Nikki Reed and Evan Rachel Wood
Nikki Reed (left) and Evan Rachel Wood star
in Thirteen.

Running on fear.

I like to do the low-budget films in between bigger movies because
I learn things on low-budget movies that I can apply to bigger
ones. The bigger ones usually run on fear–everybody is just always
trying to cover themselves; they’re afraid to do things. So the
only way to express yourself artistically in a lower-budget medium.

The path of an artist.

I never consider myself a cinematographer, I consider myself an
artist. If someone asked me what I was, I would say I’m an artist
first and I express myself through cinematography. That’s my driving
force. I feel that unless you’re driven that way as a cinematographer,
you’re doomed to mediocre, perfunctory work.

The importance of inspiration.

All artistic work has to come through inspiration. And the best
inspiration comes through inspired collaboration between an inspired
director and an inspired cinematographer. It’s a relationship where
if only one of you is inspired, the work will reflect that; if
both of you are inspired it’s going to be a lot better, rhythmically.

Breaking in.

As far as getting into the business, people have like eight million
stories. For myself, I came through architecture; other people
come through other things. It used to be that if your family was
in the business, that’s how you got in. I think that materializing
your inspiration is what gets you noticed and you should stay true
to that.

The pitfalls of Hollywood.

I think that the worst thing that could happen to new filmmakers
and foreign filmmakers and all the people that did inspired work
that got noticed in the first place is to be bought off by commercial
Hollywood filmmaking. If you look at the history of all those filmmakers,
they’ve all died slow deaths.

The beauty of Hollywood.

The good thing about Hollywood is being able to use its money,
and I think that’s what moviemakers should aspire to: to somehow
get the money out of Hollywood but not be attached to it… Steven
Soderbergh is an example of how people can do it, though
I would not use him as a typical story. It’s like the disclaimer
on all the weight loss products! He’s had phenomenal commercial
success and that’s due to him, his personality, who he is and the
projects he’s pitched and the people he’s gotten to know. You have
to get to that place first. But he got to that place through sex,
lies, and videotape
. And I think that that’s the part that
people should aspire to.

Filmography for Elliot Davis

A Love Song for Bobby Long (2004)
Legally Blonde 2: Red, White & Blonde (2003)
Thirteen (2003)
White Oleander (2002)
40 Days and 40 Nights (2002)
I Am Sam (2001)
Happy Campers (2001)
The Next Best Thing (2000)
Light It Up (1999)
Forces of Nature (1999)
Breakfast of Champions (1999)
Finding Graceland (1998)
Out of Sight (1998)
Lawn Dogs (1997)
Get on the Bus (1996)
Gray’s Anatomy (1996)
Larger Than Life (1996)
Father of the Bride Part II (1995)
Things to Do in Denver When You’re Dead (1995)
The Underneath (1995)
Mr. Write (1994)
The Glass Shield (1994)
Mother’s Boys (1994)
King of the Hill (1993)
Equinox (1992)
The Cutting Edge (1992)
Shakes the Clown (1992)
Bright Angel (1991)
Mortal Thoughts (1991)
Love at Large (1990)
Signs of Life (1989)
Bloodhounds of Broadway (1989)
1969 (1988)
Miles from Home (1988)
Vamp (1986)
8 Million Ways to Die (1986)
Blue City (1986)
St. Elmo’s Fire (1985)
Tuff Turf (1985)
Something Wicked This Way Comes (1983)
The Outsiders (1983)
Broken English (1981)
The Onion Field (1979)
Independence Day (1975)
Mirt Sost Shi Amit (1975)