Sometimes a director’s early work is unrecognizable from their later successes. By the time George Lucas got his space opera, Star Wars, in theaters, he had long left behind the experimental shenanigans of his first movies. But Lucas is an exception; most directors’ debut films act as blueprints for their subsequent work. Take New Zealand-born director, Taika Waititi, for example. His first short was preoccupied with children left to their own devices, fast-talking characters, and delusions of grandeur, all of which are clearly mirrored in his later work, even his recent foray into blockbuster territory, Thor: Ragnarok. In our latest installment of Lessons From a Newcomer, we take a look at how Taika Waititi’s early films served as rough drafts for his later successes, and how repeating oneself isn’t always a bad thing.

Intrigued by Taika Waititi? You can stream two of his films, Boy and Eagle vs Shark, now on Fandor. And while you’re here, check out our previous episode of Lessons from a Newcomer, in which we explore the work of Black Panther director Ryan Coogler.