Thursday, February 18, 2016

Graham Nolte on "Parallax"

What was your filmmaking background before making Parallax?

GRAHAM: Before making Parallax, I had made around 25 short films across a 10-year period. I went to film school, made movies while there, but also outside of school at the same time. We shot a comedy documentary across 28 different cities in the US and Mexico. I have been making movies longer than I have not been.

What challenges did you face to shoot a "period" movie (1987) and what were your solutions to the biggest problems?

GRAHAM: The challenges shooting a period piece were pretty enormous, and we had a pretty limited production compared to multimillion-dollar studios pieces. Every single thing that was in frame had to be made before 1987, but that doesn't mean you can't have everything exactly at 1987. Look around, is every single object sitting in your vicinity built in 2016? It was a difficult, difficult feat.

I remember thinking, "1987's not that long ago"…but when you're making a piece about technology, that's about when you realize you shot yourself in the foot. The Production Designer, Producer, and PA's did an exceptional job, the film is a testament to their work.

What kind of camera did you use to shoot the movie -- and what did you love about it and hate about it?

GRAHAM: We shot on the Red One MX. I love this camera. It's incredible. I'm not going to get into the technical reasons as to why something currently more current has improved slightly, this camera is a tank, and the range it has at 4k is more than enough to make a pretty picture. If anything, what's more important is the glass anyway (lenses).  

How much did the story change in the editing process and why did you make the changes you did?

GRAHAM: The story didn't change through editing, but minimal snipping was done. Some of the scenes were cut with reaction shots differently than scripted, and a few inserted images helped glaze the scenes, but it was a very similar story.

What was the smartest thing you did during production? The dumbest?

GRAHAM: The "smartest" thing we did during production was consult with people who knew way more than we did about the very specific tasks we were trying to take on.

I'd say the "dumbest" thing we did, was everything we did. How do you know what you don't know when you don't know it? We made a bunch of assumptions based on no experience, and then made mistakes only to later realize how it could have been better. I don't really think anything we did was dumb, but if you have hindsight to see how it didn't work out the way you wanted, and why, you'd be pretty dumb to repeat that same mistake in the future with the knowledge you now have.

And, finally, what did you learn from making this feature that you will take to other projects?

GRAHAM: I learned the will of (wo)man. A team of hundreds of people ran together for a specific task. It was beautiful. I'd do it all over again in a heartbeat if the opportunity was that easy to come by. What a time to feel alive and chase your dreams. I think we all learned a lot about life, and the future of our lives, by making this film.

I feel stronger because of it, smarter because of it, and probably 5-10 years older because of it.

Parallax (2015) from Parallax (2015) on Vimeo.

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