When it comes to directors, you gotta pay attention to the greats. They're always passing along free knowledge, and there's a bunch you can learn from just watching their movies and hearing them explain the thought and intention that goes into each shot.
One of my favorite people to listen to is Martin Scorsese, who has been doing this at the highest level possible for almost 50 years. Scene by Scene with Martin Scorsese was released in 1998 and shows the director picking apart his own scenes and explaining his directorial choices.
Check it out, and let's talk after the break.
Watch Martin Scorsese Dissect Martin Scorsese
Man, is there anything better than watching Scorsese detail his work and choices for almost an hour? I loved every second of this, from breaking down a staircase scene to the interviews with his parents. We even see him take moments from classics.
I loved hearing that Brian De Palma gave him the Taxi Driver script and that he found the opening of the movie by shooting the whole thing and then spontaneously shooting the cab traveling through the smoke and adding it later.
He also takes us through some choices in Raging Bull that are inspired by older Italian neorealism films. That inspiration actually drove him to spend time after the movie helping with film conservation. In fact, one of the only copies we have of The Passion of Joan of Arc was found by Scorsese and his team. That love has enabled him to help to pay to restore things and get them put on laserdisc and DVD to make sure we can access them forever.
Another thing that stuck out to me was how Scorsese's style changed decade to decade. That style change is motivated, and he knew what he was doing, based on where his life was going and where the inspiration was coming from at that given moment.
What were some of your favorite parts?
Let me know in the comments.