The Storytellers Behind Apple TV+

Steven Spielberg: Want me to help you find your opening? Well, I would do this. I would start with a black screen and I would put a little speck of light in the center of the black screen and I’d have the light grow in intensity and then like the Big Bang, it explodes. ♪ Music playing ♪ ♪ JJ Abrams: Life often makes no sense. There’s something about stories that gives a sense of order and purpose to the world and allows us to live other lives than the life we’re living. ♪ Steven: The best ideas that I’ve had have come to me when I have least expected them. They’re always intruders, but they’re welcome intruders. Sofia Coppola: Once you get an idea in your head, it just keeps nagging at you until you express it. M. Night Shyamalan: That’s the feeling of the idea, that it just becomes irrational. There’s a woman sitting in a car in a field. Now I need to know why she’s sitting there. Ron Howard: I begin to believe that there’s something of myself that I can share with an audience. If I’m thrilled, that’s a good sign.

If I’m laughing, that’s a good beginning. JJ: It’s the spark, it’s the living with the thing. It’s the outlining of it. Sofia: I find writing to be the hardest part. Ron: Writing and rewriting for months or years. M. Night: She dies. No, she lives. He dies. Steven: The first draft, the second draft, the third draft, the fourth draft, the fifth draft, the sixth draft.

Da-da-da-da, yadda-yadda-yadda-yadda. Ron: Then you begin to build the collaboration that will help you go on that voyage. Steven: You’ve got to find the cast of your dreams. Octavia Spencer: For every character that I decide to do, I envision memories for them. I create the dimensions of who this woman is. Reese Witherspoon: Imagine if you were this person and imagine if you lived in that world. Ron: You have to think about the environment that the story exists in. How are you going to create that environment? JJ: What’s the look going to be? What’s the tone? What’s the palette? How’s it going to work? The costumes, the props, the set design. Sofia: Little by little, the elements start to come together and build on each other. Damien Chazelle: It’s electric and amazing. The thing is becoming alive. Steven: You walk onto the set and you smell this amazing aroma of sawdust, wood, and plaster.

Jennifer Aniston: You just sort of disappear into this fantasy world. JJ: So then you have to think, « Well, how are you going to shoot this thing? » Because you’re not going to shoot a movie chronologically. So you’re often starting the movie shooting the most dramatic, most painful, most agonizing scene first. Ron: My anxiety often starts at about three o’clock in the morning. The wheels have started turning. There is an excitement and a dread. Damien: You definitely go in with a very concrete sense of what you’re aiming for. Then you have to be willing to throw it all away. Hailee Steinfeld: Nothing I’m doing is good, nothing is working. M. Night: The shot goes up and it’s not right and that’s torture. JJ: It’s not a big deal when it’s just you and a pad of paper. But when it’s countless numbers of talented people who are all waiting around and the sun is going away…

Sofia: You’re under so much time pressure and you’re kind of holding your breath. M. Night: Tick, tick, tick, tick, tick, tick, tick. JJ: The pressure is on and it’s horrifying. Steven: Fear is good. At least for me, it’s good. The fear of failure is a kind of octane that keeps me wanting to stand on the edge of the abyss, but at the same time not plunge to my career death. Ron: It’s all falling apart and then a new possibility appears. ♪ JJ: There are those moments when the actor is sitting there and she’s doing the thing, the thing that inspired you months, sometimes years, earlier. Everyone is quiet and the crew’s just focused and everyone’s done their job to get you to this moment. Somehow everything is in sync. Jennifer: There’s truth pumping through your veins and into the story that you’re telling. Steven: There is no greater moment than that when you feel that you are really cruising and you’re one organism telling one story and you’re all telling it with each other’s contributions.

Nobody’s telling it alone. JJ: The sun is in the perfect place. The birds go right where you could never — There are moments where you’re like, « It’s impossible. » ♪ Finally, you wrap the project and then it goes out into the world and you hope that all of these decisions that you were part of, that you collaborated on, it will move people and touch people in a way that it seemed like it was inevitable. Ron: Nothing works if the themes don’t connect with the audience. They have to. Damien: Sharing stories with one another makes us feel less alone. Reese: Everyone deserves to have their story be told. Octavia: That’s what makes us special, is the tapestry of who we are as human beings. Steven: To become involved in someone else’s life, that’s the idea of what a story should be. A story should make you forget your surroundings, should make you forget your agenda, your day, and hopefully, makes you forget yourself.

♪ .

17Sep

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