What do you think of when someone mentions Wes Anderson? The Grand Budapest Hotel? Moonrise Kingdom? Regardless of which movie comes to mind first, Wes’ brand of awkward and often sad comedy filmmaking is undeniably enjoyable.
While he is a household name at this point, Anderson has managed to continue to make films that have that independent-feeling throughout his entire career. We often look to directors like him for inspiration, so we thought we’d share a few of our favorite words of wisdom from Wes!
On Long Takes
Anderson is known for long takes in his movies–emulating a theatrical effect for the viewer. But it’s more than just a visual choice, Wes explains to Terry Gross, host of NPR’s Fresh Air:
“I have always been drawn to long takes in films. In movies, you know, I like the experience of seeing the actors play the scene through, and maybe that’s like the theater a bit – not having cuts. There’s something, it gives a tension, and for me, a kind of excitement.”
On Getting Inspired
In filmmaking, sometimes getting inspired can be the hardest part. In this 2014 interview with NPR’s Terry Gross Wes talks about how he tries to pull inspiration from his everyday life.
“So usually the movies that I’m making somehow are related to just the thing I’m particularly interested in in whatever that moment is”
On Bringing the Scene to Life
Anyone can set a scene, but it takes something special to bring it to life. In his interview with Collider in 2012, Anderson talks about his mindset going into a scene:
“Usually when I’m making a movie, what I have in mind first, for the visuals, is how we can stage the scenes to bring them more to life in the most interesting way, and then how we can make a world for the story that the audience hasn’t quite been in before.”
On How Actors are the Shit
In that same interview, Anderson explains how actors can change the outcome of any very carefully planned project–for better or worse:
“Well, you know, it’s interesting, because I feel like we plan the shots and the sort of the editing in a way and the construction of the sets and the design of the sets, even if it’s on locations, this is all very carefully planned, and we kind of do this step by step. And we gather all the ingredients, and we have it very prepared, so that when the day comes to shoot, everything is sort of quite set in that way.
But the actors, I feel like what happens is they – we all get together. They come on the set, and then it’s just sort of chaos. And they take over, and it goes one way or another. And we tend to do a lot of takes, but very, very quickly, one right after another, and anything might happen on the next take.
That’s sort of my feeling of what it’s like on the sets of the movies I do. There’s a choreography, but I always feel like it’s coming from them. You know, maybe that’s an illusion.”
On Filmmaking on Location
Location matters to Anderson, and that typically means shooting on location. He dropped this little gem of wisdom while talking about how he decided on a location for his film ‘The Grand Budapest Hotel’:
“I don’t want to work in a movie studio. I’ve done it before, and I don’t like it. I like to be on location. I like to have input from the real world that is helping to shape what we’re doing, but we adapt it.”
On His Attention to Detail
Anderson inadvertently threw us some great filmmaking advice when Vanity Fair called Wes out on his notorious attention to detail. He politely pushed back to being called a “master of detail on set,” saying:
“I wouldn’t say that I’m particularly bothered or obsessed with detail. When I’m on a movie, part of that process is creating a setting for the story and a world that they live in. That’s the kind of movie that I like to make, where there is an invented reality and the audience is going to go someplace where hopefully they’ve never been before. The details, that’s what the world is made of. Those are the paints.”
On the Crap Shoot
Sometimes you need to take a risk. In an interview with Deadline’s Mike Flemming Jr. Anderson explains why taking a risk can be worth it in the long run:
“I hope people will be moved by, gripped by, or entertained by these films, but it’s a crap shoot. I don’t even know if I’ve succeeded until, literally, when the movie goes beyond New York and L.A., and screens are added and the film really starts to reach people. It’s what I aspire to in every movie, to have it mean something to people. But I will say that some of these movies have definitely not moved lots of people.”
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