Ellen Hovde, Muffie Myer, and Susan Foemke on documentaries


Three women who had edited one of the Maysles brothers‘ documentaries and further established the art of cinema vérité talk briefly about the challenges and philosophy of editing Grey Gardens or a documentary of such nature.

Albert Maysles passed away on March 5, 2015. He along with his brother David were the pioneers of the cinema vérité documentary filmmaking, which paved the way for much of how documentaries and films are made today.

Albert Maysles

Albert Maysles & Charlotte Zwerin on Cinéma vérité documentaries

maysles bros

The Maysles brothers were huge proponents of Cinéma vérité documentary filmmaking. Some of their most critically acclaimed documentaries are Salesman, Gimme Shelter, and Grey Gardens. As a piece of trivia, in preparation for last year’s film Killing Them Softly, Andrew Dominik would watch Salesman. Below you will hear both Albert Maysles and Charlotte Zwerin – close collaborator on other documentaries and editor – talk about one of such cinema verite offerings, and dissect the specifics of shooting and editing such a piece.

Ridley Scott on filmmaking (rare) – Part II


In the second part of this rare track, Ridley brings you the goods one more time on filming inside cars, Washington, D.C., differences between anamorphic widescreen and Super 35, continuity logistics, working with cameramen, having a vision, editing process, directing process, rehearsal with actors.

If you missed it, watch Part I below

Ridley Scott on filmmaking (rare) – Part I


A rare commentary track from Ridley Scott in which the man gives his usual in depth and informative discussion on the craft of filmmaking. He covers such topics as casting, directing, camera operating, editing. I’m never disappointed in his tracks as they’re filled with quite a bit of information you’d always like to hear about if you’re making films yourself or are involved in any aspect of the craft.

Shot Breakdown 004: Boardwalk Empire


As an avid viewer of the series, I’ve done a shot breakdown for S4E5 of Boardwalk Empire, which utilizes some very interesting compositions to underline dialogue.


boardwalk empire



John McTiernan on actors and filmmaking


One of my favorite filmmakers talks about how he approaches actors when making a film, his notions on filmmaking and editing. Do not miss this, you’ll learn something you didn’t know.

If you missed a selection I’ve put together last November, watch it below and have your mind be B-L-O-W-N.

Shot Breakdown 001: HEAT (1995)


It’s here. Introducing a little idea I’ve based on how John McTiernan approached studying films outside of actually making them. Breaking down a commercial, music video, or a film is in no way a new way of studying the art of filmmaking – at least its editorial and visual aspects. This has been done by virtually every filmmaker. This is also an approach many of the world’s strongest film schools actually favor in the classrooms (that is, if the professor is good)

“What he used to make me memorize was the shots. He’d say, “Ok, learn that movie!” – by learn that movie he meant; you sit down with a bunch of pile of paper and pencils and write – shot for shot – the movie from memory. I learned a bunch of movies that way. I learned 8 1/2 that way which is a very complex film. I learned Clockwork Orange…His notion was that if you really wanna become a filmmaker, you have to get that conversant. You have to be able to carry that much in your mind. . . .he made me learn to think of movies as a chain of images where you would fashion the entire chain of images. Just like a music student could hold a concerto in his mind, you should hold the movie in your mind; the images – nevermind the words, the images – “Where is the camera for that shot. What kind of lens was it? What was the camera doing?” – on every shot, on every one of – well most movies have about a thousand shots.” – John McTiernan

For anyone who’s been following this little blog for almost a year now are hopefully quite aware of what a huge proponent I am of reverse engineering the visual medium to the point of scrutiny in order to study how a moving narrative is put together. Of course it’s not the ONLY thing one should be doing, but it is most certainly one of the most important concepts that’s important to grasp.

I’ve broken down every shot of Michael Mann‘s Heat and then some (down to actor’s ever changing facial expressions and body movements + camera movements) just so the act of looking at every shot doesn’t lose the power that watching the actual film has, because the details are all kept in the breakdown (minus sound) – but we’re not concentrating on sound here.

So without further banter…