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How do Steven Soderbergh and Robert Rodriguez direct and shot at same time ?


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#1 Fan Marques

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Posted 22 September 2007 - 03:22 PM

How do Steven Soderbergh and Robert Rodriguez direct and shot at same time ? Both good directors executing many functions directing and shooting in filming step's of productions with medium budget, 40, 50 millions. Now they showed that can to make both functions well done, but in the beginning, how do agents accord that directors also shot when it wish to do it ?

I'm starting, for the time being as screenwriter, but when I've been writing or reading a screenplay I always think as director and director of photography, how would I like the actors acting that scene, frame, storyboard, how the story is being telling and the cinematography(contrast, color temperature, tricks, lighting, doing the harmony with all scenes aspect and facilitating the production).

I want to direct and write, It's really certain but I also would like shot it keeping my ideal conception of my screenplay.

Someone help me ? Thanks very much, sorry for my english.
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#2 Chris Durham

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Posted 22 September 2007 - 03:55 PM

The first thing you have to understand is that writing and directing are entirely separate arts. As a writer-director, the first thing you have to be able to do is not get married to any idea you have when writing. The most important skill a director has to have is the ability to communicate and work with actors. This does NOT mean getting them to play the picture you have in your head. Film is a collaborative form which means you have to be willing to share pieces of responsibility for the end result. If, as a writer, you want the audience to see exactly what you have in your head, then you should be a novelist. The screenwriter is responsible for putting together a bunch of ideas into a story that works and is interesting. Once that is done (as much as anything can be done) he hands it over to the director and washes his hands of it. Likewise, a director will put together all the pieces - sets, locations, cast, etc. - required to relate his interpretation of the screenplay. Once he has created this set of circumstances, he must wash his hands of it as well; for now the "performance" is in the hands of the actors. The actors must find a way to make these artificial circumstances (plot, location, character, etc.) palpable for themselves and accordingly act honestly in reaction to them. Often, the actor's behavior will not be the performance and delivery pictured in the writer's head or the director's. This is a notion that can be intimidating to the writer or director - that his 'baby' won't be his. Get over it. Writers and directors who don't trust the next person in line to get it right sabotage their own work. A single person - writer or director - can not handle the intricacies of balancing every piece of a story. I'd be afraid to meet someone who could keep real tabs on all the characters in a film. Authority and responsibility in filmmaking are necessarily distributed on down the line with the idea that each person adds depth and the final product is better for it.

So, in response to your question, they are able to do it by compartmentalizing their roles throughout the project. I do it too - when I write I write, when I direct I direct, and when I act I act. Just like any director, I find thoughts and ideas in the script that weren't apparent to the writer - and it would be irresponsible to dismiss them just because the writer is me and me-the-writer had a different idea. Likewise with acting - I have to shut off directorial ideas when I act. If something occurs to me in the moment when the camera is rolling, I have to be very careful of me-the-director popping into me-the-actor's head and interjecting his ideas.

So these are different skills and talents. Writing is one, Directing is another, and acting is yet another. Finally, the discipline of separating them is even another skill that takes a lot of focus and practice.

I think what happens to a lot of novice filmmakers (and I certainly fall in that category) is that we have to take on all these roles out of necessity. Many finally settle on one or two. Some focus on writing, or directing, or DPing,or acting, or editing. Others are very happy doing them all; but it's not easy and you really have to love doing them.
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#3 Bob Hayes

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Posted 23 September 2007 - 02:09 PM

Surround yourself with good people.
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#4 Edgar Dubrovskiy

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Posted 10 November 2007 - 06:55 AM

If, as a writer, you want the audience to see exactly what you have in your head, then you should be a novelist.


Perfectly said.
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#5 Lars Zemskih

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Posted 10 November 2007 - 09:41 AM

I second everything, you should forget the idea that a film will look exactly as you picture it. Once you've finished the script and it starts rolling, it will be compromise over compromise. Even the most perfectionist directors were never completely happy with the result.
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#6 Logan Schneider

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Posted 10 November 2007 - 10:15 AM

I think the more important question is how does Soderbergh direct and shoot WELL. I don't think you can say the same about Rodriguez. Soderbergh has some of the best people working for him, such as Jim Plannete, who has gaffed huge movies for decades, and ACs like Barry Idoine, who is now Robert Elswit's 1st AC. Having the best people is vital, but at the same time, Soderbergh is a real DP and is specific about what he wants. While Rodriguez puts out a lot of work, I don't think any of it is particularly good.
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#7 Chris Keth

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Posted 12 November 2007 - 07:39 PM

I think the more important question is how does Soderbergh direct and shoot WELL. I don't think you can say the same about Rodriguez. Soderbergh has some of the best people working for him, such as Jim Plannete, who has gaffed huge movies for decades, and ACs like Barry Idoine, who is now Robert Elswit's 1st AC. Having the best people is vital, but at the same time, Soderbergh is a real DP and is specific about what he wants. While Rodriguez puts out a lot of work, I don't think any of it is particularly good.


Thank you. I don't know how many people I know that insist that Robert Rodriguez is a cinematic genius, while I can't stand his movies.
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#8 Alex Worster

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Posted 12 November 2007 - 10:35 PM

It also helps when you work with some great DPs. From what I've heard Soderbergh learned a lot of what he knows about shooting from Elliot Davis who he worked with a lot in the midish 90s. Learning from people who are very good at what they do is a good place to start for just about anything.

Edited by Alex Worster, 12 November 2007 - 10:36 PM.

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Visual Products

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