Things I’ve Learned As A Moviemaker: Terry Zwigoff


On Handling Actors

Keep the actors relaxed, and keep them in the moment so that they can listen to each other and focus so that they’re genuinely affected and not just waiting to say their lines.

On Dealing With Producers

Get a smart producer that you trust, or you’re dead.

On Editing

It’s very difficult, because I personally sweat over every frame of any film I make, and I’ve had essentially final cut over every one of my three films. It’s torture, but I spend a lot of time in the editing room deciding on every single cut and every single note of music.

On Working With a Cinematographer

Find a cinematographer that you actually like because you‚re going to be spending a lot of time with them under very battle-like conditions.

On Comedy

Comedy’s hard! When I used to read that, I’d say: Why do they think comedy’s so hard? It’s easy to be funny!’ But
it’s hard, and there are a lot of pitfalls — you can go wrong in the casting, the direction, the editing. Drama is relatively easy. It’s hard to find an actor who can do both.

On Collaborating With Another Writer

Find someone whose sensibilities and sense of humor and worldview you agree with, or I can‚t imagine it working.

On Teenage Girls

I tried not to think of Thora and Scarlett as teenagers, but just people who have their own needs and dilemmas. I don’t know if I learned a thing about teenage girls!

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