If it interests you, Set Decor magazine (run by Set Decorators Society of America) has issues you can download online. I’ve always been inspired by set decor and if you’re interested in that or even the business behind it, definitely check it out.
The latest issue features The Curious Case of Benjamin Button and an interview with David Fincher on his collaboration with set decorator Victor Zolfo, production designer Donald Burt, and DP Claudio Miranda.
[Though this advice is aimed at writing a book, I found it translates well to writing for film. Besides, not many people know that Dahl was a screenwriter as well with writing credits on You Only Live Twice and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.]
"One of the vital things for a writer who’s writing a book, which is a lengthy project and is going to take about a year, is how to keep the momentum going. It is the same with a young person writing an essay. They have got to write four or five or six pages. But when you are writing for a year, you go away and have to come back. I never come back to a blank page; I always finish about halfway through. To be confronted with a blank page is not very nice.
"But Hemingway, a great American writer, taught me the finest trick when doing a long book, which is, he simply said in his own words, "When you are going good, stop writing." And that means that if everything’s going well and you know exactly where the end of the chapter’s going to go and you know just what the people are going to do, you don’t go on writing and writing until you come to the end of it, because when you do, then you say, well, where am I going to go next? And you get up and you walk away and you don’t want to come back because you don’t know where you want to go.
"But if you stop when you’re going good, as Hemingway said…then you know what you are going to say next. You make yourself stop, put your pencil down and everything, and you walk away. And you can’t wait to get back because you know what you want to say next and that’s lovely and you have to try and do that. Every time, every day all the way through the year. If you stop when you are stuck, then you are in trouble!"
“The battle that we have to fight as cinematographers is to not let anybody treat us like we are consumers by using marketing techniques to push technology that’s not better than what we have. Good enough isn’t good enough. 24P is nowhere near the resolution of 35mm film, and if you put it side by side with anamorphic it’s off the charts. There’s not even a comparison. I don’t see why we should settle for that and I don’t see why the public should settle for it. I don’t understand why we would use an inferior product to capture our images, when we want to see all the nuances and into the darkest details. I want to push the envelope. I don’t think we have the power to fight this battle alone. The technology vendors have enough power and money to influence our art form. We need to get the directors on our side, because they have the clout.”—Wally Pfister, DP for Memento, The Italian Job, Batman Begins, The Prestige, The Dark Knight.
Honestly, I would love to be more specific about my internship, but I signed a contract saying I won’t talk about projects, who we work with, basically anything concerning the company, really. Well, I could talk maybe about a couple things, but I will be vague, at best. I was told that the Wizard is all about confidentiality.
And it’s going…okay. I am freaking scared though of my boss. Or rather my boss’s boss. The head honcho. The big kahuna.
I’ve already got a nickname for her: the Wizard of Oz. I’ve never even seen her face, only heard her voice, and I’ve been told so many rules on how to behave with her. Apparently, she’s really demanding. I want to believe that behind the curtain, when she’s not on the job, she’s a nice, sweet lady. God, let’s hope.
Coolest part of my day: holding a call sheet with one of my top 10 DPs name on it. I got shivers.
“Don’t let anybody know you’re upset. There’s a tendency to fall apart, but you have to problem solve in a positive, creative way.”—TA Slava, on the rigors of filmmaking. We had some pretty awesome TAs.
“Sometimes you get great actors, sometimes not…You have this camera here *bbrrrrr* You know, the sound of frames going, and it’s like money falling out of your pocket when the actor doesn’t get it right…”—TA Slava.
“So read next week’s reading instead of this week’s, okay?…Do you do the readings? I don’t know why I even bother telling you that we’re going to reverse the reading for the next two weeks.”—Rutsky, to whole class.
“Thanks, computer. Tell me what I should do next.”—Rustky, during powerpoint lecture after his laptop prompts him that he has not backed up in 20 days. Ironically, this was during sci-fi film class when we were talking about robots.
“I think they should create a separate category with the five highest-grossing films or for action films and comedy films.”—Samuel L. Jackson, on the Academy’s decision. Or, you know, we could create a category just for Samuel L. Jackson. I’d tune in to the Oscars for that.
"The possession of a real voice is always a marvel, an almost religious thing. When you have one, it not only means you see things from a slightly different perspective than the billions of other ants on the hill, but that you also necessarily possess such equally rare qualities as integrity and humility. It’s part of the package of being a real voice, ‘cause when your voice is real, you can’t screw around. The voice must be served; all other exit doors marked ‘expediency’ or ‘solid career move’ are sealed over and the only way out of your inner torment is genuine self-expression."
From Brooks’s foreward in the published script of Wes Anderson and Owen Wilson’s Rushmore (1998)
“Las Vegas is a pretty cool town. But man, the Strip is total debauchery. It encourages all these dark fantasies that people go there trying to fulfill. The saying, “What happens in Vegas, ” says it all. Your dignity and money stay there.”—Justin Bartha, the missing groom in The Hangover for Vegas magazine.