On Making Chinese Movies

Here's something, a bonus post.

I just wanted to say that I'm really excited to get home and cut the footage to all my projects. First up will be the Random Kate video, since we're on a schedule to get their record out. It's another 'get the video done so you can put it on the Enhanced CD' deal. Next up will be the Chinese Movie, once we pick up the casting call shots. Finally, the TMINM docu-concert, as time permits.

I am actually so excited about the Chinese Movie, I'm going to keep it under wraps and surprise you guys when it's done. Besides the obvious Wong Kar Wai and Jean Luc Godard influences, I have to credit Jeremy the most in influencing my directorial style. In watching him shoot the Cleary video, I learned to throw yourself into the story and location, get excited and explore all the opportunities available at that place. Jeremy captured every angle and point of interest in that laundromat. He captured not only the performances, but the essence of the place in a revelatory manner that I hadn't thought of before.

Later, Jeremy shot some footage for a not-yet-released TMINM video in and around a lakeside house, including the garden and woods. Though I observed that closely, I didn't think much of it until much later when I started examining the footage. Again, he was capturing the environment around him, but he was interpreting it as well. For each object he encountered he presented us with a unique camera movement to accentuate its function or purpose, the way he viewed it. He chose to focus entirely on objects I would have completely overlooked if I were put in the same location. I would have looked at the big picture: here is a house in the woods by a lake. He chose to look at the small things that made this house in the woods by a lake different from all others.

Now all of this is made possible by two things. One, shooting based on a framework without many details. Not being tied to a script. Two, the inexpensive cost of video. The ability to explore and experiment on the fly without additional cost. Now, the directors we admire do tend to work without extensive scripting, though they dont' shoot on video. They have perfected the art enough to know specifically what to explore to achieve the same results. So, the next step for me is to be sharp enough to combine the traditional methods with this freestyle concept.

In any case, it has been lots of fun shooting the Chinese Movie, because we have really gotten out there, and will continue to get out there, into the real world, where real people are going about their business, and make a film in the midst of it all. Angie keeps throwing around the phrase "Cinema Verite," the technique pioneered (I think) by Truffaut and Godard. In fact, Godard once said, "The whole world is a soundstage," and he'd often film right in the streets of Paris. That's what we have done, and it's been a blast.


Jeremy said...

When are you going to make that TMINM video based on my footage?

Joshua Provost said...

Hard to say. I can't really think of a song the footage would be appropriate for. And it needs to be a short song. How about putting the footage to Implode? :)

Jeremy said...

I think you could take a mixture of what I shot and some of the other things that you've shot while you've been out here and make it a video for 1.04 or 1.05. Of course, the original thought was for 1.03, but I'm not sure that the footage is appropriate for the tone of that song.

Joshua Provost said...

Jer, not a bad idea. Maybe this footage, like many of the songs we have written will lay dormant for years before it sees that light of day. Come to think of it, it already has.