director is when a film’s voice comes not from the script or the protagonists, but from the filmmaker. As advocates of the auteur theory suggest, it is the camera angles, the lighting, the scene-length and the spaces between the dialogue that tell the story, above any plot-line.

But how does the filmmaker ensure his or her ‘voice’ is heard? And how, as a first-time filmmaker, do you find your unique voice in the first place?

We’ve looked at the philosophies, influences and creative processes of some of the world’s leading auteur-directors to find out what lessons they can teach us about finding that all-important voice.