M. EIFFEL’S TOWER

A lot of people don’t realise that the French didn’t want the Eiffel tower to be built and once it was decided it was going up, the deal was it would be torn down in 20 years.

I only had about about ten days to get it done (for me that’s pressure) and there was just one other problem…

POILANE

The first summer I was in Paris I met a famous food writer, Dorie Greenspan (www.doriegreenspan.com) who asked if I would help her shoot a short film of a baker making some cookies. It sounded about as exciting as watching somebody laying tiles… until I met and saw him at work. His name was Lionel Poilane and I’ve never forgotton that evening. But that was only the beginning of the story.

Today the Poilane bakery is in the same location it has been for nearly eighty years: 8 Rue Cherche Midi in the 6th in Paris. Phone is 33 (0) 1 45 48 42 59 or www.Poilane.fr I give you all the information because today, even though everything is still made by hand, the bakery ships overnight to eleven other countries every day.

A Tale of Two Winemakers

I didn’t know what the story was when I started.  I had met one winemaker, Stephane Ogier (http://www.domaine-ogier.fr/), in Paris. The other, Raymond DeVilleneuve I’d heard about – rather I’d heard the legends. Anyway I asked both if I could come down and shoot the harvest.

Okay so there it was: a lot of footage of grape picking and workers and lunches and dinners and no particular story.

It had to have been a little more than a year later I asked my friend  Juan Sanchez who owns La Derniere Goutte www.ladernieregoutte.net/, if he knew someone who could talk about these two wines. I still didn’t know what the story would be but he gave me a name and … well I had no idea that  I was about to discover that a dedicated vigneron crafts a wine with his soul.

THE FRENCH SCHOOL LUNCH

http://www.cbsnews.com/video/watch/?id=6902333n

Don’t know why the embed’s not working.

With many thanks to Phyllis Flick who’s been blogging about adult food for some time now at Paris Notebook, here, for those of you who remember purple-haired ladies and recently paroled cooks slinging beef-sort-a-goulash, here is the French approach to the school lunch.

Aired yesterday on Sunday Morning

THE WORKSHOPS

This Fall I’m going to begin a series of workshops, both in Paris and New York. They’ll be an intensive weekend, four people at a time and at the end they’ll have something they can upload to YouTube.

We’ll cover Lighting, Sound, Setting and Story (which really means editing).

Participants will be expected to have a video camera, lap top, compass and a white cloth napkin.  

More as I work out the details. Any questions, I’m at David@turecamo.com

You want to “GRAB AN AUDIENCE!”

No thank you. I hate being grabbed by anyone especially a stranger. You don’t want to grab your audience for the simple reason that then you’ll start thinking about “how to grab them,” which means you’ll start to wonder if they’ll like this shot or if they’d rather see this. You won’t be making the film yourself but for a phantom producer.

What’s the core of your film?

What’s the single most interesting shot (sequence) you have? Start there – then build – put together the elements that excite YOU first then you can go back and be more critical – “this is boring, this too long, maybe people won’t understand this part or it needs more explanation.” That’s fine but whatever you do – FIRST put it together for yourself

FIRST CHALLENGE filmmaking begins with editing

 

 

CAN YOU TAKE AN ENTIRE FILM AND REDUCE IT TO SIX IMAGES???

Perhaps when the film is as iconic as PSYCHO.

So could you shoot a dozen or twenty images of your day — a ride on the metro – an open air

market – and reduce them to four images which could communicate what happened???

That’s our first exercise.

What do you need to tell the story???

 

THE KULESHOV EXPERIMENT

In getting ready for my workshop this weekend I came across one of the most famous experiments in film editing: Lev Kuleshov was a Russian filmmaker in the early 20th century and this brief little film explores one of the most important formal elements of  modern cinema. Watch it first:  (it’s silent) 

People have always marvelled at the depth and subtlety of the actor’s performance his ability to evoke hunger, despair and desire. And though he was a star of the Russian Cinema, Ivan Mozzhukin, here was performing nothing except a blank stare. The three images he sees – the soup, the child, the woman — were basically “found footage” intercut with Mozzhukin’s close-up. Get it? He wasn’t looking at anything except possibly the back wall or the cameraman’s head. It is the viewer who creates the relationship between the images and gives them meaning.

It always kills me though when somebody critiques a film and says “and the photography was gorgeous!” So what?  The photography is meaningless unless you’re talking about Cartier Bresson. Editing is the unseen engine of filmmaking; it’s not the shot but the sequence which determines the viewer’s response.

THE ENEMY

As senior Pentagon officals are now being quoted as saying military action against Iran is “inevitable” I thought it’s a good time to post a story I did in 1996. The Iran I saw is a lot different than the one Washington would like to portray. Granted it was a different government there, a different agenda here, but I don’t think the human spirit has changed much. Here’s Part 1 of the story I did for NIGHTLINE.

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Andy Warhol’s movies were generally ridiculed and dismissed by virtually everyone outside of his circle. Fact is that the “interminable” movies he made like SLEEP (6 hours), EMPIRE (8 hours) and **** (24 hours) were a brilliant commentary on the difference between movies and all other media. Movies are EDITED and the simple fact that Warhol stuck a single image on the screen for hours at a time challenged the foundation of what cinema was about. If D.W. Griffith and Sergei Eisenstein can be credited with “inventing” modern cinema, Warhol should at least be appreciated for having defied it. Personally, though I only saw one hour of it and that was almost forty years ago, **** was one of the most stunning films I’ve ever seen.

In the interest of full disclosure: that’s my grandmother, Warhol and me in 1966. They were friends and colleagues from their time at Harper’s Bazaar. I just wanted to meet girls.