Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘screenwriting’ Category

“The day a sound man shows up on this show I’m gone.”
Anthony Bourdain

This is Part 7 of a string of posts of the show Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown, but technically we’re looking at a quote about Bourdain’s other show The Layover. Those shows are a great example of nimble, small crew storytelling. In other posts I’ve mentioned where Bourdain not only doesn’t like the whole shotgun mic/boom thing for audio—but he doesn’t use an audio person. What else doesn’t he like? Lights!

“Scouting a restaurant has us looking like wayward mental patients. Slowly wandering around the dining room staring at ceiling, whispering and subtly gesturing. Determining the best table to shoot presents a dilemma: maximize the depth of the restaurant, making for nice backgrounds, and we have to sit in the darkest spot. One founding principal of Layover is no lights. I don’t mind things being low key and under-lit; we’ve shot some very dark spots. I have a hard time accepting no eye-light. Need life in the eyes. As a rule, Bourdain hates lights. No time to use them on “Layover” and he likes that. I sit in his seat and my eyes wander around the room looking for a place to hide a small lamp.”
Director of Photography Zach Zamboni (Parts Unknown, The Layover)
Huffpost article

Food for thought, especially for indie filmmakers. Want a feature film example shot without lights? Here it is—The New World. (Embrace your limitations.)

Scott W. Smith

 

 

Read Full Post »

“So the first thing in building an episode is to research where we’re going. Preproduction is extremely critical. We don’t land in a country and rely on our wits and charm—we let Tony do that, we can’t. So there are a lot of logistics and things we need to think through—it’s like planning a dysfunctional family vacation….Once we have solid ideas and sort of a game plan setup what we do we enlist the services of a fixer, and that’s somebody who lives in the country [where we’re going to shoot]. They know the place and help us out with logistics, permits, and that kind of stuff.”
Executive Producer Chris  Collins  (No Reservations, Parts Unknown)

This above video is a making of episode of No Reservations. It’s super example of how a documentary TV show is be put together. DP Zach Zamboni says the same concept is applied on Parts Unknown, with the fixer being hired in as far as a year from when they shoot in the country where the fixer lives. There’s a lot of legwork happening behind the scenes to make the week or two shooting in the area go as smoothly as possible. And sometimes the fixer really earns their keep helping the crew when things don’t go smoothly.

Scott W. Smith

Read Full Post »

“Any human story you set in Rome to me is visually interesting.”
Anthony Bourdain

Screen Shot 2017-06-20 at 9.59.43 PM.png

“Rome on No Reservations is probably the show I’m proudest of all the shows we’ve ever done, only because it was the stupidest thing we could possibly have done. We absolutely went against the grain. Even here people there were people who said, ‘you want to do the whole show in black and white—you don’t just want segments? It’s really a bad idea. It is a food show.’ You go to the most colorful city on earth, with fantastic food in almost every scene, and you’re going to put that in black and white? We well knew that many people turn on the show and see black and white and at the first break you lose half your audience. Add a lot of subtitles to that and you’re going to lose another 25%—we did both.”
Anthony Bourdain
Archive of American Television 

The predecessor to CNN’s Parts Unknown was No Reservation which aired on the Travel Channel between 2005-2012. Both shows are hosted by Anthony Bourdain and are produced by Zero Point Zero using much of the same crew. One of the things that director of photography (on many of No Reservations and Parts Unknown) Zach Zamboni said that they have always tried to challenge themselves to give a fresh spin to each shows that are a mix of travel, culture, and food.

I couldn’t find the black and white Rome show on You Tube, but you can see a clip of it here. (And the full version can be seen on Netflix.) For the show shot in South Korea for Parts Unknown, Zamboni says 95% of the show was shot with the sinaCam, a small cube-like camera allowing you to get usually footage. (Yes, it’s like a Go Pro it’s fully manual allowing you to control focus and aperture, you can put different lens on it, and it shoots ProRes.)

CDj5zo2VEAADxM9

Zach Zamboni with the sinaCAM

So those are just two ways that an ongoing show mixed it up a little bit to avoid getting stale and following the same tried and true template.

Scott W. Smith

 

Read Full Post »

“Imagine Rocky without Philadelphia. Sylvester and I wanted to shoot exteriors in Philly—the producers said ‘no way, we can’t afford to bring a union crew from L.A. to Philadelphia.’”
John G. Avildsen

Until Oscar-winning director John Avildsen died a few days ago I was not aware of the 8mm behind his greatest hits Rocky and The Karate Kid. These videos appear to be from Avildsen’s You Tube channel avilden1221.

It appears that there are at least 11 videos of rehearsals from The Karate Kid meaning they essentially shot the whole film on video before actually rolling film.

Scott W. Smith

Read Full Post »

“I guess what Rocky did was give a lot of people hope, and there was never a better feeling than doing that.”
John G. Avildsen on winning the Best Director Oscar for Rocky

Related posts:

Writing “Rocky”
The Other Side of Rocky
The Rocky Road to Rocky
Hope & Redemption

Scott W. Smith

Read Full Post »

“Entropy and chaos are always upon us.”
Parts Unknown DP Zach Zamoni on shooting on locations around the world

A few days ago on a post about Charleston I mentioned an episode of Anthony Bourdain’s Parts Unknown  that was shot in South Carolina.  So I think I’ll take part of this week to touch on how that show is produced. Zach Zamboni is director of photography on Parts Unknown and has won 3 Emmys on the show for Outstanding Cinematography for Nonfiction Programming.

Here’s a talk Zamboni gave where gives some glimpses into how that show is produced. At the 39 minute mark he mentioned that they shoot between 40 and 100 hours of footage for each one hour show—and probably average 60 hours per show.  Each shot is shot between 4 and 12 days. It’s a super look into the technical and creative decisions that go into each show.

If you’ve never seen the Part Unknown it’s a fascinating show shot around the world with an emphasis on food and culture. All eight seasons are currently available on Netflix. The Charleston episode somehow covers both fine dinning—a cameo by actor Bill Murray— and The Waffle House.

Scott W. Smith

Read Full Post »

St Augustine_9706

If you hit St. Augustine, Florida when the sun is right (early morning, late afternoon) it’s hard to take a bad picture. I first visited St. Augustine on a fifth grade field trip and it’s been a magical place for me every since that first visit.

The film industry has been coming to St. Augustine to shoot as far back as the silent days when parts of The Perils of Pauline (1914) were shot in the historic city. Peter Bogdanovich directed Illegally Yours (1988) starring Rob Lowe in St. Augustine.

It’s a place always ready for a close-up.

Scott W. Smith

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »

%d bloggers like this: