Acting is not from the ears up, it is from the feet up.
Discipline might well be a measure of the extent to which a film sticks to the rules it has established. Do all the techniques service the theme? Are the performance style, cinematography, editing, design, and music united behind a common voice, one that was selected via the content? Is the narrative told in accordance with the rules of pacing that it established, never staying with a shot or scene too long or not long enough? Are the aesthetic approaches utilized by the different departments working in unison for the intended effect?
Does all of the content further the story or the themes of the film? Unless self-indulgence is part of the concept, have all aspects of such self-indulgence been stripped away? Unless digression is part of the film’s concept or organizing structure, has the film avoided such digression?
Ultimately, to what degree is all of this done?
~ From 32 Qualities Of Better Film.
If an artist follows this quality, so many of the others on the list fall into place.
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Color and light were also prime elements in Her’s art direction. K.K. Barrett, a production designer and art director, says he was enamored with red and wanted to include just a hint [due to its power] in every frame. “We referenced a photograph of a burning cigarette that was mainly out of focus with this one red dot [from the flame] to complete the composition,” he adds. “When we threw a red jacket on Amy Adams, the camera tests looked so great that the default color became different shades of red throughout. Hoyte wanted to avoid blue, so we skewed our spectrum accordingly.
Her’s playful use of color is evident throughout. Two walls of soft LED light panels in Theodore’s apartment dim and rise as he enters and leaves. “Sometimes those wall lights were pink, sometimes they might have been a warm color reflected in the window at night,” Barrett recalls. “It was a futuristic touch people will recognize right now.”
A similar freedom of color and shape permeates Theodore’s office, at beautifulhandwrittenletters.com. “Spike wanted a fun working environment, he wanted joyous, which I translated into being a riot of colored Plexiglas, instead of paint, which really helped us out budget- and schedule-wise, not having to alter an existing location.”
Van Hoytema embraced the colored Plexiglass. “I would often use [LED-based] light for a shop window behind a character, and make it a strong color. Or, for the shots of Joaquin walking through the city at the beginning, we would insert a splash of bright color around him.” x
Today, I had to step away from a project I was directing and allow the producer to finish it without me. It wasn’t acrimonious, but it became increasingly clear to me that I wasn’t adding much value to the post-production process. Here were my thoughts to the producer:
Every week of my adult life I work with clients and work to give them what they want. However, I’ve found that if I just give them what they want, I am not very valuable. I need to deliver them more than what they want. I need to provide an expertise that they don’t have.
Fundamentally, all of us get in our own way of achieving our goals. The best client/service relationships I’ve built are ones where I find a way to deliver what they need to achieve their goal - an approach that I’ve found to be much more cost-effective for the client and forge stronger, more trusting relationships.
We all want things that are bad for us, after all. The true question is what we need.
That’s my philosophy, and one that I could no longer apply considering my relationship to the client.
It’s never easy. Anyone else want to share stories of leaving a team?
[Veronika Voss] was your fortieth film. I have the feeling many people see you as a hamster in an exercise wheel, constantly under pressure to produce. Do you see it that way, too?
Well, there are two factors here. First, I don’t work more than other people, more than someone stamping out cans in a factory, or the like. I just work all year long; I don’t take as many vacations as the others in the industry. That’s one side of it. The other side is that I really have a drive that’s hard to explain—it makes me have to do things, and I’m actually only happy when I’m doing things, and that’s my drug, if you will… When I was very small I already knew I was supposed to make many films. I can only tell you that when I shot my first take it was more fantastic than the most fantastic orgasm I ever had. That was a feeling, indescribable.
~ Rainer Werner Fassbinder
May 31, 1945 — June 10, 1982
I often think about today’s production and post-production tools and the the precision they offer filmmakers. Endless takes, small and powerful lighting, fast lenses, non-linear editing, and coloring visuals and mixing audio digitally all smooth out the rough edges created by humans in the process of filmmaking.
Today’s processes, in aggregate, hide the medium of filmmaking.
Audiences can be seeing embracing this (ex: a cgi-driven blockbuster) and yearning for something that feels more human (ex: a music video shot on Super 8 film).
The image above demonstrates a human mistake caused by shooting film. The shot on the left was shot with 500T film on day two. The shot on the right is shot with 200T film on day one. We weren’t supposed to have two days of shooting, but an on-set mistake caused us to over-estimate how much film we had. We had to schedule a few critical pickups on the second day and all we had at our disposal was 500T.
It’s the same lighting setup, with a little less ambient light coming in through the window. We trusted our eyes, but couldn’t see the previous day’s image (this is film, after all). So this is the best we could do.
Note the light in the center-background. It’s blown out on the left even though the image is darker. That means we were at an even higher exposure at 500T, even though the image is darker.
I’ll digitally bring up the left image’s important details. This will introduce more grain and bring a little more attention to the chemical elements that make up the celluloid; the texture of the medium will exposed to the audience, for better or for worse.
When memories fade away, all that is left are anchor-less thoughts.