Hundreds of aspiring filmmakers gathered in the Landmarks theatre in West LA in anticipation of the arrival of the hottest female director in Hollywood. They came to listen, learn and be inspired.
The director of Twilight, Catherine Hardwicke, arrived with her Director of Photography, Elliot David, Editor, Nancy Richardson and Special Effects Director, Richard Kidd. Catherine began working with this team on her first $1.5m feature, Thirteen, and journeyed with them until her $37m film, Twilightâ€“ the highest grossing film in history by a female director.
Catherine started as a production designer on big Hollywood productions, but before she shot her first film, she went out and made a few shorts in order to learn how to tell visual stories. Thirteen was made on a very low budget (by Hollywood standards), therefore it was a challenge for her to attract a talented team to work with her. She eventually managed to entice the talent that she wanted by impressing them with her vision and readiness. “You have to show people that you know what you’re talking about, otherwise nobody will work with you,” she said.
er team kept talking about fulfilling Catherine’s vision. At one point, though, she interjected, “Guys, don’t be scared by this word – â€˜Director’s vision’ – my vision is their vision too. I just tell my team to give me something I saw in other movies, or a photograph that I tookâ€¦ it’s that simple.”
Like every other director, Catherine insisted that her films are the films of her team. They taught her the intricacies of filmmaking and made her films look good.
Elliot talked about how he helped Catherine telling the story visually. He would take a scene and shoot it in a way that it reflects the character’s feeling. He showed a clip from Thirteen, where a group of boys jump in the sprinkling water and dance. He shot the boys in silhouette, with a fast shutter and moving camera in order to reflect the sense of the freedom that the characters were experiencing.
Catherine insists on using storyboards in large productions, for she finds them instrumental in communicating her vision to all departments. She admitted though that most Hollywood directors eschew such practice. Catherine’s final advice was to always be ready to talk to anyone you meet, but you must be prepared to show them your best. In spite of her success, she still does that, for she also wants to work with the best.