David Fincher took to the stage at BAFTA’s Piccadilly HQ to discuss his 30-year career in film, commercials and music videos.
I was fairly convinced at the age of eight that’s that what I wanted to do with my life. And when I was living in Marin [County] my next door neighbor was George Lucas and I was that close to movies that were being made. Then my parents decided to tear us out of there and take us to this place [in Oregon] where there was no cinema except for this little cinema. I worked after school directing plays and doing lighting for plays and at night, from six to midnight, one in the morning, I was a projectionist. At the weekends I would shot E&G footage for a local television station. If a barn was burning down I was the guy out there trying to get a shot of it. So I worked in a movie theatre because I wanted to see movies and I wanted to really watch them over and over again, and I worked at the TV station to learn how to use a camera. I remember I saw “Being There” 160 times, I saw “All That Jazz” 200 times, I saw “1941″ 200 times, whatever was there that was interesting I would just watch it. [Watching those movies] I was, “Why are they doing it this way?” Because from the time I was eight I made Super 8 movies and the dominos were starting to fall for me about coverage and over the shoulders shots and how you knit a scene together.
[In the early days] being on sets and watching how shit went down, I watched a lot of directors get rope-a-doped. I could see that they wanted to be able to execute something and the “experts” who were hired to help and support them would go, “We don’t really have the time for that.” So I watched talented people I liked and I admired get spun and worked, and I vowed never to let that happen. I was like, “I want to know what every muthafucker in the room does. I never wanted to be the guy who was victimized by other people’s laziness. So I haunted the hallways at ILM and would hang out in the optical department and I would go into editorial and I would go into the animation department.
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