“I really love the black spaces. It makes me think about the geography of the painting, where the figure sits in the world. I quite like the paradoxical nature – the more he removes (the less he tells you about what’s out there), the more I find myself thinking about what’s in that dark space behind. Because you never have the resources to fully create the world that you’re creating, you’re leaving a lot of voids, you’re leaving a lot of gaps, and so part of what you start trying to do is using those necessary gaps intelligently so that where you’re not showing sometimes, it’s helping you rather than feeling the limitations of the world.”
“Basically, we lit the film by choosing the right places to shoot it.”
— Cinematographer Roger Deakins on building the look of ‘Prisoners’ by carefully selecting locations and using their inherent nature to motivate light. Despite the film it refers to, this is excellent, often forgotten advice.
“I think movies are great when they’re about something small that you make complicated, not something complicated that you try to make small.”
— Tony Gilroy
“I’m trying to think of what the difference is between things that are conceived as movies originally and things that aren’t. Certainly a movie to me should have extended sequences where people don’t talk. Somebody was asking me the other day — I was saying I’d seen this film that I felt wasn’t really a movie, and they said ‘what do you mean it wasn’t a movie’, and I said, ‘you could play it on the radio and understand everything’. There should be extended periods where it’s just visuals.”
— Steven Soderbergh
Paul Thomas Anderson on Character Motivation
From an interview with Creative Screenwriter, Paul Thomas Anderson:
CS: One scene in Boogie Nights that was very effective was when Dirk’s mother screams at him and kicks him out of the house. A lot of people who come from dysfunctional families told me that scene was like something out of their lives. Were you surprised a lot of people could not only relate to the scene but also thought it was one of the strongest in the film?
PTA: Yeah, but I was also surprised by how many people thought it was one of the weakest scenes in the movie. When his mother comes at him like that, she’s really crazy and out of control. She’s kind of without motivation to a certain extent. I think one of the greatest mistakes that I’ve made in the past and that a writer can make is, “What’s the character’s motivation?” Well, a lot of times it’s so fucking confused and so polluted that you really have no idea. That woman is pretty nuts, and I think it’s sometimes hard for an audience to grab a hold of a character whose intentions aren’t clear. You don’t really know what the fuck she’s yelling about. You know she has an odd jealousy towards him or towards the neighborhood girl that he’s banging, so she’s upset about that, but her actions are so manic, you can’t get a hold of them. I was just really glad that the actress in the scene didn’t require a lot of clarity on her behavior, because I couldn’t have given it. I really wrote what made sense, and what made sense was sometimes so illogical. There are some people that saw it and said, “That scene doesn’t make sense! Why is she going crazy?” And I would just say, “You know what? I’ve never been able to figure it out.” But it sure makes sense, and I’ve sure been there.