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Filmmaking from the Inside-Out

Lesson 4 of 10

The History of Writers & Directors


Filmmaking from the Inside-Out

Lesson 4 of 10

The History of Writers & Directors


Lesson Info

The History of Writers & Directors

Briefly again just want to talk a little bit about some writers just because you know well it all again what's our funds sort of tree that weaken d'oh joe mankowitz words I think of him you know, thoughtful words very very you know, very smart, very literate a movie he did was called all about eve um it's the whole very little camera movement it's all language I mean personally again for me I love language I'm not a strong with with camera I love a great line, you know? And if you want to study again a great script all about eve it's it's perfect aaron sorkin right? We all know him a word smith loves language and again what kind of writer you're going to be? You know, uh if you love language are my better do I care more about language or do I care more about directing because when you think of words smith movies, they don't have the most interesting camera stuff because you can't it's sort of it's one of the other and it's something to think about billy while they're of course fantasti...

c writer very cynical yet he add cynicism paddy chayefsky who wrote network again cynical and then you have somebody like david mamet again comes out of that school we're gonna be talking later to neil labute guess a lee was influenced by when I did my reading david mamet so ah it's interesting for may I'm like so now it gives me it gives me an added color when I watch his films you know and I love having that little bit of context too to add you know it adds a little bit of flavor um a little bit with directors here cecil b de mille who uh hey his movies I don't know if anyone has seen them for me personally again they're very hard to watch there like a ten commandments and yet again you know it's not all fun way have to what you know we watch these movies because he had this great sense of spectacle of working with crowds are your movies going to be that way? Are you going are you doing game of thrones or you doing a sensitive kitchen sink drama you know but if you're going to be doing game of thrones guess what you're going to be watching cecil b de mille because even though the stories they're a little maybe creek here out of date or the you know the accents or funny he had he was masterful in terms of staging and crowds and somebody like you know steven spielberg comes from that school david lean you know again comes from that school massive crowds chorus allah is a director that comes up when I was starting out acting there's this guy chris out everybody's mentioning curse our there isn't a director you know, spielberg clint eastwood martin scorsese that doesn't talk about a cure occur saleh as being there personally favorite filmmaker and you know so that somebody to tow watch cindy pollack makes which again I think it's very interesting here's where we're going to use our little tree is sydney pollack was trained by sanford meisner sanford meisner comes out of the group theater the reflections of the group theater there were uh the depression the working man equal rights equal pay you know what a sydney pollack make message films like when I think of sydney pollack he that's what he makes the way we were great stories they're not risky, you know but they have a message fred zinnemann the same thing he does a movie called from here to eternity it's not you know it's not the best shot thing in the world but it is ah, if you think of strong actors classic storytelling um with a message you know and I find that to be very interesting I I would have killed to work with sydney pollack one of my just all time favorite films and again what I love about his films and this is something to think about, like we get what kind of a filmmaker do I want to be? Do I do I want to be cecil b de mille do I want to be you know sydney pollack and again you know you maybe want to be steven spielberg so if you want to be spielberg look at the people that influenced him because he didn't just wake up one day and you know become a an amazing director elia kazan again comes out of the group theater uh raw emotional working class but here's what something interesting about him he's an immigrant so we haven't we haven't immigrant philosophy now and nic ray is the director of rebel without a cause and so will you kazan nick ray again they represent you know away with the old we want the new and somebody like john kasich betty's influenced by kazan the gray martin scorsese of course mentions the kazan nick craig cassidy's as being very influential for him martin scorsese's parents immigrants way whenever he talks about his childhood he talks about being in the tenements confined spaces city spaces you know we think of ah mean streets again tight hallways he is expressing those again these like these feelings of being an immigrant an outsider you think of his movies taxi driver what is that is that he's an outsider he doesn't fit in and this can you convey elop your own philosophies or you know about finding out about his background maybe makes you appreciate the movie a little bit more then you really get into modern style somebody like quentin tarantino danny boyle again they make movies you know that have ah whole vast influence of all these people I mean quentin tarantino probably the most you know, just borrows from every single genre I just think he's an amazing filmmaker um but he really loves me he loves movies so much he actually bought a theory is his own theater and he shows his own prince that's how much he loves film one of the last directors to still actually be working on film uh because everything else is digital but he claims that he's going to be working on you know, we're here in film and danny boyle of course we've ever seen train spotting just just created like again like whoa, I mean what's so fun about movies is just when you think everything khun is already done than you you know you see something like train spotting and it just whips up the whole you know, the whole genre and the the thing that I was going to say about this is is anyone hurt a movie called the bicycle thief it's ah italian neo realism film well, I mean, man, I remember when I was in acting school is like devices, movies this science like thought the guy loses his bike what's the big deal but you know again what happens is that movies like that they just keep coming up and there's a reason like the phrase italian neo realism versus french new wave because there actually is a difference. They both were happening at the same time, but italian neo realism comes more out of, you know, their whatever the, you know, the postwar feelings were french new wave comes out of what was happening with french new wave filmmakers. And I think that we honor all of our current for filmmakers, you know, in the same way that if you go to a museum and you look at a picasso or van gogh, you get a new appreciation of them. I think that by looking at some of these, uh, filmmakers from the past, you know, we honor our current filmmakers, and very rarely would you, uh, you know, fought media director. I mean, in fact, I would be nervous if I had a director and he didn't tell me about three or four people that he was, you know, really profoundly influenced by and again, we could do this literally all day long with all sorts of other people. But anyway, uh, I just wanted to know again if let's do some questions well, I mean, that was really interesting for me to see the different arc types, I guess just to sum it up share did you maybe tell us again? Why the ark types and the influences are so important to people who are either just getting started in the industry out there or even for experienced people how does this help them? I think for you know so many reasons first of all I'm going to say the number one thing is having passion about what we do because I think that when film was starting out you know I read books there's a director and king king v door and it was like I heard this thing called motion pictures is happening you know? And he was like his you know, he didn't know what he was going to do it is you know he and his wife got in a model t they drove across country there were in the movie biz this but you know we're in a different time now and it's not easy to be in the movie business blood were all filmmakers you know? We all have heard phones well over cameras and I wonder if that is not so daunting because you know, there was a time were you like why I have this great idea and I want to film it but now I'm wondering and I feel this myself is a filmmaker I'm like we all have every you know every time you think of an idea eighty other people have their version of an online or there I thought I was the only one took pictures of fruit, it turns out there's old site it's dedicated the fruit, you know, so it's having that passion, I think that can reinvigorate you in terms of making my movie of like I want to, you know, going to the past and the same thing with the with the acting and and again, I'm going to say, like, actresses do have ah, more of a burden in balancing not only being a good actor but understanding where do I fit in? And my dough, I want our minds, you know, because I'm here to tell you like you will not be able to do both, like you will have to choose if you're incredibly successful, of course, then you could do whatever you want, but in the beginning, you know your region is like an ago your goddess hear the funny friend, you're the uae site, you're a lawyer, you're a doctor and a lot of times, you know again as an actor, you're gonna be can't you know, it's like a doctor and a soap operated five lines. This is so boring. I mean, I'm a I'm a boring doctor, but again, you know, have some fun with it, you know, like I told you, I have did a whole players richard dreyfuss they didn't even know you know and uh but you can have some fun with playing around you know with you know, look at the look at marilyn monroe or some of these you know look at elizabeth taylor what's the difference between elizabeth taylor marilyn monroe so they're both beautiful but like there are these subtle differences in in in them that you know you'll have your own ideas about you know about that and I would say that that that's the number one thing secondary thing of course I am a big believer and knowledge knowledge gives you confidence in my opinion that's just it's just that little thing that you you know um I mean I mean it's not know how to count change but it's like I could wake up from a nap and like you know, ask me about a movie like I'm not really good you know? So I just think it gives you confidence and when you're meeting when you're going on these auditions or castings you're in a you know you're in a position where you feel very, very nervous and I think that if you walk in and you have a sense of confidence that you know the filmmakers work you really know it and there's no excuse to not to wing it there just isn't and I we've all done it and you are going to do it you know, it's like that's what happens but it's you will find that there is no excuse, like he really should, you know, be be learning about if you want to be in this business, there are resource is there's books and movies, and you conducive, you know, again for that, the antigen do something every day to get yourself excited and feel like you're employable to feel a ziff when you walk out the door, I'm prepared, I'm not scared, I've got my shots, I know my directors, you know, you're going to face a title wave of problems by, like, at least you'll feel confident doesn't make sense that makes sense, you mention all the resource is, hey, this is a good resource right here, so people were watching at home are already ahead of the game by watching this course, we have some questions coming in from our online audience. This one comes from michael in england, so big shout out to our european audience tuning in right now. Michael wants to know, can you be a good director? If you haven't learned to act? I think that that's a fantastic question, I think you know the answer. Of course, like, yes, you could sneak by with everything but the story told in the beginning about ghost story, you know, you've got ah people that are elderly that are panicked that don't know their lines there in their hotel room the director is completely unaware of that oftentimes you know an actor walks on the set and they're prepared they're an actor but inside you know there's a lot of fear and doubt that they have and when you're a director you know you when you put that sign around your neck that says I'm the director that means that like you have to have a degree in psychology you know you've got to understand that you're dealing with not only the crew which has their own mentality you dealing with actors sensitivity I mean, we spent all this time look at all the different styles of acting and you know, it's you know, we didn't know come out of the same pipe so each a person is going to have their own set of problems that you don't even know about and I think that the I find one of the nicest things to do again is for to create an environment on the set where you feel safe where you feel that you can do anything and the role of the film director is not just to get your movie made because guess what he need all the actors to get your movie made well, we have a couple of minutes now for some questions from the students anything that you guys want to know I think that he was being that directors do you have that a director can be miscast in the movie and oh absolutely is that yeah, that could ruin the movie is that or is that not important is the writing or the performance I mean you know what's funny about it is it's like it is like car every step of the way you know it's something khun go wrong and you always want to start out with a good script but in terms of like a director you know, listen a job's a job is a job so you know if you're hired to do a kitchen sink reality you know versus a big thing with lots of car chases and you know and you don't know about those things, especially as a woman I mean, you know you you do yourself a disservice to night I want to do my sensitive female picture you know, to not also learn other genres of filmmaking and you can decide I may not want to do that that's not my heart project but you know we want work and so you know, spend that time like find a director and go ok, I really don't want to do a car chase ever but you might you know, spend the time and learn how to do some of these things again there's a lot of technical things that are happening these days take these, you know, take a class and animation and uh you know, b e I think that these days it's not so easy just to say I'm going to be this kind of a director I think that it's going to be much more important to have a wide range of skills of of knowing of not only knowing how to work with an actor but being able to handle a number of different genres finally, the difference between tv directing and film directing is really different I mean, I would never I'm always made tv directing is like I'm gonna I mean they got three care risk it's an army I mean they do those show is I mean you're on grey's anatomy and you're like holy jesus they've got five cameras coming down the hallway and choreographing and you know that's a lot for a director so I hope that answers it yes, thank you yeah in terms of collaboration what do you think as a director and an actor? The best way to collaborate with the dp or what a deep you can do to collaborate well again for me personally I love collaborating with the dp sometimes it sets me on edge a little bit when I see the director talking to the dp I mean, first of all actors aaron secure so I'm always thinking like, what are they they hate me what it is that what they're saying she's we can't put get her out of the frame but I always want to know what the dp is thinking you know if he's thinking and it's something is simple is you know your hair is over it's like well I want to know that because that is yeah that's what I do some amazing scene and then the movie is like a great unusable because guess what you get to stoop your hair is here and then in the end because remember a movie isn't one take it's fifty takes you know one scene and the editor is like well, I wanted to use this but it turned out one thing her hair is here and the other one it isn't so all those things that when you're on a set in the hair and makeup comes and you know they're all like part of the process and important I personally like to include everybody I like to know the dp I like to know other movies he's done dps tend to be sort of solitary figures anyway I don't know why they just have their own I'm always kidding around with them they have their own they're in their own world you know that but I love to know what the what do you know what the dp is doing again? I'm also respectful sometimes the director does not want that sometimes, like again, they have, you know, actors or actors were on the side of the line. Those were not my favorite sets.

Class Description

Where exactly does a filmmaker’s responsibility end and an actor’s begin? Filmmaking requires an abundance of creative collaboration and parsing out who is responsible what is a surprisingly complicated endeavor. In Filmmaking from the Inside-Out, Illeana Douglas will share strategies and insights that improve communication for those working on both sides of the camera.

Illeana has a unique vantage point. Her grandfather is the OSCAR® award-winning actor, Melvyn Douglas and she has worked extensively as an actor, director, and producer alongside some of the giants in the industry, including: filmmakers Martin Scorsese, Gus Van Sant and Robert Redford; and actors Robert De Niro, Ralph Fiennes, and Nicole Kidman. In this class, Illeana will help both actors and filmmakers develop a better understanding of their own unique roles and how they can work together to capture the best-possible performance, in-camera. You’ll learn:

  • The precise definition of “filmmaker” and what they are responsible for
  • What the actor is expected to bring to a production
  • Customizable approaches for improving communication on set
  • Techniques for capturing performance on camera

Nearly every filmmaker and actor grapples with some level of insecurity and wants to feel more confident about their work. In this class, you’ll learn strategies for improving your craft and communicating about your unique contributions with your fellow creative collaborators.

Whether you are a filmmaker or actor, you’ll learn tangible and craft-based approaches to making constructive decisions and capturing the best work on set and in the camera.

Special Guests:

  • Anastas Michos, Cinematographer 
  • Bill Pankow, Editor 
  • Neil LaBute, Writer/Director



A great insight from a veteran of Hollywood on her perspective, thoughts, ideas and genuine feeling of what each individual can gain from simply believing in yourself and your abilities. Ms. Douglas and special guests took time to give us as much useful information as possible in a very tough business of film making. Hope to have such courses again.

Laura Latimer

A great class with perfect insights. Thank you.

a Creativelive Student

This was a fascinating and useful course. Ms. Douglas' views on the craft of filmmaking helped me better understand it.