Zack Snyder Answers Filmmaking Questions From Twitter | Tech Support (2024)

I'm Zach Snyder.

Let's answer some questions from the internet.

This is Filmmaking Support.

[gentle upbeat music]

@ImBaby wants to know

why did Rebel Moon's action sequence

have so much slow motion?

The obvious answer is slow motion is awesome.

These movies are physical.

There's a physicality to what our heroes go through.

The use of slow motion to me

is a way of just embellishing heroic moments

that our heroes go through.

Because I think I'm a fan of beautiful classic artwork

or paintings,

I like to kind of make the moments

into those iconographic frames that you can hang on and see.

Otherwise, you just go right by

and you'd never have a chance to appreciate

the like composition,

the sort of tension that's created by the characters

and how they're pushing the frame

in all the different directions.

Slow motion tableau where you're moving with a character.

I'm not a fan of like action that is hidden by the camera.

The camera becomes a third character in the fight

when it's like looking for the action.

In the end, even in a sequence with a lot of editing,

I tend to like to see the action unfold.

Conankun66 wants to know,

Director's cut? What does that mean?

What happens is in the focus groups

and in the studio screenings,

people get ideas about the movie.

And they're like,

You know, it's too long. You've got too many shots of this.

You need to cut that out.

And what happens is inevitably for me,

the movie will get changed based on studio opinion

and things like that,

and I'll be like,

Okay, that's great.

This is the movie we're releasing in theaters.

There used to be a thing called DVDs

and I would go over to that department

and I would say,

Hey, would you guys be interested

in an extended or director's cut of this film?

You can sell it alongside the normal version

and people will maybe buy additional DVDs

based on the fact that this is never before seen.

And inevitably DVD would be like,

That's awesome.

We can give you some money to make it as cool as you want.

The Snyder cut of Justice League

is the most on steroids version of that process.

The studio finally did ask me

after pressure from the fandom

to finish my version of Justice League.

One of the things that we restored

was the original aspect ratio, which was 143.

If you've seen the other version of Justice League

that I have never seen,

I think it's in 185,

but for me the movie was always supposed to be 143,

and I think there was gonna be a compromise

if there was a theatrical wide release

of my version of Justice League.

I did consider 166 as possible other ratio.

@GoBerserkNow wants to know,

Why did you choose 4:3 format

for your 'Justice League' cut?

Justice League was originally framed to be 4:3

because it was meant for an IMAX release.

Now if you've ever been to an IMAX theater,

those screens are square.

Justice League originally was composed and shot

for a square presentation

because it was meant to be shown in IMAX.

And so that's why when someone says, Why is it 4:3?

It is 4:3 because it was meant to be in an IMAX theater.

@JoelGetty would like to know

how much of a fight scene is really up to the writer

and how much is up to the director and fight choreographer?

My experience is that I like to talk with them

about what I wanna see, what I want the actress to do,

what I want the character to achieve.

I always like to break the fights

into like little mini three-act movies.

In the first act of the fight,

the main character has a lot of confidence

and they're like fighting with a lot of power.

In the second act, they might make a mistake or get rocked

and they lose confidence and they're now on their back foot.

And then the third act,

they turn it around and they actually are victorious.

The way I use storyboards and action sequences,

here's the things I need to see,

wanna really see Kora throw the hatchet

and hit the guy in the forehead with it.

And when she's on the guy's body, she blows his brains out

but she's holding the back of his head, boom,

and he falls and then she's gonna roll and like get the gun.

Those are the two beats I wanna see.

And then they'll start linking stuff together

and be like, Okay, we think if she throws the hatchet,

she's gotta fight her way back

and then get the hatchet out of his head

and then use it later.

That's how the collaboration works

and then suddenly we have a whole fight.

So ToksTalks wants to know,

What do you find is the best way to pitch an idea?

I like to kind of set it up a little bit

so that it's not a cold pitch.

This Army of the Dead idea I have,

it's like a zombie heist movie,

but let me tell you more about it when I see you.

And then how much do you have to have worked out?

I think you have to have the whole thing

pretty much 100% worked out.

I don't recommend going in without the idea figured up.

I always say this,

There's one tool that you have

that everybody has and that really is your point of view.

What I want from you is the way you see the world

translated into a movie.

So the way you visualize a scene

is the unique thing that you have that no one but you has.

You should do it from your personal perspective.

Tell me about the way you see and that will engage me

and it will intrigue me,

and I'll see something unique in your vision

and then I'll write you a check for whatever,

a hundred million dollars.

@PodcastMovement wants to know,

What role does feedback from your audience play

in shaping your creative decisions?

There's three sort of ways we do it.

A trusted group

where I would bring in like a bunch of my friends

who I like their opinion and I trust their taste,

and I ask 'em a series of questions

after they watch the movie.

Next is a friends and family screening.

And so you could have 200 people at that

and you show 'em the movie.

I find friends and family are the hardest audience.

You'd think that friends and family would be like,

Oh, they're gonna be nice to the movie and say nice stuff.

They don't.

Then we do a general preview

where we go out into the theaters

and we show the movie to just a general audience.

You know, you're walking by the theater

and someone has a clipboard and goes,

Hey, do you wanna come see this movie?

And you go and watch it and you give 'em feedback.

Mostly feedback from the audience

is related to confusion about the story.

Was it clear that that character

was the character they were referring to?

Or when they went from this location to that location,

were you lost?

Those are the three methods that we normally use.

The sort of online feedback, I don't really look at that.

If you actually start to look at the internet

for opinion about your work,

you can really go down the rabbit hole

and that's a dark place.

@ConcordLibrary wants to know,

How do you build fictional worlds?

I always like to start with myth.

Your words, your drawings,

your reference, your own personal taste.

You sort of set an aesthetic for the world

and in setting aesthetic for the world,

I'm inspired by those conversations to draw and paint.

Those are the ways I start.

In Rebel Moon, we travel throughout the galaxy

and we go to all these different places.

Now in the script, this place is like a mining colony.

We go to a place that's like a floating dock.

So once you have these kind of,

what I would say,

these are images that I like,

these are drawings that I've done,

we could give them to a concept painter

and that painter will do a full blown painting

and then I can look at it and go like,

That's exactly what I want it to look like.

Those paintings,

they really end up being the sort of touchstones

of each one of the looks for the environments you go to.

@ZoomarPodcast wants to know,

How on earth do films get funded?

Well, movies are like any business.

Whoever's got the sort of resources to make a movie,

and that is to say they've got a chunk of money set aside,

when are they gonna use this money

and they're gonna give it to a filmmaker to make a movie.

They say, Okay, we really wanted make a horror movie,

you know?

So they'll say, Okay,

do you have any ideas for a horror movie?

Because we, on our slate, would love a couple horror movies.

And so you pitch them and they go,

Yeah, it was pretty good.

I think we should at least spend some money

to write a script.

And so they pull a small amount of the money off

and they go, Okay, go write your script.

So you go and you write your script and they'd come back

and they read it and they go like, either, That's awesome,

you did exactly what you said, we love it.

Here's more money. Go make it into a movie.

Or they'll say,

You know what? Here's some notes.

It's not quite what we thought.

Here's a little bit more money, can you fix it up?

The other way it happens is they go,

they have this pile of money and they have some ideas.

We bought this newspaper article

and they're like,

Hey, writer, would you write us a script

based on this article?

What do we do with it?

Let's call some directors that we know.

They read it, they come in and say,

Oh, this is how I wanna make that into a movie.

I see it as like black and white, low angles.

You know what? We love that.

Here's money, go and make that.

And then they would go and make it.

There's also independent films, you know,

where like the financing is not raised from a single source.

That's mostly based on the script and a filmmaker together.

So you go to different film festivals,

different marketplaces,

and you say like,

I have an idea for a movie,

Robert Downey Jr. wants to be in it

and I think it could be amazing.

Based on that pitch, we can give you like $5 million.

I'm like, Okay, great. I'm gonna put that in my bucket.

Now I go pitch it again in another room

and they might have another five

or European distribution or whatever.

You can also raise enough money to shoot it that way

and you'd have a bunch of partners.

@Capybanna wants to know,

For movies, how do directors decide

which scenes to do in which order?

This is my basic philosophy for what order to shoot

the movie in.

Page one, shot one.

Shoot the movie in order as best as you can.

And so then the characters are growing or progressing

along that same timeline as the film itself.

If you're doing a super complicated fight scene,

sometimes it's good to do it right off the top.

What happens with action inevitably is takes a long time.

It requires a lot of training, choreography.

The way that happens is they spend time in the gym

with the fight team learning it.

So that requires in prep the actors

because they're not shooting,

they have time to learn a really complicated fight.

And when they come on the day now

they're super ready and they can do it incredibly well.

@RizzolDraymon asks,

@ZackSnyder, how did you get your start as a director?

Did you have to do an audition or something to start off?

I'm just asking 'cause I want to be a director

in the future.

Well, I went to a film school to be a movie director,

but about three quarters of the way

through my college career,

I was talking to the head of the department and he said,

Look, to guarantee yourself a job when you get out,

if you'd made a bunch of TV commercials

while you're here in school,

you would have a reel

and you could go get a job immediately.

And when I got out of school, I went straight to work.

10 years of TV commercials.

A lot of the Clydesdale Budweiser commercials,

for BMW, for Subaru.

I've done commercials for Bose speakers,

I've done commercials for pretty much anything

you could think of.

So the way you get a TV commercial

is they have a idea for a commercial storyboard

and they're like,

You know what, Zach Snyder and this storyboard

feel like a good match.

Let's send it to him. Get him on the phone.

They get on the phone and I go,

This is what I would do

if I was directing your TV commercial.

It would be all these like super cool angles,

lots of slow motion,

all this cool cinematography.

Your product would look amazing

and people are gonna buy it.

And so when I went to Universal Studios

to audition to do the movie Dawn of the Dead,

I did have a vast knowledge of filmmaking,

but I still had to do a song and dance

and tell 'em how the movie would look

and what would be in it

and they seemed to like it.

@SummitPurohit wants to know

how do filmmakers prepare themselves for the shoots?

Are there people beyond the crew

you discuss the project with,

you go into isolation?

Do you focus on fitness before the shoot?

I'm a writer, so I'm normally writing and drawing.

I have drawn the storyboards

for all the movies that I work on.

And so I end up drawing probably about five months

before I start shooting for Rebel Moon,

the movie I just finished.

I created about 3,000 drawings.

And as far as fitness goes,

we do really work on our fitness before the movie starts.

It does come in handy,

especially like me, I operate the camera

and I was the director of photography,

so I'm running around all the time.

Shooting a movie is a marathon

and you need to be in the best shape you can

because it's gonna wear you down.

@Flwersforyou wants to know,

are film directors in charge of scripts

like planning the whole movie out?

Or do film directors get hired

after the movie's already completely written

and planned out?

There are times, like Man of Steel, where I got a script.

Beyond the words there was nothing planned.

So of course I've written half of the movies

that I've directed.

Was very involved in all aspects of production,

whether it be costume design or set design, cinematography.

My last two movies, I also acted as the cinematographer.

So not only was I the director,

telling the actors what to say based on words I had written,

but I was also making shots based on drawings

that I had done.

@Jon_Sandler wants to know,

is meddling studio executives are always painted as villains

in film books,

but I wonder how many films set executives

have to actually improved.

I don't know. I've had great studio executives

who have given me amazing feedback.

I just wish this.

I don't know how to do it.

You're the filmmaker, maybe you have an idea.

So an answer to your question, I think probably a few.

Alright, so those are all the questions for today.

Thanks for watching.

Zack Snyder Answers Filmmaking Questions From Twitter | Tech Support (2024)


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