Philip Baker Hall and Paul Thomas Anderson on filmmaking:
Both men break down the 15+ minute Motel scene in Sydney. Philip Baker Hall also talks about the differences and challenges between cinema and theater acting and directing. —filmschoolthrucommentaries
Previously on Cinephilia and Beyond:
- Paul Thomas Anderson on filmmaking — part I, part II
- Hard Eight (also known as Sydney) screenplay by Paul Thomas Anderson
- Hard Eight audio commentary (1996) with director PT Anderson and actor Phillip Baker Hall
- This is an exclusive, it’s never been released on any DVDs of the film, it stayed on the Criterion LD for ages — until it was ripped a while ago. So the only way anyone could ever hear this is if they had a LaserDisc player. Well, not anymore. “You can learn more from John Sturges’ audio track on the ‘Bad Day at Black Rock’ LaserDisc than you can in 4 years of film school.” P.T. Anderson
Required reading for filmmakers and cinephiles, screenwriters and writers, movie buffs and film aficionados: Conversations with the Great Moviemakers of Hollywood’s Golden Age: At the American Film Institute.
This is priceless:
- HAROLD LLOYD
- RAOUL WALSH
- FRANK CAPRA
- MERVYN LEROY
- GEORGE FOLSEY
- WILLIAM WYLER
- GEORGE CUKOR
- BILLY WILDER
- JOHN HUSTON
- RAY BRADBURY
- ELIA KAZAN
- FRED ZINNEMANN
- DAVID LEAN
- STANLEY CORTEZ
- ROBERT WISE
- RICHARD BROOKS
- STANLEY KRAMER
- HAL WALLIS
- JEAN RENOIR
- FEDERICO FELLINI
- INGMAR BERGMAN
- SATYAJIT RAY
The first book to bring together these interviews of master moviemakers from the American Film Institute’s renowned seminars—a series that has been in existence for almost forty years, since the founding of the Institute itself. Here are the legendary directors, producers, cinematographers and writers—the great pioneers, the great artists—whose work led the way in the early days of moviemaking and still survives from what was the twentieth century’s art form. The book is edited—with commentaries—by George Stevens, Jr., founder of the American Film Institute and the AFI Center for Advanced Film Studies’ Harold Lloyd Master Seminar series.
Here talking about their work, their art—picture making in general—are directors from King Vidor, Howard Hawks and Fritz Lang (“I learned only from bad films”) to William Wyler, George Stevens and David Lean. Here, too, is Hal Wallis, one of Hollywood’s great motion picture producers; legendary cinematographers Stanley Cortez, who shot, among other pictures, The Magnificent Ambersons, Since You Went Away and Shock Corridor and George Folsey, who was the cameraman on more than 150 pictures, from Animal Crackers and Marie Antoinette to Meet Me in St. Louis and Adam’s Rib; and the equally celebrated James Wong Howe.
Here is the screenwriter Ray Bradbury, who wrote the script for John Huston’s Moby Dick, Fahrenheit 451 and The Illustrated Man, and the admired Ernest Lehman, who wrote the screenplays for Sabrina, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf and North by Northwest (“One day Hitchcock said, ‘I’ve always wanted to do a chase across the face of Mount Rushmore.’”). And here, too, are Ingmar Bergman and Federico Fellini (“Making a movie is a mathematical operation. It’s absolutely impossible to improvise”). These conversations gathered together—and published for the first time—are full of wisdom, movie history and ideas about picture making, about working with actors, about how to tell a story in words and movement.
A sample of what the moviemakers have to teach us: Elia Kazan, on translating a play to the screen: “With A Streetcar Named Desire we worked hard to open it up and then went back to the play because we’d lost all the compression. In the play, these people were trapped in a room with each other. As the story progressed I took out little flats, and the set got smaller and smaller.”
Ingmar Bergman on writing: “For half a year I had a picture inside my head of three women walking around in a red room with white clothes. I couldn’t understand why these damned women were there. I tried to throw it away… find out what they said to each other because they whispered. It came out that they were watching another woman dying. Then the screenplay started—but it took about a year. The script always starts with a picture…”
Jean Renoir on actors: “The truth is, if you discourage an actor you may never find him again. An actor is an animal, extremely fragile. You get a little expression, it is not exactly what you wanted, but it’s alive. It’s something human.”
And Hitchcock—on Hitchcock: “Give [the audience] pleasure, the same pleasure they have when they wake up from a nightmare.”
When Robert Altman made his final film A Prairie Home Companion, a standby director was required as no insurance company would cover the film without one. Paul Thomas Anderson acted as Altman’s backup on the set, saying, “Any hesitation? None. None at all, because I knew he wasn’t going to die.” Here he describes Altman’s last moments as a director.
The last day we shot the last scene, the one with Kevin with the garbage falling and him playing piano. That was the last thing we shot. And Bob definitely had a melancholy feeling about him, in his face. Because of the way the shot was, we were shooting the whole stage, so Bob was tucked over in Guy Noir’s office. Sometimes you get in these horrible places where you just have to be for the shot. And he had a Starbucks coffee in his hand and his coat was zipped up because it was kind of cold in there and he had his glasses on. He was staring at the monitor and he just looked really sad that it was ending. I think we only did the shot twice. I remember sitting there thinking, “Fuck, do it again, do it… do more, do more.” I wanted to do more — not cause it wasn’t good, but I wanted to keep shooting. Oh, I didn’t figure on this making me sad. I thought, “Oh great, I get to talk about Bob.” But it’s making me feel like I’m sure everybody feels — they really wish they could call him up. Yeah, fuck! Horrible, sad. He was so indestructible for so long.” —Paul Thomas Anderson on Robert Altman
That would explain the requirement that you have a stand-by director, who turned out to be Paul Thomas Anderson.
Paul was very, very generous to do this. It’s amazing, I was really surprised. I never would have asked him to do it. He was at my side every moment I was shooting and he was a fantastic help. He never intruded, he never overrode me. I couldn’t even say goodbye to him, I would have broken down in tears.
Certainly you aware of the homage he’s paid to you with films such as “Boogie Nights” and “Magnolia.”
He told me he was a big fan of mine. I saw him after “Boogie Nights” and he said, “I just ripped you off.” [chuckles]. —Robert Altman on Paul Thomas Anderson
Paul Thomas Anderson dedicated his 2007 film There Will Be Blood to Altman.
PTA on filmmaking:
First part of a series of informative selections from PTA and Philip Baker Hall together. PTA is a known cinephile who comes from the same camp as Quentin Tarantino. A man who had immersed himself in studying cinema by watching a plethora of films and utilized the knowledge gathered from laserdisc commentaries in the late 80′s and early 90′s to learn filmmaking on his own. Of course not many people know he had a leg up in the industry as much as he likes to milk the “non-film school” card, but one can still admire the dedication of learning the craft by being a sponge, soaking up all kinds of filmmaking information. —filmschoolthrucommentaries
Previously on Cinephilia and Beyond:
- Hard Eight (also known as Sydney) screenplay by Paul Thomas Anderson
- Hard Eight Audio Commentary (1996) with director PT Anderson and actor Phillip Baker Hall
- Paul Thomas Anderson claims that everything he knows about directing he learned from John Sturges’ commentary on the Bad Day at Black Rock LaserDisc
Tony Scott on filmmaking @ filmschoolthrucommentaries
At long last here is the first of a series of Tony Scott commentary selections. As I always try to do, I’ve compiled what I found to be the most helpful, illuminating bits on filmmaking from this master of action filmmaking. I also edited this video to be screen specific so that it’s easier to grasp what Tony’s talking about, like the pictures I inserted for instance. You get a taste of the insight of how Tony approaches his films; the process and execution.
Entirely screen specific:
Previously on Cinephilia & Beyond:
- Frank Darabont
- Tom Tykwer
- Jerry Weintraub
- Michael Shamberg
- Benh Zeitlin
- David Flynn
- John Battsek
- Paul Haggis
- Christine Vachon
- Alejandro González Iñárritu
- Jennifer Fox
- Milos Forman
- Barry Gifford
- Vilmos Zsigmond
- Sylvester Stallone
- Ken Loach
- Peter Fonda
- Matthew Modine
- Oliver Stone
With thanks to @suresh305
A brilliant series of articles by Scott Beggs called 6 Filmmaking Tips From…
- Martin Scorsese
- Alfred Hitchcock
- David Fincher
- Stanley Kubrick
- Billy Wilder
- Steven Spielberg
- The Coen Brothers
- Wes Anderson
- Ridley Scott
- David Cronenberg
- Nora Ephron
- Aaron Sorkin
- Michael Haneke
- Christopher Nolan
- Indie Pioneer Jon Jost
- John Ford
- Charlie Kaufman
- Sylvester Stallone
- Tony Scott
- Frank Darabont
- Monty Python
- Werner Herzog
- Paul Thomas Anderson
- Joss Whedon
- Rian Johnson
- Wes Craven
- John Carpenter
- Dario Argento
- The Wachowskis
- Steven Soderbergh
- George Lucas
- Akira Kurosawa
- Peter Jackson
- Kathryn Bigelow
- Quentin Tarantino
- Sundance Directors
- Silent Era Icon Harold Lloyd
- John McTiernan
- Oscar Winning Directors
- Ang Lee
- Danny Boyle
- Harmony Korine
- Dennis Hopper
- Sam Raimi
- Shane Black
BAFTA’s (British Academy of Film and Television Arts) Guru Program is an online educational resource for filmmakers that features new and archived lectures and other materials culled from the organizations current presentations and extensive calalog of lectures series and masterclasses. For its Guru Program, BAFTA has a new website, where content includes long-form lectures and interviews featuring notable artists such as Martin Scorsese, Joel and Ethan Coen, Jean-Pierre Jeunet, Meryl Streep, and Colin Firth, among others. BAFTA will continually add to these, incorporating the academy’s public events and presentations that will be streamed live to reach wider audeinces.
On the 30th of September 2011, in front of a sell-out theatre at the BFI in London, Charlie Kaufman delivered the final lecture in BAFTA’s 2011 Screenwriters’ Lecture Series. Director/Editor Eliot Rausch extracted five minutes from Kaufman’s speech, and cut over a video titled What I have to Offer.
- Abi Morgan: Screenwriting Lecture
- Brian Helgeland: Screenwriting Lecture
- Peter Straughan: Screenwriting Lecture
- Scott Frank: Screenwriting Lecture
- Julian Fellowes: Screenwriting Lecture
- Frank Cottrell Boyce: Screenwriting Lecture
- Moira Buffini: Screenwriting Lecture
- William Nicholson: Screenwriting Lecture
- Paul Laverty: Screenwriting Lecture
- Guillermo Arriaga: Screenwriting Lecture
- John Logan: Screenwriting Lecture
- Peter Morgan: Screenwriter Lecture
- Woody Allen: Annual David Lean Lecture
- Atom Egoyan: Annual David Lean Lecture
- David Lynch: Annual David Lean Lecture
- Oliver Stone: Annual David Lean Lecture
- Peter Weir: Annual David Lean Lecture
- Robert Altman: David Lean Lecture
- Ken Loach: David Lean Lecture
- Peter Weir: David Lean Lecture
- Martin Scorsese: A Life in Pictures
- The Coen Brothers: A Life in Pictures
- Alfonso Cuarón: A Life in Pictures
- Guillermo del Toro: A Life in Pictures
- Terry Gilliam: A Life in Pictures
- Jean-Pierre Jeunet: A Life in Pictures
- Ang Lee: A Life in Pictures
- Anthony Minghella: A Life in Pictures
- Mira Nair: A Life in Pictures
- Quentin Tarantino: A Life in Pictures
Picture above: Cinematographer Leon Shamroy and director Fritz Lang work out an unusual angle for a scene of You Only Live Once.
More cinematic information from the body horror master. David Cronenberg is one of the most articulate commentators I’ve heard yet. Again, I left out the ‘character motivation’ bits so you get majority of the commentary on the shoot and directing philosophy from Cronenberg. Much to be gleaned from.
Previously on Cinephilia & Beyond via filmschoolthrucommentaries: The master of body horror himself. David Cronenberg talks about the choices and filmmaking decisions he’s made in A History of Violence. This is one of the first of a series, since he has recorded them for most of his films. Again, I try to include only filmmaking information — there’s quite a bit of dialogue from him on the motivations of the characters that I left out but I’m going to post some of them separately later on.
Master Class with Tim Burton. Director, producer, writer, animator, and artist Tim Burton joins post-secondary students and faculty to offer feedback on the work of animation students and to celebrate the medium of stop-motion animation. This Higher Learning event was held on November 23, 2010 at TIFF Bell Lightbox.
Another great Master Class with Tim Burton at the Cinémathèque. On the occasion of the exhibition dedicated to the prolific career of Tim Burton, La Cinémathèque française is offering a special Master Class with the director himself. This designer, painter, videographer, photographer and inventor will give you the chance to peek into his creative process.
With thanks to:
mentorless.com is a website for independent storytellers and filmmakers who want to stay tune with tips and tools on how to write, shoot, edit and produce a video, a short movie, a feature film, but also how to stay creative. It offers interviews, making-of, tutorials, tips and tools to be inspired and evolve as a story maker, a filmmaker and an independent creative. If you love films, transmedia, post-production, tv shows and anything related to storytelling and entertainment, this is it. Mentorless is conceived as a sharing platform and doesn’t pretend to detain all the answers. It is an opportunity to start conversations with other movie-makers and movie-lovers. Mentorless was awarded best website of the week in August 2012 by Script Mag.
Dreams do come true, so don’t be afraid to dream big and work hard!
Taken in 1980. The guy at the beginning of the video is Randy Cartwright and the guy holding the camera is John Lasseter.
If you’re sitting at work and looking for something fun, interesting and film-related to listen to, Kevin Smith‘s Smodcast has the answer. In his latest episode, the director of Clerks, Chasing Amy and Red State chatted with Looper, Brick and Brothers Bloom director Rian Johnson. The directors talked for four hours, the first two of which have just been released. Among the topics are Johnson’s films, including Looper, the question of which director Bruce Willis liked better, and much more.
For those interested, Rian Johnson electronically offers the original written materials for the film Brick. Control-click (right click on PCs) to download PDF files of:
The shooting script, annotated with footnotes
The original novella, including new illustrations
All three in one big whoppin file
Our screenplay is now available as a free download.
This is the final draft of the script we went into production with, and differs from the final film in many respects, which are hopefully more interesting than annoying.
A brief introduction is attached to the script. Enjoy, share and disperse…
Cigarettes & Red Vines is proud to present the very first installment of “Making The Master,” our brand new series of in-depth interviews with some of the minds behind “The Master.” Between now and February 26th (the day of the film’s Blu-ray release), we’ll be talking to many of the production’s principal players and today we’re kicking things off with an exclusive interview with the man himself, Paul Thomas Anderson.
The Film Society of Lincoln Center welcomed four-time Oscar-winning filmmakers Joel and Ethan Coen for a rare, career-spanning discussion of their work, moderated by Noah Baumbach.
Top 10 Charlie Rose Interviews of Film Directors.
Lucky for us Charlie Rose is a huge movie buff and he conducts the best interviews with film directors. Charlie’s interviews go beyond the generic interviews that directors usually do to promote their movies, and he asks the great questions that film aficionados want to hear. A few interviews are conducted with people who knew the filmmaker closely for the great directors Alfred Hitchcock and Stanley Kubrick. Enjoy these interviews with some of cinema’s great artists.
George Lucas sits down for an hour long conversation with Charlie Rose in this interview and chronologically goes through his moviemaking career from his days at USC film school up to creating the Star Wars prequels. He talks about his financial and technological struggles to get his visions on the big screen and how he has finally attained financial independence as an artist to create the movies he wants to make without having to answer to anyone. George also passes on his wisdom about storytelling, education, artistry, and parenting.
As the undisputed “Master of Suspense”, Alfred Hitchcock left behind a large body of work that continually explored the darker depths of the human heart. Here, Charlie Rose talks with the director’s daughter Patricia along with noted film director/historian Peter Bogdanovich on the centennial of his Hitchcock’s birth. Topics include Hitchcock’s dogged attention to detail, his writing methods, which films of his own he preferred best, and where he ranks with the great masters of cinema history.
Known as “Iron Jim” to friends and critics alike, James Cameron rose from humble beginnings as a truck driver to become the “King of the World” with his mega-blockbuster Titanic. Here Charlie Rose talks with the director at length about what went into making the most expensive film ever made, and how he managed to balance historical fact with romantic fiction. Cameron’s talent for managing complex productions that still strike a chord with a broad audience has made him one of the most successful filmmakers in the modern era; a feat no less incredible when you consider how much his ambition grows from picture to picture.
Capturing a key moment in history, this interview with Steve Jobs and John Lassetter catches both visionaries at the birth of what would become the most successful animation studio in recent history. After purchasing Pixar in 1986, shortly after his initial ouster from Apple, Jobs helped shepherd Lassetter and his team towards the first digitally animated movie, Toy Story, a box-office success that was followed by a string of hits that has not let up to date. Watch for an interesting moment near the end where Jobs tactfully dodges Charlie Rose’s question about a possible return to Apple; and even that actually did come to pass later that same year!
Coming off the wild success of his independent film breakout hit Pulp Fiction, super cool film director Quentin Tarantino sits down with Charlie Rose and talks about his craft and where his career is going to go from here. Tarantino talks about his childhood watching movies and his days as a video store clerk. He discusses his unorthodox way of storytelling, his method of writing, and his love of following the careers of film directors of which he mentions his favorites. Finally he talks about his first two films Reservoir Dogs and Pulp Fiction. Watch film geek Tarantino enthusiastically riff on his love of movies.
With a photographer’s eye, a philosopher’s curiosity, and a searing intellect, Stanley Kubrick’s films have cut a distinctive path through cinematic history with a scope that is still hard to estimate. Here Charlie Rose talks with the late director’s widow Christiane, his lifelong friend Jan Harland, and adds modern master Martin Scorsese into the mix to round out the table. Christiane Kubrick provides heartwarming insight on their marriage, while Harland and Scorsese weigh in on why Kubrick’s films such as 2001, The Shining, and Dr. Strangelove continue to provoke, compel, and stimulate new generations of filmgoers.
In this interview, filmmaker Roman Polanski speaks about filmmaking, personal tragedy, and the legal trouble that has kept him from returning to the United States. Charlie Rose does not shy away from confronting the director of such classics as Rosemary’s Baby and Chinatown on why he hasn’t faced the legal ramifications of a rape charge that made him flee for Europe in 1977. Polanski also reflects on the loss of his mother at Auschwitz, his lonely childhood in war-torn Poland, losing his wife in the Manson family murders, and his current life as a French citizen.
Director Oliver Stone is known for his political and historical films and in this interview with Charlie Rose, Stone talks about his film Nixon. Stone gives us his interpretation of the man Nixon and covers some of the more controversial aspects of his film. He also gives us his philosophy on drama and its ability to convey the shadow side of history which is often not the version put into the history books. Get a history lesson from Oliver Stone with this hour long talk about Nixon.
Director Tim Burton talks with Charlie Rose about his recent film and art exhibit at the Museum of Modern Art. In the first 10 minutes MOMA’s exhibit curators talk about putting on the exhibition. Then Burton discusses some of his sketches and talks about how he went from being a weird and quiet teenager to a filmmaker extraordinaire. Burton talks about his love of masks and how they bring out new aspects in his performers such as with Jack Nicholson made up as the Joker in his film Batman or Johnny Depp in the wide variety of outfits he has suited up for in many Burton films. Burton feels that all kids are artists and doodlers up to about age 12, but then for various reason these creative instincts are suppressed as people get older, and both Tim and Charlie find this unfortunate.
German film director Werner Herzog sits down with Charlie Rose in this 23 minute interview and discusses his prolific filmmaking career. Herzog gives some insight into the making of his film Fitzcarraldo about which he recently published his personal diaries in a book called Conquest of the Useless. He talks about his philosophy of filmmaking and his search for the “ecstatic truth” when it comes to the many documentaries that he has shot over the years. Herzog also addresses his talent for bringing out the best in actors such as his unique gift for harnessing the talent of German actor Klaus Kinski.
The Finnish director who filled the directing shoes on the second Die Hard — and fit the shoes quite well, mind you — talks about filmmaking. It’s always a joy for me when I listen to all these commentaries and the commentator is a delightful surprise because of how much insight or illumination is being provided into the craft of filmmaking by the given person. Renny Harlin is a wonderful commentator. I’ve split the commentary into two parts – part 2 of which will be posted later. This one tackles all the pieces of information of it that dealt with the technical and in general, filmmaking advice. The second part is a nice collection of Harlin’s thoughts on action films.
Enjoy, and learn, and if you like it – comment.
In Voices from the Set, Tony Macklin shares with his readers the interviews he conducted during the 1970s with many of Hollywood’s greatest stars. Because it was an era where the Old Hollywood was still extant, and the new cinema was burgeoning, he was able to meet the old with the new-actors, directors, producers, writers-and make some of his own memories along the way. Interviews with old masters Alfred Hitchcock and Howard Hawks are juxtaposed with the new breed Martin Scorsese and Alan Rudolph and the mavericks Robert Altman and Sam Peckinpah. Icons such as John Wayne and Edith Head are included, as well as relative newcomers Stockard Channing and Richard Baskin. Voices from the Set is a unique vignette of Hollywood history, a snapshot in time, ideal for the film buff, film historian, for anyone with an interest in the intriguing personalities that made it what it is today. This book is an opportunity not to be missed.
Listen to the audio interviews with:
- David Seidler: (MP3 format, approximately 12 minutes)
- Robert Altman (part 1: MP3 format, approximately 50 minutes)
- Sam Peckinpah (MP3 format, approximately 48 minutes)
- Sidney Poitier (MP3 format, approximately 58 minutes)
- Vilmos Zsigmond (MP3 format, approximately 105 minutes)
- Leigh Brackett (MP3 format, approximately 70 minutes)
- Lee Marvin (MP3 format, approximately 9 minutes)
- Martin Scorsese (MP3 format, approximately 90 minutes)
- Howard Hawks (MP3 format, approximately 107 minutes)
- Richard Sylbert (MP3 format, approximately 67 minutes)
- Charlton Heston (MP3 format, approximately 89 minutes)
- Robert Altman (MP3 format, approximately 8.5 minutes)
- Edith Head (MP3 format, approximately 38 minutes)
- Warren Beatty (MP3 format, approximately 25 minutes)
- Stockard Channing (MP3 format, approximately 38 minutes)
- John Wayne (MP3 format, approximately 80 minutes)
- Alfred Hitchcock (MP3 format, approximately 43 minutes)
- The Best Jewish Cowboy: An Interview with James Caan
- “Plant Your Feet and Tell the Truth”: An Interview with Clint Eastwood
- The Ballad of Stella Stevens: An Interview
Check out Voices from the Set at Amazon.
Picture above: Clint Eastwood checks the camera angle for a scene in The Bridges of Madison County.