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How Christopher Nolan Writes and Directs a Movie | The Director’s Chair


[Music from Christopher Nolan Movies] One of the things I
love about directing is the multi-faceted
nature of the challenge. The idea of a narrative
that’s a maze or labyrinth. Rather than being
above that maze, and watching the characters
make mistakes and wrong turns, you would enter into the maze,
kind of looking over their shoulder, and make the wrong
turns with them and find a blind
alleys with them. There’s a feeling of reality. There’s a feeling of being
somewhere that matters. I approached the structure from very
mathematical and geometrical point of view. A lot of diagrams,
lot of careful planning. So that was certainly
the case with Memento. First way to draw it is, as I have like that. That’s basically the
end of the movie. This stuff is the
black and white stuff. This is color. And what we do is we cut between the
two, the whole way through. -You said we talked before.
I don`t remember that. – So we alternate scene
here, scene there, scene there,scene there,scene
there,scene there, and they meet towards
the end of the film. [Heavy Breathing] The thing that I started to
develop and I’ve carried on over since that there’s most certainly
is probably cross-cutting. I always trying intercut scenes. Based on a concept from music called a
shepherd progression or shepard tone. It’s a series of
ascending notes on a scale that by emphasizing in volume
different elements of the scale, it can continuously go up, like a
corkscrew effect or a barbershop hole. It’s always rising. As one storyline is peeking,
and other one is building, and the third one is
just starting out. -Full speed, Peter. Keep coming round. Keep coming. Before he fires, he`s gotta drop his nose.
I’ll give you the signal. -Now?
-No, no, wait. Wait for him to
commit to his line. -You create a continuing rise in
intensity, narratively. [Plane engine sounds] -Now. [Crowd cheering] -That’s really an approach that I’ve
carried on using through all my films. As a director, you have to be
able to not look at the shot as a two-dimensional picture, but look at where everything
is in three-dimensional space. -And go easy on the poor chap. He does try so very hard. -That’s why I don’t use a
monitor on set to this day. I just say by the camera because I want to see
where is the camera? Why is the camera? Where it is? And then place the camera according to my idea of
what the point of view is. I`d like to try and align
the audience quite closely with the point of
view of a character. -Come on. -The use of inserts,
something I’ve maintained it all my films. There is a form of
narrative connection that’s made through objects. -Don’t believe his lies. He is the one. Kill him. I finally found him. -We also did it for
technical reasons because one of the things you
can do with very little time is you can shoot a
really beautiful insert. You can soft light
it from the side. You can throw out the
lens, you can get something that looks really really
nice, very very quickly. My fascination with
storytelling in films is all about that subjectivity. It’s all about, whose point of
view my seeing the story from. Don’t use zoom lenses. If you don’t use zoom lenses, then you are having to
physically move the camera, closer or further away to
what you`re photographing. So there’s a scene in the film
where you make a telephone call, and I remember when you came
in to sit down to do the scene, and you’re pretty surprised
where the camera was, because it was pretty
close to your nose on a 75, but what I found is when we put the
camera right there in your space, the performance is then
exactly appropriate to somebody being that close
and being so in your head. -It really helps. Trish, listen, I`m… -And I think, that was the right approach
for me and set me on the path of always thinking about considering
the point of view of the storytelling. -This is what happens when an unstoppable force
meets an immovable object. You truly are incorruptible,
aren’t you, huh? You won’t kill me out of some
misplaced sense of self-righteousness, and I won’t kill you because you’re
just too much fun. I think you and I are
destined to do this forever. -One of the great joys as a
director is constructing a world. On my films I try to shoot as
much in-camera as possible. So trying to do these
things for real. There’s nothing more dispiriting
when you tell off to work in this just a green screen,
the collectors in front of it. It’s really – the
magics not there. For example on Interstellar, we didn’t use any green screens. We built a set and we enhanced
it with visual effects. -You’ve seen the time is represented
here as a physical dimension. You have worked out that you can
exert a force across space-time. -Gravity to send a message. -Affirmative. -So try to use real locations, I’ve always preferred
real locations. [Music] If you can believe in it, if you can relate it to the
textures of everyday life, you’re taking the audience
on a more extreme journey. -With no word from the Batman even as they mourn
Commissioner Loeb, these cops have to be wondering, if the Joker will make good
on his threat and in the albitrary column of the Gotham
Times to kill the mayor. -Really everything you
do, you learn from. In terms of anytime you
shooting something short film. You’re always learning
about your craft. It gives you confidence
as a filmmaker. I think really the only
useful advice I ever got in terms of trying to
figure out your way in to the film business
and film industry is to get yourself a script and hang on to it. You have to play
to your strengths, you have to do something
that really excites you and what was
different about that. It’s that idea that screenplay, that concept that’s
so important. And that was going
to distinguish it, if you can do it successfully. [Music]

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