Thursday, January 22, 2009

Lucas on Star Wars...

If you listen to Star Wars IV: A new hope on DVD, during the Geoerge Lucas commentary. Specically the last chapter (50), this is my transcription:

The first three films I couldn't even have considered at this point and time ... I mean there's no way. This film was very carefully constructed around the technology I had available at the time. It's very, very controlled where we go. It's very limited in what we see. And decisions were made in the storytelling, to say well, I'll only go here and I'll only see this. It'd be great to do all this other stuff, but I can't.

No I can't do that ... like ... in this particular film, well, going to see the Emperor on Coruscant was not a possibility. Psshhtt! No way I could go there. Y'know I kind of knew what the planet was and everything but I didn't... I didn't ... there is no planet. So Y'know I had to create it. I couldn't .. Y'know. Just physically, you can't do that. It's too big. It would take a huge, huge miniature that would be that would be vastly expensive. Y'know on all these films I had limited resources; so I was sort of saying, well, can't do that.

I was very careful not to deal with alot of the other issues that would come up, especially fashion issues and cultural issues. Y'know just enviromental issues that...I was able to do it all in a desert... that kind of looks spacey... and then I'll do a little bit in the jungle. But, Y'know I had ... I controlled my enviroments very carefully, and then...went to the next film. And now we'll do snow...and, y'know, pretty much used up every ... in the couse of these three movies ... every bit of natural terrain that looks exotic, that I could find.

But to go places, to other planets, that were truly exotic, was unthinkable.
And so you couldn't tell a story like that. Like the first three stories .. I mean the first three parts of the trilogy could never have been told using this technology. I mean, it just couldn't be done. So you just don't think about it.

I mean, you could write it as a book or something, but you .. it'd never be a movie. And now ... using digital technology, we're able, esecially in terms of fantasy films, go to places, and make them realistic. That wasn't possible before. That... it's something that was a literary idea. And most science fiction is literary in nature, it's perfect for a book, but it's not ... very good for cinema. It's very easy to create those magical worlds in language. It's very hard to create them ... in a realistic way on the screen... and make them believable. And, the one thing that digital effects have allowed us to do, is to create these alternate realities, in a believable fashion. And tell more fantastic stories, than we were able to do before. Which is, y'know, great for the people trying to put these things into a cinematic medium.

The bold section in the italics is the most important area for Low-budget Indies.
1) Find your limitations, whether financial or technical, and write/shoot within them.
2) Control where the characters go and what is seen, don't build more than you need.
3) It's great to want to do lots of other stuff, but being limited by finances or technology, don't write it in.

It worked in Star wars, he had to keep it tight and personal, because it allowed him to trim expenses. But I think it was why it worked best. You might need a wide-shot or three, but if over-used, it pulls you out of the story.

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