‘Don’t Believe a Word I Say!’ Chris Doyle’s Inspiring Advice from His Masterclass
Cinematographer Chris Doyle can’t be blamed for not being generous on sharing advice and explaining his working process. In this 2h30 masterclass, Doyle goes through clips from his work and explains how he shot them, why he chose the lighting, the angle, the difficulties and challenges inherent to this particular clip, why he shot so many times in his own apartment etc.
Between each clips, Doyle also explains his own journey and how he sees his art and craft. Nobody asked him any question, he just went on talking and doing his thing, which is actually quite a fabulous way of doing, instead of having to deal with not-so-inspired moderators who want to look good or smart.
Here is the selection of the ten first advice I enjoyed and thought you might too:
- Mostly in films you will see it comes from being together. Together you go somewhere further than you would go alone. It’s not just a job. It’s a collaboration, it’s a sharing, it’s a growing together. So, it is like sex. I didn’t went to film school, so I have a terrible sex life.
- (My career) happened by accident. Everyday it’s still an accident. Everyday the mistakes teach me more. Every night I can’t sleep because I missed something, and that’s why every morning I try again.
- It’s not the story that makes the film, it’s the people that makes the film.
- The script is a starting point, but the whole process is space, is light, is the working day, the people you’re with, is your energy.
- I think all Art has to have something familiar, that you know, but it speaks in a way that you didn’t know until you read it, or saw it, or experienced it
- The important thing about a great film is that it’s familiar. It is so familiar that it’s universal
- I’ve made ten films within about 10 minutes walk from where I live in Hong Kong. I’ve even made about 10 music videos in my own apartment, and one film.
- Don’t fix it if it’s not broken.
- I think what I’ve learned the most working with Wong Kar Wai is that musical themes are basic to our Art. What I call musical theme is repetition, it’s structure, it’s a development of a theme in another form, and finally it’s jazz.
- Many people ask me ‘Which is your best film?’ and I always say ‘The next fim, because I still haven’t found what I’ve been looking for.’
If you liked what you have read so far, watch the full masterclass below to benefit from Doyle’s wisdom in its entirety:
Thanks to Ted Hope
check the archives for a taste of it.