Ramblings on How to Make a Movie #1

I believe strongly in the need to experiment. You learn something new from every project you do. With the end of My Most Difficult Case in sight, I need to consider the approach I’ll use with my next project.

One approach I want to go back to is what I did on Line of Taxis. While I had a script for that film, my intention from the start was to focus on the editing. The film shoot was to collect material to work with in the edit. The script was there to help me plan the material collection.

In my shooting script I had two different last scenes. I used the one my assistant director suggested, and then added another final scene later.

I also identified a bunch of “interesting” shots that I had no plan to use. I used some of those shots to create a new scene in editing. Several bits were improvised by the actors. Some of the best parts of the film were the improvisations. I did a number of neutral close ups, which I found very useful when it came time to edit.

I want my next film to be much longer, so I think I have to have a much more organized shoot. But I want to keep the same sense of collecting material. There is no such thing as a bad take. You can’t say what is “good” or “bad” until the editor decides he can’t use it.

Someone suggested that I make a film like Before Sunrise. I like the film, but it is a much harder film to make than it might seem. If I were to do a film like that, I would want to cast the main characters before I wrote the script and have them participate in creating it.

To be continued . . .

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