David Lynch Takes Aspiring Filmmakers Inside the Art & Craft of Making Indie Films

As a cou­ple of gen­er­a­tions of film stu­dents have shown us, you should­n’t try to imi­tate David Lynch. You should, how­ev­er, learn from David Lynch. At his best, the direc­tor of Eraser­headBlue Vel­vet, and Mul­hol­land Dri­ve has man­aged, in the words of David Fos­ter Wal­lace, to “sin­gle-hand­ed­ly bro­ker a new mar­riage between art and com­merce in U.S. movies, open­ing for­mu­la-frozen Hol­ly­wood to some of the eccen­tric­i­ty and vig­or of art film.” How has Lynch brought his endur­ing­ly strange and rich­ly evoca­tive visions to the screen, and to a sur­pris­ing extent into the main­stream, with­out much appar­ent com­pro­mise?

You can get an idea of his method in Room to Dream: David Lynch and the Inde­pen­dent Film­mak­er, the twen­ty-minute doc­u­men­tary above. Since Lynch has­n’t released a fea­ture film since 2006’s Inland Empire — an espe­cial­ly uncom­pro­mis­ing work, admit­ted­ly — some fans have won­dered whether he’s put the movies, per se, behind him.

But Room to Dream shows the direc­tor in recent years, very much engaged in both the the­o­ry and process of film­mak­ing — or rather, his dis­tinc­tive inter­pre­ta­tions of the the­o­ry and process of film­mak­ing.

This touch­es on his child­hood obses­sion with draw­ing weapons, his dis­cov­ery of “mov­ing paint­ings,” his endorse­ment of learn­ing by doing, how he uses dig­i­tal video, his enjoy­ment of 40-minute takes, why peo­ple fear the “very dark,” con­vey­ing mean­ing with­out explain­ing mean­ing (espe­cial­ly to actors), the process of “rehears­ing-and-talk­ing, rehears­ing-and-talk­ing,” how Avid (the short­’s spon­sor, as it would hap­pen) facil­i­tates the  “heavy lift­ing” of edit­ing his footage, how he finess­es “hap­py acci­dents,” how he com­pos­es dif­fer­ent­ly for dif­fer­ent screens, and the way that “some­times things take strange routes that end up being cor­rect.” Take Lynch’s words to heart, and you, too, can enjoy his expe­ri­ence of craft­ing what he calls “sound and pic­ture mov­ing along in time” — with or with­out an Avid of your own.

Room to Dream will be added to our col­lec­tion, 285 Free Doc­u­men­taries Online.

via NoFilm­School

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Aki­ra Kurosawa’s 80-Minute Mas­ter Class on Mak­ing “Beau­ti­ful Movies” (2000)

David Lynch Presents the His­to­ry of Sur­re­al­ist Film (1987)

10 Tips From Bil­ly Wilder on How to Write a Good Screen­play

Tarkovsky’s Advice to Young Film­mak­ers: Sac­ri­fice Your­self for Cin­e­ma

Film­mak­ing Advice from Quentin Taran­ti­no and Sam Rai­mi (NSFW)

Col­in Mar­shall hosts and pro­duces Note­book on Cities and Cul­ture and writes essays on cities, lan­guage, Asia, and men’s style. He’s at work on a book about Los Ange­les, A Los Ange­les Primer. Fol­low him on Twit­ter at @colinmarshall or on Face­book.

by | Permalink | Comments (1) |

Sup­port Open Cul­ture

We’re hop­ing to rely on our loy­al read­ers rather than errat­ic ads. To sup­port Open Cul­ture’s edu­ca­tion­al mis­sion, please con­sid­er mak­ing a dona­tion. We accept Pay­Pal, Ven­mo (@openculture), Patre­on and Cryp­to! Please find all options here. We thank you!

Comments (1)
You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.
  • TIC-filmz-Distribution says:

    The Direc­tor’s Hia­tus from Cin­e­ma (and Film’s Future) Dis­cussed … One of the top­ics brought up in the inter­view was Lynch’s feel­ing on the direc­tion of film­mak­ing — and its … The prob­lem is, there are no more art hous­es left, real­ly. There are just block­buster the­aters for the sole pur­pose of mak­ing mon­ey.

Leave a Reply

Open Culture was founded by Dan Colman.