Friday, October 17, 2008

Movie setTo a degree that has surprised me, being in LA has made me understand better how movies are made.

For example, the movie Mr & Mrs Smith, although set in New York, was filmed mostly in LA, as are the majority of feature fims and TV shows for logistics reasons, primarily. I recently rewatched that movie and could pick out where in Downtown LA.

For instance the scene where the Smiths have their confrontation on a construction site, was supposedly set at a skyscraper, but was actually filmed at the construction of LA's CalTrans "Death Star" located across the street from LA's City Hall complex in downtown Los Angeles. The building is not even a skyscraper, they put in a cut shot (heh, "cut shot") of the Bloomberg Building in New York to give the impression of it being a 70 story skyscraper.

To the unsurprise of many Los Angelenos, Downtown Los Angeles substitutes for many different urban locales so that unless you know what you are looking at, so to my surprise, the iconic shot of Angelina Jolie jumping from the penthouse suite of a building in Manhattan and upon reaching the sidewalk, she blithely stepped into a cab.

With new eyes, I recognize the building as a one set in the heart of Downtown LA at 6th and Hill Streets, a location where I take the bus all the time. And when I look at the NY cab, I now recognize it as a prop cab, repainted yellow from white, as the interior of the cab's door is white - which would never happen in Manhattan, because the cabs are painted yellow INSIDE and OUT.

Small details, but ones I make now that Ive been in LA long enough to be able to connect the dots.
Even more astounding, watching the Pixar movie "The Incredibles" for the umpteenth time with the directors and animators commentaries running, I am able to understand the process of film-making with new eyes. Until, I had admired the movie because of the story but now see how much more involved the making of this movie is, and enjoying it more frankly.

Even though the movie was made largely on computers, "sets" still had to be "made" and "dressed", "actors" had to be hired and the movie still had to be directed. In fact, it was made clear that animated films are tougher to make than livefilms, taking longer to put together than a regular movie.

I dont really watch movies any more, but I am seeing them with new eyes since coming to LA.

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