May 4, 2013

Ridley Scott Reflects on Beginnings, Breaking Into the Industry, and Using Too Much Smoke

ridley scott director film cinema movies filmmaking interviewWe are fortunate enough to live in a day and age in which the words of prolific and eclectic filmmaking talents come readily and often. We've already heard from working cinematographers such as Roger Deakins and Blue Valentine DP Andrij Parekh, as well as friends of No Film School Ryan E. Walters and Timur Civan. We've also heard from directors such as Steven Soderberg and Ridley Scott -- and all of this is just to name a few. Now, we have a few more valuable words from Sir Ridley -- this time discussing everything from his breakthrough into the industry, his experience in learning how to work with actors, and honing a highly sensitive visual eye. Click through to hear these words and more from "the director who uses too much smoke!"

These audio-only (sorry guys, just a black and white slide) come to us from Film School Commentaries by way of Cinephilia and Beyond, recorded (apparently) back when he was set to direct I Am Legend, circa 1997. There's a good amount of reflection here on Thelma & Louise -- and unfortunately some additional reference to scenes which we can't, well, see for ourselves -- but the context here is certainly malleable and could apply to many facets of filmmaking. Again, these are best treated podcast-style -- so sit back, relax, and enjoy hearing once again from Sir Ridley.

First, here's a brief clip, followed by the full interviews:

I don't know about you guys, but I wish there was even more material here, with or 'without picture.' The sheer number of films that Scott has shot, and more importantly the variety thereof -- in tone, style, subject matter, etc. -- means he has plenty to say about filmmaking. Of course, if we come across anything more of this sort, we'll share with you guys!

What do you think? Anyone familiar with Ridley's work and working style -- what new info did you learn from this material? What insight from the director have you guys found yourself internalizing on shoots in the past?

Links:

[via Cinephilia and Beyond]

Your Comment

23 Comments

What can I say, he's one of the greatest. I'm a Director and Cinematographer so I completely understand his style and stance on visual thinking as well as prep and storyboarding.

May 5, 2013 at 12:39AM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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"I am legend" was not from 1997...

May 5, 2013 at 2:40AM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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Mariano

May 5, 2013 at 3:03AM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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Joe Marine
Camera Department

The hyperlink is leading the the Will Smith movie, that was why I was wondering.

May 5, 2013 at 4:00AM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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Mariano

I'm in the middle of reading "Future Noir: the Making of Blade Runner" right now, so this is perfect timing! Thanks for this!

May 5, 2013 at 2:33PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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Tim McC

Goodness, that book is like my bible! (Well, one of them at least.) I can't tell you how glad I am Mr. Sammon took the time he did to compile such an in-depth account of making that film. Happy reading! :)

May 5, 2013 at 11:11PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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Dave Kendricken
Writer
Freelancer

I rewatched Blade Runner yesterday. I don't think it's that great of a movie acting/characters/story wise, but the style is great.

May 5, 2013 at 3:31PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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maghoxfr

It's made for 70mm /4K at a good theater.

May 5, 2013 at 9:09PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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brett

I'm not sure I understand your comment.

May 6, 2013 at 11:24PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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maghoxfr

It's always great to hear from the masters, but this is just condensed director's commentary tracks from a few of his films, nothing really new here.

On the other hand, it's great to have the most informative parts edited together and I value the fact that someone did it. I only wish Steven Spielberg would do director's commentaries, I feel he'd be one of the types of directors that would be really generous in sharing his knowledge, unlike others who just take the opportunity to talk about themselves and ramble about ramdom stuff (not Ridley, but guys like Michael Bay).

May 5, 2013 at 4:54PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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Darren

And then he makes Prometheus. Ugh.

May 5, 2013 at 6:31PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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vinceGortho

It looked great and was masterfully directed, shut up. I only blame the screenwriter.

May 6, 2013 at 1:22AM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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Natt

Yup! Ridley is one of the best and my inspiration for getting into filmmaking.

May 6, 2013 at 11:57AM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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Mark

The screenwriter serves the director. Scott could haves asked for re-writes, or could even have waited until the script was at the right standard. Ultimately, he marshals the contributors to deliver the final film, and the buck stops with him

January 23, 2016 at 3:22PM

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Dan Horne
234

Prometheus was amazing! I think too many people were expecting an Aliens style movie, thanks to the marketing.

May 11, 2013 at 9:35AM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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cb

This is good stuff, I love hearing directors talking about working with actors, there are a lot of good stuff in there. Thanks for the link

May 5, 2013 at 10:30PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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Marcus

This was really interesting, thanks for posting! Hearing him talk about how much more difficult it was for people his generation to get into filmmaking really put it in perspective for me. It's amazing how he never received "formal" training on filmmaking, and instead he picked up these skills through working on commercials and "rock videos."

I wonder how long it will take before I find my path to get into the business. Sigh...

May 6, 2013 at 7:16PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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Kin

Great commentary from a master film maker, I remember being totally blown away the first time I saw "The Duelists". I found it curious that Scott had to almost defend his position of it being labeled as too visual.
I loved his foray into comedy with "A Good Year" and "Black Hawk Down" is riveting action drama at its best.
More like this please!

May 10, 2013 at 1:30AM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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Are you kidding me, I would love an apprenticeship. I think it is the number one thing that I would like is a mentor.

May 13, 2013 at 8:37PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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Jordan

I was on a couple of commercials with him in his early days and my Father was instrumental in the final film set look of Alien being one of the few able to translate Gieger's visuals in to the realities of large scale studio sets and achieve the look Ridley was after. They got on very well together. What is not often appreciated is the enormous amount of effort and experience going into a visual style before any of the shooting and lighting crew appear - including the DOP.

August 15, 2014 at 5:07PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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I love Ridley as much as the next person but there is a lot of directorial laziness/mistakes in Prometheus. It's unfair to blame only the writers.

August 15, 2014 at 9:39PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Stu Mannion

Blade runner isn't about the characters, the plot, or the story, it's about the world these elements inhabit. It's about light, atmosphere and mood. The story is just an excuse to show it all off.

August 16, 2014 at 12:50AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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What is empathy? What does it mean to be human? Is it wrong to grant self awareness to a machine only to destroy it? Is it cruel to grant emotion, memories and love to things we create? What does it mean to play God? And how should we react when our creations gain autonomy and are no longer within our control? Can one fall in love with a machine?

To say that Blade Runner is "about light, atmosphere and mood" is such a reductionist reading, it in no way to explains its longevity since those qualities that you identify are purely technical and can be replicated by many technicians.

An interested pairing with Blade Runner would be Ex Machina, since it takes similar themes in a different direction

January 23, 2016 at 3:35PM

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Dan Horne
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