The In Focus Series from BAFTA Guru Is Gold and It’s a Must-Watch
BAFTA Guru hasn’t ceased to please and surprise us. Its latest series titled “In Focus” is composed of short videos (under 8 minutes) focusing on one specific aspect of filmmaking: acting, hair and make-up, screenwriting, VFX or editing.
Each video is sharply edited, cross cutting interviews between renown professionals sharing their knowledge in such a genuine way that you can’t help but wonder how long original interview was.
I have been regularly sharing videos from BAFTA Guru (see full list at the end of the article) as they’ve been doing a phenomenal job in recent years at promoting British talents while generously sharing knowledge from professionals in all branches of the industry.
Let’s hope more institutions will be inspired by their work and will follow, especially when it comes to giving space to departments that are considered “minor” in the public eye but are really, as we know, key for a any good film to exist.
I’ve watched all the videos available so far in the ‘In Focus‘ series and, as subtly implied in this article’s title, I can’t recommend you enough to do the same, whether you love films or you want to be part of making films.
Below is a non-exhaustive selection of some of my favorite beats:
In Focus about Acting
With Benedict Cumberbatch, James McAvoy, Jim Broadbent, Colin Farrell & Hugh Dancey
- “Saying “no” is the only real control you have over your career.” Jim Broadbent
- “I try to think how important is this character full stop. Not how big, but just how important. How interesting is this going to be watch and bring to life.” Benedict Cumberbatch
- “It’s a difficult thing for directors I think. Oftentimes the directors got vastly less experience of making films than all the technicians and the actors around them. A director might make 10 films in 15/20 years, whereas all the people that are working with him might make 50 in that time time, you know.” James McAvoy
In Focus about Screenwriting
With David Magee (Life of Pi, Finding Neverland), Ol Parker (The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel), Joanna Scanlan (Getting On) & John Morton (Twenty Twelve)
- When you’re adapting a novel you have to take into account, especially for a well-known work, what the audience remembers most from that book. You don’t have to remain true to the actual structure of the book, or to specific lines, you have to remain true to what people remember about the books.” David Magee
In Focus about Hair & Make-Up
With Neil Gorton (Being Human, Doctor Who), Richard Taylor (the Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit), Christine Walmesley-Cotham (Wallander, Call the Midwife), Lois Burwell (Saving Private Ryan, Lincoln), Martin Samuel (Pirates of Carribean) & Rick Findlater (Avatar, The hobbit)
- “If you do a period film then you need to do research, so you have to know the look of the period. And I actually find it useful to go ten years either side of the years you are actually filming because, as in life now, not everyone follows that fashion or that look for that moment. So you want a little bit of leeway, ten years in either direction of that period so the older people in the cast or in the background can look time appropriate. You create a world that’s believable.” Lois Burwell
- “I remember one make-up artist said the most valuable thing ever to me, he said “Don’t do it like you think it looks, do it like it actually is.”So if you keep that in mind you simply can’t go wrong.” Rick Findlater
- “What we look for in people is 1)passion, 2)tenacity, 3) enthusiasm and then talent.” Richard Taylor
In Focus about Editing
- “You have to have good personal skills in terms of working under great pressure.” Joe Walker
- “As an editor you have to be someone that is fun to be around, or at least good to talk to and is a creative collaborator, but also someone who is kind of a bartender or a psychiatrist.” Gareth Scales
- “More is expected from an editor. We have had to become sound designers and sometimes music editors as well.” Fred Raskin
In Focus about VFX
With Joe Letteri (Jurassic Park, The Lord of the Rings), Guillaume Rocheron (Life of Pi, Man of Steel), Pete Bebb (The Dark Knight, Inception), Eric Saindon (Avatar, The Hobbit), Guy Williams (The Avengers, Iron Man 3), Paul Franklin (Harry Potter, The Dark Knight Rises), David Clayton (King Kong, Avatar)
- “To do visual effects you have to be able to imagine things that don’t exist.” Joe Letter
- “While we are filming, there might be a team of 10 or 15 people involved in the VFX department. But once post starts, the team expands dramatically, anything up to 200/300 people to create the carefully crafted digital animation, computer graphics, combining live action special effects elements with the original film’s images to make the shots that will go into the film.” Paul Franklin
More from BAFTA:
- Enter Pedro Almodovar’s Mind: How Almodovar Integrates Other Films Into His Stories
- Why Alfonso Cuaron Doesn’t Think Going to Film School Is Necessary Today and What He Got the Most Out of It
- Susannah Grant (Erin Brokovich, The Soloist) Talks About The Art of Writing Screenplays
- The 3 Elements Screenwriter Abi Morgan (Shame, The Iron Lady, The Hour) Needs to Write a Script
- William Nicholson’s Advice on Being a Screenwriter
- A Conversation with Mat Newman, Nicolas Winding Refn’s Editor