Conversations at the American Film Institute with the Great Moviemakers: The Next Generation
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A rich companion volume to George Stevens, Jr.’s much admired book of American Film Institute seminars with the pioneering moviemakers of Hollywood's Golden Age, this time with a focus on filmmakers of the 1950s to present day.
The Next Generation brings together conversations with moviemakers at work from the 1950s—during the studios’ decline—to today’s Hollywood. Directors, producers, writers, actors, cinematographers, composers, film editors, and independent filmmakers appear within these pages, including Steven Spielberg, Nora Ephron, George Lucas, Sidney Poitier, Meryl Streep, David Lynch, Darren Aronofsky, and more. We see how the filmmakers of today and those of Hollywood's Golden Age face the same challenges of both art and craft—to tell compelling stories on the screen. And we see the ways in which actors and directors work together, how each director has his or her own approach, and how they share techniques and theories.
to its finale won’t be there. You’re not going to like me for this, but you’ve got to concentrate and you’ve got to think, and the audience has got to be able to see you think and they’ve got to feel your concentration. This story has to mean as much to the audience as it means to Bob Woodward. It’s thankless work, because Dustin is out interviewing people but you’re in the office playing with a telephone. You can’t even see the character you’re playing to. But that’s what it’s about. That’s what
has been purchased for a fixed sum after production has finished. Could you see yourself working like this? Yes. I would like to persuade myself that I’m going to try and confront these kinds of alternatives as a way of making films, though I’m not sure I have the guts to do it. I think what the studios are interested in is your individuality and anomalous character, and they will pay lip service—including to some small degree subsidizing the American Film Institute—in order to try and bring
the actor to do five cities of publicity. At the same time, half the independent movies made don’t get final cut either. Some good old boy who made his money in supermarkets and who put up $2 million doesn’t like this scene and does like that one and wants to tell you how to cut it. I wonder if you plan in the future to extend your storytelling to a larger scale? I think no matter what scale you work on, it’s possible to tackle larger issues. Things can be extrapolated. To a certain extent
extremely uncomfortable. He’s not at ease anywhere, so he hates. Travis admires the politician but also hates him because the politician is at ease, especially in the world of women. This is where Travis’ feelings about blacks emerge. He sees the blacks out there almost as animals. He sees them out there having fun, out there jiving with women. He sees them dancing and relaxed. He’s so uptight himself and so constipated and attenuated that for him the blacks begin to be some kind of a focus for
Spielberg grew up in Arizona fascinated by movies. His mother said, “He was my first, so I didn’t know that everybody didn’t have kids like him. I just hung on for dear life.” Steven had no struggle deciding on a profession. He knew after his fourth 8mm film that this was a career, not a hobby. He shot his first film, The Gunsmog, at age twelve to earn a Boy Scout merit badge. “I’ve always thanked the Boy Scouts,” Steven recalled, “because I made my first movie and stood back and looked at it and