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Things I’ve Learned as a Moviemaker

Things I’ve Learned as a Moviemaker

Articles - Directing

The Road to Guantanamo
The Road to Guantanamo
Michael Winterbottom’s The Road to Guantanamo (2006).

Get off your butt and make a movie. I think, especially these days, one of the big advantages of DV is you can just make a film. You don’t have to wait two years while someone decides whether or not to finance your script. As soon as I hear someone is waiting for a financier to finance a script I’m like ‘Just write the script! What have you got to lose?’ It doesn’t cost you anything to write, so why don’t you just write the script?

I think the same is true these days about making films: If you can’t get someone to give you money for it, why don’t you just go make it on DV. There are loads of people who are enthusiastic; most people want to work on films so it’s easy to find a bunch of friends to go out and do something. It’s better to do that than sitting around complaining about the fact that’s it’s so hard to get your film made.

Making a movie is an exploration. You never know whether something is going to be good or bad when you start. For me anyway, I like the fact that when you start a project you don’t really know how it’s going to turn out and part of the fun thing is over the year it takes to make it you’re trying to discover exactly what you’re trying to do and exactly what the rhythm of the film is and so it’s always worth starting and see how it will turn out.

Shoot on DV. Essentially DV is like shooting on film, I mean Marcel Zyskind shot The Road to Guantanamo. He’s a great operator and he shoots on film and shoots on DV. Different types of films require different approaches from the kind of shooting style to the technical style. But the only really boring technical thing I’d say: What Zyskind tends to do when shooting on DV is he just underexposes it a little bit, because obviously the big issue with DV is burning out so it tends to have more information in the shadows than it has in the highlights. So with a film like Guantanamo you want a grainier look because of the terrain than a film set in a different location. So you have to be aware of your surroundings and know what kind of look you want for your movie.

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