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Midterm 1 Notes

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1/17: John Dies At the End * CTCS 466 * Former Professors * Arthur Knight * Charles Chaplin * Former Students * Ron Howard * Robert Zemeckis * 16 mm/35 mm * Brotherly Love (Popeye), Max Fleischer * Original song * Made for adults as well as children * Take place in cities * As opposed to the barnyard settings of early Disney * Classic cartoon * Postmodern cartoon (The Simpsons) * Digital Cinema Print (DCP) * Ted Mundor, Landmark Theatres * Career * Monsters Magazine Film Fan Monthly (13 y.o.) * Movies on TV & TV Movies (17 y.o.) * American Society of Cinematographers (ASC) * Gene Shalp, The Today Show * Bruce Cook, Entertainment Tonight * Theme: Great Moments from Movie Musicals * “Somewhere Over the Rainbow”, The Wizard of Oz * Only a few cuts * Simplicity requires confidence * Contrast with the circus of Les Miserables * Remains in character without melodrama * Impression that she actually is singing * She is very much still Dorothy Gale, not Judy Garland * John Dies At the End * Phantasm * Bubba Hotep * Horror + Fantasy + Comedy * Based on novel of the same name * Don Coscarelli (Director/Producer) * Loved the novel immediately * Met Paul Giammatti on set of Bubba Hotep * He has different audience from this kind of film * However, loves genre outside of his typecast * Tone of the piece was difficult to find * Created a lot of options in the editing * Actors * Chase memorized everything cover to cover * Confidence level to experiment; never searching for words * Special effects are a tad cumbersome * However, digital is just a tool same as the practical special effects; old tricks + new tricks * i.e. meat monster * Economize time * Always waiting on something; bottleneck * Tried to schedule 3-4 days shooting + 3-4 days preparing per week to save time * Need to find actors who are willing to roll with being paid only for those certain days * Ended up being months of shooting * Budget * Most dollars went to time to shoot or time for visual effects or money for sound design/effects/music * i.e. $200/day for each nude actor, $1800/day for location; therefore each extra day costs $6,00 * Censorship Process/MPAA Ratings Board * i.e. doorknob scene * Credits * Book has a coda section about another dimension * Collaborative moment when they were watching the cut and the credits spliced throughout (mini-sequel) * Chase Williamson (Star) * USC Class of ‘10 * Loved the script immediately * Timing was perfect * School Script Screen * Transitioned from stage to screen * Fascinated by all the specialized roles on set * So much of the film is based on things imagined * Practical effects were easy * Letting imagination go; no limit to potential * Rude awakening once shooting ended * Andy (Credit: Assistant Director) * Marketing Company; M3 Alliance * Had originally planned to work on another project with Don Coscarelli, but didn’t work out this project worked out * Does whatever possible to get the movie done * Marketing * Cutting promos * Providing funding/production materials/equipment/crew * Challenge * To make sure that the schedule was intact * Coordinate crew, location, props, etc. * Splurged on the music * Bryan(?) scored Bubba Hotep and now has scored Fast & Furious and IM3 * Angus Scrimm (Cast/Cameo) * USC Class of ‘50 * First time saying obscenities on screen * Always torn between acting and writing * Was working on magazine called Cinema * Landed his first feature film * Strongest memory of studying film at USC: * The family feeling with all the other student-actors * William C. DeMille * First one-act play: also featured Art Buckwald * Sam Peckinpaw * Dave Wolper * Story Magazine: ex-G.I., found him to have a look at a published writer: Joseph Heller * Pragmatic * Payroll * Schedule * Financing * Etc.

1/24: Paperman/The Gatekeepers * Paperman * Preceded Wreck-It-Ralph * John Kahrs * Visuals * Stylistic * Black and white * Canyon-like spaces between skyscrapers * Silvery light like in old black and white photography * Glen King * Merge 2-d drawings with 3-d space * Maintain raw energy of the existing line * Vector based lines merged with the animation * Each stroke is like a string; can be pulled and adjusted manually * Both simple and believable * i.e. The close-up * Do you believe that this girl is real and feeling true, relatable emotions? * Very little is actually there * Multiple planes; it is a trick that it looks like a complete, dimensional world * Pre-production artwork * Extensive R&D * Arching design * Make sure the images flow * He is always framed by dark, she is always framed by light * Using the light as a storytelling tool * Symmetry; balancing of the couple * Establishes screen director * He is generally on left, she on rights * Drawing on tablets * The compromise between tactile pen on paper and the benefits of digital artistry * Line work + Paint strokes + Film grain * The best films are those you can understand with no sound * Disney philosophy * Effective filmmaking that is clear and concise * No dialogue * A nice challenge to have to do without it * Realistic sound * i.e. train, city sounds * No more pared back, stylist sound in films * i.e. Duck Soup * Only the sounds that matter, not the world sounds * Post-Jurassic Park world * Vast world sound * Rich, multi-layered sound palette * Adds believability * In stylized world, the realistic soundscape supports * Stylized characters * Likeable but believable; peers * Goofiness about them * The 1950s * Playing with light/shadow, black/white * Pre-war photography * Vogue from the 1950s * Shining moment from NYC * Dreamy quality because set at nostalgic time * Utopian/populist attitude of what film does for people * Lasseter/Pixar * Sullivan’s Travels Oh Brother, Where Art Thou? * The value of short subjects * Gives experience to young animators/artists * No commercial value necessarily, but is valuable as a test ground/practice ground/morsel for the audience * Oscar nominated * Seal of approval; permanent * Controversies over the year * Documentary category in particular * Issue: too conservative? * i.e. Michael Moore now on committee, issue eliminated * What are the Oscars truly rewarding? * Commercial vs. artistic merit? * i.e. Superbowl – blatant commercial value * Kickoff, Pre-show, Halftime Show * Selling out vs. Buying in * John Dies At the End * Flawed but fun * Promising premise that loses steam by the end * Production * Planning 3-4 days/week * Debut role for co-lead actor * Solid performance * Notable credit to start out career * Assistant Director/Producer * Not only watching film be made but became an active member of the production * Has booked theatrical release * Achievement; majority of films will not receive theatrical release * The Gatekeepers * Documentary * Very broad category * Can a film ever truly be objective? * No. * Representation is automatically altered based on shot and subject selection * There will always be a point of view * Thusly, every documentary will have a point of view * Some more so than others * i.e. Michael Moore * Storytelling * Types * Historical * The story has already been told * Information exists through documents, sources, interviews, etc. * Contemporary * The documentary of discovery * The story is as of yet unknown * Hope to shape it into something compelling and interesting * Reality TV * Contrived/Set up * Still follows a story * “Story editors” * Material being shaped to be digestible and appealing to the audience * Dror Moreh * Music * “Open tracks” * Music is completely open * Can compose freely * Never met; over the internet * Composed the music to the movie to match the action * The mood of “God from above” * Decisions that the members of the Shin Bet take * Electronic, haunting * Opening * Explain to the audience the kinds of decisions these people are faced with; moral dilemmas * Explained what happened in the Six Day War immediately * Beginning with the consequences * The breaking point; everything changed; Israel occupied the civilian population, which had never happened before * Structure * Knew where he was going * Considerable research beforehand * The structure of the film is the first draft of the structure * 7 chapters * What led you to make it? * Not a politician; a moviemaker * His way of saying that the situation is wrong * Errol Morris’ Fog of War * Seeing a movie of someone who speaks not from what he thinks, but from being in the same room as the decision makers * The intensity of making the decision * Vietnam War was a mistake (?) * “We came to liberate you.” * “No, you came to enslave us.” * What circumstances led you to believe you could persuade all six of these men to come on camera and be so candid? * These men fought for their entire lives to protect Israel * Constantly said things that shocked him * “The mirror” * Change the mirror to show what you want it to show * Cannot argue with these subjects; they see it as they see it * Ami Ayalon was first * “Key” to the group; vouched for Moreh * Important not to manipulate the message of the 6 through the editing * Took 3 years to edit the film * How to manifest what was being said visually * i.e. “Factory of information” * CGI mapping/replication * Virtual reality based on true documents * Film has had a strong opening in Israel * 35000 people have seen it in 15 theaters * Influence of America on the press’ perception in Israel * Warmly welcomed in America * Film was shown first time at Israel (Jerusalem Film Festival) * No press * Gatekeepers, family, limited audience * Press support much warmer reception in Israel * Poses a challenge to the right-wing leaders in Israel * Does not believe that he became more of a patriot, but is more cynical about the direction of the conflict * Happy that it was released before the elections * Thinks that it definitely had an impact * Evidence of change * Emails, response, conversation, etc. * Feedback from Palestinians * Not many Palestinians have seen it yet * Those that have seen it were warm * Shin Bet is the most hated organization in the Palestinian territories * Regret that they do not have something like that

1/31/13 * Beasts of the Southern Wild * Benh Zeitlin * Lived in Louisiana for years * Co-wrote score * Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actress * “Grassroots” * Fox Searchlight saw potential at Sundance 2012 * Post-Katrina Louisiana * Amateur actors * Quvenzhane Wallis * Dwight Henry * Relationship between the two * Persona * Typically, we suspend our disbelief when we recognize the actors * However, sometimes prior characters serve as distraction * Unknown actors do not carry star persona with them * Score * Familiarity * Emotion * Another character in the film * The sounds within the mind of a four year-old * Realism * Speaks/thinks/sees like an actual four year-old * Showing rather than telling * Emotion through expression rather than dialogue * Rare in Hollywood * Paperman * John Carr * The details * Lighting * Darkness/Light * Movement * Median point of each frame * The Gatekeepers * Allows each story to tell itself * The men purposefully tell the stories; it’s no accident * No “dramatic recreation” * Balance * Extensive editing process * Determining what to keep and what to cut * Was structured very well as a documentary * Affecting change * Opening the conversation * The Invisible War * Screened for Leon Panetta * Eliminating judicial rights of military commanders * Gave military personnel due process of law * The issues themselves are incredibly dark * Portrayal of this darkness with honesty * Call viewers to the cause * Characters * Documentaries do not necessarily have characters * Introduced a range of characters * Interesting, unpredictable, human * Patty Andrews * Deceased 1/31/13 * The Andrews Sisters * Popular in 1930s and 40s * Worked into 1970 * Very successful during WWII years * Hollywood Canteen (Warner Bros.) * Made as a film to pay tribute to the canteen * Hollywood was major part of the war effort * Moral-building films * Relevant subject matter * Restaurant/nightclub for servicemen * Major stars/musicians would perform every night * Actors would serve food, tend bar, dance with soldiers * Incredibly successful venture * Momentum fell after the war; unique happenstance * Quality of filmmaking * Natural * Unobtrusive * “House style” of each studio; distinctive look * i.e. “Fox lighting” * “Drafted” by Hollywood * Became part of many Hollywood musicals * Benh Zeitlin * Adaptation from play * The play was a mythological structure/universe * Made it into a filmic piece * Interior monologues * Narration * Music would illuminate feelings/understandings * Casting * Silent presence * Ability to convey emotion without words * Boy Girl * All of Lucy’s work was about her own family * Narrators were all version of Lucy * Transition of character to girl brought it closer to the reality of Lucy’s experience * Move to Louisiana * Combine with story of holdouts post-Katrina * Timeline * Began four years ago * Chaotic * Never made a shooting day completely * Would always miss some essential shots * Amalgamation of ideas * Lucy’s plays * Story of holdouts * Roald Dahl story * Various ideas within notebook * Sundance Lab * Intensive and distilled mentorship program * Real artistic boot camp where no information is being fed; forced to self examine with brutality * Every line/scene/sequence in the script is examined; does it add to the story? * No one letting you off the hook for a choice you’re making * Mentor: * Unexpected mentors * Fan vs. Great Teacher * Michael Goldenberg * Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Green Lantern * Very different work from Zeitlin but excellent mentorship * Disciplined thinker * Having clarity in your decision making at every level is the goal * Making decisions with certainty; having a reason to make every choice * Based on strength of Zeitlin’s shorts * Script was therefore rushed * 1.5 years of fitting script to budget being offered * Pitching to backers * Difficult conversation; elucidate the perspective of the little girl * Hushpuppy’s POV made the story tell-able and were also able to get away with a smaller budget * Not enough money to construct a universe; construct details * Non-profit company * Gave grant to social interest film * Their first feature; Zeitlin as first-time director * Took a huge risk * 2 months shooting * 1 week special effects * 1 year editing * Convinced producers to give money for the pick-up shots essential to the film * Quvenzhane grew over course of shooting * Strategic shots to serve as connective tissue * Finished product 2 days before premiere * 1 year promoting film * 80 people drove from New Orleans to Park City for Sundance premiere * Shooting * Intense bonding experience * Living on water, in woods, in the real elements of the Louisiana Bathtub * Score * Zeitlin’s first passion was music * Part of appeal of movies was continuing to write music * Music is hard to separate from movie in creative process * What is the music’s place in the landscape? * Silent character * Envisioned music in his head when writing opening scenes of the utopian bathtub and Hushpuppy’s love for it * Eliminate weak exposition scenes * Illustrate the feeling with the song; hearing rather than being told * Melodic line * Motif * Establish a memorable melody/feeling * Want that sound/feeling back like the characters want the Bathtub back * The melody is played at the beginning and then only again at fade-to-black when film ends * Exposition * Show it, don’t say it * Loves beginnings of movies * The experience of getting to know a world and its characters is inherently thrilling * Where feelings are most crucial to build audience affection * If you can feel it happening/it’s too transparent, the magic is lost * Great movie openings * Annie Hall * Husbands * The universe of the film * Story of Hushpuppy learning to be a good animal * Especially in relation to the things that have created you * Your parents and your place * Inevitably lose during your life * The entire film is taking place inside her head * Reality ceases to offer her anything * It is what she creates in her mind * Floating restaurant scene * Hushpuppy has never learned any tenderness * Does not know how to proceed except to follow the mythology of her mother, who is supposedly at sea * Does not matter whether that is her mother or not? * The lesson is what is important and imbues her with the strength to take care of her dying father * Emotion reason even if it made no sense * Non-professional actors * Hadn’t had much experience with trained actors anyway * Seeking acting talent in amateur performers * From the region * Much more intimate * No inherent advantage * Spent months getting to know one another * i.e. Deathbed scene * Zeitlin knew what experiences in their lives were going to generate that emotion; was able to help them make the connections and find that emotion * Dialogue was re-voiced to fit the actors playing the characters * Needed cast in order to write part properly * Designed as a collaboration * Actors learn quickly * By week 3, they have become actors * Writing Process * Collaboration * Writing and critiquing each other’s writing * Writer-director takes control of script during last few weeks of rehearsal * Final rewrite to interpret the material for the screen * Screenplay is a vessel to create the movie * Lucy was great about allowing a director to take over her screenplay; letting it become something else * “Beasts” * Cave paintings * Record of what an extinct ancestor left behind * Who these people were and what they meant * Hushpuppy is on the verge of extinction like the ancient cave paintings * Image of Hushpuppy staring down the beasts * Step into the painting and becomes that cave man * Both predator and object of true closeness * Film school * Whatever you want to do, film is a language * Brief history, but universal language that almost everybody in the world speaks * You have to become fluent in order to express yourself * Not just the masterpieces * Everything met with the same level of scrutiny * Why all elements are the way that they are? * Watching so many films * Forcing self to watch films until he was fluent

2/7/13 * 3-d * Motion Picture Technology * Lumiere brothers * Inventors of the motion picture * Entertainment through visuals * Newest as opposed to radio, music, tv, etc. * Early version of 3-d * 1953 * 3-d became the bandwagon * Too many mediocre movies * Very short movies w/ intermission * Technical issues * Two reels running simultaneously * If out of sync, strobe effect and headaches * Had run its course by the end of the year * Revival of 3-d * With the advent of digital cinema * Solved the technical issues and increased mobility * The glasses still uncomfortable * Economic rather than creative hurdle * Trend is again running downward * People choosing 2-d over 3-d (unless there is some incredible drive to see the 3-d version) * Bryan Singer * Graduate of USC * Donated $5M to Critical Studies program * Very forward thinking about technology * Beasts of the Southern Wild * Maltin * Emotional block * Cannot relate to their incredible sense of community * Harshness of father-daughter relationship * Musical Moments * Silent films were never shown silent * Always at least a piano in the theatre * “A multimedia event” * Actors never spoke * A mystique * Lack of ambient sound and dialogue heightens senses and inspires imagination * Broadway, Vaudeville * Inclusion of dialogue, sound, music * Office Blues (Short Subject) * Ginger Rogers * Ingenue * Simple plot * Technical challenges * Two cameras running simultaneously * Ginger Rogers singing live * Orchestra live alongside * Inserted music * The early days of “talkies” * A reflection of time period * Attitudes, society, etc. * Art Deco * Yip Harburg (Composer/Lyricist) * The Wizard of Oz * The Love Parade (1929) * Ernst Lubitsch (Director) * Worked very closely with his writers * Brought colleagues to America * Maurice Chevalier (Star) * Originated from France * American audience was fairly closeted * Became one of the biggest stars in movies * Whoopee! * Birth of cinematic, musical movie-making * Transformation from previous iterations * Overhead shots * Not possible to see in stage production * Cut holes in ceiling/dug into sound stages * Busby Berkeley (Director) * Grew up with theatre * Worked in Army as a drill instructor; choreography * Eddie Cantor (Star) * Betty Grable (Star) * Jack the Giant Slayer * Bryan Singer (Director) * Very self-critical * Does not watch films right after he makes them * What do you carry with you from SCA? * Tries to keep the approach of being “independent” * Protects the integrity of the project * Not machine-processed from the studio * CGI is new * Alien does not contain CGI * Singer’s early work does not contain CGI * i.e. clever ways of circumventing seeing things that would look ridiculous without CGI * Time, money, creative choices * Giant’s face when seen for the first time * Needed complex CGI, worth the cost * One complex shot = 6 months, 6 figures * Actors * Motion capture stage (quick) * Take selection * Simul-cam (when shooting) * Screen that shows crude giant on set alongside the actors * Effects (slow)jack * Rendering * Details: skin, eyes, layers, clothing * Some people/soldiers/sets were entirely CGI * Photorealism in CG achieve in the last 5 years * Sometimes has been assembled from actual photographs * Sometimes has been drawn directly onto computer by animator * However, main actors could not be CGI because they appear strange * 3-d * Maintained effectiveness of 3-d throughout * Shot “native” 3-d * Shot with 3-d rigs/equipment themselves * No post-production 3-d added * Less long lenses, more wide lenses * Maintains volume and depths * Placing objects in the foreground or closer planes in order to utilize the 3-d * Strategic; more establishing shots * Mentors * James Cameron * 3-d animators * Visualization of scene * Storyboard * Animators create cartoon version of scene * Helps visualize a plan for the shooting itself * Sets * Hampton Court Palace (spatial connection) * Henry VIII summer palace * Re-dress the set * Courtyard * Constructed * Development * Originally was developed for another director * Head of New Line (friend) * First co-production between New Line and Legendary * Handed project to Singer when development stalled * Singer signed deal (4 years ago) * Re-worked script * Development hell * Took a while * After development finally ended, was no longer the first film of its kind * i.e. Alice in Wonderland, Snow White and the Huntsman * Commitment to promoting film * Travelling to promote film until early April (shooting of X-Men begins) * Warner Bros./New Line wanted 3-d * Will be released in IMAX as well * 4.5 million under budget * The most time-consuming is to endure development hell to reach a green light for production * Production was finished August 2011 * Post-production took until January * Fully-rendered CGI characters take a very long time * Was originally titled Jack the Giant Killer * Tested both * “Slayer” was less alienating, especially for target family audience * Casting * Knew Nick Hoult (Jack) from X-Men * Interesting sense of humor; Hugh Grant * Channels it in fun, dark way on set * Ending in modern day London * Connects adventure to modern day * Like ancient tale of giants was connected to characters of the film (three time periods) * Historical time when crown jewels were stolen lines up to storyline * Contemporary flair * Main character is wearing what is essentially a hoodie * Can exist in both spaces * Cross the centuries * Animated Sequence * The poem * Used many voices * Child’s, Julie Andrews, Ian McKellen * Ultimately found these lacking connection * Used Peter Jackson equipment from The Hobbit to create a live-action scene of the story being read to the children * Lack of female characters * Princess is “the star that all the planets revolve around” * Female giants would have generated sympathy * John Ottman (Editor) * Friends with Singer since their mutual time at SCA * X-Men: Days of Future Past * Combines first two X-Men films w/ X-Men First Class * Most of original cast returning * Not definitively a sequel, but provides extension of previous two films at once * Deals with how past and future affect each other * Potential to play with the X-Men universe * Will be shooting 4/15 – September or October * Primary shooting in Montreal * Editing in US

2/14 * Happy Valentine’s Day! * Mrs. Alice Maltin is here! * Bordering on 38th anniversary * “If you’re going to commit to somebody, it really helps if you enjoy doing things together.” * They love watching movies together * Sometimes the only couple going to see old movies together amongst the singles * A Royal Affair * Denmark * Historical drama * Makes something from past seem immediate/present * Story known to every schoolchild in Denmark * Best Foreign Language Oscar Nominee * Strong films in the category in recent years * Documentaries have been strong as well * How do you say which is the best? * It is very difficult * Mad Mikkelsen * Villain in Casino Royale * Leading man both abroad and here * Director Nikolaj Arcel * Experience, ambition * Considerable success in Scandinavia * Half of writing team on Girl with the Dragon Tattoo * Clout from the film allowed him to work on more independent projects like A Royal Affair * Executive Producer: Director Lars Von Trier * Jack the Giant Slayer * Maltin does not believe he is doing it for the money * Singer directs number of commercial films quite well * Maltin believes that it reimagines certain elements of the genre * i.e. feminist princess character * Casting is crucial * i.e. Ian McShane as the king is a solid actor * i.e. Ewan McGregor is an excellent actor * Imbues the characters with realism * Believable * 3-d is tricky * Many different approaches * Life of Pi * Extensive 3-d without being gimmicky; draws you into the story * Step Up Franchise * Inventive in use of 3-d; no pretenses * Not high art; fun performance numbers * Maltin believes 3-d was used well * Sometimes 3-d can be intrusive * Sometimes is very well-staged; shows 3-d in fun and flamboyant way * Film is long * Long running time creates hills and valleys in energy level of story * CGI cost considerably more in certain scenes than others * Every single shot in film is broken down * Decide very early on which shots are most important and worth their cost * Select various production houses based on skill * i.e. Skin/detail at house with that strength * Effects work is dying in California * Being outsourced to far East * i.e. Rhythm & Hues studio bankrupt and closing * Changes ways that films are seen and made * i.e. Guillermo del Toro (director) * Met fan who did effects work; hired him to work on shots in his film as he would work hard * Singer * Man of many hats * Considerable multi-tasking * “Multi-hyphenate” * Director, Producer, Exec Producer, etc. * Strong personality * Appeals to fandoms; plugged in * Savvy * Ability to sell himself as a filmmaker * Convince people to work with him; successful * Maltin * The guests and their words reflect the nature of filmmaking * Films are not made by machines; they are made by people * Interesting to see what makes filmmakers tick and gives them confidence * Musical Moments * Hollywood killed the golden goose * Made so many musicals 1929-1930 that the genre died * Post-1931, the musical had to be excellent to overcome these obstacles * Warner Bros. (scrappy at the time) * 42nd Street (1933), Title Number * Became the quintessential musical * Was later re-adapted as a Broadway musical * Busby Berkeley, choreographer * Make or break title number * Changed the movie musical; brought it back to life * Revived genre * Reignited production of movie musicals even during Depression * Took the music and invented a vision for how to illustrate the songs * Put him on the map * Always had to top himself * Cut to audience applauding after number * Almost hallucinatory at the time * Difficult to figure out his cuts * One camera; shot every shot himself * “Asbestos”: asbestos curtains to protect theatres from fire * Harry Warren/Al Dubin, composers * “42nd St. is a crazy quilt that Wall St. jack built.” * “jack” = money * Dick Powell/Ruby Keeler * Newcomers * “Corny” delivery that was the style of the time * Likability is the key to stardom * Time travel to what was being said/done at the time * Q&A (Nikolaj Arcel) * Very well-known story in Denmark * The equivalent of Lincoln * Casting * Mads Mikkelsen * Romantic lead in Denmark, Villain in US film * Hadn’t done Danish film in 5 years * Complex, strong character * Young roles * 70 women in casting call * Regal quality * Found actress Alicia Vikander in Sweden * Found actor Mikkel Folsgaard * Two years into drama school * No professional experience * Cast Czech actors who learned Danish due to budget and dubbed over in ADR * Mads had to act alongside Czech actors * Production * Portraying the story as accurately as possible * Extensive research * Long process of trying to read everything there is about the period/characters * No recorders/cameras at the time, so a lot of guessing; putting the pieces together * Being as “intelligent” as possible when writing the scenes * Portrayal of Struensee and Caroline varies * In some cases, they are portrayed as villains due to history being written by winners * Now, acknowledged that he is good * Only small percentage of Danish people still believe he is bad * Maintained historical truth while also introducing entertainment factor * Actors * Do not look anything like the real people * No way of knowing whether the way they talk and act is accurate * King * Create character who starts out annoying but who ends as most tragic character * Great part of the storytelling * Mannerisms * Mikkel had studied character and developed his own ideas * Mikkel is funny; came naturally * Best kind of collaboration: actor + director * Moranti (Black companion to king) * From the original story * Initially servant, became friends * Struensee actually created a confession to the priest that was then published * 50-60 years later it was widely acknowledged that torture had been used * Disturbed, fragile handwriting * Structure * Letter structure because the letter writing is key to the story * Choosing between main characters * Caroline or Struensee * Lars Von Trier: follow both * Never becomes what you want it to be * Visualize concept in mind; the most beautiful moment * Does not translate to reality * Compromise, budget, casting issues, music, etc. * Has done four films; full of compromises * However, audience does not know what he has visualized; not aware of compromise * Horseback riding scene through trees * Some actors, some stunt doubles * Variation of shots * Vigorous, exciting, dynamic * Fictional vs. Realistic Dialogue * Controversial when writing dialogue; completely modern dialogue as opposed to old-fashioned * No slang, but dialogue is modern * “Modern feeling period piece” * Sad Ending * Film about people trying to do good; it is more poignant that they die for it * Good for the drama * Makes sense in terms of what character Struensee is * Passionate, no political sense * Cinematographer/Production Designer * Physical look of the film * Cinematographer is Arcel’s best friend * Known each other for 20 years * Started out making films for fun before film school * When you know each other that well, there is language in which you don’t have to say anything * Brilliant * Production Designer * Very talented * Someone who can do a lot with very little money * Knew exactly where to shoot * No luxury of creating an entire courtyard * Created an illusion within the frame * Very precise * Filled frame with whatever could be afforded and create the world * Shot of arrival at the castle is 100% CGI * Animators redid the shot 265 times because Arcel was not satisfied * Biggest shot of the film * Matte Painters * Digital Mattes * CGI version of what used to be physical matte painting * Had sufficient time to create the film * No release date to meet like with US industry * Arcel has had meetings with producers in LA with a schedule he is not used to * Reception * Even if he had made bad movie, it would still have been big success * The story is like a brand; so well-known * Was still received well critically * Biggest experience: film being sold around the world * None of his other films had sold internationally * Exception: screenplay for The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo * Academy Award Nomination * Increase in job offers * Emotional, poignant experience * Has been making films since 10 years old * Greatest honor one can achieve * Enjoys meeting audience and hearing reactions, questions, etc. * Different from press interviews * Berlin Film Festival award wins * Sparked interest in Nikolaj Arcel * Made him relevant and began being offered projects * Repped by WME * Sent the film out; got eyes on it * Many American viewers have seen Girl with Dragon Tattoo (Swedish version) * American fandom for Swedish film * Made it apparent that he could potentially be successful for American film market * Religious themes * Never faces problems with censorship * Even the most right wing party in Denmark was in support of Obama; very liberal * Christian, but religion is not an issue * Definitely not as much in certain parts of US * Struensee’s non-religious beliefs are accurate to the character * Question: what should guide us? * Science, religion, combo? * Interesting to discuss in the film, but not a source of significant controversy * Editors * Never push/pull because Arcel is the boss * Arcel is kind of director who sits in the editing room for months with editor; lots of collaboration * A lot of discussion and brainstorm * Hundreds of ways of doing every single scene * Trust that you have hit the right one for the final film * Probably not always accurate; you can always go back to improve * Never quite feel like you’re done with film * Personal * Very self-critical * Never likes watching his own films * American vs. Danish films * Many older Danish believe that American films are too mainstream * Younger generation is infatuated * Fell in love with film by watching E.T. * Coppola, Scorsese * Not an aficionado when it comes to European films, loves American film * Danes watch many Danish films * Pride and curiosity that makes Danish films successful * Fortunate as a country to have this cultural climate * Strong government funding for the films * Danish films would not survive otherwise * Good ratio are successful and make money * Do films speak universally? * Do films break down national/geographic barriers? * Definitely * Certain films from other countries may be so local that meaning is lost * Other films transcend that * In general it’s quite universal * Film is a visual and primal experience * You can enjoy it no matter who you are * Good storytelling is good storytelling * Upcoming * 3 American films in the works * Don Winslow novel Power of the Dog * Adapt/Direct * Working w/ co-writer and Don Winslow * Arrived in August and read 300 scripts * Difficult to decide which project to take on * Seduced/convinced to do certain projects * Joke: “All films star Jennifer Lawrence” haha. * Goes with his gut * Great script or great story on which to base a script * Compelling world * Took him 6 months to choose a project * Spent a lot of time reading and parsing

2/21/2013 * Upside Down * Alex McDowell, Production Designer * Credits: Fight Club, Minority Report, Man of Steel, etc. * “I design worlds.” * Responsible for anything you see in any movie * On low budget film, time is the biggest factor of all * Moving crew around wastes too much time * Built all interiors within the warehouse * A cost-saving measure * Requires talent; create different worlds in a single space * Oscar season * Hectic, “over it” * People need so-called “experts” * Maltin is called a great deal during this season * After Oscars, completely quiets down * Maltin: KTLA Channel 5 * Live 90-minute Oscar pre-show * Maltin will be hosting * “Arms Race” * Some studios have spent as much as $10M on Oscar race * There are popular movies contending for the Oscars * In past years, many have been quite obscure * The Hurt Locker was least seen Best Picture film of recent years * Conversely, Zero Dark Thirty has been successful * Producers of Ceremony * Host: Seth McFarlane * Young, hip, appeal to demographic * Loaded up star content of presenters * Maltin thinks: * Billy Crystal would give up all his jokes at the beginning * Jon Stewart did well throughout * Honors musicals of the last ten years * The producers are from musical theater * Maltin believes it to be self-serving * Thankless job * Everyone is always gunning for you * Obscure awards * Many argue to get them off the air * Academy stuck to its guns and keeps the categories on the air * Maltin agrees; this is an awards ceremony that happens to be a show, not purely a show * It is about honoring the people who make films and do something of exceptional merit. * Average viewer not very interested, but there is give and take * i.e. Sound Recordists’ speeches in groups of 3 or 4 * More movie nominated for Best Picture * Anywhere from 5- 10 films nominated * Maltin thinks it has turned out to be a good thing * Wanted to open the field to more commercial films * Generate more public interest * Maltin does not think has cheapened; field is still small enough * 10/300 or 400 films * Maltin would’ve voted for Argo * Enjoys the comedy with the politics and drama * Blending of ingredients that makes film special * Weighted voting system * Each voter selects #1 choice * Every film nominated must have at least one number one choice * A Royal Affair * Maltin liked it better in symposium than the first time he saw it * Students * King’s character was compelling * For a period piece, characters felt very relatable * Dynamic characters; not pigeonholed caricatures * More empathy for them * Character arcs * Opinion on characters changes over film * Beautiful shots; detailed * Maltin * Production design was very impressive * Nothing to tell you that the castle in the film was not actually a castle * The best kind of visual effects * You are not aware that these are effects * All bit players and supporting players had to speak phonetic Danish * Films in two periods * Pre-CGI * Post-CGI * Viewers less believing of real stunts * Plots of hundreds of movies are negated by modern technology * Must understand that this is the case * Modern films involve people on computers * Audiences are harder to trick * Avatar was game-changer because James Cameron showed us something we had truly never seen before * The Artist: people were disarmed; sheer novelty; well-realized; sincerity and enthusiasm; well-executed * Subtitles * No one likes to read subtitles * Mark of good movie is that you forget you’re reading subtitles * Musical Moments: Footlight Parade * James Cagney, Actor * Extremely charismatic * Character plays a man who must find backing for a stage production * “By a Waterfall” * Composers of 42nd Street * Everything onscreen is genuine * No real trickery in the number * i.e. Hugo about George Meliers’ invention of visual effects * Even more cinematic than 42nd Street * Busby Berkeley * Known as a mad genius for his endless amount of ideas * Some feminists don’t care for Berkeley because they saw him as objectifying women * Some perceive sexual innuendo in his numbers * Berkeley professed that this was not the case * Pre-code movies * Risqué, daring * Curse words, drug use, prostitution, some sexuality; daring for that time * Self-appointed arbiters of morality were offended; began to ban films * 1933: Seminal year in filmmaking * King Kong * Mae West * Shocking, sexual innuendo * Had fun with the idea of sexuality * Insinuating delivery * Wrote all her own material * I’m No Angel * 1934: Production Code of Behavior * Costumes were less revealing * Men and women could not sleep in same bed * Both feet had to be kept on the floor when depicting sexuality * “Hell”, “damn”, slang words forbidden * Enforced to late 1960s * Writers/directors had to find inventive ways to imply/infer because they could no longer be shown * Escapism in films * The Great Depression * Led to escapism in films * Distracted from real life problems/drudgery * Second largest recession currently * Comic book movies, superhero movies * Oscar movies fly in the face of that
* Alex McDowell never seen the movie till Symposium * How would you describe your function on this movie? * The look of the film is my domain—the feel of the film and its entirety * Filmmakers have ideas, but McDowell’s job is to separate those ideas and organize the ideas essentially * Do you have a preference or prejudice towards real world construction opposed to the virtual world? * No, I am really interested in the story space * Trying to find the solution to some problems * Design process is very interesting—both real and virtual * Give us some examples of what is practical—what was real? * The rock that the couple meet on was built on stage * The ceiling of the ballroom/opera house; all the architecture was built upside * 60ft x 80ft * All these sets had set extensions * Relatively low budget: $45 million * Shot in Montreal * Run down house is all real * Endless office = most complicated * 80 ft square of set * Big enough for actors to wake in the shot * Reused set to save money * Do different directors express a preference? – “I want this to be digital or practical” * There is a preference. Some directors prefer digital or practicality. * For example: Tim Burton loves the trickery of the camera and illusion * Minority Report was a big turning point for you. Did you have to educate yourself? Are you tech savvy? * I come through commercials * There is a comfort level of people who come from commercial * There were some paradigm shifts in Minority Report * There was no script, so the Design department had a slightly different role * We had to conceive the rules of the world * A process that is adopted more and more * Script is not the bible of the film * What is your background? What did you study? What were your aims/goals? * I started painting/Fine Arts in London * Loved to draw as a child * Direct connection with imagination and creation * I reference the Fine Arts more than I do in cinema * Then smashed into Punk Rock * Then Production Designer * Did you have to be computer savvy at one point? Was that a necessity? Or did you have assistants in it? * Have very high expectations with technology * If it can do this, why can’t it do this? * Pencil before Stylist * You can never replace storyboards with illustrations * In a conventional film, you’d be handed a screenplay and would someone have already broken down that screenplay or is that part of your job? * It’s conventional in the film process that the designer is the first person hired * Still working in an abstract space * How many sets might you have to build on an “average” in a film? * [1, 200] – ranges from one to two hundred sets * How many people did you have working for you? * Under my umbrella of responsibility, comes the Art Department, Set Designers, Model Makers. Construction Coordinator; Location Manager, and more… * Besides Director; Cinematographer and Costume Designers are key collaborators * Up to 400 people * Are you good at delegating? * Yes, it’s essential * On a film not as complex as Man of Steel, what is your day-to-day responsibility? * Changing dramatically from prep to shooting * But my arch changes through shooting * To begin, relatively calm then gets tighter and tighter * McDowell’s wife is a Costume Designer and not a painter * Can you afford to be a micromanager? * I am a control freak, but I pay very close attention to final detail * Great amount of trust in the architects and designers * But I will make a painter repaint the wall, if not satisfied * Spends most time of his time with Set Director and Prop Manager * Very collaborative stage throughout the film * How would you describe the Color Palette of this film? * Very DE-saturated * Director is a photographer and has a certain way he goes about it * Heighten certain colors to off-set the de-saturated colors

Student Questions

* Because there is this duality in the worlds, how much was designed separately and together? * There was an initial idea of separation * Clearly select locations to allocate to upper and lower worlds * Conceptually conceived at the same time * CGI versus no CGI? Where does your job end? * Usually your job ends at the end of production * But almost always a Designer’s job ends at the end of shooting * But with the advent of CGI, the designer’s job and its range got vague with post-production editing * Created the “Design Bible” with instructions with how the style and direction of the design was supposed to go * What is your favorite genre or world? * I do not have a favorite * I tried to make a point of not repeating genres * I enjoyed almost every genre that I have worked in * How did the color impact the way you designed the film and its narrative? * Very specific—director’s choice very the pollen was pink * De-saturation and zero floor – grays, off-whites all used to allow for the pink to really pop out * Bob has the messy desk and Adam has the chaotic pink chemistry set * Favorite aspect or sequence or set that stands out to you? * Very happy with Zero Floor and how it came together * Generally, satisfying to see how the textures of Montreal work in contrast to TransWorld

2/28/2013 * Place Beyond the Pines * Derek Cianfrance, Director * Blue Valentine * Experimental, not mainstream, not easily sell-able * Started as experimental director * Must persuade big-name actors to believe in your vision * Shot in Upstate New York * Rented a house * Cast lived in the house to bond * Six week break between first scenes and later scenes * Upside Down * Audience did not like * Maltin * Screenplay was messy * Has some good ingredients, but frustrating that it does not work * Haves vs. Have Nots * Metropolis * There must be internal logic * Believable stakes and set-up to engage audience * Unresolved issues * Very abrupt at the end * Inconsistencies * If you’re going to create a world, ground rules must be followed * Jim Sturgess was charming * Production Design * Builds worlds * Not just digitally drawn, as expected * Just one component of a film * Story and characters are not good * World is beautiful, overshadows the screenplay * You don’t know who is responsible for the end result * Musical Moments * Busby Berkeley was one brand of musical movie making * Rouben Mamoulian * Applause * Tried to get ambient sound; made it happen * Love Me Tonight (1932) * Rodgers & Hart * Experimented with rhyming dialogue * Combined with Mamoulian for amazing sound experience * Propels you into the film * Draws you in; clever * Makes creative use of sound * Hollywood * Efficient factory system * However, there were room for individuals such as Mamoulian * The Oscars * John Kahrs * Won for Paperman * Ang Lee * Criticized for insufficient thanking of VFX houses * i.e. Rhythm and Hues, recently bankrupt * Orchestra * Pit in Dolby Theatre was insufficient in size * Orchestra was moved to Capitol Records * Likely orchestrated through monitor visible from stage * Best Director/Best Pictures * Picture category was expanded * Director category was not * By default, some were left out * Ben Affleck, Kathryn Bigelow, Tom Hooper * Seth MacFarlane * Average as host * Was too self-referential * Film clips were awful/boring * Maltin’s Red Carpet hosting experience * Cut to Maltin when stars were not on red carpet * Was therefore not on air very much * Q + A * Derek Cianfrance, Director * Watched Napoleon * Ambitious film about Napoleon in 1920’s * Abel Gance, director * Revolutionary techniques for silent film era * Psycho * Baton pass from character to character * Form/Structure * Floated in his head for 20 years * “Baton pass * Tryptich (Art of three panels hinged together) * Luke Glanton Avery Cross Jason * Scene – Ben Mendehlson/Ryan Gosling dancing * Original script: More mean character; human spider luring Gosling’s character in. Mean junkyard dog. * Actual: Ben lying on grass with production accountants’ little dogs. Ryan puts on Bruce Springsteen. Dancing was organic; simply rolled the camera * Said more than 1,000 words could say * Editing room: cream rises to the top; the organic moment was right * Original script was 158 pages * Financier’s told him to cut to 120 * Shrank font/extended margins * No one noticed; happened with Blue Valentine also * Sons meeting * Why that decision? * Schenectady is small; 70,000 people * Owned the coincidence * “Destiny” for lack of a better word * Flip sides of a coin * Like Luke and Avery were * A lot in common; friendship before they were split apart * Inspiration * Wife was pregnant with second son * Jack London works * We are still animals, regardless of how much we have been civilized * Reverberation of that concept throughout time; apparent in Schenectady * Thoughts of legacy and ancestry * Story of legacy Place Beyond the Pines * Fears/vulnerabilities * The moment of transition in his life * Production * About 5 years, 37 drafts of script * Elements * Legacy * Chronological order * Schenectady, NY * Role for Ray Liotta * Darius Marder * Fellow parent at kids’ school * Helped re-write movie all over again * 6 months before first rough cut on film * Most difficult to cut * Ryan Gosling being processed for prison by the cops * Transition through the talk-y, procedural area * Was emasculated; treated like piece of meat * Very graceful and beautiful, but had to be cut * Editing was like sculpting * The movie gained its shape * Location * Northeast * Schenectady; wife was from there * Had been through Schenectady and imagined the scenes at various locations * Schenectady had been pummeled in history * Indian massacres * “A Place Beyond the Pines” * Iroquois for Schenectady * Very involved/open to the film’s production * Many regular citizens as actors in film * Real carnival: Altamont fair * Became an attraction at the fair * Houses are working houses * Scranton; Blue Valentine * American ruins * Places that have seen a better time * Makeup * T-shirts inside out * Ryan Gosling’s choice * Face tattoo * Ryan’s choice; he regretted it but dealt with it * Walks into church and feels ashamed * Breakdown not written in; it was organic * Not acting—behaving; moment that was natural * Shot on film * Romanticism * Some stories need to be shot on film * Classical story needed urgency * Felt a lot through process * Dislikes “action”/”cut” * “Let’s go” * Work until the magazine on the 35 mm runs out * Urgency; actors can feel that timer * 1999: The Strait Story * Could not be told in digital * Blue Valentine * Half 16 mm, Half digital * Actors * Allows actors to follow the story rather than the exact words * “I want actors to surprise me and fail.” * Tries to cast actors he can trust * Eva Mendes showed up trying to look unattractive; that effort caught Cianfrance’s eye * Went on a ride where she grew up, learned about her and her fears * Courage: presence and confrontation of fear * Ben Mendehlson * Showed up a mess * Trusted him within 5 minutes of meeting him * Character Robin: has dentures in the script * Mendehlson was willing to take his false teeth out for him; Jamie stopped him from doing so * That trust/effort is admirable * Ray Liotta * Classically trained * Looked at the script * “Like a human knife” * Eliminated “the machine” * Wanted it to be purely him, the actors, and simple camera * Cut out the cranes, etc. * Humility * Cianfrance is not a megalomaniac; not in love with his own words * Humility from the beginning of his career * Wants life to be illustrated in the film * Uses movies to express and organize his own life; translational to other people’s stories as well * Life and its intimate moments * Blue Valentine * Didn’t want to make the film anymore by the time he was about to start filming * Ryan Gosling said “I’ve always wanted to rob a bank.” * Said he would use motorcycle with helmet to conceal face. Then would drive to U-Haul and get in the back. * Script for Place had already been written * It was meant to be * 66 drafts * Jamie Patricof, Producer * Film was a living piece of work * Actors/funding was already attached, and new drafts of the script would emerge * Never content; keep editing/pushing * Added challenge that he loves

3/7/2013 * Oz: The Great and Powerful * 3-d * No longer considered an asset for a film to be in 3-d * However, still popular overseas * Interesting to see how film performs * Producer: Joe Roth * Alice in Wonderland * Started fairytale/fable in 3-d trend * Was a hit * The cusp of market breaking open in China and Russia * Guests * James Franco * Zach Braff * Could not copy anything from 1939 MGM Classic * Did not own the rights to that film * That film invented great deal of storyline * Sam Raimi/Screenwriters had to use their own invention or L. Frank Baum’s books (all in public domain) * Yellow brick road * Munchkins * Some characters * Many elements are brand new * Maltin believes best to watch this as own movie and not compare * Especially because The Wizard of Oz was perhaps one of the perfect movies of the 20th century1 * A Place Beyond the Pines * Class * Overwhelmingly positive response * Could not relate to characters, but still enjoyed it * Pleasantly surprised at how stories all flowed; triptych * Early death of Ryan Gosling’s character * Maltin * Inherent storytelling value * Merit to seeing films a little before they open * Avoids trailers * Seeing movies and being surprised * The true impact that the filmmaker intended * Replicating Janet Leigh’s character’s death in Hitchcock’s Replicating Janet Leigh’s character’s death in Hitchcock’s Psycho * Rare that filmmakers can pull out rug * Opening shot * Following behind Ryan Gosling walking * Orson Welles’ Touch of Evil * Staging a long shot was incredible feat at the time * Doing it purposefully and with artistic motivation; you learn something from that shot * Sense of atmosphere and hint of who the character is; grabs you * Sons are different from their fathers * Film leaves something for you to figure out * Enough hints for you to reach own conclusions * Both boys have absent fathers (one dead, one absentee) * They are not clones of their respective fathers * Character development * Few people are all good or all bad * Most interesting villains and heroes are not entirely archetypes * Oscar Release Date * Films should not have to be strategically released right before Oscars to be eligible * Unfortunately, it is true that those released at end of the year are fresher in voters’ minds * 2005: Crash * DVD was available in September before ceremony * Industry was flooded with screeners; revived film for awards season * If studio does its job right, there’s no reason that these films should not be worthy contenders * A Place Beyond the Pines needs word of mouth * Hoping this demographic will build interest in the film * Star power * Two of-the-moment leading men * Focus Features * Launched great campaign for Paranorman * Could launch great campaign for this film * Theory of seven stories * Everything you see is a variation on one of seven stories * Ingredients of a good story * Conflict * Regardless of genre, always a conflict * Derek Cianfrance * Interesting modus operandi * Schenecdaty, NY * Used a place to be itself rather than a location representing somewhere else * Helpful in way that other cities would not be * Highest compliment * “I was still thinking about the film the next day.” * “Think about how often you carry a film in your head for a day, or two, or three.” * “The movie has said something to you; it’s planted itself in your conscience.” * Musical Moments * Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers * The pinnacle of Hollywood entertainment in their time * Escapism * Joyous performances * Made people feel good * Sometimes put down as Hollywood fodder, but it is a high achievement to make people feel good * Fred Astaire * Born into show business * Vaudevillians as children with his sister * 1920s Broadway stars * Sister retired, Fred Astaire broke out on his own despite doubts * Ginger Rogers * Was a hit in Gershwin Broadway show * Swept into movies when talkies emerged * Personality, cute * Turned out to be great actress * RKO * Flying Down to Rio * Ultimate escapist musical * Paired Astaire and Rogers for a musical number that was a sensation * The Gay Divorcee * Based on Broadway show * Top Hat * Hired Irving Berlin, America’s best-loved songwriter, to write score * Art deco sets * Incredible talent behind camera * Songs served a purpose in the storyline * Within the numbers, story to the song and dance * Acting out roles and telling a story through the medium of dance * Clip: “Isn’t This a Lovely Day to be Caught in the Rain?” * Storyline within * Lyrics/dance * Sexual tension * First half of the dance * No touch * Budding relationship * Camera crew had to learn the numbers * Knew when to move camera in order to film them * Incredible amount of planning involved * Astaire & Rogers * Make it look effortless * Unique elements * Only a few subtle cuts * Very long takes * Editing does not take over performance as it does in many modern musicals * All about performance * Camera always shows full bodies * No insert close-ups or cutaways * Astaire was Broadway star; exerted his influence to capture entire body on film * Remained so for rest of his career * Q&A * James Franco * Earned name on Hollywood Walk of Fame today * Near El Capitan Theatre * Close to Burt Reynolds and the Muppets * Feels that connection to other actor is one of the most important things * Character inspiration * Guided by the script * Give the character an emotional arch * The guide; every scene would involve checking in on how selfish/good Oz is at that point * Outer behavior * Magician personality * Trained by Lance Burton (Las Vegas magician) * “Great American character” * Combined a lot of different elements * Charmer (Clark Gable <3), Physical comedy (Chaplin) * Two poles from which to draw * Process of finding projects * Found Oz after Robert Downey Jr. and Johnny Depp passed * As actor, very director-driven * Believes movies work best when they are considered a director’s medium * About the experience * Working with “the people I love” * One of biggest creative decisions as actors * What project do I choose? * How hard do I work on it? * Actor cannot control Box Office, etc., so they need to be true to the project as artist * As director * Just wrapped Cormac McCarthy’s Child of God * Very dark story of man with a relationship with corpse * William Faulkner’s As I Lay Dying * Initiates/champions these projects * About the experience * Some things he are dying to do as director * Teaching * Loves the academic environment * Has been to a lot of schools as a student * “Re-orients my energy” * You want to prove yourself/work really hard * Want to build a career for yourself * Easy to get caught up in what’s next * Doesn’t have to think about his own steps as far as “what am I going to do next” * Makes his life so much more enjoyable * Taught him to start doing movies he cares about * Seth Rogen: “I don’t do movies that I wouldn’t go see if I wasn’t in them.” * Stephen Colbert * Tolkien contest * Franco lost * Peter Jackson’s screenwriter also lost to Colbert * Zach Braff * Met Dave Franco on Scrubs * “Instant buddies” with James Franco on set * Comedy * Franco: “Zach has never had any self-doubt.” * Braff learned to be fearless * An environment where there is no wrong answer * Testament to Franco/Raimi for not beating down any punch lines/ideas * “They’re not all going to be winners” * Same mentality as on Judd Apatow or Seth Rogen film because it is an open environment for improvisation/trying things * Motion Capture * Non-traditional motion capture * Sam Raimi feels that computer interpretation of traditional “dots” is a step removed * Graphic artists watch videos of actor performing * Key is to not lose relationship * Raimi played as if in a “buddy road trip” * Other than choreography, talk like you’re “two human beings” * Faces of remote actors would appear in corners of visual effects screens * Artists would refer to those expressions constantly * Blue screen onesie * Crouched down, walking * Painted out body so head would float down yellow brick road * Animators watched video to fill in the animation * Captures Braff’s performance * All elements like that of being a human actor * Connection between actors is preserved * Monkey: 36” * Frustrating at times * Trusted Raimi; did whatever he wanted * i.e. Showing up to do off-camera reacting as monkey, even if it seemed unnecessary * i.e. Created a proper scale suitcase for Braff to carry around (huge) * Puppet cam * Braff/King are in booth with cameras on face * Camera-man operating iPad with facial expressions on it for Franco to interact with * Joey King (China Doll) * Marionette to represent puppet * Convincing; Raimi gave directions to puppet * Extremely skilled marionette * Raimi demanded certain rigidity to marionette and movement * Earpiece for Franco to hear her voice * Production * Shot over a year ago * Summer to end of year 2011 * Over a year of post-production * Worked up until the week of the premiere * First time actors saw finished product was premiere * Expectations clash with what the movie actually is; a whole different movie * Not just essential departments * Visual departments as well * Everyone is on same page * Animatic (animated storyboard) serves this purpose * Sets * Pontiac, Michigan (Tax Incentive) * Football field-sized sets * Tactile environments + Blue Screens * Challenges * 6 months is a long time * Very slow movement * 3-d cameras are huge and elaborate * Braff * Shot Scrubs episodes in 5 days and Garden State in 25 days * Taking a week on a scene was an adjustment * Franco * Was very long * NYU students joined him and made an entire movie within the course of shooting * Sam Raimi (Director) * Franco * Liked screenplay, had worked with Raimi before * Raimi is one of the best at balancing epic scale (cutting edge technology, effects) with very human stories/narratives * Spends just as much time preparing for the human elements of film as for visual elements * Works with actors and writers * Constantly discussing and re-writing to keep emotional through-line * Faith in Raimi for guiding him as a character * Directing is about communication * Films are collaborations with many different kinds of artists and craftspeople * Communicate what you want with each department in a cohesive way * Director is glue; Raimi has best on-set demeanor * Allow it to be fun, but also collaborative/open * Braff * How can I best serve the director? * Wanted rapport of friendship * The job is to pitch jokes and be funny * Funny, but “period” funny, not current * Ability to improvise * i.e. Animal noises/Cow moo * Entire scene was improvised * Plan was not in the script * Sneezing away plan was homage to Annie Hall sneezing scene * Onus is on filmmaker to make sure everyone is making the same movie * Operating on the same tone * Rob Stromberg (Production Designer) * Defining new ground * Designed both practical and CG sets * Worked on Avatar, Alice in Wonderland * On Alice, was a great deal of blue screen * Decided to combine both to allow actors to feel grounded in space, and graphic designers to have a starting point * Wizard of Oz (1939) * Separate entity * Everyone loves that film; however, many differences * A movie that covered all four quadrants * Appealed to all audiences * Raimi attempts to replicate this * In no way tried to remake the movie * Was technically the most advance of its time * Raimi pays tribute to that by pushing the envelope in a technical sense * Was a musical * The books do not dictate a musical * Returned to the original L. Frank Baum stories * Journey to a mystical land with strange creatures; people from earth would go there and learn lessons through parallel world * Certain iconography everyone expects * Yellow Brick Road, witches, flying monkeys, munchkins * Main character * Not a Dorothy knock-off * A completely different character * Different lens through which to experience * Did not own the rights to 1939 film * i.e. Green is technically different shade of green from original film * i.e. Glinda’s courtyard brick pattern spiral like in original film * Elaborate, took months to build * Legal battle over rights to design pattern * Was graphically edited to change brick pattern * i.e. “Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain.” * i.e. “Lions and tigers and bears.” * Multi-hyphenate * Braff and Franco are both directors as well as actors * Braff * Had never been involved in anything of this scale * Like “grad school” * Would watch Raimi work * Raimi’s humility * Interest in Braff/Franco’s thoughts * Joey King (12 years old) * Raimi asked for her thoughts; rapt with attention * King is primary audience for the film * Franco * Franco organized film festival at Raimi’s house * They all showed their college films * How being a director has affected acting * Franco * As actor, would work a long time to develop character * Would sometimes not match director’s vision, which was frustrating * Saw what directors want from actors * “How can I help the director achieve his/her vision?” * Directors he loves * Gus Van Sant, Danny Boyle, Sam Raimi * Braff * Once you direct, you want to be the ultimate supporter of the director * Could not choose a single director that he would want to work with specifically * Big fan of David Fincher * Sequel? * Depends how it does * “They own James and I for years.” –Zach Braff

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