Posts Tagged ‘filmmaking’

John Hodgman on Writing

January 20, 2013 1 comment

Look – two posts on the blog in one day! Of course, they’re both links to other people’s stuff, but still…

John Hodgman talks about writing, but really it can be about any creative endeavor. And it’s only 2 minutes long, so people might actually watch it!

Two things I love – the “Know interesting things” part is so much less talked about and so much more important than write what you know. What you know is mostly boring – creativity comes from taking the boring stuff and finding ways of making it interesting. An old writing buddy of mine used to say “take your shit and make people want to smell it” as an attention-getting way of saying the same thing.

The other part is that the super-talented and perseverent groups are not necessarily the same. So often I see very talented people who, because it comes easily to them, have never learned the discipline to actually produce things. They’re great in those rare instances when they do create, but it’s not reliable enough for them to make a living from it – most of them either end up outside of the industry they want to be in, or working for someone who keeps them chained to their desk so they can create.. I’ve seen that second example all of once amongst my many, many students in the last 15 years. It’s the guys who can chain themselves to their own desks that get anywhere.


Hey, Look – it’s overhead diagrams!

June 30, 2012 Comments off

Thought you guys might like to see some of the overheads my DP created for Sympathy Pains. He’s doing these for every scene, but these are for tomorrow. It’s shows the main characters, as well as camera setups. Enjoy!




December 7, 2011 Comments off

Just read a great short snippet of an interview with former Pixar writer/director Andrew Stanton (WALL-E, A Bug’s Life), talking about his new film, John Carter (of Mars, for those of you who read books).

The big point of the interview was about re-shoots and how he loves them. There’s a common thought in filmmaking that re-shoots are for who didn’t get it right the first time, and that there’s a bit of shame in doing them.

Relating this to other art forms, why do writers do more than one draft? Can’t they get it right the first time? What’s up with all those different versions of Van Gogh paintings? And why do pencils have erasers, anyway?

Live music and theatre are different of course, but even then – musicians who record do it again and again until they get it right.

In any other art form, doing it once would be ludicrous – a stunt, maybe, but not any real way to create something lasting. You finish the thing, look at it, see if it’s what you want, then re-do it until it is. Why is film different?

Of course, money and time is why film is different, but still…

The way Stanton knows that re-shoots are the way to go is because of the Pixar house style. And it’s pretty genius. Know why Pixar films are better than other films? Because you’re not seeing the first version. They make the film, finish it, watch it, then re-do it and make it better. Four times, according to Stanton.  What makes it to the theatre is the film remade many times, getting better with each re-do.

Of course, in animation, that’s a bit easier than in live-action, but his bigger point is: why are people ashamed of re-shoots? Why would you be embarrassed of doing anything you possibly can to make your movie better?

Looking forward to John Carter!

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