GORDON WILLIS ON ACCIDENTS AND BEER COMMERCIALS
Over at Splice Today, John Lingan has interviewed legendary d.p. Gordon Willis. An excerpt:
ST: To what do you ascribe the simultaneity of directorial and cinematographic talent during those years? Was there a greater level of artistic freedom afforded to filmmakers then? Or was it the momentum of ’60s counterculture finally reaching the film industry? Hall and Wexler have credited “accidents” like sunspots in the lenses for spurring their perceived innovations; what was it about the industry climate that allowed those kinds of accidents to stand?
GW: The studio system was beginning to buckle, but I think it’s more like “A Man For All Seasons.” All of us came along at the right time and did what we wanted to do. And it wasn’t easy—management, and many in the old school hated us, me especially [since] I didn’t live in California.
Let me clear something up: Good films are not made by accident, nor is good photography. You can have good things happen, on occasion, by accident that can be applied at that moment in a film, but your craft isn’t structured around such things, except in beer commercials.