6.30.2014

Creative Spark: Ava DuVernay

Kevin Spacey on Shakespeare and The Theater

Karloff, The Gentle Monster

Paul Greengrass: David Lean Lecture 2014

Robert Wise on making classic horror films

6.29.2014

Cinematographer Darius Khondji's 6 Life-Saving Tips for Low-Budget DPs

Found via No Film School:

Go on scouting trips as early as you can so you have a say in what will work or not work.
“I love going to see the last two or three locations to choose from, to be able to say something,” Khondji said. “When I do a movie on location, it’s really important for me to go and scout locations even before the technical scout with my crew. It’s crucial to go with the production designer — and the director, if you can — to figure out how you’re going to make the best out of it for the storytelling.”
Lighting can highlight character. And headaches, if you’re not careful.
“Of course, your work has to first correspond to who the character is and what the story is about,” he said. “The most important thing to bring out when you shoot a movie is to figure out how you’re going to light the location in order to bring it into this area of the character. Often you want natural light coming in through the windows, let’s say. When you do movies on low budgets, you don’t want to have a location that requires a very big light right outside the window when you’re 10 stories up. You have to find a location where you have a terrace outside, or you can light from a second floor, or you can light through the windows for daylight. You also want to have a certain height of ceilings so you can put toplights.”
It helps to be strategic (and lucky) about the mutability of locations.
“If you like a location for its architecture or mood, for the feel of it, but you don’t actually like the color, you need to have a location where you’re allowed to change the color,” he said. “It’s all always aiming at who the character is that lives in this location. For instance, when we were doing ‘To Rome With Love’ with Woody in Rome, we were looking for a location for young architects (Jesse Eisenberg, Greta Gerwig). We looked in many locations. Woody had a problem finding a location that really fit what he had in mind. So with the art director and production designer, we sketched how we could transform one into what Woody had in mind, because we found one that we really liked in the Trastevere area. There was an artist living in this kind of loft in an old house. Then we transformed it, we made it to what Woody had in mind. And the artist’s daughter was actually a location manager on another movie!”
Leave yourself a wide-angle option.
“Then you do your technical scout with your crew,” he said. “Working in Rome on this movie was a wonderful experience, and very easy thanks to the excellent Italian crew we had – the production and all camera, lighting and grip crew were a dream to work with. But when you shoot on location, you have to be incredibly prepared because you can’t move the wall around like when you’re in a studio. You really need to know that the camera is going to fit there, that with the focal lens you’re going to be able to go back far enough to get a wide shot without putting on a ridiculously wide lens that would be very vulgar or warping. In order not to do that, you need to have a location where the wall or the side of a room allows you to go back enough to get the wide shot that the director wants. This sounds obvious, but sometimes let’s say you shoot CinemaScope anamorphic with 2.35:1, you have to go much further back to go to a wide shot, in terms of height. Otherwise, you shoot medium and close-up all the time. If you don’t scout out your location, it can be really bad.”
Learn how to use natural light on interiors.
“Unfortunately, a lot of these low-budget movies have to shoot small-format digital,” Khondji said. “You have to calculate. If you shoot daylight, what would be a great thing to do is have a Plan A and Plan B with the Sun. If you don’t have the money to put up lights, you have to think about how the building is in front of your location and bounce the light into the apartment. Or try to schedule your shooting around the sunlight. I light mostly from outside the windows for daylight, but if you had to light from inside the windows or on top of the windows to reproduce the light, then you have to make sure you have high enough ceilings.”
Have one strong thematic idea, not a bagful.
“I’ve learned one general thing in filmmaking: to work with one strong idea,” says Khondji. “One strong concept that pushes you to work in a certain way artistically. Then you can bring it into a family of ideas. Then it’s like a tree: You have an idea for each scene, but one main idea in the film. The more you have concepts and ideas like this before you plan the film, the better it is. I’ve found that the great directors I work with, usually for the movie they have one strong idea visually that makes the film what it is. I realized that usually they don’t have multiple ideas, because you always get clogged when you have so many ideas to tell a story visually. I don’t think it’s great to come with a bag full of ideas. It’s better to be behind one strong statement or one strong idea for a film. For ‘To Rome With Love’ it was the saturation of the colors, the fact that the Italian scenes were more like the old Italian cinema of the ’60s and ’70s, and the modern scenes, when the Americans are in Rome, are more wide angle, a little bit colder, sharper, less saturated. It’s thematically brilliant.”

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Movies in 2014

1. The Hot Rock
2. The Valley Of Gwangi
3. The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
4. To Have And Have Not
5. The Third Man
6. Below
7. It Happened One Night
8. State And Main
9. Furious 6
10. Vengeance
11. Running Scared (1986)
12. G.I. Joe: Retaliation
13. The Thing From Another World
14. Matilda
15. The Shaolin Temple
16. The Avengers
17. The Raid
18. In The Heat Of The Night
19. Dillinger
20. The Mission (Johnnie To Film)
21. Odds Against Tomorrow
22. Outrage
23. My Name Is Nobody
24. The Wolverine
25. Fulltime Killer
26. Muppets From Space
27. The Man With The Iron Fists
28. Mad Detective
29. Batman Returns
30. Riddick
31. The Thomas Crown Affair (1968)
32. Captain Phillips
33. The Lego Movie
34. Now You See Me
35. Bull Durham
36. Nebraska
37. Big Trouble In Little China
38. Death Rides A Horse
39. Zero Effect
40. The Mercenary
41. A Fistful Of Dollars
42. World War Z
43. Batman
44. Monte Walsh (1970)
45. Ride The High Country
46. The 13th Warrior
47. Nothing Left To Fear
48. Raiders of the Lost Ark
49. Much Ado About Nothing (2012)
50. The Ballad of Cable Hogue
51. Mud
52. Stagecoach
53. Kill Bill Vol. 2
54. Iron Man Three
55. Dallas Buyers Club
56. Captain America: The Winter Soldier
57. Looking for Richard
58. Fort Apache
59. Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs 2
60. 12 Years A Slave
61. Dead Man
62. Macbeth (Welles)
63. Dragonslayer
64. Dr. Goldfoot and the Bikini Machine
65. Pacific Rim
66. American Hustle
67. About Time
68. The Searchers
69. Labor Day
70. Solomon Kane
71. How To Train Your Dragon 2
72. R.I.P.D.
73. Pain And Gain
74. The Wolf Man
75. Frankenstein (1931)
76. All Monsters Attack aka Godzilla's Revenge

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Alfred Hitchcock - Masters of Cinema

Monitor - Alfred Hitchcock

Reputations: Alfred Hitchcock

The Men Who Made The Movies: Alfred Hitchcock

6.28.2014

Movies in 2014

1. The Hot Rock
2. The Valley Of Gwangi
3. The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
4. To Have And Have Not
5. The Third Man
6. Below
7. It Happened One Night
8. State And Main
9. Furious 6
10. Vengeance
11. Running Scared (1986)
12. G.I. Joe: Retaliation
13. The Thing From Another World
14. Matilda
15. The Shaolin Temple
16. The Avengers
17. The Raid
18. In The Heat Of The Night
19. Dillinger
20. The Mission (Johnnie To Film)
21. Odds Against Tomorrow
22. Outrage
23. My Name Is Nobody
24. The Wolverine
25. Fulltime Killer
26. Muppets From Space
27. The Man With The Iron Fists
28. Mad Detective
29. Batman Returns
30. Riddick
31. The Thomas Crown Affair (1968)
32. Captain Phillips
33. The Lego Movie
34. Now You See Me
35. Bull Durham
36. Nebraska
37. Big Trouble In Little China
38. Death Rides A Horse
39. Zero Effect
40. The Mercenary
41. A Fistful Of Dollars
42. World War Z
43. Batman
44. Monte Walsh (1970)
45. Ride The High Country
46. The 13th Warrior
47. Nothing Left To Fear
48. Raiders of the Lost Ark
49. Much Ado About Nothing (2012)
50. The Ballad of Cable Hogue
51. Mud
52. Stagecoach
53. Kill Bill Vol. 2
54. Iron Man Three
55. Dallas Buyers Club
56. Captain America: The Winter Soldier
57. Looking for Richard
58. Fort Apache
59. Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs 2
60. 12 Years A Slave
61. Dead Man
62. Macbeth (Welles)
63. Dragonslayer
64. Dr. Goldfoot and the Bikini Machine
65. Pacific Rim
66. American Hustle
67. About Time
68. The Searchers
69. Labor Day
70. Solomon Kane
71. How To Train Your Dragon 2
72. R.I.P.D.
73. Pain And Gain
74. The Wolf Man
75. Frankenstein (1931)

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Drama Master Class: Nic Pizzolatto

Why Do Things Sound Scary?

The Legacy of Lon Chaney, Jr. and "The Wolf Man"

Rivals: Bela Lugosi & Boris Karloff

Since I am introducing the monkey to the Universal Monsters:

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Jim Jarmusch's 5 Golden Rules of Moviemaking


Rule #1: There are no rules. There are as many ways to make a film as there are potential filmmakers. It’s an open form. Anyway, I would personally never presume to tell anyone else what to do or how to do anything. To me that’s like telling someone else what their religious beliefs should be. Fuck that. That’s against my personal philosophy—more of a code than a set of “rules.” Therefore, disregard the “rules” you are presently reading, and instead consider them to be merely notes to myself. One should make one’s own “notes” because there is no one way to do anything. If anyone tells you there is only one way, their way, get as far away from them as possible, both physically and philosophically. 
Rule #2: Don’t let the fuckers get ya. They can either help you, or not help you, but they can’t stop you. People who finance films, distribute films, promote films and exhibit films are not filmmakers. They are not interested in letting filmmakers define and dictate the way they do their business, so filmmakers should have no interest in allowing them to dictate the way a film is made. Carry a gun if necessary.
Also, avoid sycophants at all costs. There are always people around who only want to be involved in filmmaking to get rich, get famous, or get laid. Generally, they know as much about filmmaking as George W. Bush knows about hand-to-hand combat. 
Rule #3: The production is there to serve the film. The film is not there to serve the production. Unfortunately, in the world of filmmaking this is almost universally backwards. The film is not being made to serve the budget, the schedule, or the resumes of those involved. Filmmakers who don’t understand this should be hung from their ankles and asked why the sky appears to be upside down. 
Rule #4: Filmmaking is a collaborative process. You get the chance to work with others whose minds and ideas may be stronger than your own. Make sure they remain focused on their own function and not someone else’s job, or you’ll have a big mess. But treat all collaborators as equals and with respect. A production assistant who is holding back traffic so the crew can get a shot is no less important than the actors in the scene, the director of photography, the production designer or the director. Hierarchy is for those whose egos are inflated or out of control, or for people in the military. Those with whom you choose to collaborate, if you make good choices, can elevate the quality and content of your film to a much higher plane than any one mind could imagine on its own. If you don’t want to work with other people, go paint a painting or write a book. (And if you want to be a fucking dictator, I guess these days you just have to go into politics…). 
Rule #5: Nothing is original. Steal from anywhere that resonates with inspiration or fuels your imagination. Devour old films, new films, music, books, paintings, photographs, poems, dreams, random conversations, architecture, bridges, street signs, trees, clouds, bodies of water, light and shadows. Select only things to steal from that speak directly to your soul. If you do this, your work (and theft) will be authentic. Authenticity is invaluable; originality is nonexistent. And don’t bother concealing your thievery—celebrate it if you feel like it. In any case, always remember what Jean-Luc Godard said: “It’s not where you take things from—it’s where you take them to.”

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6.27.2014

Movies in 2014

1. The Hot Rock
2. The Valley Of Gwangi
3. The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
4. To Have And Have Not
5. The Third Man
6. Below
7. It Happened One Night
8. State And Main
9. Furious 6
10. Vengeance
11. Running Scared (1986)
12. G.I. Joe: Retaliation
13. The Thing From Another World
14. Matilda
15. The Shaolin Temple
16. The Avengers
17. The Raid
18. In The Heat Of The Night
19. Dillinger
20. The Mission (Johnnie To Film)
21. Odds Against Tomorrow
22. Outrage
23. My Name Is Nobody
24. The Wolverine
25. Fulltime Killer
26. Muppets From Space
27. The Man With The Iron Fists
28. Mad Detective
29. Batman Returns
30. Riddick
31. The Thomas Crown Affair (1968)
32. Captain Phillips
33. The Lego Movie
34. Now You See Me
35. Bull Durham
36. Nebraska
37. Big Trouble In Little China
38. Death Rides A Horse
39. Zero Effect
40. The Mercenary
41. A Fistful Of Dollars
42. World War Z
43. Batman
44. Monte Walsh (1970)
45. Ride The High Country
46. The 13th Warrior
47. Nothing Left To Fear
48. Raiders of the Lost Ark
49. Much Ado About Nothing (2012)
50. The Ballad of Cable Hogue
51. Mud
52. Stagecoach
53. Kill Bill Vol. 2
54. Iron Man Three
55. Dallas Buyers Club
56. Captain America: The Winter Soldier
57. Looking for Richard
58. Fort Apache
59. Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs 2
60. 12 Years A Slave
61. Dead Man
62. Macbeth (Welles)
63. Dragonslayer
64. Dr. Goldfoot and the Bikini Machine
65. Pacific Rim
66. American Hustle
67. About Time
68. The Searchers
69. Labor Day
70. Solomon Kane
71. How To Train Your Dragon 2
72. R.I.P.D.
73. Pain And Gain
74. The Wolf Man

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Warren Ellis & Grant Morrison at The British Library

Akira Kurosawa: It Is Wonderful to Create

Lost Kubrick-The Unfinished Films of Stanley Kubrick

Wim Wender's 50 Golden Rules of Moviemaking

Some more rules from Wim Wenders. Sometimes you have these moments where a bunch of different pieces about the same director get brought to your attention at once. This list comes from Moviemaker Magazine. I found it through No Film School. Enjoy and listen:

1. You have a choice of being “in the business” or of making movies. If you’d rather do business, don’t hesitate. You’ll get richer, but you won’t have as much fun! 
2. If you have nothing to say, don’t feel obliged to pretend you do. 
3. If you do have something to say, you’d better stick to it. (But then don’t give too many interviews.) 
4. Respect your actors. Their job is 10 times more dangerous than yours. 
5. Don’t look at the monitor. Watch the faces in front of your camera! Stand right next to it! You’ll see infinitely more. You can still check your monitor after the take. 
6. Your continuity girl is always right about screen directions, jumping the axis and that sort of stuff. Don’t fight her. Bring her flowers. 
7. Always remember: Continuity is overrated! 
8. Coverage is overrated, too! 
9. If you want to shoot day for night, make sure the sun is shining. 
10. Before you say “cut,” wait five more seconds. 
11. Rain only shows on the screen when you backlight it. 
12. Don’t shoot a western if you hate horses. (But it’s okay to not be fond of cows.) 
13. Think twice before you write a scene with babies or infants. 
14. Never expect dogs, cats, birds or any other animals to do what you’d like them to do. Keep your shots loose. 
15. Mistakes never get fixed in post! 
16. Final cut is overrated. Only fools keep insisting on always having the final word. The wise swallow their pride in order to get to the best possible cut. 
17. Other people have great ideas, too. 
18. The more money you have the more you can do with it, sure. But the less you can say with it. 
19. Never fall in love with your temp music. 
20. Never fall in love with your leading lady! 
21. If you love soccer, don’t shoot your film during the World Championship. (Same goes for baseball and the World Series, etc.) 
22. Don’t quote other movies unless you have to. (But why would you have to?) 
23. Let other people cut your trailer! 
24. It’s always good to make up for a lack of (financial) means with an increase in imagination. 
25. Having a tight schedule can be difficult. But having too much time is worse. 
26. Alright, so you’re shooting with a storyboard. Make sure you’re willing to override it at any given moment. 
27. Less make-up is better. 
28. Fewer words are always better! 
29. Too much sugary stuff on the craft table (or is it Kraft?) can have a disastrous effect on your crew’s morale. 
30. Film can reveal the invisible, but you must be willing to let it show.
31. The more you know about moviemaking, the tougher it gets to leave that knowledge behind. As soon as you do things “because you know how to do them,” you’re fucked. 
32. Don’t tell a story that you think somebody else could tell better. 
33. A “beautiful image” can very well be the worst thing that can happen to a scene. 
34. If you have one actor who gets better with every take, and another who loses it after a while, make sure they can meet in the middle. Or consider recasting. (And you know whose close-ups you have to shoot first!) 
35. If you shoot in a dark alley at night, don’t let your DP impose a bright blue contre-jour spotlight on you, even in the far distance. It always looks corny. 
36. Some actors should never see rushes. Others should be forced to watch them. 
37. Be ready to get rid of your favorite shot during editing. 
38. Why would you sit in your trailer while your crew is working? 
39. Don’t let them lay tracks before you’ve actually looked through your viewfinder. 
40. You need a good title from the beginning. Don’t shoot the film with a working title you hate! 
41. In general, it’s better not to employ couples. (But of course, there are exceptions!) 
42. Don’t adapt novels. 
43. If your dolly grip is grumpy or your electricians hate the shot it will all show on the film. (Also, if you’re constipated…) 
44. Keep your rough cut speech, your cast and crew screening speech and your Oscar speech short. 
45. Some actors actually improve their dialogue in ADR. 
46. Some actors should never be forced to loop a single line. (Even Orson Welles wasn’t good at that.) 
47. There are 10,000 other rules like these 50. 
48. If there are golden rules, there might be platinum ones, too. 
49. There are no rules. 
50. None of the above is necessarily correct.

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6.26.2014

Soul Searcher: 10 Minute Lighting Masterclass

I know I am not a cinematographer, but I still think it is important to learn the techniques. A good director should be able to talk about how they want the scene shot.

From No Film School:

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Wim Wenders' Rules For Cinema Perfection

Sure it is a commercial for Stella Artois, but he makes some good points:

Stella Artois // Wim Wenders from Sam Goldie on Vimeo.

Found through Filmmaker IQ.

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Movies in 2014

1. The Hot Rock
2. The Valley Of Gwangi
3. The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
4. To Have And Have Not
5. The Third Man
6. Below
7. It Happened One Night
8. State And Main
9. Furious 6
10. Vengeance
11. Running Scared (1986)
12. G.I. Joe: Retaliation
13. The Thing From Another World
14. Matilda
15. The Shaolin Temple
16. The Avengers
17. The Raid
18. In The Heat Of The Night
19. Dillinger
20. The Mission (Johnnie To Film)
21. Odds Against Tomorrow
22. Outrage
23. My Name Is Nobody
24. The Wolverine
25. Fulltime Killer
26. Muppets From Space
27. The Man With The Iron Fists
28. Mad Detective
29. Batman Returns
30. Riddick
31. The Thomas Crown Affair (1968)
32. Captain Phillips
33. The Lego Movie
34. Now You See Me
35. Bull Durham
36. Nebraska
37. Big Trouble In Little China
38. Death Rides A Horse
39. Zero Effect
40. The Mercenary
41. A Fistful Of Dollars
42. World War Z
43. Batman
44. Monte Walsh (1970)
45. Ride The High Country
46. The 13th Warrior
47. Nothing Left To Fear
48. Raiders of the Lost Ark
49. Much Ado About Nothing (2012)
50. The Ballad of Cable Hogue
51. Mud
52. Stagecoach
53. Kill Bill Vol. 2
54. Iron Man Three
55. Dallas Buyers Club
56. Captain America: The Winter Soldier
57. Looking for Richard
58. Fort Apache
59. Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs 2
60. 12 Years A Slave
61. Dead Man
62. Macbeth (Welles)
63. Dragonslayer
64. Dr. Goldfoot and the Bikini Machine
65. Pacific Rim
66. American Hustle
67. About Time
68. The Searchers
69. Labor Day
70. Solomon Kane
71. How To Train Your Dragon 2
72. R.I.P.D.
73. Pain And Gain

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6.25.2014

Russ Fischer on Jacques Tati's Playtime


Great article at Slash Film on Jacques Tati's Playtime:

Tati’s use of physical movement and comedy is sharp and sublime; he can guide an actor to build a character with just a few movements. His patience is wonderful, as jokes and routines play out over long shots. There’s very little that is subtle in Playtime, but there is so much going on at any one moment that it is easy to miss some things the first time through. 
Some of the comedy is very small, whether it’s a small moment (two groups of different people regarding each other as they pass) or a gag that is literally small within the frame.
I really wish more film sites did articles like this.

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Night of the Hunter

Film Courage: Film Financing

10 Lessons on Filmmaking From John Boorman

1. Film has a way of being truer than memory.
Everything in [Queen and Country] is based on characters and incidents that occurred. The relationship between memory and imagination is a very mysterious one. I sometimes feel that imagination is sometimes closer to the truth than the memory. I remember when I was writing the script for Hope and Glory and I showed the script to my mother and my older sister — because they’re featured very strongly in it — they were astonished because things I thought I had invented turned out to have actually occurred. They were shocked how I could have possibly known these things. Perhaps the same thing occurs in this film, that the elements of imagination are probably closer to the truth than the memories.
2. The business of filmmaking requires a great deal of faith.
The difficulty [with Queen and Country] was finding the money. There is an acknowledgment in the credits for a friend of mine who stepped in. He followed me up one day and asked how the picture is going, how is the preparation, and I said: “Well, I think it’s falling apart, the money dropped out.” And the next day he sent me $350,000 and that got us over that.
More than 50% of independent films collapse, either a couple of weeks before starting shooting or a week after starting shooting. It’s a very hazardous business. You know the story of a man who was asked, “How can you become a millionaire making independent films?” And the answer was, “Start as a billionaire.”
3. Have a vision or don’t make the film.
The most important thing is to have some sort of a vision and as David Lynch said, make the films you want to make, and if your taste doesn’t coincide with the audience, then stop making them.
4. Don’t let the actor direct you.
There are a number of moments in the film, which are about the relationship between film and life, andRashomon. I saw it when it opened in 1952 and it had a tremendous effect on me. Suddenly I’d seen greater possibilities in filmmaking than I had ever imagined possible.
Mifune — well, I had a very fractious relationship with Mifune [during Hell in the Pacific] because he had very much wrong ideas of the film and the character and I had to correct him. I had a Japanese crew and it was a big loss of face for him to be corrected by me, so we fought all the way through the film. And in every scene he would revert to the character as he saw it and I would have to go on and on until I got what I wanted. It was just awful.
Eventually I had an accident on the reef and I had to stop shooting. And this situation with myself and Mifune was so bad that producers came along and thought that they had to replace me. And they went to Mifune and they said, “You’ll be glad to hear that we’re going to replace Boorman.” And Mifune said: “I can’t agree with that.”
We went to a teahouse in Tokyo. We drank a toast and sake and I agreed to do the film with him. He said, “It’s a matter of honor.” And the producers said, “Listen, this is Hollywood. Honor doesn’t come in to it.” But he wouldn’t budge. So when we started shooting again I thought, “We’re going to be pals,” but he was exactly the same.
5. Cinema doesn’t need to be real. It just needs to be alive.
That was a quote from Ingmar Bergman. Someone in my presence asked him what he was going to do when he was shooting a film and he said he wasn’t trying to make it real, but he was always trying to make it alive. That was very significant and important.
It’s always a matter of the elements. There is always one element that would make a scene into cinema and it always comes from somewhere that makes the scene cinematic, rather than just a scene being photographed. And you’re always looking for that moment, both in the writing and in the shooting and in your dealing with the actors.
6. The script is just a guide. Directing happens on set.
In Point Blank with Lee Marvin, there was a series of scenes in which he was confronting people. One scene where he gets into this penthouse, he’s getting to this guy and they’re in bed together, it’s a great scene. He breaks in and pulls the guy out of the bed, and it’s so very difficult. How would he react, this gangster?
We tried to shoot in different ways, and finally I said, “How about you faint? Such a terrifying situation, you pass out, just bang.” And that’s what we did. So it made the scene work. The actor’s reaction was: “I’m a tough guy, I wouldn’t do that.” Yes, but look at the situation, and it made the scene work. That’s an indication, an idea about how you can convert a scene into cinema.
I think that often happens when you come to shoot a scene, you find that there is something, an element missing and you have to find it some way, that one thing that makes the cinema.
7. Digital isn’t the enemy. Just make a good film.
I’ve been shooting digital for some years now. I was very happy to say goodbye to film because I’ve suffered so much in my whole life from scratches and dirt and loosing shots. The color of the film stock was devised to flatten out the skin tones of movie stars and it’s dreadful. Now digitally we can do whatever we want with color. We can get exactly the color we wish.
8. Silent movies will teach you a lot about filmmaking.
When I was 18 in 1951-1952, the national film theaters opened in numbers and they showed all the great silent films. I haunted the place, and I really fell in love with the silent movies, the origins of film. That’s really where I learned the possibilities of films and learned what they could do.
When they were shooting silent films, they had to devise ways of communicating ideas and stories without the use of dialogue. The techniques they developed, many of them disappeared when sound came in, because when sound came in you were stuck with a very big camera which was very difficult to move and it made films much more static. Filmmaking never quite recovered.
9. Give yourself time to write.
The only thing about writing is that you have time, so you’re doing it on your own and you don’t have the pressure of time. But I always like to write in front of a blank wall because I project the scenes onto the imaginary screen and see if they work.
I kept journals since I was 16. I write all the time, and I’ve got stacks and stacks of them. So when it comes to making a film I go back and look at them and I’m always very disappointed about how unspecific they are, but they’re helpful.
You know, for me the writing process is part of the whole shooting process. One or two universities asked me to give them my archive, my scripts, my old scripts. I don’t keep them. The script is like a map for the film. Once I’ve shot the film, the script has no use at all further away. So it’s just a device to help you make the film. Once the film is made it has no value whatsoever.
10. Story structure is the key to filmmaking. The rest is just details.
Warner had very little faith in Deliverance because there were no women in the film and, you know, films without women never succeed. So they beat me up on it a lot and made me cut the budget down. So there was not a lot of confidence about it but I think the film had a structure that was very cinematic. And it was a film that, as an audience, you can’t escape it. It dragged you along and you just had to follow it.

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Creative Tribalism

"Joe Swanberg is changing today's definition of a film artist. He is not a studio auteur in the 20th-century sense of Alfred Hitchcock or Peter Jackson. Neither is he an "artist" in the sense popularized by the Romantic 19th-century: an isolated genius expressing his singular vision, like Bergman or Godard. Instead, Swanberg's art emerges from the dynamic creative collaborations he has with actors, technicians, fellow moviemakers and audiences, and he deftly juggles subject matter and genre... With his boundless master-of-all-trades energy, the actor-director-editor-producer most closely corresponds to the template of a tribal craftsman."

- Sean Hood, "The Creative Tribalist," MovieMaker Magazine Summer 2014 


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6.24.2014

Batman (1989)

From Cinephilia & Beyond (where you can find more behind the scenes pics, concept art, and old magazine articles):



I still say if they want to do The Dark Knight Returns as a movie they should just bring back Keaton and Burton.

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The Making of Husbands

You Must Remember This: The Hard Hollywood Life Of Kim Novak

6.23.2014

Sunny's

The 2014 Snoball Crawl continues on:


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Lake Ponchartrain Today

Out at Laketown in Kenner, LA:








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Old Bench


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The World is Ever Changing: Nicolas Roeg on Filmmaking

Stanley Kubrick's Dr. Strangelove

The Art of Stanley Kubrick

Sidney Lumet's Night Falls on Manhattan

6.22.2014

Ealing Studios

British Film Forever - Magic, Murder, & Monsters: The History of British Horror & Fantasy

British Film Forever - Sauce, Satire And Silliness - The Story Of British Comedy

Flames of Passion - The Other Side of British Cinema

6.21.2014

Warren Ellis on Story

From Warren Ellis' Orbital Operations weekly email (a must read for creatives):


I have most of the internet turned off right now, because, as mentioned above, WRITE ALL THE THINGS. I zeroed in on a series idea earlier this week – or was it late last week? – and am writing it all down as quickly as I can between other things, because clearly I want to make myself go blind and die. Blame an excessive rumination on genre, Cormac McCarthy, Alain Robbe-Grillet and Samuel Beckett. It will eventually look like none of those things. It doesn’t matter where you start. It only matters where you end up. And sometimes it’s ideal that the latter looks nothing like the former. I suspect that the end result will be greatly tiresome to anyone who isn’t me, but, luckily, I’m really only writing it for me, to see where it goes and what it turns into. “To see where it goes” may be the entire metaphor of the project. The director Allison Anders once said of storytelling that story/plot is a clothesline, with things pinned to it, and she’s more interested in the things hanging off the clothesline than the clothesline itself. It’s one of those. The clothesline is very simple, and extends off into the distance, and the piece itself just stops and examines each item hanging off it. It’s what people mean when they talk about “story engines.”
Here’s the simplest story engine:
The Fugitive, a QM Production—starring David Janssen as Dr. Richard Kimble: an innocent victim of blind justice, falsely convicted for the murder of his wife ... reprieved by fate when a train wreck freed him en route to the death house ... freed him to hide in lonely desperation, to change his identity, to toil at many jobs ... freed him to search for a one-armed man he saw leave the scene of the crime ... freed him to run before the relentless pursuit of the police lieutenant obsessed with his capture.
It’s a bit flowery, because it’s the narration William Conrad read over three seasons of THE FUGITIVE. You could cut a line or two out of that easily. But that’s the story engine. That’s what activates and closes each episode of the series. You can approach something like that quite mathematically: plug in the variables like location, new characters, job, turn the engine on and generate a plot. You could, I’m sure, name several other story engines.
Story engines are, of course, very dependent on intent, otherwise they just pump out bad sausages. Years and years ago, I was struck by something the author David Morrell said at the end of an interview, when asked about marrying his intellectual background with the “carnographic” literary pulp he was writing. He said something very similar to, “perhaps I’m just trying to find how what John Barth writing ‘Creature From The Black Lagoon’ would have looked like.”
(Morrell, by the way, is much overlooked today, unfairly contaminated by the film versions of his John Rambo character. Anyone interested in thriller writing should investigate Morrell – he’s got some good tricks, like interpolating literary mirroring into action narrative, and a clever time-delay thing for concussive events.)
This is a huge intent. Barth, a core professorial postmodernist who’s stated before that his own intent is to imitate an author imitating a novel – but strongly influenced himself by the attack of Borges’ short fiction – has long been involved in a sort of circular duel with narrative. He said something once, that I associate both with self-identified novelists and experimenters, which was “the process is the content.” Put that next to people like William Gibson, who start a book with nothing more than an opening image to guide them, and say things like “I find out how to write the book as I write it” (bad paraphrase).

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Film Financing

Cillian Murphy On Scarecrow

Sam Mendes on Paris, Texas

Akira Kurosawa's Ikiru

The Best of Me

The Best of Me location sign left up:


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A Walk in the Park by Richard Swensen

6.20.2014

BAFTA In Focus: Screenwriting

BAFTA The Guru: Film Financing

Movies in 2014

1. The Hot Rock
2. The Valley Of Gwangi
3. The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
4. To Have And Have Not
5. The Third Man
6. Below
7. It Happened One Night
8. State And Main
9. Furious 6
10. Vengeance
11. Running Scared (1986)
12. G.I. Joe: Retaliation
13. The Thing From Another World
14. Matilda
15. The Shaolin Temple
16. The Avengers
17. The Raid
18. In The Heat Of The Night
19. Dillinger
20. The Mission (Johnnie To Film)
21. Odds Against Tomorrow
22. Outrage
23. My Name Is Nobody
24. The Wolverine
25. Fulltime Killer
26. Muppets From Space
27. The Man With The Iron Fists
28. Mad Detective
29. Batman Returns
30. Riddick
31. The Thomas Crown Affair (1968)
32. Captain Phillips
33. The Lego Movie
34. Now You See Me
35. Bull Durham
36. Nebraska
37. Big Trouble In Little China
38. Death Rides A Horse
39. Zero Effect
40. The Mercenary
41. A Fistful Of Dollars
42. World War Z
43. Batman
44. Monte Walsh (1970)
45. Ride The High Country
46. The 13th Warrior
47. Nothing Left To Fear
48. Raiders of the Lost Ark
49. Much Ado About Nothing (2012)
50. The Ballad of Cable Hogue
51. Mud
52. Stagecoach
53. Kill Bill Vol. 2
54. Iron Man Three
55. Dallas Buyers Club
56. Captain America: The Winter Soldier
57. Looking for Richard
58. Fort Apache
59. Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs 2
60. 12 Years A Slave
61. Dead Man
62. Macbeth (Welles)
63. Dragonslayer
64. Dr. Goldfoot and the Bikini Machine
65. Pacific Rim
66. American Hustle
67. About Time
68. The Searchers
69. Labor Day
70. Solomon Kane
71. How To Train Your Dragon 2
72. R.I.P.D.

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6.19.2014

"Current" Sculpture At Audubon Park

At Palmer Park


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The Wes Anderson Collection

From No Film School:

THE WES ANDERSON COLLECTION CHAPTER 1: BOTTLE ROCKET from RogerEbert.com on Vimeo.

THE WES ANDERSON COLLECTION CHAPTER 2: RUSHMORE from RogerEbert.com on Vimeo.

THE WES ANDERSON COLLECTION CHAPTER 3: THE ROYAL TENENBAUMS from RogerEbert.com on Vimeo.

THE WES ANDERSON COLLECTION CHAPTER 4: THE LIFE AQUATIC WITH STEVE ZISSOU from RogerEbert.com on Vimeo.

THE WES ANDERSON COLLECTION CHAPTER 5: THE DARJEELING LIMITED from RogerEbert.com on Vimeo.

THE WES ANDERSON COLLECTION CHAPTER 6: FANTASTIC MR. FOX from RogerEbert.com on Vimeo.

THE WES ANDERSON COLLECTION CHAPTER 7: MOONRISE KINGDOM from RogerEbert.com on Vimeo.

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Airport

MSY yesterday:


Dropping off and picking up.

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Pool Time


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6.18.2014

Jean Renoir Discusses His Art

François Truffaut: The Man Who Loved Cinema

Cinema! Cinema! French New Wave

6.17.2014

Making, Marketing & Selling Your Movie

Building Your Audience & Marketing Your Movie

What is neorealism?

Hands of Bresson

6.16.2014

Beginning of Ulysses by James Joyce

Buck Mulligan came from the stairhead, bearing a bowl of lather on which a mirror and a razor lay crossed. A yellow dressinggown, ungirdled, was sustained gently behind him by the mild morning air. He held the bowl aloft and intoned:
   - Introibo ad altare Dei.

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My Grandfather

Red Bastnagel. I never got to meet him. But I have heard a lot of cool stories about him.

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Bowling


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Martin Scorsese - The Art of Silence

Shakespeare: The Ultimate Explorer and Innovator

How does Shakespeare inspire your work?

Actress Anna Deavere Smith on Shakespeare:

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Michael York On Shakespeare

Rethinking Shakespeare

Director Michael Kahn on Henry V and how the works of Shakespeare change meaning with time:

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James Joyce's Ulysses Documentary

Happy Bloomsday!

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6.15.2014

The South Bank Show: Hamlet



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On Location: Where Eagles Dare