Things I’ve Learned as a Moviemaker

Andy Garcia directs and stars in The Lost City.

Don’t let the budget be your crutch.

Budgets have never scared me as an actor or as a director or as a producer. I’ve worked on movies that cost $3 million and I’ve worked on movies with larger budgets. It’s just the question about whether one feels the emotional connection to the material and the need to tell that story. I think a lot of movies have very large budgets because they’re mismanaged and have indulgent qualities that don’t need to happen. Lower budget doesn’t mean lower quality. Look at the movies that were celebrated at the Oscars.

Get the truth out of your actors.

I’ve responded to specific directors and how they approach their work, like Hal Ashby and Francis Coppola. It has to do with creating a space for the actors to be free and to keep actors out of their head. To me you can design a film pictorially, and that’s all great, but without the human behavior and sense of truth your movie will not have any resonance. The most important thing to me is truth and that’s giving your actors the freedom to stay in the moment and to explore that material and squeeze the juice out of it.

You have so many more options today to explore the more genuine moments in the performances during post-production.

Behavior is the key to me, to find that organic moment. And if something is magical you will find it because the technology now gives you the time to find it and for less money.

Filmography for Andy Garcia:

The Lost City (2005)
Ocean’s Twelve (2004)
Modigliani (2004)
The Lazarus Child (2004)
Twisted (2004)
The Car Keys (2003)
Confidence (2003)
Just Like Mona (2003)
Ocean’s Eleven (2001)
The Man from Elysian Fields (2001)
The Unsaid (2001)
For Love or Country: The Arturo Sandoval Story (2000)
Lakeboat (2000)
Just the Ticket (1999)
Desperate Measures (1998)
Hoodlum (1997)
The Disappearance of Garcia Lorca (1997)
Night Falls on Manhattan (1997)
Steal Big Steal Little (1995)
Things to Do in Denver When You’re Dead (1995)
When a Man Loves a Woman (1994)
Jennifer Eight (1992)
Hero (1992)
Dead Again (1991)
The Godfather: Part III (1990)
A Show of Force (1990)
Internal Affairs (1990)
Black Rain (1989)
American Roulette (1988)
Stand and Deliver (1988)
The Untouchables (1987)
8 Million Ways to Die (1986)
The Mean Season (1985)
A Night in Heaven (1983)
Guaguasi (1983)
Blue Skies Again (1983) MM

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