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Episode 36 – Where to Put the Camera? Which lenses to use? How to direct like Tarantino!

We’re breaking format this week to talk about a few smaller topics rather than one big one. First is where to put the camera. And then we have a clip from Roger Deakins about lenses. And finally, we theorize on how Quentin Tarantino gets such great performances from his actors.

Listen now or visit iTunes to download it to your device.


Show Notes / Links

The Daily Struggle

  • Alrik talks about getting getting depressed this last week and questioning all his decisions. “Why am I not further along in my career?” “Why am I producing someone else’s movie and not my own?” He talks about how he digs himself out of the funk.
  • Alrik talks about not having enough time to work on everything he wants to.
  • Last week, Alrik talked about switching the genders of his two leads in his screenplay The Alternate. Timothy tells Alrik that he’s having similar debates with the writer of The Haunted Toyhouse. After a year and a half of writing, when do you stop coming up with ideas that will change the entire screenplay?

Topic of the Week – Where to Put the Camera? Which lenses to use? How to direct like Tarantino!

In David Mamet’s Book on directing he says “The main questions a director must answer are: “Where do I put the camera” and what do I tell the actors?” Let’s talk about both of those things.

Where to Put the Camera

  • Some filmmakers are really good about knowing where to put the camera to capture a scene
  • How do you decide where the camera goes?
  • Is one answer better than another?

Roger Deakins on Lenses

  • Roger Deakins on his approach:
  • After the actors are blocked, thinking about where to place the camera. versus storyboards.
  • How do you like to work?
  • Using certain lenses to tell different stories. Telling a whole film predominantly with one or two focal lengths.
  • Why working with someone like Deakins would give you all the advantages as a director (at least in a visual sense).

Directing like Tarantino!

See Tarantino talk about acting at 48:30:

In an earlier episode Timothy wondered what Quentin Tarantino tells his actors to get such great performances. In this Hollywood Reporter Round Table he says a few things that may provide insights.

  • Harvey Keitel tells Tarantino that in auditions, don’t help the actors out in that very first reading. Don’t give them guidance. Don’t tell them how you want the scene. Don’t tell them what you’re looking for. You will never ever see what was in their head unless you let them do it. An adjustment is the easiest thing in the world to give. Let them give their first shot at it with what they came up with
  • In the second part of this, he talks about working with Zoe Bell and teaching her about becoming an actress. He distills it to two things 1) Think the thoughts of the character and 2) Know what’s going on
  • How is Quentin Tarantino using these techniques differently than most of us


Final Thoughts

  • We debate on the merits of comparing ourselves to directors who have access to a higher level of talent than we do


Things to Share

Timothy’s first Cheetos commercial is live! He worked with famed character animation shop Tippett Studio.

Alrik recommends you go see Deadpool!

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