EPISODE 163 - Byways
Team Deakins discusses Roger?s new book BYWAYS as we head into a hiatus from the podcast. In this episode, we discuss what taking stills gives to Roger that film does not, how he enjoys observing things and places, how there is no pressure to shoot anything specific, what he likes to take images of, and why he prefers to shoot in black and white. We talk about his time shooting for the Beaford Archive and developing his eye. He likes dedicating his day to shooting on his stills camera and he only takes iPhone photographs when he?s fishing. We discuss our incredible and collaborative experience working with Damiani, the publishers of BYWAYS.
IMAGES WE DISCUSSED: The Joy of Flight (72), Budapest Runners (116), and Lightning Strikes (131)
EPISODE 162- Roberto Schaefer - Cinematographer
Team Deakins is joined by cinematographer Roberto Schaefer (THE KITE RUNNER, QUANTUM OF SOLACE, MONSTER?S BALL) for a great conversation. In this episode, we discuss Roberto?s journey into the industry (a serendipitous one). Roberto talks about his experiences working with directors Christopher Guest and Marc Forster, both of whom he has collaborated with many times. We learn what Roberto?s approach was to lighting the film Best In Show and how he will not take a job if his initial reaction is clouded with doubt ? he believes in following your instincts! We discuss the lighting cameraman, preserving a single vision while shooting multiple cameras, the rise of sky panels, shooting for television, and much more!
EPISODE 161 - Peter Kohn - First Assistant Director
Team Deakins sits down with first assistant director Peter Kohn (LA LA LAND, BIRDMAN, PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN) for a conversation. In this episode, Peter tells us how his father?s career in the industry influenced his aspirations and his taste in films? he loves watching and working on musicals. Peter shares stories from working on the Pirates of the Caribbean trilogy and Birdman, working with Gordon Willis, and doing smoke on the set of Ridley Scott?s The Duellists. Together we talk about what makes a successful assistant director, having a big first day on set, the many factors that dictate the shooting schedule, and even car work. Peter also sneaks in a few questions about 1917!
EPISODE 160 - Sturla Brandth Grøvlen - Cinematographer
Team Deakins enjoys a great conversation with cinematographer Sturla Brandth Grøvlen (ANOTHER ROUND, VICTORIA, HEARTSTONE, RAMS). In this episode, we learn that Sturla attended school until he was 31, but over the course of the interview, we find out it was well worth it! Sturla talks about shooting Songs for Alexis, his first documentary film, and explains what Scandinavian Folk high schools are. He tells us that he didn?t show his work to the outside world until his final year at the National Film School of Denmark, which dared him to fail and allowed him to focus on developing his artistic sensibility. Together we discuss Victoria and how they decided to shoot it in real-time without cuts, working with harsh weather conditions while filming Rams, and Sturla?s visual inspiration for Heartstone. Sturla also tells about his experience working with Thomas Vinterberg (Episode 101) on his film, Another Round. Tune in!
RECOMMENDED EPISODE VIEWING: Victoria
EPISODE 159- ROBERT EGGERS & JARIN BLASCHKE - Director & Cinematographer
Team Deakins sits down with director and cinematographer Robert Eggers and Jarin Blaschke (THE NORTHMAN, THE LIGHTHOUSE, THE WITCH). Robert and Jarin discuss their shared love of golden age fairy tale illustrations, the funny story behind the start of their collaboration, and the meticulous planning that went into making The Lighthouse. We learn how Robert transitioned from working in the art department on New York independent films to directing The Witch. Robert and Jarin talk about what it was like to work with Robert Pattinson and Willem Dafoe, how they chose aspect ratio for The Lighthouse, how shooting for historical accuracy removes choices, and how films are about editing down not about creation. A wonderful conversation with excellent filmmakers!
EPISODE 158 - HARIS ZAMBARLOUKOS - Cinematographer
Team Deakins has a great conversation with cinematographer Haris Zambarloukos (MAMMA MIA!, SLEUTH, MR IN-BETWEEN, ARTEMIS FOWL) in this episode. Haris shares his experiences working with director Kenneth Branagh, Paul Sarossy, and Phyllida Lloyd. Haris talks about learning the steps of observation, contemplation, and action during his time in film school at St. Martins and about learning how to contribute to the feeling of a film while studying at AFI. We share many stories about our dear friend Conrad Hall and Haris beaks down how he shot Steven Knight?s LOCKE in eight days. We discuss the idea of choosing a DP with whom a director could grow with or someone who could hold his hands and guide him as well as having trust in a director's ability to have an impact and to follow them every step along the way. Don't miss it!
RECOMMENDED EPISODE VIEWING: Locke
EPISODE 157- MARK MANGINI- Sound Designer
Team Deakins converses with sound designer Mark Mangini (DUNE, BLADE RUNNER 2049, MAD MAX: FURY ROAD, STAR TREK) about the world of sound. In this episode, Mark explains that his job is to tell stories with sound and to create universes that sonically don?t exist. He walks us through designing the sound for the war rig in MAD MAX: FURY ROAD as well as his close collaboration with director Denis Villeneuve on BLADE RUNNER 2049, and Tom Holkenborg on BLACK MASS. We discuss how Mark decides when to use a music cue or sound effect cue, how you can earn loud sounds by buying silence early on in a film, and the creative necessity and financial incentive to capture production sound on set instead of recreating it in post. We learn a lot in this episode!! You don?t want to miss it!
BONUS: Use this link to download a sound file that Mark makes reference to when speaking of "Bladerunner 2049".
EPISODE 156 - PETER SUSCHITZKY- Cinematographer
Team Deakins sits down with cinematographer Peter Suschitzky (THE ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW, THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK, DEAD RINGERS) for a great conversation. We learn that Peter started shooting at a very young age and was printing images in the darkroom at the age of 6! Peter tells us stories from working with the great directors John Boorman, Peter Watkins and David Cronenberg. Peter tells us about interviewing with George Lucas for Star Wars, why he hadn?t seen a single one of Cronenberg?s films before his interview for Dead Ringers, and his collaborations with Peter Watkins. Peter believes it is easy to fall into formulaic filmmaking if you work too much, and to him that is the enemy of creativity. We discuss still photography as it is a huge part of Peter?s life, and how to Peter, capturing a good still is very difficult (perhaps more so than cinematography), though satisfying when it works well.
EPISODE 155- KEN LOACH & BARRY ACKROYD - Director & Cinematographer
Team Deakins speaks with director Ken Loach and cinematographer Barry Ackroyd (THE WIND THAT SHAKES THE BARLEY, SWEET SIXTEEN, CARLA?S SONG, LADYBIRD, LADYBIRD) in this episode. Barry (Episode 70) and Ken share memories from their many collaborations together and Ken is very open with us about his process. He tells us that the most important thing that the director has is the actor?s instincts. We learn what Ken looks for when casting his movies, why he shoots in sequence, what he looks for in a crew, what his rehearsal processes are like, and how everyone rides in the same minibus on his sets because he and his crew are one team. We learn how Ken?s experience at the BBC shaped his approach to filmmaking and why he didn?t go into politics. Ken tells Barry why he asked him to shoot Riff-Raff and how he believes Barry has a great skill for finding natural movement from a camera on legs and how it suited their collective ideas. Don?t miss it!
EPISODE 154- JOHN SEALE - Cinematographer
Team Deakins speaks with cinematographer John Seale (MAX MAD: FURY ROAD, THE TALENTED MR. RIPLEY, RAIN MAN, DEAD POET?S SOCIETY) in this episode. John shares stories from his time working with director Peter Weir, Anthony Minghella, Sydney Pollack, and George Miller. We discuss camera operating at length? how much John loves operating and believes it to be the most fulfilling job on set, how it is instinctive and how the position of the cameraman can be very important. John talks about the toughest challenge he and his crew faced during the production of The Perfect Storm as well as his experience working with natural daylight while shooting THE TALENTED MR. RIPLEY. We discuss the ?imperceptible zoom? and the ?what if system? and how shooting with multiple cameras can allow an editor to cut for performance rather than continuity. We laugh a lot on this episode, tune in!
EPISODE 153 - DARIUSZ WOLSKI - Cinematographer
Team Deakins has the opportunity to speak with cinematographer, Dariusz Wolski (NEWS OF THE WORLD, THE MARTIAN, PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN). We talk about his (and Roger?s) beginnings in music videos and his experiences working with both Tony and Ridley Scott. He tells us he learned to light 360 degrees while working with Tony. We learn a lot of his method of working with Ridley - how Ridley is not afraid of silhouettes and how he likes to draw the movie as a way of thinking and focusing. He shares his experiences on NEWS OF THE WORLD and well as PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN. We also talk about the VFX on PIRATES and the experience of shooting movie 2 and 3 at the same time! He tells us his philosophy is not to control everything and even shares a few stories about Conrad Hall (what?s an episode without mentioning Connie?). A fun and insightful episode!
EPISODE 152 - ALWIN KUCHLER - Cinematographer
Team Deakins converses with cinematographer, Alwin Kuchler (THE MAURITANIAN, STEVE JOBS, DIVERGENT). We cover a lot ground including his work with directors Lynne Ramsey and Danny Boyle. We talk about his intentions behind using both spherical vs anamorphic lenses, how he loves intense challenges and how he came across THE MAURITANIAN. We learn about his experience on RATCATCHER, working with Lynne Ramsay and how they worked instinctually since they had trouble understanding each other?s accents! He also shares his experiences working with Danny Boyle. And lots more! A great conversation that shouldn?t be missed!
EPISODE 151 - CILLIAN MURPHY - Actor
Team Deakins catches up with actor Cillian Murphy (INCEPTION, THE DARK KNIGHT, 28 DAYS LATER) and the result is a great conversation about many subjects including acting , working in the business and somehow balancing your life. We explore the idea of how living a normal life between projects is so important and using that in the work. We talk about many of his films and his approach to creating the character. He shares his experiences working with Neil Jordan, Ken Loach and Christopher Nolan. We learn that mastering an accent is ?like going to a gym for your mouth?, we also talk about his relationship with the camera department and what he looks for in a director. We touch on the differences of shooting a film, acting on stage and working on a TV series. Definitely not an episode to miss!
EPISODE 150 - MÁTYÁS ERDÉLY - Cinematographer
Team Deakins speaks with Hungarian cinematographer, Mátyás Erdély (SON OF SAUL, SUNSET, THE NEST) in this episode. Matyas has shot in the US, UK and Hungary and says he doesn?t feel there is much difference in his work wherever he works. He shares that he feels it is soul crushing to take a project just for the money if it is something you don?t connect with. He also goes into detail about his collaboration with Lazlo Nemes (SON OF SAUL, SUNSET) (Episode 113 of Team Deakins) and how they began thinking they would shoot SON OF SAUL on Steadicam but how and why changed their minds. He also shares how they chose lenses with the guiding core idea of using the limitation of visual information by focus. And we learned how he and Lazlo approached their next collaboration on the film SUNSET differently. A great conversation with a talented cinematographer!
RECOMMENDED EPISODE VIEWING: Son of Saul
EPISODE 149 - JOHN TURTURRO - Actor
Team Deakins enjoys a great conversation with frequent collaborator, actor John Turturro (BARTON FINK, THE BIG LEBOWSKI, TRANSFORMERS). His stories made us laugh a lot in parts - especially when he describes his first professional audition with Michael Badalucco for DiNiro and Scorsese for the movie Raging Bull! He also shares what working with the great Robbie Muller taught him (?you don?t have to do more?) as well as his experience of working with Francesco Rosi and Pasqualino De Santis on The Truce, where he realized he was a part of the frame. We also talked a lot about his experiences working with the Coen Brothers including what his real-life inspiration was for his character in Miller?s Crossing and how he prepped for Barton Fink. He explains that while professional acting is great, once in a while, it?s good to get back to the responsible amateur in you! We cover lots of ground and it?s an episode not to miss!
EPISODE 148 - ROBBIE RYAN - Cinematographer
Team Deakins enjoys an interesting talk with cinematographer, Robbie Ryan (MARRIAGE STORY, I, DANIEL BLAKE, THE MEYEROWITZ STORIES). We talk about his teaming up with director Andrea Arnold and their relationship. We go into details on the film FISH TANK. Robbie shares Andrea?s approach, the experience of working with street actors, and why a lot was handheld. He also talks about the differences between working with Andrea and Ken Loach. We also touch on his experience of working with Noah Baumbach as well as Yorgos Lanthimos on THE FAVOURITE. And we had questions about the technical challenges on THE LAST DAYS ON MARS. A fun and interesting conversation!
RECOMMENDED EPISODE VIEWING: Fish Tank
EPISODE 147 - DONALD BURT - Production Designer
Team Deakins delves into the craft of production design with the great production designer, Donald Burt (THE CURIOUS CASE OF BENJAMIN BUTTON, HOSTILES, MANK). We loved hearing about his path to the film business! We talk about his first movie as production designer, JOY LUCK CLUB - quite a film to start on! He shares his methods of working with a director and how he doesn?t want to draw attention to what he is doing and that he wants to be supportive and serve the story first. We also touch on how restrictions and limitations breed imagination, his approach to sets vs locations, and how you can?t be afraid of articulating a stupid idea. And, we also speak about the making of MANK, THE OUTLAW KING, and ZODIAC. As well as much, much more!
RECOMMENDED EPISODE VIEWING: Mank
EPISODE 146 - CHARLOTTE BRUUS CHRISTENSEN - Cinematographer
Team Deakins has a great conversation with cinematographer Charlotte Bruus Christensen (THE HUNT, FAR FROM THE MADDING CROWD, A QUIET PLACE). We loved her account of how she learned the craft and entered the industry and her thoughts soon what it means to teach cinematography. We also talk about her various collaborations with the director Thomas Vinterberg. She also discusses the night lighting and the consideration of sound design on the A QUIET PLACE. We also touch on her directing and shooting the TV series mini series BLACK NARCISSUS. A great conversation with a talented cinematographer!
RECOMMENDED EPISODE VIEWING: Submarino, A Quiet Place
EPISODE 145 - KRYSTY WILSON CAIRNS - Writer
Team Deakins has fun speaking with writer Krysty Wilson Cairns (1917). She and Roger compare times at the National Film School in London and discuss whether writing can actually be taught. Her love of writing comes through strongly and we learn she reads a book a week! She thinks that if a scene doesn?t work on screen, it wasn?t written correctly. Krysty discusses the core tenants of good screenwriting and goes into detail about the importance of collaboration with the director. She admits to stealing the experiences of people around her and not considering the budget when she writes. We had a lot of laughs and learned a lot about writing in this episode!
EPISODE 144 - AGNIESZKA HOLLAND - Director
Team Deakins covers many topics with Polish director Agnieszka Holland (MR JONES, EUROPA EUROPA, TO KILL A PRIEST). We learn how the politics of her time have influenced her work and how starting out on smaller projects taught her to make the scene work without extraneous shots. She shares her experiences on the films Angry Harvest, To Kill a Priest, Darkness, Europa Europa, and Charlatan. She speaks of her responsibility to the story versus historical accuracy and what she feels the role of the director is. A fascinating conversation with a talented director.
RECOMMENDED EPISODE VIEWING: Darkness, Europa Europa
EPISODE 143 - Neil Jordan - Director
Team Deakins has a great conversation with the remarkable director, Neil Jordan (THE CRYING GAME, THE BUTCHER BOY, BREAKFAST ON PLUTO). We?ve been fans for years, so it was a thrill to meet and speak with him. We had some sound issues, but we think the content more than makes up for that! Neil shares with us his perspective on filmmaking and his approach to creating the film. Neil has also had many novels published and we asked him about the difference between the genres of written works and motion pictures. We learn that he loves how movies immediately bring you into a reality without any explanation or exposition. We also speak specifically about his many movies and learn interesting details. A fascinating episode with an articulate filmmaker!
RECOMMEND EPISODE VIEWING: Any Neil Jordan film
EPISODE 142 - RICHARD HOOVER - Production Designer
Teams Deakins has a conversation with production designer, Richard Hoover (42, GIRL, INTERRUPTED, BOB ROBERTS). Richard talks about different methods of working with different directors and how he discovers what the director wants. He also illustrates his points with examples from Twin Peaks, Bob Roberts, Dead Man Walking. 42 and The Assassination of Jesse James and the approaches he took. He shares the use of a ?look book? for the design and the particular challenges of working on period pieces. He tells us that the content of the scene definitely affects the design and how you can tell the story with the design. We asked about designing against your personal taste as well as what his greatest design challenge was. It?s a great look into the complex role of the production designer on a film. Don?t miss it!
EPISODE 141 - BRUNO DELBONNEL - Cinematographer
Team Deakins has a great conversation with cinematographer, Bruno Delbonnel. He speaks about his experiences working with Jean-Pierre Jeunet and Marc Caro, on Amelie and Delicatessen, respectively. We learn about how he achieved the look on Amelie and how, in France, it was the first film to involve a DI, and how the digital workflow has changed. When he chooses a project, he is not looking for the challenges as much as discovering the director?s vision and figuring out how to implement that. He also shares his experiences with working director Tim Burton. We speak of how he prepares his lighting and the importance of determining what you really need on a shoot and hearing what it is that production needs. It?s not about compromise but about finding the right method. And, of course, we speak about The Darkest Hour and the look. Not an episode to miss!
EPISODE 140 - ALEXANDER NANAU - Director/Cinematographer
Team Deakins has the pleasure of having an in-depth conversation with documentary director (who also shoots!), Alexander Nanau (TOTO AND HIS SISTERS, COLLECTIVE). We start with the importance of the documentary subject not being aware of the camera and Alex he goes about making his subjects comfortable. We also look at how the direction of the documentary can change during filming and how important it is to allow that to happen. He gives examples of this in Collective and Toto and his Sisters. Alex shares how he gave his characters cameras during the filming of Toto and his Sisters which allowed him access to special, intimate footage that would not have been possible with him in the room. He also speaks of how a project gets set up and his desire to direct fiction now. A great conversation with a talented filmmaker!
RECOMMENDED EPISODE VIEWING: Toto and his Sisters, Collective
EPISODE 139 - TURNING THE TABLES - Sicario
Team Deakins has the tables turned on them. Editor Tom Cross (Episode 129) asks the questions and we focus on the film SICARIO. Tom asks us about specific scenes, including the tunnel sequence, the Mexico sequences, and the opening sequence. We talk about the importance of the first shots in a movie and what the original first shot of Sicario was originally planned to be. We break down a sequence that was shot both on stage and location. We also touch on how we work with editors and the importance of our relationship with them. We spoke of the cutting in Sicario as well as the film First Man, which Tom cut. An interesting, in-depth conversation about filmmaking!
EPISODE 138 - DANIELLE FEINBERG -Pixar DP/VFX Supervisor
Team Deakins speaks with Pixar lighting artist, Danielle Feinberg (WALL?E, COCO, RATATOUILLE). Danielle tells us about her time at Pixar, how computer animation is evolving and how each story demands different technical advances. She walks us through the process of making a film at Pixar, step by step. She also tells us how Pixar hires and what they look for in applicants as well as how the layout of the Pixar building is deliberate to promote communication. We learn that changes in the tools can alter the movie?s workflow. She speaks about working on Finding Nemo and her favorite creative moment in the jellyfish scene. We also get into the roles of camera operating and lighting in animation and the struggle to open up communication between the departments. Danielle really opens up the world of animation for us!
EPISODE 137 - JOE WRIGHT - Director
Team Deakins has a great time talking with director, Joe Wright (ATONEMENT, THE SOLOIST, DARKEST HOUR). He shares what he loves about films and how he loves the craft of it. He talks about the importance of casting correctly and how he works with actors and how important rehearsals are. We learn how he preps with a cinematographer and what he looks for in a cinematographer. Also, he shares why he chose to do The Darkest Hour, how he likes to work with the same crew and actors and how he learns from the process of making films. A fascinating conversation with a talented director!
EPISODE 136 - JESS GONCHOR - Production Designer
Team Deakins talks design with production designer, Jess Gonchor (THE DEVIL WEARS PRADA, NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN, TRUE GRIT, FOXCATCHER). He tells us how, early on, he learned the mistake of lighting the set and not the story which he?s never forgotten. We also talk about developing a color palette, what goes into his mood board, and using music references. He shares some of his experiences on The Siege, Capote, No Country for Old Men, Hail Caesar, as well as Lone Ranger and A Serious Man. We also learn how he approaches pitching his ideas to a director who has already lived with another idea for a long time. This episode is a really interesting look into the craft of production design!
EPISODE 135 - DARIUS KHONDJI - Cinematographer
Team Deakins talks with cinematographer Darius Khondji (UNCUT GEMS, ALIEN RESURRECTION, SE7EN). We talk a lot about light, specifically learning how to light and how he started to learn with natural light. He shares the experience of working with David Fincher on the film Se7en and how their collaboration allowed him to take risks. He speaks about how important it is to get to understand the director and how he sees visual style as a house that you have to find the key to unlocking and that he usually finds this key through the character. Darius tells us about working on the movies Lost City of Z, Uncut Gems, My Blueberry Nights, and Amour. He also shares his thoughts on working in features and television. A wonderful glimpse into the eye of a great cinematographer!
EPISODE 134 - RICH KLUBECK - Partner and Literary Agent UTA
Teams Deakins has an in-depth conversation with Rich Klubeck of UTA. We cover a lot of ground on the subject of filmmaking - from the difference of putting together an independent vs studio film when a project needs to be cast and the considerations in casting. He defines and explains the principles of packaging a project and conveys how putting together a film is an art form. We talk about how to budget and Rich gives us a step-by-step guide to getting financing and what he thinks about when looking for funding. We ask about the role of film festivals and the future of movie distribution. We learn what he does when a new script from an unknown director comes across his desk and much, much more! An incredible guide to getting a movie off the ground!
EPISODE 133 - DOMHNALL GLEESON - Actor
Team Deakins has a great time speaking with actor, Domhnall Gleeson (STAR WARS, NEVER LET ME GO, THE REVENANT). He tells us how his father being an actor (Brandon Gleeson) showed him it was a career that could be done, with hard work. He shares that a well-run set is his favorite place to be and the feeling of loss when a film doesn?t land. We talk about his experience of working with the Coen Brothers in the film, True Grit as well as working on the film, Ex Machina, and with Alicia Vikander. We reminisce about the experience of working together on the film, Unbroken, including his having to starve for the start of the movie. He also shares what he has learned, like not having to be in pain to get a good performance and relating with the crew as an actor. And lots, lots more! You won?t want to miss this episode!
EPISODE 132 - CARROLL BALLARD - Director
Team Deakins has the pleasure of speaking with director Carroll Ballard (WIND, THE BLACK STALLION, NEVER CRY WOLF, DUMA). We learn how he got involved in the project that became the film, Black Stallion, how he worked with cinematographer, Caleb Deschanel. We also discuss the particular challenges of that film. Carroll talks about the difficulties of working with animals and children as well as working with wolves and caribous in Never Cry Wolf, geese in Fly Away Home, and cheetahs in Duma. We also learn about how he met the extreme challenges of shooting the film Wind. We learned a lot in this episode!
EPISODE 131 - DENNIS GASSNER - Production Designer
Team Deakins sits down with production designer, Dennis Gassner (FIELD OF DREAMS, JARHEAD, SPECTRE, 1917) and examines all things movie design! Dennis shares some of his methods - using smells to complete the set and boiling down a film to one word and working from there. He also talks about working at Zoetrope and working on such films as The Hitcher, Field of Dreams, Water World, Blade Runner 2049, Skyfall, and Spectre. He speaks of working with directors Joel and Ethan on many films as well as his thoughts on previs, choosing projects, and always working for the story. A fascinating conversation with a very experienced production designer!
EPISODE 130 - NIALL MORONEY & ELAINE KUSMISHKO - Art Directors
Team Deakins talks to Art Directors, Niall Moroney and Elaine Kusmishko (1917, MARY POPPINS RETURNS, BEAUTY & THE BEAST). We start with what an art director does and the difference between a supervising art director and an art director and learn how the art department interacts with all departments on a film. We also break down the challenges of the film 1917 and how they met them. They share how much they had to learn about trenches, how they created them, and reconstruct the original land when the film ended. We also talk about using models on 1917 and why they were so helpful. They also share the way the night town set was envisioned and built. It?s a wonderful examination of the role of the art department in filmmaking as they give specific examples of the issues they face and then solve.
RECOMMENDED EPISODE VIEWING: 1917
EPISODE 129 - TOM CROSS - Editor
Team Deakins enjoys a great conversation with editor, Tom Cross (FIRST MAN, HOSTILES, NO TIME TO DIE). He shares what he learned from working with different editors when he started out and tells us of the different styles of individual editors. We also talk about the fact that it?s not unusual to have multiple editors on films these days and we learn how the work is divided up. He shares his working experiences with director David O?Russell, Scott Cooper, and Damien Chazelle. We discuss working in different formats, creating the style of the film, inserts as the ?unsung heroes of movies? and what good editing actually is. And much, much more! A great insight into the world of editing!
EPISODE 128 - PHEDON PAPAMICHAEL - Cinematographer
Team Deakins speaks with cinematographer, Phedon Papamichael (TRIAL OF THE CHICAGO 7, FORD VS FERRARI, NEBRASKA). In this episode, Phedon shares his experiences working with James Mangold and Alexander Payne and we discuss what makes those relationships so successful. We learn that Phedon took up photography at a very early age and together we talk about his transition from stills to the moving image and shooting his first short film with one of John Cassavetes? cameras! Phedon tells us about his time shooting for Roger Corman?s company and how free he was to experiment stylistically. Phedon talks about collaborating with Aaron Sorkin on their most recent film Trial of the Chicago 7 and the challenges of making a courtroom drama visually engaging. Phedon shares some great advice for young filmmakers, but you?ll have to tune in to find out! Don?t miss it!
EPISODE 127 - GERD NEFZER - Special Effects Supervisor
Team Deakins speaks with special effects supervisor, Gerd Nefzer (BLADE RUNNER 2049, RED SPARROW, HUNGER GAMES). We start by talking about what the special effects department covers and how it varies per film. We talk about the challenges of creating atmosphere and how he approached that on Blade Runner 2049. Specifically, we examine the differences in using mist or smoke for the atmosphere. Of course, we discuss what is covered by SFX and VFX and how this is determined. We go into detail on the challenges that the sea wall sequence in Blade Runner 2049 offered. Gerd also shares details of the effects on the film, The Girl in the Spiderweb and he tells us how important planning is and knowing what the camera position will be for his work. A really great conversation with a special effects master!
RECOMMENDED EPISODE VIEWING: The Girl in the Spiderweb, Blade Runner 2049
EPISODE 126 - DAVID GROPMAN - Production Designer
Team Deakins speaks with production designer, David Gropman (FENCES, LIFE OF PI, THE SHIPPING NEWS). He tells us why he loves shooting on location vs sets, his reaction to specific colors, his relationship to the producer, and the challenge of working within the budget. He talks about his experiences with directors Lasse Hallström, James Ivory, and Ang Lee. Since he worked with Ang Lee on the movies Taking Woodstock and Life of Pi (two very different movies!), he talks about his approaches to the films and talks about designing for a 3D project. And we learn some specifics about the shooting of Life of Pi, such as the tank work and working as a production designer with the VFX team! We also touch on the differences between working on big budgets vs smaller budgets as well as the differences between working on long-form TV vs feature films.
EPISODE 125 - SCOTT COOPER - Director
Team Deakins has a great talk with director, Scott Cooper (HOSTILES, BLACK MASS, CRAZY HEART). We learn that he started out as an actor and how that has helped him when he became a director. He talks about the immediate recognition, on his first directed film Crazy Heart, that directing was his path and not acting. He shares his belief that you make a film 3 times: when writing it, when shooting it and when editing it. He talks about shooting with a single camera, how he works with actors, and how he wants to create space for the actors to take big chances. He tells about the experiences of working on each of his films and says he likes to push himself in unsafe places. A very interesting look into the process of a director!
EPISODE 124 - SEAN BOBBITT - Cinematographer
Team Deakins has an interesting conversation with cinematographer, Sean Bobbitt (JUDAS AND THE BLACK MESSIAH, WIDOWS, 12 YEARS A SLAVE). We cover a lot of ground, starting with his beginnings in news coverage. We learn how cinematographer Billy Williams set him on his path and he shares his experience of shooting the film Wonderland and working with director, Michael Winterbottom. We also talk about his experiences with directors Steve Mcqueen and Neil Jordan. He also shares how he mixes color temperatures to create depth and interest, how he works in prep and how he lights a set. An in-depth conversation with a talented DP!
EPISODE 123 - DION BEEBE - Cinematographer
In this episode, Team Deakins speaks with cinematographer, Dion Beebe (CHICAGO, COLLATERAL, INTO THE WOODS, MARY POPPINS RETURNS). He starts by telling us about his failure as a focus puller and then shooting a film as a DP for the first time at age 24! We talk about how it?s hard when you are starting out to consider compromising, but as you learn more about the collaborative nature of filmmaking, it becomes easier, as well as the idea that getting worked up on a set will never help you achieve your goal. Dion speaks about the difficult balance of knowing when and how you need to work with what you?re given and when to stand firm. We also cover learning to light, prepping for a film, and setting the look with the director. Dion also shares his experiences of working with Rob Marshall who taught him a lot about musicals and Ang Lee, shooting with a high frame rate. We cover a lot of ground in this episode!
EPISODE 122 - CHRIS CORBOULD - Special Effects
Team Deakins has a great conversation with Special Effects wizard, Chris Corbould (SKYFALL, INCEPTION, STAR WARS: EPISODE VIII: THE LAST JEDI). We start by learning of his first experience - working on the movie TOMMY - quite a way to begin! He also walks us through some of the bigger special effects he?s been responsible for. We learn how it is decided whether to use SFX or VFX, the amount of testing necessary for each SPF, the difference of working on SPF for small and large films, and the biggest challenges he?s ever faced. He also shares his experience of working with Sam Mendes and Chris Nolan. We also discover that he is in the Guinness Book of World Records for the largest explosion on set! An in-depth conversation with a real master!
RECOMMENDED EPISODE VIEWING: Skyfall, Inception
EPISODE 121 - JOSHUA JAMES RICHARDS - Cinematographer
Team Deakins has a lot of laughs in their conversation with cinematographer, Josh Richards (NOMADLAND, GOD?S OWN COUNTRY, THE RIDER). He shares with us his struggles in film school and what it gave to him ultimately. We also learn about how he started with director Chloé Zhao and how their working relationship developed and how they work together now. We talk about the shooting of Nomadland and God?s Own Country. He frankly tells us of his journey in finding cinematography and his path. A fascinating, open conversation with a talented DP.
EPISODE 120 - MIKE RADFORD - Director
Team Deakins speaks with long-time friend, director Mike Radford (ANOTHER TIME, ANOTHER PLACE, IL POSTINO, MERCHANT OF VENICE). He shares his film school experiences and how he came to direct his first film ANOTHER TIME, ANOTHER PLACE, on which he worked with Roger. He and Roger share memories of that film as well as 1984, which was another film on which they worked together. Mike tells us about the huge controversy he started with what he said at the British Film awards show for 1984 and the experience of working with actors John Hurt and Richard Burton. We talk about his experiences with actors Al Pacino and Jeremy Irons on MERCHANT OF VENICE and we learn a lot about IL POSTINO and the challenges that entailed. A refreshing and very frank conversation with a talented director!
EPISODE 119 - LEE SMITH - Editor
Team Deakins sits down with editor, Lee Smith (1917, SPECTRE, DUNKIRK, THE DARK KNIGHT RISES). He shares with us his thoughts on a lot of subjects: how working on bad films helps you learn, that the rhythm of the cut is instinctive and how you use the cut to create the rhythm, how his approach depends on the director and the differences between directors. We talk about how ?finding it in the editing room? is not our favorite approach, editors being on set, the editor being a fresh eye, and working on the fractured time structure in Dunkirk. He also speaks of his work on the films Dunkirk and 1917 as well as his thoughts on cutting action sequences, using split screens unwisely and continuity. It?s a great episode that really delves into the craft of motion picture editing. Don?t miss it!
EPISODE 118 - MANDY WALKER - Cinematographer
Team Deakins has a fun conversation with cinematographer, Mandy Walker (AUSTRALIA, HIDDEN FIGURES, MULAN). We cover a lot in this episode, including the shooting of the film TRACKS and the unique challenges it presented. We also learn about her experience on Jane Got A Gun where she came in at the last minute and had to work on the fly. She shares her thoughts on static camera work vs a moving camera, how you find the right camera style for a film and her thoughts on VFX. Mandy also speaks of shooting the film Mulan and her love of the Alexa 65. A great talk with a wonderful cinematographer!
RECOMMENDED EPISODE VIEWING: Tracks
EPISODE 117 - PETE CAVACIUTI - Steadicam operator
Team Deakins speaks with Steadicam operator, Pete Cavaciuti (1917, EYES WIDE SHUT, NOW YOU SEE ME 2). Of course, we learn a lot about what the Steadicam is, what training is needed, what you can do with it and what you can?t, and that being a Steadicam operator is a way of life! Pete also shares his experiences with Stanley Kubrick on the film EYES WIDE SHUT and talks about his most challenging shot. He also talks about his experiences on KUNDUN, SKYFALL, 1917, and BLADE RUNNER 2049. A great look into a very specific skill!
EPISODE 116 - PABLO LARRAÍN - Director
Team Deakins sits down with director Pablo Larraín (JACKIE, NERUDA, NO). He shares with us the experience of his first film flopping and all that he learned from that, as well as the ?rules? he sets for each individual film and the power of breaking these rules. He talks about his process, his avoidance of storyboarding, his dislike of multiple cameras, and remembering that films based on actual people are still works of fiction. According to Pablo, ?when you are shooting, you?re fighting the script, when you are editing, you are fighting the shoot?. We learn a lot about the production of the movie ?Jackie,? the production design, the shooting design, and why he chose to shoot in 16mm film. A fascinating look into the mind and process of a talented director!
EPISODE 115 - BILL MACDONALD - UCLA Cinematography Department
Team Deakins converses with Bill McDonald of the UCLA Cinematography Department. We learn about the UCLA program and the difference between the undergraduate and graduate programs. He shares what UCLA looks for when admitting students and how they work to bring out the students? native talents. The students learn all the different areas of film production since this increases their ability to collaborate with other departments in the future. We talk about the pricing of the school and the difference between state and private schooling in film. Bill also shares that film school is not best for everyone and the importance of finding the film school with the approach that works best for the individual. A great lesson in film schools!
EPISODE 114 - JOHN TOLL - Cinematographer
Team Deakins has a great talk with cinematographer, John Toll (LEGENDS OF THE FALL, BRAVEHEART, WIND, THE THIN RED LINE, RAINMAKER). We start on a humorous note as we learn how he started in the business and learned on the job! We talk about his time as an operator and his eventual switch over to working as a DP. He recalls his time working for Conrad Hall as an operator and what he learned and also speaks of the different methods of working as an operator in England. We learn about his first big break to shoot the behind-the-scenes footage on ET which was never seen. He also shares why he chose to shoot WIND (his first feature as a DP), even though he tended to have bad seasickness! We learned about the difficulty of shooting WIND on the water and in boats, which is even more impressive when you consider it was his first time as a cinematographer! John?s humorous way of at looking things will have you laughing!
RECOMMENDED EPISODE VIEWING: Wind