Cinematographer Brian Pearson Talks About His Experience on Shooting The Feature Film American Mary in 15 Days.
I am pleased to end this week with a guest article from Brian Pearson, a director of photography who shot the indie movie American Mary in 15 days (let me repeat that: 15 days) with the twins directors Sylvia and Jen Soska.
Brian, a mentorless.com reader, sent me American Mary‘s trailer a couple of weeks ago. I usually receive emails from Producers or PMDs, and seeing a cinematographer that involved in getting the word out about his last indie project definitely picked my curiosity.
So I watched the trailer and I was even more surprised to discover it looked good. Good like hello-atmosphere-and-mood good. I asked Brian if he would like to share his experience as a cinematographer, and he kindly wrote me back a detailed and very interesting post.
If you want to watch the trailer before reading Brian’s article, go all the way down.
PAIN IS INEVITABLE, SUFFERING IS OPTIONAL:
Thoughts on shooting American Mary
- On how Brian came on board
- On American Mary’s pre-production
- On Building the Team and Getting Equipment
- On Brian’s stylistic choice
- On Working with the Soska’s Sisters
It was fascinating working with twin directors Sylvia and Jen Soska on this film because they both had such a similar version of the project and of “Mary” in their minds. If one director took off to look at wardrobe or make-up, or to go into make-up for her role, the other one could immediately answer any questions for myself and the crew. Our collaboration was very smooth and worked hard to define an arch in the camera and lighting that would support the story of Mary’s journey.
- On What Brian Took Out From This Experience
What I took away from my experience on American Mary is the camaraderie that you get when you’re in the trenches with the crew and there’s no extra money or extra time to fall back on. Everyone knows this is the one and only moment that you get to pull of something special and everyone’s mind is working on hyper-drive just trying to fit all the work into the day. We were shooting an average of 5 to 7 pages a day with limited resources and no second chances and to do so in a creative and efficient way and to connect the audience with the character in a deep an emotional way was the real challenge of this project.
And I feel that because of the emotional story and strong direction from Jen and Sylvia and the amazing performance from Katherine Isabelle that people will hopefully connect with the film on many levels. We strove to make a film that defied definition. Mary’s not a horror film and it’s definitely not torture-porn. It’s a psychological exploration of a fractured woman who makes some desperate and unusual choices in life and who then has to live with the emotional consequences within herself. I hope that in the end the audience connects with her and feels empathy for her in spite of how horrific those choices may be.
And now, American Mary trailer: