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February 9, 2009

Learning Curve


Here I am pretending to be stoic.

I was driving across the state line yesterday and looking out at that thick quilt of clouds hanging over the ginger hills and remembering that it was under similar skies exactly one year ago that we began shooting St. Nick. That single span of months feels like almost five or ten.

I was looking at those clouds and thinking those thoughts on the tail end of a 1700 mile drive from Park City, Utah, down through the mountains and back to Austin. I'd made the same drive in reverse two weeks earlier, and in between these two jaunts I served as director of photography on Bryan Poyser's long-awaited sophomore feature, Lovers Of Hate. I'm currently decompressing from the whole experience. It was a little bit unbelievable; we lived in our location - a six story house right on the ski slopes - and at night we'd all sit around and drink whiskey and go sledding and unwind from some pretty intense shooting days. In spite of my position, I don't consider myself a cinematographer - whenever anyone asks me to shoot something for them, I warn them that I don't know what the hell I'm doing - but working in this capacity of late has been invaluable. Setting aside one's own sense of vision and working in the service of another director's is both humbling and emboldening; I walked away from the Martini this past Friday understanding much more about why I do what I do in the way that I do it, and also with a new appreciation for all the alternatives paths that I choose to ignore in my own work. I've learned, moreso than ever before, that my way is not always the right way, and as a result I feel like I've grown insurmountably as a filmmaker - and helped make a great film in the process.

Still helping, to be exact. The Austin leg of the shoot begins in a few days. Another two weeks; it'll feel like another production! Somewhere amidst all this, St. Nick is still awaiting completion. Files are flying back and forth across the web, covering all the distance I've been driving and then some. Colors are being timed, sounds are being mixed; I'm blissfully set apart from it all, waiting to look and see and be surprised - and then, knowing myself, to tear it all asunder and start from scratch.

Posted by David Lowery at February 9, 2009 12:22 AM


What a beautiful photo. You don't seem cold at all. Congratulations on your newfound knowledge. I guess an aptness to learn is sometimes enough to get by. Miss you Dvd! -C

Posted by: cammi at February 9, 2009 8:08 AM