Let’s Wing It: Improvisation, Film and That Something Special

Can I improvise this post? Over-planning can be a dangerous activity. One can spend a lot of time preparing to all eventualities only to become paralysed by the process. Improvisation is also a process, but a more liberating one. In a way, it makes us achieve more and can lead to valuable and unexpected outcomes. Continue reading

Documentary Modes: Representing the ‘Truth’

Like cinema itself, my love for cinema has been divided between the fascination for ‘reality’ and the craving for ‘fantasy’.  While Méliès chose to embark us on fantastic voyages the likes of Flaherty and Grierson chose to explore the reality of our world instead. The line between fiction and reality is seldom sharp. Continue reading

Filmmaking, Emotions and Sound: Communicate with the ‘Designers’

Sound is at least half of your film; make it 60-70% of the experience depending on who you are talking to. You do not have to be a skilled sound designer, musician or composer to take advantage of its power. You have to, however, be able to communicate with the ‘creative forces’ that will shape the soundscape of your film. Continue reading

A Director Prepares: Visual Script Breakdown

Learning how to approach a task can be far more interesting and valuable than learning how to ‘do’ a task. In 99% of the cases, to translate a movie script into visual content is one of the duties of the film director. How would you approach the visual breakdown of the script? How would you transform the written words into visual information that can be shared with the production designer, the director of cinematography and the rest of the cast and crew? Continue reading

Survival, Filmmaking and Food

Food is on my mind… a lot. I am human. I will always remember my first time working on set; the memories of walking into the old disused hospital, the smell of the dust burning on the lights, the PA’s running around with their walkie talkies, The 1st AD’s voice, the director pacing back and forth between the set and the video village, the food. Ah, the food. Continue reading

Color Grading: Exploration, Temperature and Contrast

Colorists tend to approach the task of correction and grading through multiple passes. When mixing light, I start with the more surgical aspects of the correction before going through a series of artistic manipulations (color equalisation, relighting, isolations, looks,…) Every project brings a new set of challenges and a new set of directions and possibilities. I enjoy  the discovery stage the most. After understanding the emotions, story and motivations, I select a few keys shots from the various scenes and play; build a few versions before committing to a look. Continue reading

Emotions, Psychology and Evolution

According to Billy Wilder, if you want to be a director you must be a policeman, a midwife,  a sycophant, a bastard and a BjChFQOIUAEvdnj psychoanalyst. It took me some time to realize the importance of the last point and truly appreciate psychology. Continue reading

Is Cinema Dead? Cinema is Broken says Greenaway. 

386428_142132029220209_1520996886_n I was lucky/unlucky to attend Peter Greenaway’s lecture on Cinema in Pietrasanta, Italy. After a tumultuous (lack of) introduction the filmmaker’s dramatic voice quickly started provoking and capturing the audience. Cinema is dead. Who killed it? In Italy, was it Berlusconi? Or (as suggested by someone in the audience) was it simply Italian laziness? Greenaway is not the first nor the last to wonder about ‘the death of Cinema’. Recently, Tarantino’s now famous statement regarding celluloid rapidly bounced around the web gaining momentum and critiques. Greenaway’s reasoning appears to be different, as he accuses the likes of Tarantino to be suffering from the “Casablanca syndrome”.  He believes Cinema has been broken from within, incapable of adapting to a changing world. Continue reading

Film Editing Education: Rules (or Guidelines)

“I want to be an Editor!” I remember my young self saying those words proudly on my first day of Film School. It might have been because of the fascination I had towards the equipment (I had the unusual chance to experience tape-to-tape editing during my childhood and the rise of ‘affordable’ NLE’s created an entire new world for me to explore). It might have been the appeal of a quieter environment, when compared to the busy life on set.  Or, I’d like to believe, I was already aware that editing is an excellent directing school (but clearly, I was not). Continue reading