The Man Who Wasn't There

The Man Who Wasn’t There

On Diplomacy

I think I’ve learned to be a bit more diplomatic,
although I’m not sure if that’s true (laughs). Maybe I’ve
learned not to care so much about what people think. What you
really need to learn is that the film is not made on the first
day of shooting. It’s a long haul. You need to pace yourself over
the course of a film.

On Collaboration

I think you need to own up to the fact that you’re
not going to get along with everybody and sometimes you’re on
a film and you shouldn’t be on it. People see things differently,
and people like to work differently.

On the Relationship of Moviemaking

I operate the camera myself; I don’t like working
with an operator, I don’t like working with multiple camera set-ups
all the way through a picture. I like working with a single camera
and a small crew. There are specific things that I need and I’ve
learned that sometimes it’s just not going to work if they aren’t
there. It’s like a relationship,you shouldn’t try and force it.
It comes to a point where you say, ‘This isn’t working for either
of us’ and you leave. It happens.

The Essentials of Preparation

The first thing you need to work out is how the
director likes to work and what he is going to demand from you;
what he sees as your role. Everybody has such a different way
of working. One director might operate the camera himself and
another director might want six cameras running all the time.
Another director might want the DP to just soft light the set
and get out of it and shoot everything on a Steadicam. You have
other directors who are very precise,their films are much more
constructed before they even get to the set. You have to find
out where you want to fit in that whole range.

The Cinematographer’s Relationship to the Script

You have to have the script in your head. You have
to know where the scene fits in the whole, how it’s going to link
up to the next one and how it serves the mood of the thing.

Getting Started as a DP

There’s no one way of getting into the industry.
I know so many DPs and they’ve all gotten into the industry in
different ways. I really think it’s important to find out what
you have to offer, the way you see something and stick by that.

On Building a Reputation in Hollywood

If I have a good track record as a filmmaker, it’s
really because I’ve stuck with what I have a feeling for. I discovered
that my visuals are really about relating to people. I’ve never
done a big science fiction film,partly because I’ve never been offered
one (laughs),but mostly because I’m much more interested in smaller
films that are about people.