Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Inspirational Director- Mathew Vaughn

Looking at a young filmmaker, you often go to the ones you think are inspiring and have potential of being great. Mathew Vaughn, best known for his films X-Men: First Class and Kick Ass, I believe is someone to look out for in future. He knows storytelling and how to use visuals. One of my favourite film of his was Stardust, it is a mixture of fairy tale with great story and just the right amount of comedic stuff. His visual style is excellent, even with a good budget he manages to attracts big name actors and able to tell story through amazing visual effects.

He knows what he wants and how the look he is trying to go for that will contribute towards portraying the story. Looking at interview from Sky Movies Premier about making X-Men: First Class, he talks about the look of it and that he wanted to give it a “Bond look” and that he was inspired by James Bond films, and looking at the film you see those inspirations he looked at. There is elegant look, very clean visuals and cinematography. Bond films have always been about style and gadgets shown in an elegant way, almost looks like and advertisement.

Everyone knows now with CG, whatever you can think of it you can it, and I just don’t think the audience are impressed with it anymore. They are impressed when they’re given a good story, they’re impressed when they can relate emotionally to the characters” 9:38minThese days its got to a point which anything imaginable can be achieved through special effects. What the director means by "audience aren't that impressed" with special effects, he means special effects shouldn't be the driving force of the movie or anything you trying to make. Ideas are what make audience get into it. Once the idea and story is interesting, audience can over-look the effects because they already invested in the story, the effects are to show or give an idea to us visually.

The movie X-Men First Class was critically and box office successful, even though we know X-Men is about special effects and seeing our lovable characters do cool stuff, we also care about 'how' and 'why' its happening. Also believability has become something we all ask ourselves while watching, "could this happen?" and if could, "would I have done the same as the character?” Through years of movies, great stories and ideas. We have learnt a lot. What the director mentions about the story being the key driving force and not effects, is that we don't like to treated stupid, we appreciate being treated intelligent having us invested and feel we belong in the universe presented to us.

I agree in some extend his approach towards Effects. Otherwise, effects come hand in hand with story. Looking at Sci-Fi movies or any creature movies, if the creatures or aliens do not look convincing enough to scare or interest the audience then the whole crew behind the film has failed. You cannot have a good story with bad visuals or vice versa, they both have to compliment each other. Visual Effects does not have to be realistic, but if it is close to it then we can let it pass. This brings back classic movies like Jurassic Park and Jaws during Steven Spielberg’s time, his movies delivered great stories with great visuals. 

Aauteur: Steven spielberg

Steven Spielberg is an inspirational figure. His films are among the best ever made and the net gross of them speaks for themselves, he smashed records after records his films. From the big honors like Oscars, and Golden Globes, to small achievements awards.  
Even Mr. Spielberg himself seem to have gone off road in terms of his ideas as he became more established Director and the studios gave him more budget and freedom. He gave a great speech after presented by an award, and he talked about many things, including his early work and what got him into filmmaking.

Looking back at his early life of making small budget shorts and TV, he mentioned his first short he made for his boys scout he was in and the response he got “ They laughed both with and at the movie and I didn’t care, it was a response, and the response set me on fire”.  His obsession with the audience and how he loved getting feedback and looking into his target audience made him more interested in making more things. He enjoyed people’s reaction and that made him more interested in what other people thought. “ I never wanted to live without some kind of affirmation, some kinds of collective feedback” He mentions feedback which meant a lot to him and showing it to his boy scout meant that the feedback he got whether it was laughing or any response was genuine. That is why we all ask closest people to us for some feedback because it comes from within, Honesty comes from those who Love and care for you.

He carries on to talk about how his research towards his target audiences, “ maybe that’s why my early movies were all about you (the audience), making you my partners, thinking about you behind the camera, thinking what would turn you on, what would get you exited, what would make you laugh, scream and how can I create suspense”

I believe that says a lot about Directors and what happens to them later on. He mentions that his early work were all about us the audience; he researched into ways to play with people’s feelings and emotions through story telling. The fact that he mentions his early work was all about us, he acknowledges that he rather wondered off to doing what he thought was a dream job and hoping we like it. His early works were memorable and have been in the ‘classics’ lists and ‘masterpiece’. As he became better known and production value of his films grew, it became all about visuals and less ideas. His recent masterpiece was over ten years now, Catch me If You Can, and that was a period piece drama. It seems to have lost the touch in terms of the Sci-Fi genre, but he never lost his touch for drama.

In addition, that proves a point that budget does affect the story. The bigger the budget, directors happen to focus on making the film look good instead of what the message it about or what they trying to show us. Looking back at E.T, you get a pure hearted simple and sweet film, about kids having parental problems and having hard time trusting adults. Having heard his speech about his childhood life, his father being away a lot and having to figure out things himself, I believe the kids are representatives of himself as kid. E.T is masterpiece of animatronics (the alien) it moved and expressed itself as human being even though you knew there were people pulling the wires behind. “It turned me into an 11-year-old when I first saw them."

During the shoot of Real Steel (2011), the actor Hugh Jackman claimed Mr Spielberg contribution to CGI and Robots, is that they use a genuine Robot. Make an actual Robot to use in the film shoot. "[Steven] found with Jurassic Park that the more real elements you can have, the better it is,"

Case Study Notes

                                           Matrix Reloaded and Revolution

Not focused on story, but rather a lot of bad VFX, turned out to be a big
Visual eye-candy with no ideas.

Advertisement piece Neo fighting thousands of Agents- goes on far too long for a scene (more money for visual effects to make the scene gone to waste) and did not contribute much to the plotline.

                                 Transformers: Dark of The Moon

Watching these movies is like watching a 5 year old playing with action figures

                     ILM - The Magic Behind the VFX of Transformers Revenge of the Fallen

Star Wars Featurette- Visual Effects

The secret to film is that it’s an illusion, an illusion that’s created at 24frames a second, you have the illusion of movement and you have the illusion of space and time” George Lucas 

“A big film has maybe 250 fx shots, and a really monster film like Titanic would have 450-500, but it was really clear that George was thinking somewhere between 1700 to 2000 shots”. In pre production, while the ILM crew and technology people and artists were doing storyboarding and planning out, it clearly shows their biggest mistake of thinking about visual effects and showing off their made up universe rather than sticking to the main story that they are trying to tell. Clearly, you get the feeling this is a dream job George Lucas always had, exploring the world he imagined because he wanted to see it, not because it was relevant to the story. He is after spectacle and showing off.

“That was the fun part of writing this project is that I wasn’t limited, whatever my imagination could come up with I wrote it down on a page and said will worry about that later” He knows now that the technology has caught up to the point that you can do most of things if not everything you can imagine. Looking back at the period of original Star Wars and start of visual Effects, the limit was the technology and software. Maybe it is a good thing, or not. Presently, Budget is the only obstacle you have to surpass.  This is due to budget

The visual effect supervisors continue to talk about technology limitations and what couple of decades ago was like in terms of effects. They talk about having  “more freedom” than what George Lucas had at the period of the original Star Wars film, and that’s due to digital technology has not matured enough as it is presently. “Everything has been constrained by the compromises that you have to make because you virtually could not build something so big or could not have such an epic landscape to tell your story”