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Thoughts on an interview short

January 27, 2014 by awoodard@uoregon.edu   

I’m posting this video because I think the producer (notice that Liam Saint-Pierre did most everything) did a beautiful job with an interview-based short, and since many of us have been working on these sorts of projects, I think it’s useful to examine what makes this one work. In particular, I appreciate the footage Saint-Pierre got from his interviews. There are some lovely moments where although Umit is explaining the “process” aspect of his work, it doesn’t bore us because he seems to glow from excitement (I’m sure there was plenty of film that was too dry to include in the final cut, but we all know by now how difficult it can be to get experts to communicate their passion in a way that appeals to a lay audience). I found myself wondering about Saint-Pierre’s interview questions, and although we of course don’t hear them, they were obviously specific and related to personal experience. The footage about King Kong is compelling because it informs us on multiple levels: we get a sense of Umit’s history and motivations, we witness his level of obsession, and we learn a few technical things about the hobby. Then we get some great moments with him actually watching the film (I wonder if Saint-Pierre asked him to put it on after it came up in the interview? Whichever way it went, what a great decision to actually sit down with the film). Finally, there are some interesting “big S” story themes. Who will cultivate this culture when his generation dies? What do we lose from a “disposable society”? Umit speaks to both, and Saint-Pierre weaves them well into the short’s progression.

 

THE WAY OF THE DODO from Liam Saint-Pierre on Vimeo.


1 Comment »

  1. jarrattt@uoregon.edu says:

    The King Kong moment is a good example of an active interview. It’s possible that Umit mentioned that he doesn’t like how DVD’s clean everything up, so the filmmaker asked if he could show him what he means by showing him an example. Umit then put on King Kong to show him an example of the messiness of old films. Or maybe he just asked the guy to show him show of his favorite films and then the question was asked later on. Either way asking your character to do something exemplary of their trade proves to be a good technique to get them to be more animated.

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