Thursday, December 25, 2008

Gary Winick on "Tadpole"


Why did you decide to shoot Tadpole as a digital feature?

GARY WINICK: There's the economics of it, which is obviously a big deal. There's the time factor, which is actually a bigger deal, and there's the fact that now actors and distributors will take low-end digital filmmaking seriously. It's not discriminated against at all, in terms of getting actors or in terms of distributors wanting your film."

How did the cast react to being in a digital feature?

GARY WINICK: Not only were they open to digital, they were actually curious and looking forward to it, because digital is a performance-oriented medium. Sigourney Weaver said, 'I hear it's like a hybrid between theater and film and I want to try it.'

How did you come up with the idea to use Voltaire quotes between key sequences?

GARY WINICK: I had a really, really, really unfortunate experience with my cinematographer on this movie. The camera wasn't on sometimes, so I'd get back to the edit room and the script supervisor had these shots that said that I shot, but yet they were never recorded. I had focus problems, camera operating problems.

When I got in the editing room and found out that my DP/Operator did such a poor job, I was left with some really hard, clunky ways to get from scene to scene. And that's when I came up with the Voltaire quotes. So it came out of necessity.

I went to Barnes & Noble, because I'm not an Internet guy, and went through some Voltaire quotes, and I was like, 'Oh my god, this is going to work great.'

How did you come up with the story and the script?

GARY WINICK: We came up with the characters first, and then thought of what sort of situation that we could put them in that would support a low-budget, 12-day shoot.

When you're making a low budget film, you really only have one focus, and that focus is story. Because costumes and lighting and design and all that stuff, you can never either afford it or have the time to do it right. So you really have to focus on the one thing that you know that the audience is (hopefully) going to respond to, which is the story and being engaged with those characters on screen.

I have 84 million dollars now for
Charlotte's Web, and I have huge effects, and computer people, and Stan Winston and all this stuff … but it all comes back to story.

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