I’m busy prepping a pilot, so today the great French director François Truffaut (1932-1984) will do my talking for me.

            His seemingly casual observations carry a lot of weight and are worthy of your attention.  While Truffaut is nominally speaking to fellow directors, they fall in line for cinematographers as well!

            It’s as hard to make a bad film as a good one.

            Our most sincere film can seem phony.

            The films we do with our left hands may become worldwide hits.

            A perfectly ordinary movie with energy can turn out to be better than cinema with “intelligent” intentions listlessly executed.

            The result rarely matches the effort.

            Cinematic success is not necessarily the result of good brain work but of a harmony of existing elements in ourselves that we may not have even been conscious of: a fortunate fusion of subject and our deeper feelings, an accidental coincidence of our own preoccupations at a certain moment of life and the public’s.

            A filmmaker shows what his career will be with the first 150′ of his first film.


4 thoughts on “PINCH HITTER”

  1. Great post! Truffaut was always so perceptive — I recall in his Hitchcock book, he mentioned that most popular directors make popular movies because they have popular tastes, but somehow Hitchcock was popular making films about his personal and idiosyncratic fears that somehow resonated with a wider audience. He also wrote about Orson Welles, saying that critics complain about his visual excesses — but it was his excesses that made him Orson Welles!

  2. David – I’m currently going through something of a Truffaut revival in my viewing habits. I had always enjoyed his work in the past but had fallen away from it for some time. I encourage everyone to dip into what he has to offer. It’s so refreshing compared to so much of what we’re seeing today!

  3. This really resonates with me, the understanding that filmmaking is a collaborative process and everything is not on the DP’s shoulders. It can be discouraging when you’re doing your best but are restricted by budget, time, or resources, when so much is out of your control (such as in the edit/color process as well), but it makes it all the more rewarding when all of these elements do come together to create magic on the screen.

    I’ve been stuck for the last few years in the world where I’m working on projects that I’m overqualified for, and cannot show what I’m capable of because of those restriction. It feels like that never-ending process of paying your dues and doing the best you can with what you have, just hoping that something will blow up and gain some popularity even if it’s for some intangible reason.

  4. Josh – The fact that we have so little control over so much of what we do is the most frustrating aspect of our work! None of us are immune to its effects.

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