Category Archives: artmaking

Filmmaker: A Diary by George Lucas


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Story: draw from the well of what you know

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The screenplay for the film Lost in Translation (2003) was only 75 pages.


Lost in Translation is one of my favorite films. Typically, feature length screenplays are 90 to 120 pages.

Many of my favorite directors use few words in their films: R. Bresson, A. Tarkovsky, E. Rohmer, T. Malick.

I love great dialogue, but sometimes I prefer films with little or no talking. Many of my favorite scenes are ones that are purely visual, relying on the moving image to tell the story. Relying on dialogue to tell the story is sometimes just laziness.

The screenplay I’m currently working on is 92 pages and will probably increase to around 95 pages. I was worried I didn’t write enough, but now I think it’s fine, even a bit long.

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Elliptical Editing in Vagabond

Back in 2008 I wrote a little post on Agnes Varda’s Sans toit ni loi (1985), or Vagabond. Recently David Bordwell and Kristin Thompson put together a video short on Elliptical Editing, and they used Varda’s film as the example. Bordwell and Thomspon have been important in my own thinking about film.

Elliptical editing is one relatively common characteristic of what we might call “art films” that distinguish them from more traditional or “classical” films. I find it’s often a matter of taste; some love this kind of storytelling and some are annoyed by it. I love it. But one can also find elliptical editing in any genre; it just depends on the needs of the filmmaker.

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Andrei Tarkovsky on Art and on Cinema

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Jean Renoir parle de son art

“…the arrival of perfect realism coincided with perfect decadence.”

“…whether man’s gift for beauty isn’t in spite of himself.”

“I don’t believe we create our lives. Our lives create us.”

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>SX-70 (1972)


One of the greatest inventions of the 20th century in a promotional film by two of the most important designers.
Directed by
Charles Eames
Ray Eames
Writing credits
Charles Eames
Ray Eames
Produced by
Charles Eames
Ray Eames
Original Music by
Elmer Bernstein

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