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Episode 23 – What Is Your Filmmaking Point of View and Why Does Anyone Care?

Timothy and Alrik discuss their point of views as filmmakers, why would anyone care what you have to say and where does that POV come from?

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Show Notes / Links

 The Daily Struggle

  • Timothy talks about Haunted Toy House being sent to a production company which focuses on making films for Vimeo on Demand. https://vimeo.com/ondemand
  • Alrik talks a little bit about sending Brother to film festivals and getting the film out into the world.
  • Eli Roth Quote about what reaction he wants from his audience.

    “You don’t make movies like the kind that I make to be universally loved,” Roth tells Rolling Stone. “You make them because you want to provoke and you want a reaction. The best thing that people can say is, ‘I couldn’t watch it’ or ‘ I watched it with my eyes closed.’ If I’ve really done my job as a director, nobody can actually watch your movie. They’re watching the inside of their hand. You don’t want people walking out of a movie; you want them running out of the theater screaming. When that happens, that’s like a standing ovation for me.”

  • Read more: http://www.rollingstone.com/movies/news/eli-roth-doesnt-care-if-you-hate-the-green-inferno-20150928

Topic of the Week

  • Why is having a distinct point of view as a filmmaker important?
  • This video comes from Film Courage and is part of what inspired this discussion although we don’t mention it on the podcast itself.
  • What’s Timothy’s POV?
  • What’s Alrik’s POV?
  • Where do they come from?
  • Does having a brand as a filmmaker matter?
  • David Fincher on branding
    “You can’t take everything on. That’s why when people ask how does this film fit into my oeuvre. I say ‘I don’t know. I don’t think in those terms’. If I did, I might become incapacitated by fear… How do you eat a whale? One bite at a time. How do you shoot a 150-day movie? You shoot it one day at a time.” – David FincherFincher has spoken on multiple occasions about his “brand” and his dislike for being branded. His solution is not acknowledging it when it comes to attaching himself to projects or making creative decisions. He hates it when marketing departments put “From director David Fincher” on posters.” —> Read more at Film School Rejects: http://filmschoolrejects.com/features/6-filmmaking-tips-from-david-fincher.php

Shameless Plugs/Things to Share

Alrik’s documentary Naturally Gifted Athletes: It’s a Band

Naturally Gifted Athletes: It’s a Band from Bursell Productions on Vimeo.

Timothy’s short film The Lost Coast

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Published inFilmmaking
  • Timothy Plain

    I’m excited to work on defining my point of view as a filmmaker. Not because I want to brand myself, but because I think it will help producers, agents, and other important business people help me find my next project. Over the next week, I’m going to write some ideas down in this comments section. I invite you all to join me. What makes your brand of movie special and different from everyone else? Who are you?

    • I am a kite caught in a hurricane.

      • Film quotes aside this is a very interesting topic that I think we will keep on coming back to. I think in addition to defining my POV I’m interested in being true to myself as a filmmaker which will help me cultivate this POV as I make more movies. But I do agree with Timothy, being able to describe yourself as a filmmaker is very important, let me give it a try in a sentence. I like to tell stories that make the audience question their understanding of reality.

  • Alex Kellerman

    Kellerman here – for whatever reason I’m unable to login to post as myself so, I’ll just post as a “guest.” — Another great episode guys! Personally I think a filmmaker’s POV or “voice” is a bit more intangible than you discussed. Nobody makes movies with the same themes over and over again, Timothy, you may be attracted to stories about “being lost” but I can’t imagine you’ll ONLY make movies with that theme. I mean you could, I guess, but it seems unlikely to me.
    As for the “why does anyone care” question… This scares me so I tend not to think about it. Hopefully people care because I care? For me– I don’t write material that’s going to make a global impact or change the way you think about life (not intentionally anyway) – I write comedy. Dick and fart joke are commonplace in my scripts. The intention is to help people escape and laugh… But why laugh at my stuff instead of other people’s material? There is no answer.

    • What an interesting perspective, I think helping people escape and laugh is a totally great answer to the question. Why should people laugh at your dick and fart jokes rather than other movies? I think a fair answer is simply in the fact that if you succeed in making people laugh. Comedy is damn damn hard to do and if you can do it successfully and make people laugh that’s all the justification you need, for me at least. Re-reading that sentence I don’t know if that makes sense but it makes sense in my head. Going back to POV being ‘intangible’ I think it might come down to more style/tone than ‘theme’. I think a filmmaker like Tarantino for example has a really clear POV in his style/tone which he is starting to bring over into different types of genre’s and films with his more recent work. I think if you can find your voice in your style and approach to story that that might be enough. What do you all think?

    • Timothy Plain

      After talking to Alex on Sunday night, I realize that point of view is less important to some people than others. To me, it is very important. Probably because all the filmmakers I respect and admire have a strong point of view and that’s what makes me like them. I love writers, artists, and filmmakers that create a unique sensibility and have a deliberate focus in their work. It also makes it easier for me as an audience to choose what to watch. If you tell me David Fincher is directing 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, say no more, I’m there. That’s all I need to hear to know that movie is going to be awesome! And that’s only possible because David Fincher has such a strong point of view which allows me to imagine that movie in my head.

      • Agreed but I wonder if David Finchers POV is more his style/tone then it is really a point of view. I mean, I guess it all comes down to how you define POV. If you breakdown POV as a message or theme, then I think it’s harder to say that’s something you can see in all the films a director makes. I think the phrase ‘deliberate focus’ is probably more accurate because that transcends a message or a theme, it’s more like a feeling you get when you watch an artists work. I don’t know for sure but I’d imagine most filmmakers would like to think their films have a certain unique feel to them that lets their own personality and voice come through. I don’t know if that’s a useful comment but what they hey…I’m going to post it anyway!

        • Timothy Plain

          I think style is definitely born from a point of view. Style elicits feelings and thoughts about the story and ultimately hints at the filmmakers point of view.

          I’ve heard David Fincher talk about how he believes that when people talk to each other they talk with lies. He seems to be somewhat of a cynic. This point of view is visible in the kinds of films he’s interested in making and also how he shoots them. His style would be considered dark and cynical, and I believe that comes directly from how he perceives the world.

          On the other hand you have Wes Anderson who’s applying his style to achieve a fantastical point of view that might represent the way he wishes the world was. It could also just be the way he thinks stories should be told. Either way, I think if you met Wes Anderson you would say he was a whimsical man obsessed with feelings of nostalgia.

          But then there’s filmmakers like Sydney Lumet who don’t believe in style. Style, he says, comes from story and what’s right for one movie is not right for another. So all his movies feel different. But Lumet still has a point of view. That point of view might be in the way he approaches material. Ironically, his disregard for style might be part of his point of view. His films often deal with individuality and the person who stands alone. Lumet seems to be interested in characters that don’t follow the crowd and choose to live by their own rules. The lone juror in 12 Angry Men, the man robbing the bank to pay for his wife’s sex reassignment surgery in Dog Day Afternoon, the news anchor who “is not going to take this anymore” in Network. These men stand up against the system.

  • Marc Madrigal

    Non-filmmaker here just adding my opinion! Whenever I decide to see a movie, usually the most important factor is the director. It’s the director who takes a story and imbues it with a voice. Good directors work with the same people over and over again. Good directors also don’t choose to direct bad scripts. Good directors have a style as well. I think of “style” as a close approximation of that filmmaker’s perspective. You guys have mentioned Chris Nolan on the podcast and I think he is a great example. He likes certain things: mindbending sci fi as you said, but also a grounded realism through practical effects, a deep bench of top tier actors, that evocative Han Zimmerish music, big thematic ideas, tortured male protagonists full of regret, and especially intricate cross-cutting between timelines, dream layers, etc. He used the same cinematography seven times in a row! To me that shows his “perspective” on things and it defines him as a filmmaker. I’m sure you could come up with your own list for other great filmmakers as well and it would be very representative of the kinds of movies they make.

    • Timothy Plain

      I agree. I think that when you buy into a director you buy into their sensibilities. You learn to trust them. That they won’t let you down. That they will make something cool and worth your time.

    • Yeah Marc, Christopher Nolan is totally on that list of filmmakers with a clear POV. I think there are a lot of them out there, like Woody Allen, Sophia Coppola, Guy Ritchie or even Michael Bay (for better or for worse), when you turn on one of their films you can almost tell right away it’s one of their movies. But yeah, I love this idea that you are introducing that it’s more than just the director that creates this POV, it’s the team he or she brings on to help them tell their story. We talk a lot about the collaborative nature of film on the podcast a lot and I think a directors POV couldn’t be seen in a film without the right artists working with them to achieve their vision.

  • Timothy Plain

    Alex just said something to me that was spot on. He said not to worry about what your perspective is. You don’t need to sell your body of work, you just need to sell your next project. So focus on your next project. To David Fincher’s point, you can only eat a whale one bite at a time.