Eventually, if Hollywood gave him the chance, Dean hoped to one day direct. He bought a Bolex 16mm camera at Dumont’s on 34th Street and began to make his own home movies, using buddies like Marty Landau and Bill Gunn as actors. Naturally, he worked without a script: His muse was the inspiration of the moment.
"Nothing Jimmy ever did was just a sideline," said Roy Schatt, in whose small courtyard Dean made a number of movies. "He put everything he was int everything he did. In his filmmaking, he was constantly searching for the unusual, even the odd camera angle. Sometimes the results were bizarre. But they were always Jimmy." Geraldine Page, who had appeared with Dean in The Immoralist, regretted that he died before he could direct any formal productions. Although most of the cast had shunned him, the actress had adopted some of his suggestions in shaping her role. “He would have made a phenomenal director,” she later said, “because of his… specific kind of ability to excite your imagination without giving you anything that would bind you.”