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Things I’ve Learned As A Moviemaker

Things I’ve Learned As A Moviemaker

Articles - Cinematography

Red Planet

Red Planet

Shooting the Script

You learn to stay
true to the page. No matter how hard this movie got in terms of
the logistics, I focused on the script. What does this scene mean
to me? What does that line mean to me? I knew that if I could
make the moment believable, even if there are big leaps-like
you could breathe on Mars-if we played it real and I could
get the drama right, I’d be okay.

Storyboarding

Storyboards are
very helpful. You must forget about them, but if all hell breaks
loose, you still know what to shoot-you have a blueprint
for your scene. Changes will happen on the set, but if you know
what the scene is about and how you want to shoot it, you have
your storyboard there.

Directing Actors

You have to keep
learning the acting craft to communicate with actors. Most directors,
including myself, are not prepared enough for that.

Commercials as
Training Ground

Commercials are
the best training ground to make big studio movies. They keep
me sharp. I hope to keep doing them. If you do one movie every
two years, you’re lucky, so what do you do in between? It’s
a great training ground-like a film school for movie guys.

Big Budget Moviemaking

I probably would
do another big picture if it had character and said something.
If it embodies themes that I like, it doesn’t matter how
big a film it is.

Being a First
Time Director

You’ve got
to start with high aspirations and really understand the material.
You’ve got to have it under your skin so that you can defend
certain things that you feel strongly about because you are going
to be attacked and questioned on everything when you do movies
with $80-$90-$100 million budgets, especially as a first timer.
Then, you have to stick to your vision on the things that are
really important. Maintain a certainty of "I am making my
movie." Not as a matter of arrogance, but if you are making
everybody else’s movie, it will become a hodgepodge.

Dealing With
Studios

You want the studio
to love your movie like it’s their own. You want them to
feel that they are invested in it as well-personally, emotionally,
and professionally. The big trick is to get what you want and
give them what they want, and hopefully together it doesn’t
become two different movies. You’ve got to be able to deal
with all of the variables. Whether you’re making a movie
for $1 million or $100 million, you want people to see the movie.
It’s all the same game.

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