Exposure: Wally Pfister on Transitioning from DP to Director

Kevin Martin interveiws Wally Pfister, a long time collaborator with Christopher Nolan on the Batman Reboot and Inception, about his recent turn in the director’s chair with Transcendance


As a strong right hand to filmmaker Christopher Nolan for more than a decade, director of photography Wally Pfister, ASC, garnered considerable notice and accolades, culminating with an Oscar for his work on Nolan’s Inception. Pfister’s style is story driven yet naturalistic, even when portraying images of the fantastic, such as the memorable night exterior of illuminated bulbs in The Prestige. This approach helped ground the Batman trilogy with visual credibility, in the process raising the bar for photo-real visual effects in order to integrate them seamlessly with his work.

A graduate of the AFI’s cinematography program, Pfister’s early work included a low-budget stint for Roger Corman, and after starting his association with Nolan on Memento, he lensed several other noteworthy efforts, including Laurel Canyon and Moneyball. Pfister has also kept busy shooting commercials for Nike, PlayStation and AT&T, and pulling double-duty as director and DP on spots like Midnight Run for Got Milk? and Creed for Harley-Davidson. The Johnny Depp-starring Transcendence marks Pfister’s debut as a feature-film director. Kevin Martin talked with him about that effort, along with being a longtime proponent of originating on film.

ICG: Had you been looking to direct for a while now, or was it this particular story that made you consider crossing over from cinematography?

Wally Pfister: I still love cinematography, but by the time I won the Oscar for Inception, it felt like I’d done all I wanted to achieve in that field. Having reached the top of the mountain, it was time to pursue my dreams of getting into storytelling. So I spent about three years looking at scripts till this fell into my lap. I wasn’t looking for a particular genre, but I did want a strong character study. As a cinematographer-turned-director, you want to dispel myths that you can’t direct actors or deal with the written word.

ICG Magazine | Read the Full Article

A Q&A With A Viral Video Network

Forbes contributor Lori Kozlowski interviews CEO of Junkin Media Jonathan Skogmo and Chief Development Officer Josh Entman about how and why videos actually go viral, and how brands can capitalize on this power:


Kozlowski: What trends are you seeing in the viral video landscape?
Skogmo: We’re seeing an enormous increase in the use of viral videos in different kinds of media. When I started in this business, TV clip shows [like America's Funniest Home Videos] were the only ones using online videos for commercial purposes. Today viral videos are shown in news broadcasts, daytime talk shows, on late night, in sports coverage, reality shows, and of course, digital publishers.

Further, brands and advertisers are embracing these videos like never before; they now realize that an unscripted caught-on-tape moment can often tell a brand’s story more effectively – and more cost-effectively – than produced spots.

Kozlowski: How are companies, such as yours, helping to make videos go viral?
Skogmo: It’s mainly three things unique to Jukin that speak to our abilities in this area:

1. Our audience. We have 6 million subscribers in our YouTube network, and they’re all accustomed to seeing viral-style videos from us. So we can leverage that audience and tell them to pay attention to the next video that we think has a great chance at going viral. We’re different than others with a similar number of subscribers because of the fact that our audience is used to getting viral-style video content. If you’re a huge gamer on YouTube or you have a cooking show with millions of subscribers, it’s not quite as effective when you send that audience to a new cat video, for instance. Those audiences came for gaming or cooking, not cats. Our audience wants to see the cat video and they’re used to getting those kinds of recommendations from us.

2. Our contacts. We’re in touch with media outlets, bloggers, social aggregators, and other influencers that regularly use viral videos. We discover amazing video content very early on (with low views), and we share those videos with the appropriate contacts. We treat the relationships the right way by only pitching outlet-appropriate content (i.e. we don’t bother the college blogger by asking him to post the cute cat video). Getting the videos in front of the right sets of eyeballs is half the battle. If some of those outlets post the video, it’s a win for everybody.

3. Traditional media. We license content to the largest news and entertainment networks in the world. If you see a video on your favorite TV morning show, you might go to that show’s website to find the video and then share it on Facebook. TV still has a massive audience and we move quickly to get our trending clips out to our partners in television. The effect of seeing a video on TV, then seeing in on the front page of a global news website, then seeing it posted by your best friend on Facebook is remarkable. When it all comes together, the right viral video starts showing up everywhere. Each different medium feeds the cycle and it begins to self-perpetuate.

Forbes | Read the Full Article

Realer Than Reality: The New Hidden-Camera Movies

Matt Singer traces the roots of the “Hidden Camera” genre from its “Candid Camera” days to most recent experiments like Under the Skin featuring Scarlett Johansson.

Hidden Camera

Through most of Under The Skin’s first half, Johansson’s unnamed character repeats this ritual over and over, collecting victims—almost all played by non-actors—and luring them back to her lair. To make these sequences possible, director Jonathan Glazer built a new camera system, hidden in the dashboard of Johansson’s van, and filmed Johansson’s unscripted interactions with the men. More than a simple marketing hook, this clever formal trick adds innumerable dimensions to the film’s story of a stranger in a strange land, and marks Under The Skin as the pinnacle of a recent wave of hidden-camera cinema.

Glazer is far from the first director to surreptitiously turn a camera on unsuspecting victims and share the results with the world. Allen Funt’sCandid Camera was a popular television mainstay for more than 50 years after its introduction in 1948. Funt even took the concept to theaters with two adult-themed Candid Camera movies in the 1970s:What Do You Say To A Naked Lady? and Money Talks. As the franchise continued, imitators appeared. NBC and ABC had Dick Clark’s TV’s Bloopers & Practical Jokes. One of the Fox network’s earliest hits wasTotally Hidden Video; when it debuted in 1989, it scored the highest ratings of any show on the channel to date. And Ashton Kutcher cemented his own celebrity by pranking other movie and TV stars on MTV’s Punk’d

The Dissolve | Read the Full Article

Evidence of Facebook Fraud

Veritasium digs into Facebook’s advertising model looking at how click farms generate page likes and popularity on the bohemeth social network.

Evidence Facebook’s revenue is based on fake likes.

My first vid on the problem with Facebook:

I know first-hand that Facebook’s advertising model is deeply flawed. When I paid to promote my page I gained 80,000 followers in developing countries who didn’t care about Veritasium (but I wasn’t aware of this at the time). They drove my reach and engagement numbers down, basically rendering the page useless. I am not the only one who has experienced this. Rory Cellan-Jones had the same luck with Virtual Bagel:…

The US Department of State spent $630,000 to acquire 2 million page likes and then realized only 2% were engaged.

I thought I would demonstrate that the same thing is still happening now by creating Virtual Cat ( I was surprised to discover something worse – false likes are coming from everywhere, including Canada, the US, the UK, and Australia. So even those carefully targeting their campaigns are likely being duped into spending real money on fake followers. Then when they try to reach their followers they have to pay again.

And it’s possible to be a victim of fake likes without even advertising. Pages that end up on Facebook’s “International Suggested Pages” are also easy targets for click-farms seeking to diversify their likes.

Thanks to Henry, Grey, and Nessy for feedback on earlier drafts of this video.

Facebook Fraud

Tips For Working With Feedback On Your Script

Scott Meyers answers a reader question about dealing with feedback on your script.


This is a really good question because as you suggest, Alejandro, if a writer follows the advice of someone whose feedback is wrong, that can only hurt the story. On the other hand, what if a writer receives solid suggestions that can improve the story, but the writer refuses to incorporate them, resulting in an inferior script. Different sides of the same coin. Let’s work our way through this.

First and foremost, everything depends upon the quality of the feedback. So if you choos to solicit reactions to a draft, you need to seek out professional quality advice. That does not necessarily mean the reader is a professional writer, however they have to be informed enough about the craft or at the very least Story so their observations come from a high level of understanding. On the other hand, while one could assume that most professional writers have a solid grasp on the craft, there are some who just aren’t all that good at assessing other peoples’ material. But whatever you do, you should focus on sourcing and vetting the people you use to read your material so that you have a high degree of trust and confidence that the feedback you receive represents solid insight and ideas.

Go Into The Story | Read the Full Article

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