Crispin Green has edited some of the top TV shows in recent times. It was a pleasure to site down with him to talk about the craft of editing and his career.
The biggest change in our industry has been the choice of material that studios and most independent financing companies green light, as what films are made. It used to be that a film like ORDINARY PEOPLE would have no problem going forward, especially with a good director attached. Now, great films like that rarely get made anymore. I miss that.
I can tell you that the qualities I look for in a 2nd AD apply to the 1st AD as well.
– A calm unflappable personality under extreme pressure
– Real attention to detail
– The ability to plan ahead and think on your feet if the plan falls apart
– The grit to do a great job when they are sick / exhausted / just had their car stolen / got yelled at by someone above the line or any number of other things that would put a regular person off their game
– Sense of humor – essential!
There was a “Cagney & Lacey” episode in 1984 called “Heat”. It was about a hostage situation. The producer of the show called it a movie that was also a TV episode. I’m very proud of that episode because the director Karen Arthur won an Emmy for it. The first time a female won a Best Directing Emmy.
There was a scene where someone gets shot in the episode and instead of showing them get shot down, I focused on the reaction of the husband and let the sound of the gun and his face tell us what happened. That’s editing!
I think working with Nicolas Winding Refn is a gift for any cinematographer, because he is interested in visual story telling, in poetry, in suggesting rather than narrating. He doesn’t care about the conventional established representational mode of film story telling, he goes beyond, and for me thats what always been exiting in film making. I always tend to look for directors that are working in this direction, but Nic is probably the most extreme of them, and that’s what I love about him. He pushes me to get the bravest part of myself, to jump the abyss, he doesn’t care if we fall and crash while trying, he would rather try and fail than to stay in a safe territory. So, I love jumping with him, and most of the time, we don’t fall but we fly.
‘Brooklyn’ was a great experience. There was a really positive energy throughout the shoot and it felt like we might be working on something quite special. It was personal to a lot of the people involved and that seemed to come through in the material and that makes you want to raise your game, especially when you’re watching a performance like Saoirse’s unfold you feel a huge pressure to do it justice. Once John and I were back in London we cut for about 3 months and obviously there was plenty of back and forth but at the same time it was quite a calm and controlled process. We had a very strong first assembly and we never deviated too far from it or went down too many experimental cul-de-sacs. This is largely a testament to Nick’s script which only needed the subtlest of refinements so essentially it was about distillation, making it as tight as possible and all the while carefully calibrating the emotional journey through the performances. As for the Oscars it is all a surreal bonus, like I say you hope as you work on something that it is special and obviously a nomination suggests you did something right but the most thrilling thing is that a wide audience gets to see it and thankfully it seems we managed to strike a chord with a lot of them.
Jane Musky is one of the top Production Designers working in the industry today. She has designed over 40 films in the last 30 years, working with directors Mike Newell, Ivan Reitman, Andy Tennant, Gus Van Sant, Jerry Zucker, James Foley, and The Coen Brothers, to name a few. She also happens to be married to the President of the United States (well on the TV show Scandel) for the last 28 years too!
It was an honor to interview Jane and talk about her amazing career, and it looks like she’s just getting started.
Read the best of Director of Photography interviews and Cinematography notes from the to people working in the industry today: Interview with Cinematographer Chad Griepentrog (The Bachelor Reality TV Series) https://matthewtoffolo.com/2016/02/17/interview-with-cinemtographer-chad-griepentrog-the-bachelor-reality-tv-series/ Interview with Cinematographer Albert Arthur (Better Call Saul, Breaking Bad) https://matthewtoffolo.com/2016/02/16/interview-with-cinematographer-albert-arthur-better-call-saul-breaking-bad/ Notes on CINEMATOGRAPHY – SHOTS AND CAMERA ANGLES https://matthewtoffolo.com/2015/06/01/notes-on-cinematography-shots-and-camera-angles/ Photography in Film. The art of Cinematography https://matthewtoffolo.com/2015/05/14/photography-in-film-the-art-of-cinematography/… Continue reading Cinematography Interviews and Production Notes
What a terrific honour it was sit down with the talented costume designer Linda Muir, who is based in Toronto, Canada. She has worked in the industry for the last 30 years, on many successful films and TV shows, which she talks about in the interview. A must read for anyone working or wanting to work in the industry today:
It’s not as easy as it looks on tv. The hours are beyond gruelling and at first the money is non existent. But keep at it. Be nice to everyone, cuz you never know where your next job is coming from and who that Production Assisant will be later (maybe your next Production Manager) and only work for free for a little bit. Then bill what you’re worth and if you are good at it, the money will come. Make sure you like your scripts and it’s easier to live with them 24/7 for months on end. Take advice from people who are successful in the department you want to be in, and learn to take criticisms well and not personally.