Friday, June 3, 2011

Friday Free-For-All: The DGA's Visual History Program

The Director's Guild of America is in the process of doing something I think most of my reader's will find interesting with their Visual History Program:

Here you will find over a thousand hours of videotaped interviews with directors and director's team members discussing their careers and reflections on all aspects of the creative process in film, television and other media. Founded in 2000 to build a comprehensive, searchable, online databank on the art and craft of production, the Visual History Collection currently numbers 140 and continued to grow, with new peer-to-peer interviews conducted monthly in Los Angeles, New York, and other locations. The interviews will be posted to the DGA website on a regular basis.

At the moment, among the interviews live on the site are:

Ed Sherin - Law & Order, L.A. Law
Arthur Penn - Bonnie & Clyde, The Miracle Worker, Little Big Man
Gene Reynolds - Lou Grant, M*A*S*H (TV)
Arthur Hill - Love Story, Silver Streak
Robert Altman - M*A*S*H, The Player
Robert Wise - The Day the Earth Stood Still, Star Trek: The Motion Picture
Carl Reiner - The Dick Van Dyke Show
Penelope Spheeris - Wayne's World, Black Sheep

Many of the interviews run for at least two hours and there are many more to come in future weeks. I'm just getting into the Sherin interview, which is like crack for a L&O junkie like me. (Sherin basically originated the long one-er take that became a hallmark of not only that series, but virtually every other crime drama that followed. It's known as the "Sherin spin.")

Another cool feature of the site is that the interviews are broken into many pieces, with each piece getting a summary of what happens at particular timecodes. (And let me tell you, from glancing through the summaries, I'm dying to get to the Spheeris interview for the Wayne's World and Black Sheep material. (Yes, I'm low-brow.)

I get the sense I have a lot of college students among my readers, so these videos would be an excellent supplement to any film education you're taking. (Or alternately, if you aren't able to get an education in film, these might be an adequate substitute.) Pass the link on to your professor and impress him or her.

The only thing the site really lacks is the capacity to embed videos, so it'll have to be on you guys to go there and find the videos, but check it out... it looks like a pretty cool project they've got going there.

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