Christopher Nolan’s film “Tenet” has had a successful opening weekend. However, there is still much debate behind the sound-mixing of Nolan’s films and “Tenet” doesn’t appear to be any different. In a recent article with Indiwire, Zack Sharf explores the sound mixing of Nolan’s films and the reasoning behind it.
Many people often complain that important dialogue often gets buried behind an explosive soundtrack. Its definitely true that The Dark Knight Rises, Interstellar, and Dunkirk all had epic sound mixing behind them. Many people have stated in their Tenet reviews that the sound design was almost deafening and too distracting.
Nolan has made it very clear that he believes dialogue is not the only way to gain clarity of a emotions in a film. In response to critic against the soundtrack in Interstellar Nolan stated, “Clarity of story, clarity of emotions- I try to achieve that in a very layered way using all the different things at my disposal- picture and sound. I’ve always loved films that approach sound in an impressionistic way and that is an usual approach for a mainstream blockbuster, but I feel it’s the right approach for this experiential film.”
Despite any personal opinions on Nolan’s sound mixing, one can’t argue that he creates a visual experience unlike any other blockbuster films. There is clearly intention behind the specific sound mixing that he includes in his film, and that’s the way Nolan wants them to sound.
Jim Cummings is an extremely unique director in the sense that he often heads up the distribution of his films and their production. In a recent Podcast with Film Riot, he explains to the listeners just how he goes about accomplishing this.
To many filmmakers, the idea of overseeing the distribution of your own films sounds like a dream. As Jim points out, it allows the filmmaker to have more control over the trailer, poster, and other art forms. He says he views distribution as a continuation of the making the film, and that to him the film is a property that he manages and “rents” around to distributors.
Cummins key advice is to make films as much as possible, especially short films that are similar/ relevant to the dream feature film you see yourself making in the future. Not only is this a good way to gain quality experience, but it also allows you a chance to become more known in the filmmaking community and build connections. According to Cummins, it doesn’t matter how good a filmmakers script/ product is, but it’s all about the value that the filmmaker holds.
Cummins last key of advice is to find those you trust and COLLABORATE with them, and above all less take every opportunity you have to gain experience and grow as a filmmaker.
Listen to Jim Cummins full Podcast with Film Riot Here
In a recent podcast with Film Riot, Jody Lee Lipes gave some industry advice on conveying emotion through the eye of the camera lens to the audience. Jody Lee Lipes describes cinematography as the physicality of words in images, and the cinematography of a film can have a massive impact on the psyche of an audience member, and often determine the audience’s relationship with the film. Jody Lee Lipes describes cinematography as the physicality of words in images.
Jody makes a point of stating that the focus of a cinematographer should not be to manipulate the audience, but to familiarize themselves with the story in such a way that the story tells the camera where it wants to go. The art of cinematography is to lead the audience down an emotionally led journey, and often the instinctual idea you get for a shot is the right one.
When asked about his prep routine before every film, Jody advises that the cinematographer breakdown every scene of the film into a “Bible.” Breaking down each scene into one summarizing sentence. He states that the cinematographer should be so familiar with the script that he/she can back up every planned shot down to a single purpose. If they cannot back the idea up, it likely means its initial concept wasn’t strong enough. Stick to your gut and follow the story line and it will drastically aid in bringing the film to life.
“A film is never really good unless the camera is an eye in the head of the poet.”
– Orson Welles
Listen to Jody Lee Lipes full podcast with film riot Here
The longer the global health crisis in the world right now goes on, the more of a desire there is for life to return to normalcy. In good news, many movie theaters have now opened up back up to a most notable level since pre COVID- 19. Attendance for movie goers has been record low, however a recent premiere of Solstice Studios, “Unhinged” is giving the U.S Box Office some hope.
In a recent article by Rebecca Rubin for Variety, she discusses the film “Unhinged,” and its success as being the first major theatrical release since March. The film premiered in 1,823 venues in North America and pocketed more than $4 million dollars in its first weekend. Unhinged cost $33 million to produce, which doesn’t include marketing and distribution costs, and the filmmakers are aiming to reach $30 million in revenue during the film’s theatrical run time. Which will be longer than the average films run time.
In a recent interview, Shari Hardison, Solstice’s head of distribution, gave a quote stating “We have a lot of stairs to climb, but the first steps are encouraging.” There’s a long way to go for the U. S box office to survive in the pandemic world, but the major success with “Unhinged” since its release is a step in the right direction.
The CEO of Solstice, Mark Gill, stated that his mantra throughout the whole global health crisis has been “Slow and steady wins the race.” He later expressed his satisfaction with “Unhinged’s” opening weekend stating: “This weekend is the first step. The next couple of weeks will show us a lot more. The rebuilding process is going to take 9- 18 months. Our belief in the long-term success of the theatrical business is unshaken.
Read Rebecca Rubin’s article Box Office: Russell Crowe’s ‘Unhinged’ Off to Decent Start as U.S. Theaters Slowly Reopen Here
Listen to Mark Gill’s full interview on the release of Unhinged Here
Kate Erbland recently wrote an article for Indiwire discussing how both women, and critics of color are still extremely under-represented in the film critic world. She states that her article will probably appear familiar to those that read last year’s Thumbs Down Study from the Center for the Study of Women in TV and Film at San Diego State University. One year ago, the study found that male critics outnumbered female critics 2 to 1. One year later the study has only seen a three percent increase in the balance between male and female critics.
Dr. Martha M. Lauzen, Ph.D, who heads up the Thumbs Down Study gave a formal statement: ““The overrepresentation of men as film reviewers coupled with the fact that a higher proportion of their reviews focus on male-driven stories and films directed by men advantage those films by giving them greater visibility in the critical marketplace. As the film industry reanimates in the coming weeks, this structural inequity will help to ensure that pre-pandemic inequities will remain in place in the pandemic and post-pandemic environments.” Unless the structural makeup of the film industry drastically changes, the inequity between men and women in the field will always exist. With production and film making down during this Pandemic, the industry is being allowed a chance to reevaluate and change.
According to the San Diego State University’s study, women are not the only ones under-represented in the critic industry. The study found that 73% of all male reviewers are white, and 70% of all female critics are white. While Hollywood is definitely under representing female critics, they are even further failing to represent all critics of color.
The Thumbs Down study, which originated in 2007, is the longest running and most comprehensive study on the representation of women in the film industry. Hopefully the film industry will see a more dramatic number of equal representation within the near future.
Read Kate Earblands article Male Critics Still Outnumber Female, All Critics of Color Remain “Dramatically Underrepresented for the Indiewire here
You can read the full study from the Center For The Study Of Women In Television & Film here.
In a recent Podcast with The Director’s Cut, Ron Howard spoke to Jeremy Kagan about the relationships he builds with his collaborators, and the impact these relationships have on a film. He describes the mutual and respectful relationship he aims to develop with both his first assistant director and the cinematographer, stating that both the 1st AD and Cinematographer work just as hard as the director.
Howard says that it’s often the most helpful when the 1st AD also functions in a producer role early on in the pre-production process. This way the 1st AD is more familiar with the film and has a voice in the decision-making process from the beginning. He describes this relationship as helping to identify the absolutes and the possible land mines that will arise later on in the film-making process.
It’s not uncommon to hear the saying- a director, not a dictator. Louise Drumm, an assistant theater director with Dublin Youth Theatre states, “To be a good director you have to know when to let go.” Ron Howard brings this quote to life by establishing a symbiotic relationship between himself, as the director, his 1st AD, and cinematographer. He seems to be aware that filmmaking is a collaborative process, and perhaps this is the reason many of his films have been so widely successful.
“One of the great things about being a director as a life choice is that it can never be mastered. Every story is its own expedition, with its own set of challenges.”
Listen to the Directors Guild Podcast The Craft of The Director with Ron Howard Part 1 (Ep. 258) here.