MY FILMS/YOUR FILMS
When I started at 60 MINUTES, my father, who’d never been quite sure what I did for a living, was trying to explain to friends that I was an editor which ” uuhh means I guess you cut out the bad parts isn’t that it?”
I said, “No, Dad, I select the best parts and put them in order.”
August First I had the first of my workshops for filmmaking. It was test run with four incredibly intelligent women – Meg Zembeck http://parisbymouth.com/and Phyllis Flick http://parisnotebook.wordpress.com/ and Dorie Greenspan http://doriegreenspan.com/ but after three and a half hours we had a glass of champagne and – me? I felt it went well because I learned all over just how much I love filmmaking because it’s about writing, about light, about spatial relationships and communicating.
And a big thank you to my friend Patty Lurie who helped me hash this out. By the way she has an amazing APP based on her book: A Guide to Impressionist Paris. Check it out.
this, by the way, is a Moviola upright.
This is how movies were editied for probably seventy-plus years.
You may see the Stone Age – but I see my youth hunched over that machine
No, this isn’t about restaurants and lovely little back streets. I don’t care about boutique hotels or charming flower shops. It’s more than that — take a look at their Paris, they’re two of my favorite Parisians.
PARIS FILES is an attempt to show another Paris, one by turns gritty as well as glamorous. I’ve been making short pieces about this city for eight years now for CBS Sunday Morning and I’ve seen parts of it that many Parisians don’t know or won’t go. That’s what — along with the Eiffel Tower and usual stuff – I’d like to present.
At the same time I’m also trying to create an atelier; an attempt to teach people about making films with nothing more than an idea and whatever you can comfortably carry in a Domke bag.
This is a DOMKE bag
You may already have seen this – my apologies – in trying to organise this site I’ve been putting stuff up and taking down and back up — so I regret if there are emails shooting out telling you to watch something you saw the day before. It’s my fault for being obsessive.
Other than that … part 2
It’s always a balance between the mechanics and zen. Mechanics? The night BEFORE clean your lens, charge your batteries and make sure you have enough cassettes. And when you get back from the shoot it’s not a bad idea to go through the same process – just in case tomorrow brings another opportunity.
The Zen? Well you know the five W’s of journalism – who, what, when, where and why? Okay they’ll be useful later but first combine them all into one…
BIG W: What do I WANT?
What do I hope this footage will be? How will it look and feel and fit into the bigger picture? Think about it – get a mental image. Be ready to change it on the spot – in fact expect to — but keep the feeling, understand the reason you’re there, what do you WANT?
When CBS asked me to do a story about the Eiffel Tower my first reaction was “what IS the story?” It’s there, it’s a symbol, first thing I wanted to see when I first came to Paris etc etc. so what? That’s not a story. I thought about doing a day in the life of … the engineers arrive, the tourists line up, the first tickets are torn, the elevators rise, the guys who maintain the … where’s this going? also stories like that take quite a while to shoot; in order to capture “a day” you’re more likely to shoot for a week and I didn’t have that kind of time.
Then I realised I was overlooking the most obvious part of the story and knew exactly what the beginning, middle and end had too be. Watch the story – M. Eiffel’s Tower and see what I mean. The lesson here is: when you pick up a camera DON’T CENSOR YOURSELF!
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…