“PRICE CHECK” | director, Michael Walker
[PREMIERE SCREENING: Wednesday, January 25 6:30 pm –Eccles Theatre, Park City]
When you are in the film business, someone, let’s say your dentist, will inevitably tell you a story that they think is a great idea for a movie. But they don’t know how to write a script, they just know how to clean teeth, so they want you to write it for them. If I had an idea that I thought would make a good novel, I would tell it to the poor guy who made the mistake of telling me that he was a novelist, because I don’t know how to write a novel. I work in film, so I write screenplays, and, when I can, I direct them. I don’t really have ideas and then wonder which medium would best suit the story. When the idea for Price Check came, I wrote the script, and, eventually, directed it.
When I was young, I wanted to be an actor. I can’t remember when I first heard the word “director”, but at some point I became aware that there was a process of making a film, and from then on, I was hooked. Like most people who work in film, I got caught up in the magic of it all. It’s an amazing thing to walk into a dark room for two hours and be transported into another world, and go on an emotional journey with characters that you get to know and love.
One of the things I love about film is that it can be so many different things: funny, serious, arty, scary, low brow. There is an idea that pure cinema is silent, that the images alone need to tell the story, but this kind of thinking always bothered me. There are films, like the Marx Brothers films, that aren’t visual films, but are as pure as cinema gets. Price Check is a talky film, but it’s a visual film as well. Every shot was planned and storyboarded, some of the sets are abstract, the acting is heightened – all of this is part of the world of the film.
When you’re making a film, there’s a kind of carnival-like feeling with the crew, traveling from location to location, people coming in from other films and going off to work on others. Crews are familiar and intense and full of characters and great stories. Film crews work harder than people in any other business I know and part of the reason is that they are all there for the love of the job. I’m not sure how many other businesses could claim that kind of enthusiasm from their work force, but it makes film sets incredible places to work.