Sometimes it’s the written word. Other times, it’s a still photo. If the camera is too revealing, we can communicate via video or sound. Said filmmaker Robert Bresson’s in his 1975 book Notes on the Cinematograph: “A locomotive’s whistle imprints in us a whole railroad station.”
Communication is a game of elements. Film is the art of combining images and sounds; it excludes what overexplains or impresses.
“One should not use the camera as if it were a broom.”
A good filmmaker lets the mind dance with imagination. A movie is both a creative and viewing experience. It can be dull and instantly lively, like the pendulum of our everyday lives.
“My movie is born first in my head, dies on paper; is resuscitated by the living persons and real objects I use, which are killed on film but, placed in a certain order and projected on to a screen, come to life again like flowers in water.”
The Verge interviewed legendary director Werner Herzog about his online class where both aspiring filmmakers and professionals can learn his tips and secrets on moviemaking.
Not surprisingly, Herzog practices an unusual style of teaching too. He encourages his students to break the rules of storytelling and make up their assignments.
“don’t wait for the system to accept you. You create your own system, create your own [budget] and make your own first feature film or your first own documentary.”
For all the affordable technology today though comes our self-inflicted barriers of Internet addictiveness. To avoid the pitfalls of a “parallel surrogate life,” filmmakers need to get offline and touch things. Herzog only owns a cell phone for emergencies.
On the contrary, he reveals a fascination with technology, particularly Bitcoin, as it relates to news ways of storytelling.
“I’m interested how can I commit a bank robbery holding up the bank and getting away with loot of something that you cannot even touch”
The funniest part of the interview is when Herzog needs an explainer on Pokemon Go. He does not think the game is moronic, only that it is not for him, at least not as real as the human connection. Talking about virtual reality, he still prefers it when you get on your two feet and encounter the world and others face to face.
The conversation over Pokemon leads to some of his deeper thoughts on the role of technology in our lives. At the end of the day, humans are morally responsible for their tools.
“Sure, and the question — is this technology good or bad? — is an incompetent question. It’s humans who are good or bad.”
When asked how screenwriter and film director Paul Schrader came up with some of his scripts for the movie First Reformed, he responded like all remix artists:
PS: The secret of theft, which is also called “creativity,” is you have to steal a bit from a lot of different places. You can’t go to the same 7/11 every time because they’ll catch you. So you go to the photo shop, and you go to the gas station, and you go to that little hot dog stand that nobody goes to and by the end you’ve stolen enough stuff from enough places that people think its yours.
The internet can be the largest copy-paste machine. But it also offers a chance to pluck from a diversity of sources. Just be sure to recast, remix, and redistribute them in your own voice. To put it another way, Steal Like An Artist.
RIP Bill Gold, considered one of the best movie poster artists of all-time. Below are a couple snippets from the obituary in the New York Times but the whole article is worth reading.
Long before poster artists turned to photography and computer-generated images in the 1980s and ’90s, illustrators like Mr. Gold billboarded movies with freehand drawings, based on scripts and first screen prints, that hinted at plots and moods and mysteries, without giving away too much — priming audiences for love, betrayal, jealousy, murder.
“Classic movie posters are memorable; they are held in as much affection as the movies themselves,” Lars Trodson wrote on the film website The Roundtable in 2009. “When a classic movie is matched by a classic poster, you’re held in the thrall of a distinct and pleasurable memory. The poster image becomes part of the movie experience, and is, in the end, another of the reasons why movies are so essential to us.”