Tom Yarith Ker thematically used different colour pallets throughout Pearls of the Far East.
“Each chapter represents different level of loves of these seven characters: childhood love, fantasy love, forbidden love, and self-love. The colour of the design is unique as each one is in different colour. For example, in Childhood chapter, you will see that every touch from the costumes to décors is dominated in saturation of green colour, and natural tone. The composition itself stands for a new bud of green leave. Then, you will see in The Boat, where passion is heightened, the composition encompasses saturation of red and black, and so on. The colour is flown with the emotions of the characters.”
Scott Chambliss comments on J.J. Abrams being able to move from the small screen to direct films such as Star Trek Into Darkness.
“He’s quick on the draw and is also brave. The telling moments for us in terms of the transition were at the beginning of Mission: Impossible 3. It was being strongly suggested to him that he surround himself with a bunch of well-known seasoned pros on every level, in front and behind the camera. J.J. made a strong case that he’d do a better job for them if he brought some of his key players with him; once J.J. got his way with that he was able to charge into this challenging and some ways frightening circumstance for both of us. We had a couple of conversations about that along the way but J.J. felt confident because he knew his back covered was by those of us he brought with him.”
Alex McDowell who was recruited for Man of Steel explains,
“The visual effects supervisor’s job is to coordinate and instruct the technology that is going to execute the vision. The designer’s job is to lay down the vision in respect to how it reflects what the director wants, what the script needs, what the film shoots, and to make the environments that the actors touch and occupy. It’s our job to make sure that’s consistent and coherent across the entire movie whether it’s done in production or post. It’s a close relationship.”
John Stoddart was part of the aborted cinematic adaptation by Bruce Beresford of a classic story by Philip K. Dick.
“I worked on Total Recall for about 11 months then suddenly a few weeks before we started shooting Dino De Laurentiis ran into a financial crisis and the whole thing was closed down in a couple of days. I made models and built sets for it; that was a great disappointment for me.”
“My approach to Designing Gravity was the same as that for any film which is set in a specific environment. However, everything about my Art Department’s structure and output was tailor-made for the film. I’m very used to liaising with VFX houses when it comes to set extensions or modifying existing landscapes and locations but Gravity was different because much of the final output was to be built as fully CG.”
“Superhero art, by default, depict highly idealized fantasy characters with perfect bodies. How a female artist and male artist perceive as the perfect female form is quite subjective. It’s easy to see that a triple D breast size might not be considered ideal to a female artist but ideal to some male artists.”
“My rule was if it’s boring to draw it will be boring to the reader so I would revise the page to make it exciting for me to illustrate. I like the wide panel that stretches the width of the page more than tall panels mainly because it’s more like a cinema screen. Four wide panels a page is my favourite layout rather than get all complicated with bizarre layouts that were big in the 90s.”
“I actually love a lot of the ‘faceless’ characters like Prime, Soundwave and Shockwave. In particular, Shockwave’s completely unsympathetic face totally fits that character. You almost add your own meaning to what he’s thinking depending on the dialogue coming from that unmoving eye. And with Prime, I enjoy tilting his head in certain shots to really play with the emotions. He’s got sympathetic eyes as well.”
“There have been so many Sonicstories already. I simply try to come up with a situation that we might not have seen the character in yet – something fun with the potential for lots of action.”
“My idea on this is the same as any type of illustration. Come up with an exciting dynamic image that will make your audience want to either plunk down their hard earned money for the book or movie right away or at LEAST take the book or movie off the shelf to see if it’s something they want to own.”
“As an artist I just try to make the reader ‘feel’ what they’re seeing, whatever that is. It’s one reason I’m colouring myself. That way, her jetpack can have different exhaust-like qualities, she can travel through time lightning-fast…stuff like that, so that it feels fleshed out, even if we know it’s not real.”
Mikhail Petrenko was tasked with shooting seven different storylines for Pearls of the Far East.
“It was one of the most challenging parts – creating a unique style for each story while keeping them connected. I had several ideas but none of them seemed to be working well at that time. After an extensive pre-production and several conversations with Cuong [Ngo], I realized that the desired effect will come from having every story taking place in different location, with a different cast and a different meaning. I needed to adjust to that without imposing different visual approaches.”
“Ironically, the problem with film school is film itself. What is far more important in my opinion is to hangout with a painter, a still photographer, a sculptor or car designer. The vast range of human experience is what makes a filmmaker not whether you use the RED camera or still shoot film on an Arriflex 11C.”
Peter James has worked on everything from Driving Miss Daisy to Meet the Parents.
“You have to tell the story that enhances the script in the best possible way. Put the audience in the position where it’s the best seat in the house to look at that story. You cannot bring the drama perspective into the comedy area. It won’t get any laughs. You won’t make any money. The same way you can’t take the comedy aspect to the dramatic side of things. You’ve got to understand what the genres are and how they work.”
Lucy Alibar had to adjust her approach to writing when adapting her play Juicy and Delicious into the screenplay for Beasts of the Southern Wild.
“I had to understand the scope of what I was doing as supposed to seeing something in a closed stage. All of a sudden the whole landscape became the stage, under the water, the sky, and across the water; there was so much more and I had to learn to make that the world we were writing about.”
Susan Beth Lehman explores world of cinema and theatre in her book Directors: From Stage to Screen and Back Again.
“Film schools are relatively new to academia, and technology makes beginning filmmaking accessible to so many people. It’s easy to skip the steps that lead to passionate and enveloping storytelling. I don’t want to see films that are technically successful, but emotionally empty.”
“You find the story you want to tell and tell it. If there are twenty other books about talking otters that month, so be it, you tapped into something. Amelia comes from a desire to tell a female-led, hope-based story. The fantasy aspect of it came along for the ride, but it would have worked as science fiction or any number of things. We landed where we did because it felt right for the characters and for our heads as a story to tell.”
Chris Mowry offers some advice which he makes use of when outlining Godzilla: Rulers of Earth.
“For me, it’s all about pacing. Keep things going forward, end things with cliffhangers to keep the readers wanting more, have your odd-numbered pages not be splashes or huge reveals; save those for the even-numbered ones where there’s some page-turning ‘WOW!’ moments. Those to me are the keys of pacing a book.
Brandon Montclare had to overcome a major hurdle in order to get Rocket Girl publish.
“One of the biggest challenges was the actual publishing. That is, to have the financing and support to make the book. We did a somewhat famous Kickstarter, but that’s only one aspect. Partnering with Image Comics was another. Outreach to comic shops yet another. Creating some merchandise—t-shirts, prints, sketchbooks—were a small part. But all these parts [and more] were necessary to achieve escape velocity. And now we have lift off. The trick is to keep flying for as long as we need to tell this story.”
J.W. Rinzler wanted to take an insider’s perspective with The Making of Star Wars: Return of the Jedi.
“I don’t like it when writers get between the subject and the reader because they’re trying to interpret and put their stamp on everything. I find that to be really annoying. The people who did the work have the most interesting stories and you want to enable those stories to come to the fore in the text.”
“When I voiced Figaro, it was important for me to lay down a scratch vocal track for the animators to work with. This helped me direct the performances in a way that I was not able in the first series.”
Rob Hayden talks about the logistics of shooting his cinematic adaptation of Irvine Welsh’s Ecstasy.
“Working on music videos helps you learn how to shoot quickly. We had 14 days of main unit photography which is very short for any film. Then two days + one night in Amsterdam to cover that location and shooting on planes overnight on the flight over to Amsterdam then one another plane to Scotland. We shot in the airport in Edinburgh, and six days of mostly exteriors in Edinburgh; it was a VERY tight schedule for any feature film production. It is a miracle any film ever gets made, but especially hard for independent films.”
Roman Coppola at one time was planning to have his cousin Nicolas Cage portray Dr. Strange on the big screen.
“In the past, 15 to 20 years ago, when I talked about Dr. Strange most of the comic book movies were terrible. They’ve [I’m speaking of the Marvel Universe] managed to make them more true to the spirit of the comics as I recall reading them as a boy. If someone said to me, ‘We’d love you to do Dr. Strange. Run with it. What’s your take on it?’ I’d be delighted to have a shot at that but it seems that many comic book movies are made with a certain mentality that pervades all of them and if I had my choice I’d rather do an individualistic than a factory movie but you never know. I’m open to whatever adventure comes my way.”
Cuong Ngo was inspired by the landscape of his homeland while filming his feature debut Pearls of the Far East.
“When I worked on the script in Toronto I relied heavily on my imagination and visual preparation, research and edited it in my head. But, when we went on location scouts in Vietnam, things changed for me 360 degrees because the location inspired me more and when you worked with the actors on the locations, it even inspired me more. I always go on-set with a shot list but then I shot it in different ways.”
Tobias Lindholm was able to fulfil his dream of doing a story at sea with A Hijacking.
“We found out that the crew members who needed to work for us and were extras on the film had been hostages in real life. They knew a lot of details about being hijacked by Somali pirates. They gave me a lot of these details and I changed the script immediately. For example, keeping the other crew members down below wasn’t in the script. It came from them.”
Saschka Unseld was inspired by a personal experience which resulted in the Pixar animated short film The Blue Umbrella.
“For me over a couple of films I made a lot of it was down to finding a central image for the whole story. It’s something that encapsulates a core moment of the whole film where there is stuff that happens before and stuff that happens afterwards. With The Blue Umbrella I was fortunate because the umbrella that I found on the street that became for me the central image of the film.”
“Usually I don’t like music a lot in movies but in Enemy there is music all over the place because I felt that it helped to create a distance with reality and it gave a sense of tension in scenes that could feel banal.”
Ivan Sen altered the setting of the script while principle photography was taking place for Mystery Road.
“It was something about the landscape. Some of those scenes were written for night and were meant to be darker so you have no sky. It could be anywhere. Why not show this horizon line? That landscape inspired pushing some of those scenes to the dawn area because it’s so vast and strong visually.”
“We didn’t start with the Irving story and Smurfed it down. We went the other way around. We started with a fun character story about Smurfs that felt sincere and fun, and injected the spooky elements into it.”
Bob Smeaton continues to find the subject of his documentary Jimi Hendrix: Hear My Train A Comin’ to be a man of mystery.
“Hendrix was this strange dichotomy where you’ve got this guy on-stage who appears to be super confident, really sexy and wild but everyone was saying, ‘He’s really shy.’ I was thinking, ‘How does that work?’ Not everybody is on a hundred per cent of the time but with Hendrix I would have thought if one person had said he was quiet but everyone said it.”
Robert Lepage adapted his play Lypsynch into the film Triptychco-directed with Pedro Pires.
“A lot of stuff was unplanned. What I found to be interesting is that you shoot all of this material and have all of these great transition ideas and you do them. ‘They’re cool and nice.’ But then there are these extraordinary things in the material that you don’t expect and suddenly they’re close cousins. You say, ‘This goes here.’ Usually, they contain the essence of the film.”
Gavin Hood personally connected with Ender’s Game.
“For me it wasn’t so much a particular scene but a particular feeling that it generated in me. I was drafted when I was 17 in the South African military in 1981, during the bad old days, and taken a thousand miles away from my home, and dropped into a basic training place where I was yelled and screamed at. I was set in an environment that was very different from my experience in growing up where aspects of my personality, particularly the more aggressive side of one’s male personality, were being praised in ways that would have been unthinkable by your mother.”