CGI means, just to be clear, creating any type of image with a computer. Basically, starting off with nothing, or with images and manipulating them. The way we did it, everything was actual photographed images. A lot of that stuff was shot through a microscope of chemical reactions, yeast growing, lots of weird things, by Peter Parks. We put it into a computer and collaged it, manipulated it. Meaning we digitally shaped it to fit with other images. But there was no computer-generated imagery at all.
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I'd like to do a lot of different stuff. I think it's important as a creative person to keep challenging yourself and keep doing new stuff. If you end up trying to repeat yourself it's death. It just becomes boring and takes the passion out of it. You gotta find stories and characters that you really want to hang out with
Izzi: Remember Moses Morales? Tom Verde: Who? Izzi: The Mayan guide I told you about. Tom Verde: From your trip. Izzi: Yeah. The last night I was with him, he told me about his father, who had died. Well Moses wouldn't believe it. Tom Verde: Izzi... Izzi: [embraces Tom] No, no. Listen, listen. He said that if they dug his father's body up, it would be gone. They planted a seed over his grave. The seed became a tree. Moses said his father became a part of that tree. He grew into the wood, into the bloom. And when a sparrow ate the tree's fruit, his father flew with the birds. He said... death was his father's road to awe. That's what he called it. The road to awe. Now, I've been trying to write the last chapter and I haven't been able to get that out of my head! Tom Verde: Why are you telling me this? Izzi: I'm not afraid anymore, Tommy.
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It would be nice to make a movie that other people want to make, because every one of these movies, I basically have to find the only company in the world that's willing to make it, and it's always a big challenge. I end up spending a tremendous amount of energy and time trying to get money to make these movies and it's exhausting.
I feel that so many sci-fi films and films in general have just become really dependent on and addicted to CGI, and that some of the big CGI films of the summer, you see these effects that look like crap. You don't know if you're watching a cartoon or something that's real. And I didn't want to fall into that trap. I really thought there was a way to use a lot of these old techniques to do some new and really neat stuff.
The only way I know as a director is to figure out what the film is about. And out of the theme and the sense of what the film is about, all those decisions start to make sense. But to find that truth within it, you have to limit your possibilities and limit your choices. That's where this visual language grows out of.
The whole visual language of the movie is developed way before we get to set. Especially when you're doing visual effects and you don't have a lot of money to mess around, which we didn't, you have to really preplan everything. Pretty much every shot in the film was figured out months before we got to set.
You hear stories about directors using manipulation to get actors to do certain things, but I think when you're working with professional actors, it's all about trust. They can do anything you want, it's just a matter of them understanding what you're looking for, and the reason why.
I'd like to do a lot of different stuff. I think it's important as a creative person to keep challenging yourself and keep doing new stuff. If you end up trying to repeat yourself it's death. It just becomes boring and takes the passion out of it. You gotta find stories and characters that you really want to hang out with.
There's always been a lot of pressure and tension on the line. If 'Pi' didn't work out, I have no idea what my career would be. I don't think I would have gotten another shot at it. If 'Requiem for a Dream' didn't work out, they would have called me a 'one-hit wonder with a sophomore slump'.