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Old March 31st, 2006, 06:36 PM   #16
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The two filmmakers that I aspire to be like are RR and Christopher Nolan. They both seem to be made of the same stuff—and work on a smaller scale. They both live the project when they make a film. RR edits the movie in his house... that's pretty attached. I think that both of them have qualities that other filmmakers lack. They are both artists.... not businessmen. George Lucas pays people to come up with his ideas while RR will go out with a home video camera and shoot and edit an entire film as a pre-visualization. Good ole' GL sits in a chair and watches a 50" plasma. Spielberg too. Nolan wants to be right there with the actor and behind the camera to capture the essence of storytelling. He gets entire scenes in 1 or 2 takes with the storyboard in his head... as well as the final edit (I wonder is he uses FCP in his head).

Anyways... I could go on forever, but in reply... RR isn't alone at being the greatest. To me he and Nolan are both up there.
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Old April 2nd, 2006, 07:13 AM   #17
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good thread guys but I think people are completely wrong about nothing since robert r. You look at all the films at places like sundance made with the new sony hd camera, or look at the success of "tarnation", this was made with an apple home computer and a camcorder for best buy and made for 125$. Go to ifilm and look under success stories, loads of films made for much less than rr's and they led to great success,Made with digital and not film as well.How about the growing popularity of ifilm, atom films, with the popularity of bowiechicks home video and myspace videos among young people . .We are at the beginning of the digital decade to use a phrase heard often now, rr accomplished alot but nothing like the arrival of digital and home computing editing. great thread guys!
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Old April 2nd, 2006, 10:10 AM   #18
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i have to agree with john that things are just revving up. i mean, in phil morrison's directorial debut (not really, but...) "junebug"--one of the actors in that was nominated for an academy award for best supporting actress. it was a great movie, and we'll undoubtedly be seeing more of his work in the hollywood mainstream now that he's seen an indie hit. or miranda july--who wrote, directed, and starred in her own work, "you and me and everybody we know." and won a prize at cannes and one at sundance.

just because rodriguez is a household name and the others aren't, does not mean that there aren't a few other great success stories. i guess it depends on how you measure success. i love rodriguez's work--sharkboy and lavagirl make regular appearances with my five year old daughter. but his success marks the beginning, it's not some sort of anomaly, just maybe the most visible story.
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Old April 3rd, 2006, 02:46 PM   #19
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Don't think I'll book myself into a drugs trial for funding any of my films.

Especially when about half a dozen guys almost died over here from trying a potential anti-cancer drug.
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Old April 4th, 2006, 06:56 AM   #20
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I thought we had to suffer for our art.
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Old April 4th, 2006, 01:17 PM   #21
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I don't think it has as much to do with the success Robert has had as with how much we know about it. It's true, others have gone similar paths. A lot of directors, actually. It's just that Robert has told us all about his journey, and others aren't as eager to let the world know.
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Old April 11th, 2006, 10:10 AM   #22
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Sonyboo covers it on their site. He had breaks and really did have a lot of experience before El Mariachi.

I respect him because he does encourage people to try. I also like that fact that folks he work with tend to have a loyalty to him, which means he probably treats them right. The fact that RR and Antonio Bandaras keep hooking up speaks to this, IMO. I could be wrong.
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Old April 14th, 2006, 04:51 PM   #23
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RR gets money for his films for 3 main reasons.
1. His movies are low budget by Hollywood terms. He does a lot of work in his own studio, but farms out stuff when needed.
2. He always stays within budget.
3. Every movie he's produced/directed has made a profit, even the stinkers (spykids3d anyone?).

RR knows his market, and with his low cost approach, the studio gets theirs back with DVD and broadcast earnings.

Basically he is very low risk, thus he gets financing and final cut.

he is also one of the few who Panavision actually sold their lenses too, usually you lease them.
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Old April 14th, 2006, 06:38 PM   #24
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I wonder if he is using an F900 or the newer 950. If you were filming greenscreen it'd be easy to just go HD-SDI. If space is tight, he could put the HDSDI recorder under his hat!
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Old April 22nd, 2006, 01:18 AM   #25
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My thoughts...

Sorry James, but I think it's unfair to say people like "George Lucas" are businessmen and simply pay other people to come up with their ideas. He worked his ass off in his younger years writing, directing, editing, etc. films like "Look at Life, "Freinheit", "THX 1138 4EB", "American Graffiti", etc. This was when he was at USC and poor like most other Uni students. He made his millions because he was passionate, persistant and talented - just like "Robert Rodriguez".

Personally, I think Rodriguez and Lucas are very alike. They are both amazing problem solvers. They both love what they do, and will work out ways to pull it off. Now days they both have huge houses full of really expensive high tech gear.

George Lucas was never in it for the money. He made THX because he loved his story. No one else seemed it - in the end it caused "American Zoetrope" to go bust!

James Cameron is another person I have great respect for. Like Lucas and Rodriguez this guy just loved making movies! That's what makes people like Rodriguez and Cameron special. They were the kids you see running around the streets with crummy video cameras under their arms. They didn't care if what they made was crap. Why would they? Tomorrow they'll be filming something else! That kind of passion is what makes them special.

Peter Jackson is another great example. He used to cause chaos in New Zealand filming all kinds of crazy films! He didn't have any money, so he improvised!

All of these people just loved the power of the big screen since the moment they were born. They knew what they wanted to do - so they did it. They started off with the very basics. In most cases, Dad's underutilised handycam. They edited using whatever they had access to. Normally to VHS decks hooked together. No budget - no worries! Improvise!

I think what made all these people suceed was that they had great supportive families. They had amazing friends who have so much belief in their abilities. They all came from families who had access to some kind of "moving image recording device". They went to good schools and got a decent education. Nothing fancy - but they were hardly living in the streets and eating cat food.

I think the only way you can follow Rodriguez footsteps is if you're born that way. This may sound offensive, but I seriously doubt people like Rodriguez or Lucas would spend time "surfing" forums like this one. Instead they'd be outside with a camera in hand filming whatever moved. If they came across a problem, they would try to solve it themself. I think you have to be kind of selish and stubborn to fit their mould. You have to learn by yourself. It's obviously not the easiest way to do it - but I think history shows that most of the people who make it have these charactistics. Cameron wanted to do everything himself. He wanted to be across every aspect of his films - and still does today. This personality nearly "killed" the crew of Aliens and Titanic!

I think all of the people I've mentioned know how to use technology to help them achieve their visions - but don't get caught up in it. Lucas founded Pixar and ILM, but he wasn't the one drawing circuit diagrams and typing code onto a computer screen. Rodriguez has an Avid suite in his bedroom, but I think the important thing to remember is that it's only a tool. He uses it so he can get his vision "out there" as fast and as easily as possible. Lucas's team invented the first Avid's so that they didn't have to waste huge amounts of time mucking around with film.

These people arn't in it for the money or the fame. If they wanted that they would have become actors. The reason they are so famous, well known and respected is because they work hard and love what they do. Making films is what they are good at - so that's what they do.

Yes, the reason Rodriguez gets his money NOW is because he makes "Hollywood low budget films", "stays within budget" and "makes a profit". But the reason he got to where he is, is because he loves films. "El Mariachi" was never intended to be successful. He made it to get experience. He planned to make a sequel to again, get experience. He planned for his third film to make him rich and famous so he could continue to get money to make films.

Yes, Rodriguez was lucky. There is no chance in hell I could walk up to my local prison and get permission to film there. The local cops would probably lock me up if I asked if I could use their guns for a low budget film I'm making. I don't know anyone who owns a restaurant, or a ranch, or a truck. But I'm sure, if the situation was different and all Rodriguez had was a bag of chips, his grandparents old house and a neighbours dog with one eye, he would have put all his heart and soul into making a movie about those things.

Persistance and dedication is the key. Rodriguez edited "El Mariachi" using 3/4" tapes. He edited all his earlier works using two VHS decks. Originally he only had access to a video camera without a view finder, so he hooked it up to the TV and was limited to films around the living room. Lucas had the same kind of dedication. As did Jackson. And Cameron. These people choose their art over there health (no sleep, medical trails, lying on train tracks as the train comes to get that perfect shot, etc).

I think the point I'm TRYING to make is that people like Rodriguez are special - one in a billion. That's the reason why you don't see them popping up everywhere. Anyone can read Rodriguez book and attempt to follow in his footsteps. But you can't "learn" what these people have. It's something that is written on their soul. It's the same reason people work behind the scenes in the "rock and roll" industry. The lack of sleep, extremely hard work and normally unattractive pay is far from appealing. But they do it because that's what they do. They love everything about it. Even if a lot of it sucks.

Who knows. We might be lucky. One of those "diamonds in the rough" might be sneaking around these forums, absorbing all the information so they can make their masterpeace, establish their spot in limelight and go on to build their own "Skywalker Ranch" or "Troublemaker Studios"...! Let's hope so.

Brendan: During post-production of Spykids at Skywalker Ranch, George Lucas introduced Rodriguez to 24p HD film-making and Rodriguez was immediately converted. He owns two Sony HDW-F900 cameras, the same model used by Lucas on the Star Wars prequels.

Oh, and finally, if you read this far congradulations.

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Old April 22nd, 2006, 03:59 AM   #26
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Lucas for me did film makers the biggest favor he could have. He made Episode 1, and the mystique of Lucas died.

In the light of what even the man who wore the Darth Vader costume called a 'toy commercial' much of what Lucas did well started to unravel. He's not a genius, he used to have drive and he used to have good ideas but he's been contaminated by the money. The original star wars was a very good idea and some incredible luck (Harrison Fords last moment chance, the rewrite on a whim that sent Alec Guinness to another plane of existence and also forced the creation of Yoda - all iconic events).

When he reedited the original star wars it was like he was ashamed of it. He took the Han Solo bar sequence and made Solo 'honorable', turning a decent sequence with a streetwise Solo into an old cliche. The Hero always lets the bad guy take the first shot, even if it makes him an idiot. Redo all the model work in CG and then lock up all the old versions. We liked the original and Lucas is making sure we can only ever buy his re polished painted over the bad bits version.

In the light of Episode 1, we can even see where the Ewoks came from, another cute toy, and the way they behave in the film is only designed to make people want to buy them - getting hit in the face by their own bolas - for example.

And of course the mother of princess lea can't be a proper queen, no. That would endorse a monarchy, So queen has to be a short term thing, and she gets elected to, err, I know, a senate! All advanced civilizations would do what America is now doing, there can be no other way.

And of course the force can't be a religious thing anymore, that might offend Christians, so its now an *infection* you can be tested for. He's taken the central, most mind blowing concept of the trilogy and turned it into a disease. I can't do gym today, the force is strong with me, but I've been given some antibiotics and we'll kill of those bugs by tomorrow, signed, my mother.

Lucas has become detached from everything except making money, and not offending anyone that might want to buy his toys. In doing so he's cracked open many of the things that made him seem godlike at the time.

THX is mentioned every time someone brings up Lucas. When I saw it seemed unimaginative, not very well scripted, boring, the sets and the characters are unattractively done and the ending is unsubtle, a let down and stupid. Oh, they chase you until the budget for your capture runs out. So I guess if you break windows and kill people as you run they give up all the sooner? I thought this film deserved to do badly.

If you want Dark visions of the future you wouldn't have done well going to Lucas even in his prime, you could go to Terry Gilliam, now why hasn't he been mentioned in this thread so far. He spent a decade making animated comedy shorts for python with next to no budget and ended up directing some real gems like Brazil, Time Bandits and Twelve Monkeys.
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Old April 22nd, 2006, 06:06 AM   #27
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Although I detest the new Star Wars movies (the second part of episode 3 was a bit enjoyable, though) and I consider Lucas not to be such a good director or writer, I agree with Chris' post about Lucas: I've you've seen documentaries about this man, how he put all his effort and money into cinema, you can having nothing but respect for him, even if he blew up the new star wars series. He LOVES cinema and movies and he did a lot for the industry!

And I would add Steven Spielberg also to that list of filmmakers you named :-)
People act like those people are money-eating wolves because they have much money now, but if you read some biographies about these people, watch some documentaries: they got there because they truly earned it: they loved cinema, had a deep passion for making movies and did all they could, used all their talents and made it happen.
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Old April 22nd, 2006, 06:58 AM   #28
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Although off topic, I would propose that you guys are looking at the Star Wars series with a jaded eye. If you show 1-6 to kids who never have seen it, they will not usually jump up and down on how fantastic episode 4 was. That was us. It was groundbreaking and our memories of it became the standard. None of the other episodes could live up to the emotion we got with it, because it was so groundbreaking on fertile ground that was yet untapped. That is also why folks are offended at the changes George made. He is messing with their memory of those moments.

Personally, I like 1-3, but I like to go to the movies to be entertained. I think I own most of the major animation movies that have come out in the last 5 years just for that reason. Monsters Inc, Shrek, and The Incredibles should have gotten best picture award nominations. Some folks are too stuck on 'art' to see it.

Last edited by George Ellis; April 22nd, 2006 at 10:03 AM.
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Old April 22nd, 2006, 09:15 AM   #29
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I met Robert (briefly) in the mid 80s. The guy lived and breathed the work. He had a lot of hustle. I remember friends of mind in the business asking me if I knew him. He was already being talked about before the fame by those who met him. Can you see it coming ? At some point I think we help to create our right place, right times. Robert was like a walking forum, always ready to talk about every aspect of film ready to share ideas.


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Old April 22nd, 2006, 07:52 PM   #30
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Mr. Lucas

I think you have to keep in mind that the "Star Wars" series were films that Lucas made for himself. He was just lucky that the story worked, he had good actors (Ford was a fulltime builder - not a fulltime actor at the time!) and a good team behind him. He wasn't in it for the money. He did it because he loved films. Unfortunately the technology at the time and budget restricted him from translating the images in his head, to what appears on the big screen. When his team finally had the technology and budget to do what he always wanted, they re-released the originals. You might have liked the originals better - but they weren't actually what Lucas was after. I'm taking a shot in the dark here, but I'm guessing if you told Lucas in person you love the originals and hate the new releases, I think he would say "tough". He wouldn't give a stuff. It's his films - he'll do what he wants. That's what he did with "THX 1138". Everyone, hated it. Tough. He liked it. So he got his team at ILM to head down to Warner Brothers and the Lucasfilm vault, grap the original films and digitally remaster it. After a HUGE amount of time repaired the extremely damaged film, he released it. I'm not sure, but I'm guessing maybe one or two people in the world have purchased it. Nah, seriously thought, I don't think too many people who put it on their "Top 1000 Films to Watch" list. Lucas did what he did because he loved his film.

I honestly don't think Lucas is in it soley for the money. I don't think he's in it for the fame - I don't think any "behind the scenes" person is. I truly think he just loves films. That's why he lives in a "movie makers heaven", the Ranch. That's why ILM exists. Now that he's getting on, I think he's main focus in life is to ensure that people continue to make movies. He wants people that were once like him, to be able to just pick up a camera, shot and share their stories with the rest of the world. That's why he's so enthusiastic about high definition technology. That's why he supports and funds so many films schools and young movie making ventures.

I think the reason people like Terry Gilliam haven't been mentioned in this thread is because they are not in the same league as people like Lucas, and Cameron. Sure they're great. But unlike people like Rodriguez, they are not household names. The point of this thread was to answer why there hasn't been another Rodriguez, even though he's been very open in how he did what he did. Why hasn't someone just read his book, followed his "ten minute film school" rules, and become a millionare?? The reason I believe, is that you need to be special. The people who are special, woudn't read Rodriguez's books. As suggested in my previous post, it's my firm belief that to fit in with that crowd you need to have the attitude of, "I'll do it all myself". You have to be a control freak. That's why Rodriguez has his home studio. That's why Lucas set up ILM - so he can do everything in-house, having control over EVERYTHING. If you're a control freak, your not going to listen to what other people (ie. Rodriguez) has to say! Prfff.... You're going to do it YOUR way.

Yes Mathieu, I agree. Spielberg can be added to the list. Amazingly, I think most of the people that came out of USC at the time of Lucas and Spielberg can be added to the list. And the whole "American Zoetrope" troop. I heard people ask, how can some many talented people all come from the same place at the same time?!? The reason, I think the sheer love for movies people like Lucas have is like a virus. You can catch it. I think some of the people at USC at the time weren't special. They LIKED making films and WANTED to make films - but it wasn't their life. But when they were around people that had that amazing quality that makes you choose movies over life, I think your sucked in to their world and their way of thinking.

The amazing thing about all these people is that they are all inter-related in one way or another. Lucas and Spielberg both went to USC. Lucas introduced Rodriguez to the amazing world of high def. It's amazing how all these talented people are "drawn" together.

Finally, something Rand brought up, all these people share their ideas. If you asked them a simple question about making films, they would crap on for hours and probably forget what you asked them in the first place. It's this passion that makes them special. They love their work and they want everyone to jump on the speeding train that they're all on.

My prediction is that the next BIG person is going to come out of Australia. There are now so many films schools and the film industry is starting to grow. Sooner or later, one of those rare personalities is going to surface "down under". They'll make a huge hit, something that's new and exciting (like Alien once was), shot on film (because they'll be stubborn and want to learn the ropes by beginning at the basics) and then later befriend someone like Peter Jackson who will introduce them to the world of digital technology. Soon after we'll have a Lucasfilm Ranch-type setup in Oz. If I'm right, and only time will tell, I just hope I can get a job there (even if it is just sweeping floors)!

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