31 Jan Gus Van Sant on directing.
I love everything about this man. check out this blurb. GVS – You have to con people. A lot of directing is trying to orchestrate a magic trick, to give the appearance of something happening that isn’t actually happening. That’s the drama. The end result is essentially always the same thing: it’s always a film that has images, pictures, people, and the soundtrack. When you read about Hitchcock’s experiences making Psycho—and there are some really good books about Psycho—you think, “I’ve heard this one before, this is an old story, that happened on The Maltese Falcon. Didn’t this story of the actress too drunk to do her lines, doesn’t that go back to the 1920s and D. W. Griffith?” The responsibility of the director orchestrating this—ultimately it’s like a magic show where you saw the girl in half, it looks like she’s really in half, and she’s not, hopefully. As a director you’ve gone through experiences where it didn’t work, where the audience didn’t fall for the sawing the girl in half routine, so you watch for the things that are going to show up, where you go: Wait a minute! We can’t do that, because the last time I did that it didn’t work. You watch out for these things coming at you that are going to blow the whole effect. Sometimes it’s the screenplay not being ready, that could be a signal for the director to say, the magic trick at the end isn’t going to work. The script isn’t in the right proportions, things aren’t happening at the right pace. The protagonists aren’t being challenged, they aren’t coming to life.
Orson Welles was an amateur magician. I always found that significant. I think as a theater producer/director, he was putting on a magic show that extended into dramatics. In the same way, his films were attended to by a sleight of hand artist. Making things seem a certain way when the things he had weren’t really the things he was showing you. All story telling is based on that. It’s all related to the guy telling a story around a campfire. Stanley Kubrick says people who make bad movies get bad reviews and get drummed out of the business, but if a caveman told a bad story, he’d probably have been stoned to death. He’s the same guy, an entertainer.
Taken from an interview with Gary Indiana.