Film School Rejects: 6 Filmmaking Tips from David CronenbergDavid Cronenberg
For anyone who would like to explore–or re-explore– David Cronenberg’s work before Cosmopolis, here’s another helpful background information post, about how the Director approaches his work. Please click on the link below for the full story written by Landon Palmer.
“David Cronenberg has made many types of films, but all of them are unmistakably Cronenberg. From B-horror movies to a beat literature adaptation to a film about the working relationship between Freud and Jung, the Canadian filmmaking veteran’s oeuvre exhibits a versatility of subject matter that somehow maintains consistency in style. Cronenberg’s films are known for their complicated portrayals of sex, in-your-face depictions of violence, and unmitigated explorations of human transformation, whether that transformation be from a human to a fly, a patient to a psychologist, or an east coast mobster to a Midwest suburban father.
David Cronenberg got his start in underground experimental films, then made interesting low-budget B-movie horror features, and has since risen to prominence as one of North America’s most respected and revered auteurs. In August, the 69-year-old Cronenberg’s 18th feature film will be released, and he may follow it up soon with his first ever sequel.
So here’s a bit of free film school from an experienced filmmaker hailing from America’s favorite hat.”
|From the article|
On the behind-the-scenes documentary for the A History of Violence DVD, screenwriter John Olson pointedly states that Cronenberg doesn’t storyboard his scenes: “He doesn’t storyboard, and he doesn’t rehearse with the actors until he gets [to the set], and then he starts feeling it out, he’ll block the scene, and he’ll see how it works for [the actors]. He’ll start designing his shots around them.”
At first, this sounds like an incredibly risky practice. It takes a lot of confidence for a director to show up on set without something specific in mind that s/he wants to articulate visually. But on the other hand, there’s a charming pragmatism to such a collaborative approach. Anything from the set to the lighting to the faces of the actors themselves may not initially look the way a director envisions them in the storyboarding process, so why commit to something in your head when it may not exactly work on set? Cronenberg’s no-storyboarding (or, at least, no advance storyboarding) filmmaking style embraces the interactive component of filmmaking and permits an openness toward what other creative contributors like the director of photography, set designer, costume designer, and actors contribute. It doesn’t force the director into a situation where their vision is sacrosanct at the expense of collective creative contribution. Cronenberg sees the vision of the director as what leads a film, not what dictates it.
You Don’t Have to Find Inspiration For Your Films in Other Films
According to Mark Browning’s book David Cronenberg: Author or Film-maker?, Cronenberg’s greatest artistic influences are, surprisingly, not other filmmakers but authors. Cronenberg has regularly cited Lolita scribe Vladimir Nabokov and beat novelist William S. Burroughs as the most instructive in building his identity as an artist.
We typically think of the greatest directors as huge cinephiles. Scorsese thinks that cinema’s greatest artistic achievement is Powell and Pressburger’s The Red Shoes. Alfred Hitchcock was a big fan of Luis Bunuel. Even Brett Ratner cites Raging Bull as the movie that made him want to make movies. When assessing the work of a great filmmaker, we often infer that their greatness has been cultivated through a devotion to the art and history of cinema. But why can’t one art form influence another?”
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