The Shape of Water – Guillermo del Toro shares the keys to his success

Del Toro opens up on what worked in “The shape of water” and how the film is more than a sum of its parts.

Guillermo del Toro

In addition to being a director on the rise, Guillermo del Toro is not shy nor guarded in sharing on different forums and conferences his techniques, motivations and difficulties in making a film and how to solve them in a personal way.

We present a summary of the key elements of “The Shape of Water.”

Good management of how the drama progresses: First, he suggests, you lay the “conventional” foundations of the story, and little by little take it along the paths of your creative universe. His starting point is “the beauty and the beast”  and of monsters and humans. Del Toro then reverses the roles, where the “monsters” become “the good guys” and certain humans “the bad ones”. In short, a story well told with original elements.

Guillermo del Toro

Strict control of the sound and music design of the film: Guillermo del Toro confesses that in his previous films, he used to outsource the sound part to composers, sound artists, etc. This time he has strictly supervised the soundtrack and has been working alongside composers, musicians and sound designers.

Keep your personal universe above the mainstream:  While this film sticks to the “mainstream” path and complies to the “standard” demands of the industry, he has managed to stick to his own style of dark stories, with a touch of perversion, and this perhaps in a more sophisticated way, is more consistent in all its elements.

Guillermo del Toro

Create atmospheres and codes within the film. Del Toro speaks of a chromatic coding, according to the moments and characters of the story. The blue for the aquatic presence not only of the monster but of the protagonist. The green is present in the scenes where we talk about a possible future for the couple and for the resolution of the story. Finally, red marks the most passionate moments of the film: love, pain, death and rebirth.

Create a coherent assembly of the constituent elements of the film:
1. Get personally involved at all levels in the writing and re-writing of the story. That means being involved on an emotional level.
2. Use the “conventional” bases to create a personal universe.
3. Comprehensive care of the visual elements with the sound elements and use them accurately in the service of the story.


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