Tony Kaye, the noted director, has a notorious reputation of being a bit of a madman. He's volatile, unpredictable and brilliant. When shooting with him, you're always a bit nervous about what you're going to get.
I worked with Tony a little over a decade ago and during the shoot, he taught me something I hope I never forget.
The spots we were shooting, I'm sorry to say, were not very good. We were simply asking people what they thought about IBM computers. We were working hard to make these reactions genuine and unscripted.
Unscripted as they were, we of course still had copy points we hoped to capture. (Look! They're getting away. Capture those copy points.)
Tony and I got along very well. For whatever reason he felt ok with me. Before we shot anything he would ask me what I wanted the person being shot to say.
I would answer in a sentence.
Tony would move his face closer to mine.
"One thing," he would say.
I would answer again in three or four words.
Again Tony would move his face closer to mine. Our noses would almost be touching.
"One thing," he'd say again.
And I got that one thing down to one word.
There's so much to be learned about writing from Tony Kaye's process during that shoot.
Obliterate the extraneous.
Focus on the key.
I'm sorry this post is so long.