Monday, July 14, 2008

Working in the movies.

My daughter is a VP with Legendary Pictures and is in New York for tonight's premier of the new Batman movie which Legendary co-financed with Warner Brothers. So I thought it would be interesting to see what some people in the movie business think about the business of making movies.

I don't really like the combination of two-and-a-half-years of total solitude, a year of frenzied production warfare and however many months of being in the feeding pen of the editing room. That's like you're … veal being fattened for the slaughter, immobile in a chair, eating and worrying.
Whit Stillman, Director.

You spend your life training to be an actor, observing people's characteristics so that you can design characters around what you've seen. But as a movie actor, once you've become known, you're observed all the time so you don't get the chance to observe anymore. You still get a taste of life but it's not quite the same and there's something to be said for a more anonymous life.
Clint Eastwood, Actor and Director.

I call it ‘automatic pilot.’ It takes over and does for you what you can’t do yourself. Performers have to have it. Almost everybody has it to some degree. It’s a relative of acting.
Marlon Brando, Actor.

Preproduction is so important. When you cast the actors, you've done much of the work. Now, you may need to guide them a little, take it up or down, have them go faster or slower, but the casting process is crucial.
Robert Wise, Director.

I don't storyboard anything. I go on a set and, unless a scene requires a lot of props, I won't even tell the crew what I'm going to shoot first. I know what the set-up is and which actors are required. But I have to see what occurs and like to shoot in sequence if possible. It makes for a lot of editing but I like to go on a journey with the actors. I also love working on ensemble movies like Nashville, Short Cuts and Gosford Park. Having multiple narratives makes my job a lot easier: if something doesn't work, it means I can cut away to something else. I also like the audience to use their necks to take in everything happening in the frame. I'd hate to do something where there were just two close-up faces to look at.
Robert Altman, Director.

When you are trying to direct, they will tell you there are a lot of rules. Of course these rules are important, but in reality the way to tell a story is the way you would tell it to your friends in a cafe. And if you have a talent as a narrator, you will tell this story well. Otherwise all the technique in the world will never help you.
Federico Fellini, Director.

I have a motto: Be wrong as fast as you can. Which allows me to know that I’m just going to make a lot of mistakes, that it’s expected. It’s part of the process. But as long as I do it really fast I’m buying time on the back end to solve whatever I do wrong. So I rely on four years. I’ve never gotten anything right in under two years.
Andrew Stanton, Director and Screenwriter.

How the game, at least in modern Hollywood, is played … what’s mine is mine, the thinking goes, and what’s yours might be mine too.
David Carr, Columnist and Biographer.

You have to be self-reliant and strong to survive in this town. Otherwise, you will be destroyed.
Joan Crawford, Actress.

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