Robert Luketic is one of the most successful film directors to come out of Australia in the past decade. After sparking Hollywood interest with his short-length ode to hair removal “Titsiana Booberini (1997), he landed his first feature film gig – the wildly successful Reese Witherspoon comedy, Legally Blonde, and has since directed a number of big name romantic comedies. Luketic has teamed up with The Qantas Spirit Of Youth Awards (SOYA) as the industry mentor for the winner in the Film & Video Cateogry (entries close 30th March 2012). Pedestrian recently asked Robert the advice he has for upcoming film makers, working with actors, and Brilliant, his new project with Irish actor Gerard Butler

PEDESTRIAN: Robert you’re going to be the mentor for a lucky upcoming film maker for SOYA 2012. What kind of first hand hot tips are you looking forward to imparting? ROBERT LUKETIC: From such topics as getting noticed in a crowded and competitive market to sustaining a career once you get your foot in the door, I hope to impart the knowledge I have gathered in the last 10 years. As well, I think it would be useful to discuss some of the mistakes and pitfalls I have experienced. Disappointments can be lessons we learn from the most. Oh, did I mention making a film is a team effort?

When you started making movies did you have anyone to mentor you in the early stages of your career? I did not have anyone to mentor me. So in a way, my introduction to the film biz was trial by fire.

What is your advice to young directors about working with actors? Actors like the challenge. Don’t be afraid to work with them to achieve a memorable performance. I view it as a team effort. Directors should create an environment where the actor feels safe to explore every facet of their character. Most importantly, acknowledge the good work. Feedback is very important and welcome. Line readings are not.

How is Brilliant coming along? What stage are you in with that movie? Brilliant is in active development. Gerard Butler has been cast in the lead. I guess it’s a matter of timing now, as we both have busy slates.

You’ve worked with Gerard Butler on The Ugly Truth , are you looking forward to reuniting with him? He looks like fun. Gerry is an awesome man. I love the sense of fun he brings to a set. He really “gets into it.” I have a shorthand with Gerry, and that’s worth a lot in this biz. Oh, did I mention it’s a business?

Emerging film makers aged betweed 18 – 30, the Qantas SOYA365 film category closes on 30th March so head to www.soya.com.au and get your entries in quick for a chance to win a mentorship with Robert Luketic, $5000 cold hard cash and a trip to Edinburgh Film Festival.