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A Message for Mr. Mullen....


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#1 Ian Marks

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Posted 23 June 2005 - 12:06 PM

David, I've been reading and enjoying your comments on this forum since joining. I don't think I've ever read a post from you that wasn't informative, thoughtful, and written with admirable clarity. In fact, I think you're a better writer than many people who make their livings that way.

I wish you'd consider writing down your experiences as a cinematographer and putting them into book form. I would be fascinated to read about how your experiences on "Twin Falls" and "Northfork" contrast with "D.E.B.S." and "Bee," for example. Even four or five extended essays, each dealing with a different film project, would make for a terrific book.

I think there is a substantial audience out there for such a book - I know I'd buy it. Just my two cents...
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#2 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 23 June 2005 - 12:19 PM

Someday when I have more to write about...

Actually the Polish Brothers are writing a book on their filmmaking experiences but I don't expect to be featured much in it.

I had an idea for a book that could get published, since the market is glutted with basic cinematography and digital cinematography textbooks. It would be more on practical "indie" cinematography, more like Kris Malkiewicz's "Film Lighting", mixing technical and real-world examples.
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#3 Ian Marks

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Posted 23 June 2005 - 02:07 PM

I think you already have enough to write about, but I look forward to whatever you might produce in the future.

I disagree about there being a glut on the market. Most of what I've seen deals with things like depth of field and basic lighting - all of which I learned as a kid by shooting stills and reading basic still photography books.

What I haven't seen is something along the lines of "We only had three hours at the location to get our shots. The weather was cloudy but the script called for a sunny day. Our star showed up with a black eye, and the six-year-old actress playing her daughter couldn't work past six p.m. We had to make ten extras look like fifty, and the director was calling for a 'Top Gun' meets 'Eraserhead' look. Here's what I did to get the shot."

That is - technical challenges mixed with aesthetic choices mixed with practical and political considerations.
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#4 Sean Azze

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Posted 23 June 2005 - 03:04 PM

What I haven't seen is something along the lines of "We only had three hours at the location to get our shots. The weather was cloudy but the script called for a sunny day. Our star showed up with a black eye, and the six-year-old actress playing her daughter couldn't work past six p.m. We had to make ten extras look like fifty, and the director was calling for a 'Top Gun' meets 'Eraserhead' look. Here's what I did to get the shot." 

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That sounds like the film shoot from hell. I bet not even Haskell Wexler ever had to deal with something like that!

Oh, and Top Gun meets Eraserhead sounds like a great flick. Lets get a writer in here, stat.
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#5 Ian Marks

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Posted 23 June 2005 - 03:30 PM

That sounds like the film shoot from hell.  I bet not even Haskell Wexler ever had to deal with something like that!

Oh, and Top Gun meets Eraserhead sounds like a great flick.  Lets get a writer in here, stat.

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That's lots of colored grads with black and white film, by the way.
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#6 Matt Irwin

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Posted 24 June 2005 - 12:45 AM

What I haven't seen is something along the lines of "We only had three hours at the location to get our shots. The weather was cloudy but the script called for a sunny day. Our star showed up with a black eye, and the six-year-old actress playing her daughter couldn't work past six p.m. We had to make ten extras look like fifty, and the director was calling for a 'Top Gun' meets 'Eraserhead' look. Here's what I did to get the shot." 

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Ian, I haven't laughed this hard in at least a few days. Thank you. :D

Seriously though, I totally agree. There are very few books (if any) that deal with practical, under-the-gun, indie shooting. Something like that would be awesome.
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#7 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 24 June 2005 - 12:55 AM

Well, there's "The Guerilla Filmmakers Handbook", plus those various books by people who made some indie films like Robert Rodriguez's book "Rebel without a Crew". His audio commentaries on the DVD for "El Mariachi" and its sequels are pretty informative. Spike Lee's books on his productions also offer some good insight into the process.

John Jackman's book on DV Lighting is good for low-budget beginners.

But honestly, I didn't really learn by studying how other low-budget people made films. I learned by studying how the best movies were made, figuring that if I aimed high and fell short, I'd still be ahead of someone who only wanted to make the same quality as everyone else on a low-budget. If you have a half-million to make a movie, you try and make it look like a 2 million dollar film. IF you had 2 million, you'd try and make it look like a 10 million dollar film. This is why I never understood the question "I'm making a low-budget DV movie -- what low-budget DV movies should I study for the lighting?" Why not study movies with GOOD lighting, period? Who really wants to copy the look of your typical low-budget DV feature anyway?

But I agree that a practical look into indie cinematography would be interesting, to see how people are achieving artistic results with limited means.
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#8 Alvin Pingol

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Posted 24 June 2005 - 06:40 PM

I had an idea for a book that could get published, since the market is glutted with basic cinematography and digital cinematography textbooks. It would be more on practical "indie" cinematography, more like Kris Malkiewicz's "Film Lighting", mixing technical and real-world examples.

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Combing through the archives (all the way back to the Siteforums days) pulls up an amazing amount of text you've contributed that, in itself, would make one incredible book!
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#9 Josh Hill

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Posted 25 June 2005 - 12:21 AM

Here's a book that would sell to all those kids who think they are the next Rodriguez:

"How to Make an Independent Film on Ego Alone"

Just a thought while we were on the topic of books. Hehe
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#10 Laurent Andrieux

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Posted 26 June 2005 - 09:04 AM

That sounds like the film shoot from hell.  I bet not even Haskell Wexler ever had to deal with something like that!

Oh, and Top Gun meets Eraserhead sounds like a great flick.  Lets get a writer in here, stat.

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Well, it might sound odd, but if you go there : http://www.cinematog...hp?showforum=56 and read the valuable dairy that David wrote on the production of "akeelah and the bee" you will see it isn't that far from real...

Edited by laurent.a, 26 June 2005 - 09:05 AM.

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#11 Mark Allen

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Posted 26 June 2005 - 05:12 PM

What I haven't seen is something along the lines of "We only had three hours at the location to get our shots. The weather was cloudy but the script called for a sunny day. Our star showed up with a black eye, and the six-year-old actress playing her daughter couldn't work past six p.m. We had to make ten extras look like fifty, and the director was calling for a 'Top Gun' meets 'Eraserhead' look." 

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Ha. You just described my daily phone calls when I was doing visual effects.

Actually, we have literally done every single one of those - including the blackeye.
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