By Sven Mikulec
When Steven Soderbergh’s groundbreaking feature film debut sex, lies, and videotape conquered Cannes in 1989, grabbing three of its top prizes—Best Film, Best Actor and the international critics’ prize, it sent an impulse that echoed throughout Hollywood and the independent filmmaking scene. The jury, with the great Wim Wenders presiding, saw in Soderbergh’s film a unique, daring and intelligent voice of a new generation, a courageous and, considering Soderbergh’s mere 26 years of age, surprisingly mature exploration of relationships, sexuality and fear of intimacy. The funny thing is that sex, lies, and videotape wasn’t even supposed to be in the main program, where it ended up only after another film dropped out. Things started seriously rolling for Soderbergh earlier that year, at the Sundance Film Festival, where his film won the audience award and, even more importantly, secured Miramax’s wide distribution. Soderbergh’s film was actually the first independent film to achieve a major breakthrough through Sundance, and made a solid profit given it was made for a budget of only a little more than a million dollars.
The story is centered around four characters: a woman seemingly disinterested in sex who is married to an unscrupulous womanizer having an affair with her younger sister, a woman resenting her sibling’s goody-two-shoes image, and an old acquaintance, the husband’s impotent college roommate, who arrives in Baton Rouge and completely shatters their psychologically unhealthy, suppressed dynamics. This guest, played by young James Spader with a career-making, captivating dedication, explains he is unable to achieve sexual satisfaction in the presence of another person, which is why he films women talking about their most intimate sexual desires and fantasies, and later watches the tapes to get his needs satisfied. He’s intelligent, eloquent and seductive, using words so carefully and deliberately to remind us that the mind is the most erogenous zone of them all, and his presence around these troubled individuals forces them to deal with the truth of their situation and the consequences of their actions. A first-time work of an unknown filmmaker, led by a group of talented but, at that time, hardly famous actors and actresses, sex, lies, and videotape was written by Soderbergh in mere eight days during a cross country trip, even though the director spent the previous year toying with the idea of making a film like this. As he admitted himself, it is partly based on his own personal experiences and his fear of commitment that resulted in him chasing away a potential life-long partner. Capturing the zeitgeist and grabbing the interest of audiences unused to getting treated with pictures of this honesty and such specific, so close-to-home themes, sex, lies, and videotape was elegant, classy and stylish, exquisitely written and visually quite simple, spacially limited, with a reserved score. With his introduction piece to what would prove to be a great career, Soderbergh managed to introduce a whole new indie aesthetic that was copied by other authors seeking to repeat his success.
The film was shot by cinematographer Walt Lloyd, with ex-Red Hot Chilli Peppers’ drummer Cliff Martinez providing the score. Written and edited by Soderbergh himself, sex, lies, and videotape is a curious entry in the filmmaker’s career as it displays a certain style that Soderbergh would later further develop, especially regarding the camera and editing. Although the film nurtures a direct and simple visual style, even at his beginnings Soderbergh had a knack for using the camera quite cleverly: considering the film’s topic, Soderbergh employed tracking shots in order to evoke the predatory, voyeuristic feeling in the audience. Even though he was reluctant regarding hiring Andie MacDowell for the role he originally intended to give Elizabeth McGovern, the American actress and successful fashion model blew him away at her auditions. Peter Gallagher as the cheating husband and Laura San Giacomo as the unhappy wife’s sister complete the impressive quartet of protagonists. The critics response was more or less universally appreciative. Roger Ebert noted the film reminded him of “how sexy the movies used to be,” Peter Travers published an enthusiastic review in the Rolling Stone, calling it “an ardent, adult film that so incisively exposes the barriers we set up to avoid making contact,” while Washington Post’s Desson Thompson described it as a “wry, highly watchable piece that comes across as a great first effort by a film-school graduate.”
Soderbergh’s film proved influential in several distinct ways. First of all, it launched the director’s career and practically gave him a carte blanche regarding his next project. Secondly, it helped establish the Sundance Film Festival as the top destination for independent authors to showcase their work and find potential backers. And finally, as we stated before, sex, lies, and videotape directly influenced countless independent films that followed in terms of its style, themes and concept. Even though Soderbergh, two years after its premiere, criticized his work, calling sex, lies, and videotape a film “that looks like something made by someone who wants to think deep but really isn’t,” the fact remains that sex, lies, and videotape is an excellent film, original and refreshing, unlike what the audiences were used to seeing back in those days. The idea that Soderbergh made such a mature and thought-out film at such an early age only adds up to its reputation and power.
A monumentally important screenplay. Dear every screenwriter/filmmaker, read Steven Soderbergh’s screenplay for sex, lies, and videotape [PDF]. (NOTE: For educational and research purposes only). The DVD/Blu-ray of the film is available from the Criterion Collection and other online retailers. Absolutely our highest recommendation.
Interview with Steven Soderbergh by Michel Ciment and Hubert Niogret. From the French Positif film journal, September 1989. Translated by Paula Willoquet.
What are your origins and what was your childhood like?
My family moved around a lot. I was born in Atlanta, Georgia, on January 14, 1963, and after living in a number of different places we finally settled down in Louisiana when I was thirteen years old. My father was an education professor and he would change jobs whenever he was offered a better position elsewhere. He would let me see any films I wanted. As a result, when I was ten or eleven, I discovered films like Five Easy Pieces, The Conversation, Scarecrow that had a tremendous impact on me. When I was thirteen, my father was teaching at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge and there was an animation course taught by film students to adolescents. Knowing that I was interested in cinema, my father signed me up for the course; but it soon became too draining because animation is laborious work. So I got a camera and started shooting live action and I discovered that this was an ideal form of expression for me, through words and images. I could use all the equipment from the course and needed only to provide the film stock, and I ended up making a number of shorts.
In what genre?
During the first phase, as is to be expected, I mimicked the films I liked. So, when I was fifteen, I made an homage to Taxi Driver on Super-8, a film that fascinated me. It was so bad and everyone around me was so negative about it, that I had to rethink everything and conclude that it was not such a hot idea to make films based on other films. At that time, I had also seen Fellini’s 8½ and I discovered that a film could be an expression of one’s personal point of view. So I decided that that was the direction in which I wanted to go. The films I made after that were more direct; they reflected my mental and emotional states. They were experimental and impressionistic, but at the same time they had a quasi-documentary feel in relation to myself, and only lightly manipulated reality.
How many shorts did you make?
From the time I started making films until about two years ago I think I made six or seven shorts, about twenty minutes each.
Did you have other interests besides film when you were young?
Besides books, not really, because I was totally absorbed by making films even at the expense of my studies. It was not until three or four years ago that I started getting interested in other forms of arts, like theater, dance, music, because I realized that I needed to enlarge my horizons. But reading was always necessary to me. When I was about fifteen and my films were becoming more experimental, I was very drawn to Faulkner because of the interior monologue and the way he allowed disparate emotions and ideas to flow from one another. At that time, when I was shooting, I had a pretty casual attitude toward tight narratives. I wanted to capture mental states. The last short I made in high school is still one of my best, in terms of technique and content. When I saw it again six months ago I was expecting a huge gap between what I was doing at seventeen and what I do now, at twenty-six, and I did not really notice a gap. The title was Skol!, which means “Cheers,” and also it was the name of a very popular brand of tobacco among high school students. It was a film about my impressions of school and my thoughts, a series of vignettes shot in black and white. I benefited from some lucky accidents: one exchange we shot in slow motion during a football game was in perfect synchrony with a piece of music from Glenn Miller’s “Moonlight Serenade.” My father had written four books on big band music so I was very familiar with Tommy Dorsey and Glenn Miller.
Since you spent much of your childhood in the South, do you feel any bonds to that part of the country?
Probably. All kinds of strange things can happen in the South. It’s also culturally a very rich part of the United States. Even if its history is not always very positive, it is fascinating. Frankly, I saw more racism in the North than in the South, and Boston, for example, is the most racist city I know. Maybe because the rhythm of life is slower, I always felt that the South was more conducive to writing and thinking.
What did you do after you made Skol!?
I was a senior in high school in 1980 and I was seventeen. After graduating, I liked the idea of going to Los Angeles and I had pictured a life for myself very much like the one I have had in the last four months! My luck was that my professor at Louisiana State University—where I had audited classes while I was in high school—had left that summer to work for NBC in Los Angeles. I got in touch with him when I arrived and he suggested that I work with him editing some short documentaries he was making for television. One was about a team of deaf football players from Colorado; the other was about a juggling competition. They were about seven or eight minutes long each and were shot on film and transferred to video to be edited. I continued working like that, including for sex, lies, and videotape, because it’s a lot faster, and people like Kubrick also started working like this. In 1980, people thought that was strange, unusual. It was a great experience for me; I had the opportunity to work in my area and to see my work appear on the screen. After six months, in 1981, they canceled the program. I did all kinds of odd jobs for the rest of the year so I could pay the rent—I counted points during televised games, for example—but it was very depressing.
Los Angeles quickly started feeling like the worst place on earth, where people were judged based only on their material success. So, I went back to Baton Rouge feeling like a failure and with little hope for a future in filmmaking. I got a job that paid sixty-six dollars a week in a video arcade, where I gave out coins to people to put in the machines. The arcade was near the university campus, and my father—who had split up with my mother while I was still in high school—would come to see me in the evenings and would encourage me when I was embarrassed to be doing something a monkey could have done. All the while, I continued to read and write and started to work on a film, bit by bit, for the next sixteen months. It was called Rapid Eye Movement, a kind of impressionistic vision of my letdowns in Los Angeles. It was a cathartic experience for me; the expression of a mental process, and for that reason the film underwent many transformations from conception, to execution, to the final product. These changes took place progressively as the film developed—which in some cases can be a negative thing, but in this case it was not and Rapid Eye Movement is one of my most satisfying shorts. But, like the earlier shorts, it was made for my friends and me; I was not showing it to anybody else. In early 1983, I got a job with a video production firm where I worked in production and post-production. I shot and edited industrial films for about two years.
During this period, I also spent time in Los Angeles where my friend had asked me to come help him edit some programs. Toward the end of 1984, he got a call from a collaborator of the rock group, Yes, who was looking for an inexpensive director to make a film about their tour. That’s how I found myself on the road for to days and brought back a documentary. Since I was not paid very much, I adopted a pretty irreverent attitude and this thirty-minute film was a lot like the first films of Richard Lester. Mostly, I wanted to have fun without worrying too much about how they would react, but finally they did rather like my work. They weren’t happy with my video editing so they sent me to London to redo it, then they suggested I work as an intermediary between the band and another director who had been commissioned to shoot one of their concerts. I turned them down because this annoyed me and went back to Louisiana. Two months later, they finally asked me to shoot their concert. I was twenty-one, had never filmed a live show, and in the fall of 1984 I found myself in Canada with eight Panaflex cameras shooting two evenings of concert. All went well and I finished editing the film, 9012Live, during the summer of 1985. I remember sitting in their offices lamenting that I could not shoot a script I had written. They told me to find an agent. Which I did. I had her read my script, showed her Rapid Eye Movement and a piece of the concert film, and she liked them. She started representing me and got me several small jobs as a scriptwriter.
What was your script about?
Again, it was very personal and set in Baton Rouge. In many ways, it was a first version of sex, lies, and videotape. It dealt with the relationship between men and women, with the absence of communication and with misunderstandings. But in spite of many rewritings, I could not make the script work. I think I was still caught in a very adolescent way of thinking and had never really had a profound relationship with a woman, which would have enabled me to cast a more mature look at the relationship between the sexes.
Had you written other scripts?
Yes, but they weren’t any good. One was about relationships inside a high school and the other was a detective story treated as comedy. I knew they were not successful, but it was good practice.
Aside from the contemporary films you already mentioned, which filmmakers were you most attracted to?
Certainly, people like Orson Welles and Howard Hawks. And also comedy directors like Preston Sturges and Lubitsch who made a big impression on me. Some of Wyler’s film too, and Sunset Boulevard, and The Third Man. Mostly, American films. But, of course, I was also influenced by works like Rules of the Game, The Bicycle Thief, or Diabolique. Strangely enough, I know very little of Bergman—I don’t think I saw more than three of his films, even though my paternal grandfather was born in Stockholm. But I saw the films in a chaotic way, because of the availability. I also experienced the changes that occurred in American cinema of the mid seventies as a devolution—with the arrival of blockbusters at the expense of the mature works of the new American cinema who had impressed me so much, Rafelson, Scorsese, or Coppola.
Did having an agent change the way you operated?
I continued to write personal scripts fairly quickly so she could evaluate each one. I was also able to work on two commissioned works. I wrote a television script for Disney, which was never shot, and a musical comedy for TriStar, which was never shot either. With the money I received from TriStar I shot my last short, Winston. That also was a version of sex, lies, and videotape, the story of a woman who creates an imaginary life for herself so she can keep a man who was after her at a distance. To a certain extent, it was inspired by things that were really happening in my life, but this made the whole project problematic. When I saw the film a year later, I realized I had not been objective enough for it to work. But it was an important experience, in particular because of my work with the actors. The style—camera placement and movement—was also close to what I used in sex, lies, and videotape.
When I was finishing the film, early 1987, my life was a lot like that of the husband in sex, lies, and videotape… It was a real problem for me because I was beginning to feel very unhappy and I had to put an end to my behavior and begin thinking about the effects it was having on other people. I was living with someone I really liked but at the same time I was behaving miserably and I wanted to know why. So I sold everything I had, except my books, put some belongings in a car and decided to give Los Angeles another shot. This was at the end of 1987, and a few days before leaving I started to write a first draft of sex, lies, and videotape, which I continued to work on during my trip to California. When I arrived in Los Angeles, I gave it to my agent, not knowing what she would think because this had been for me both an act of liberation and remorse. She liked it a lot and the positive reaction on the part of the producers was pretty immediate, to the extent that this was a film about sexuality, with four young and attractive characters, which could be made for just about one million dollars, which is not a great risk. So much so that between the time I put the script on my agent’s desk and the premiere of the film at the U.S. Film Festival, only twelve months had gone by.
How many versions of the script did you write and what were the changes you made?
I wrote three versions and the differences are mostly in the tone. The structure stayed the same except that in the first version there was no resolution at the end: Ann and Graham had very little contact with each other. She goes back into therapy, Graham leaves the city, the husband is not scarred by the experience, and the sister disappears. Nobody finds a way out. This left me dissatisfied because I wanted a feeling of movement. The first version was harsher; it gave mostly an impression of anger. But the more I distanced myself from the events that led me to write the script, the more I became capable of making the necessary adjustments. Then, during the rehearsal week with the actors, preceding the shooting, I rewrote some of the dialogue so it would fit each actor. The scenes were not changed from a content standpoint, but I wanted to be sure that each line of the dialogue was connected to what the scene was expressing, that each explored the sub-text as much as possible, and the actors really helped me on this. I encouraged them to add what seemed natural to them. The shooting went smoothly in thirty days. I always had the impression that we had lots of time and I never came to the set with a list of shots. It was when the actors were playing the scene that I would decide on camera placement. The most takes we did were eleven, and that was because of technical problems. But for most of the emotionally charged shots we never went beyond three or four takes. We had a lot of fun, you know.
What were the rehearsals with the actors prior to shooting like?
For one week, we read the entire script three or four times with all the actors. And for the rest of the week I worked on each scene with the actors in pairs. We incorporated some of their improvisations and that’s when their characters took on a definitive form. What I wanted was to create an atmosphere of experimentation where all inhibitions disappeared, because I knew I was going to ask a lot from them and it was important that they feel at ease. I really believe in casting. Once you have picked the person who best suits the role, I think you have to let them play the part without giving them too many directions. When we started shooting there was mutual respect. They had read the script and had felt it deeply. As for me, I had seen their previous work and had appreciated it a lot. During the shooting they were free to make mistakes, which is very important. As for the rhythm of the film, it established itself from the outset. What strikes me when I watch contemporary American films is their impatience. I don’t know if it’s because the filmmakers are not sure of themselves in relation to their subject, but in any event, they give the spectator no breathing space, they don’t allow the spectators themselves to establish the connections among the scenes. I wanted a natural rhythm, because when I talk to people in real life, conversations last more than two minutes; not everything that is said is of the greatest importance, and every other sentence is not a joke. I have tried to reflect back the kinds of human interactions, of verbal exchanges that I have experienced myself. The actors were relaxed because we had a small crew and in Louisiana, where we shot, none of the producers were there. It was really just us.
When you are shooting a small-budget film like this, with only four actors, your choice for the first actor must surely influence your choice for the others, to the extent that you are playing with oppositions and contrasts.
That’s exactly right. While I was casting, I saw a bunch of actors that I liked and in my mind I was imagining different groupings of four people. The first person I cast was Andie MacDowell, by pure coincidence. I had seen her in Greystoke and St. Elmo’s Fire, but I wasn’t aware of the breadth of her talent. When one of my executive producers told me she wanted to audition, I was not particularly interested. I thought she was beautiful, and I knew she was a model, but that’s all. But when she came for her screen test, I was blown away. Then I went looking for someone who would be aesthetically different, with black hair for example. Soon after that I saw Laura San Giacomo. She was sensual and attractive, so she could seduce any man she wanted; but at the same time, because she wasn’t as beautiful, one could understand that she would be intimidated by her sister’s looks. So, after choosing the females, who were both in their thirties, I had to find the men. I had a hard time for Graham. I went to Los Angeles and was told that James Spader was interested in the role, which surprised me because he usually plays characters that are rather unlikeable. But he was great in his audition and he convinced me. He then suggested I talk to Peter Gallagher, whom he had just met. I thought he would be a good contrast. They got along well in real life, but at the same time they had very different working styles, which served their antagonistic relationship in the film well. It was Gallagher, who had a lot of stage experience playing roles from writers like O’Neill, who had to bring the most to his character because the husband was the least well-defined character in the script.
Is this because of your personal experience?
Maybe, although in theory, at that point in my life I was closer to the James Spader character. I think it was mostly because I was too harsh toward the husband, who was just a sketch. In treating him like that I was punishing myself for what had happened. What Peter brought to the role was humor, a diabolical charm. You can see he is a seducer, while in the script he was just a jerk.
Did you come up with the title right away?
When I finished the script, I did not know what I was going to call it. I asked myself how someone like Graham, direct and honest, would describe the film. And I thought about these three words, which by the way seem to me to summarize all the themes of the film, which are also the themes of modern America: the selling of sex, the practice of telling lies, and the invasion by the video. We were afraid that the public—what we thought would be a limited public—would be turned off by this title which suggested surveillance. In any event, the audience over forty could find it sordid. But we thought that once they had seen the film they would not have this impression, and that through word of mouth this message would get around. The first screenings worked out just like that. The publicity and the reviews would also confirm that this was not an exploitative film.
Did you plan in the script the specific uses you made of video?
Yes. We scripted every moment we went in and out of video. It was necessary, if nothing else to protect myself. For me, the video was a useful strategy to give one of the characters a certain distance in relation to the others, and to enable him to maintain it until the end. This is also in keeping with the prevalent role of video today in American society. Someone told me that the video plays more or less the same role played by letters in the eighteenth century, which makes sense to me.
The film progressively shifts from an ironic to a more serious tone.
From the beginning, I knew the story would become increasingly darker. But I think that in the last part there is still some humor. The barometer for me is Graham’s comment: “Do I have a problem? I look around me and when I see Cynthia, John, and me, I feel pretty good.” In general, the audience laughs at this point because it’s a very strange comment. The first third is lighter because there are many exposition scenes and you are getting to know the characters, who at times are funny without intending to be. But this progression toward a darker tone was intended on my part and the person in charge of casting called after she had read thirty pages of the script to tell me how funny it was. I told her to call me back once she had finished reading the script. One hour later, her state of mind was not the same! If I changed the ending in a more positive direction it was not out of compromise. My personal experience has taught me that after periods of torment and suffering, there comes a healing process where you learn that the hardships you have had taught you something. And this is what I wanted to show in all honesty. Besides, many American independent films are depressing at the end in order to prove that they are not “commercial” and I did not want to fall into that trap. I wanted the film to be what it needed to be, and not the result of a position taken in relation to other considerations. To sum up, this film came from the gut. And for me the end is ambiguous: I don’t have a clear sense of what’s going to happen to Graham and Ann. Nor to the other two characters. I am not sure that John is going to lose his job. For me he represents a certain type of American for whom what is bad is not to do something reprehensible, but to get caught. It happens everyday in American politics.
If your film is very American in the way that the characters talk about themselves, the way you use language and the role you give conversation also makes one think of films like The Decline of the American Empire or of those of Rohmer, Bertrand Blier, or Bergman.
I am going to seem ignorant to you. I am not familiar with Denys Arcand’s film, and I still need to discover Rohmer and Blier! Based on what I’ve been told, there must be connections; but since I’m in Cannes I am embarrassed that I have not seen them. On the other hand, I like Wim Wenders’s work a lot. I saw Wings of Desire many times; I like its slow rhythm and its emotion. The only unpleasant thing about this festival is that he is the head of the jury committee and since I am competing I can’t talk to him. I’ll have to write him a letter when this is all done.
Your rhythm is similar to that of certain American films from the early seventies, like those of Rafelson.
Certainly. And also to a film like The Conversation. Kubrick too is not in a hurry in Lolita. When you trust your material, you can take your time, but you can’t fall into the trap of complacency.
The film crew, were they about your age?
For the most part. Walt Lloyd, my director of photography, is in his forties, and he is the only one I brought from Los Angeles. All the others are from Louisiana and had worked with me before. Walt is not only a remarkable artist, but also someone whom I like very much. His cinematographic style in this film is seductive but discreet; it never calls attention to itself. Walt is also someone who is very sensitive toward the actors and he sets his own shots. This is important because the actor expresses an emotion along a certain line and my job is to follow this line closely. Walt knew what was the best angle to capture this emotion. I am well versed in the technique and I can plunge myself into it, but the only conversation I had with Walt about it led to the decision not to use a telephoto lens. If we wanted to be close to the characters, we would simply bring the camera close to the actors, even if that made them feel that the lens was physically too close to them. We did not want, however, to fill the screen with their faces, let alone the eyes. There too, the Hollywood classics offer an example. You can count on one hand the number of extreme close ups in a Hawks film. Another important contribution was Cliff Martinez’s music—he’s in his thirties. I wanted it to be discreet and to reinforce the atmosphere. Without the music, the last scene with Ann and Graham on the couch would not have had the same emotional force.
What are your future projects?
I have five or six scripts already written. But I am not satisfied with some of them. I have two immediate projects. One is an adaptation of one of William Brinkley’s novels, The Last Ship. It’s once again a story about men and women, sexual tensions, but on a larger scale and in extreme situations. I have just signed a contract with Universal and I was able to convince Sidney Pollack to be my executive producer, which makes me feel more secure in my dealings with the studio. My other project is to work on two other scripts. One of them, The Mistaken Theory, is a verbal comedy, with a fast rhythm in the style of Preston Sturges. The other, State of Mind, is a thriller set in New Orleans. They have taken the place of the two older projects: Dead from the Neck Up, a slapstick comedy written in 1986 which I have put aside for the time being because a film which is too similar, Naked Gun, was just released in the U.S., and Revolver which I started writing at the end of 1987 and which I put aside in order to work on sex, lies, and videotape.
How was the production of sex, lies, and videotape set up?
I had several producers who played crucial roles at different times. Nancy Tenenbaum negotiated single-handedly the foreign rights with Virgin by simply showing them the script and her enthusiasm. They had never seen any of my previous work and had never talked to me on the phone before fronting the money. Robert Newmyer, one of my producers, closed the deal with RCA-Columbia Home Video for the American distribution. As for John Hardy, he set the budget with me at $1.2 million and was physically the producer during the shooting in Baton Rouge. I suppose this film reflected my desire to return to the scene of my childhood, rather than to choose a big metropolis like New York or Chicago as the setting. I wanted it to be the middle of the country.
STEVEN SODERBERGH’S FILM SCHOOL THRU COMMENTARIES
Steven Soderbergh is definitely somewhere at the top of our list of filmmakers with whom we’d like to sit down and have a chat about films. Incredibly articulate, absorbingly energetic and refreshingly witty, the American director has given us an abundance of pleasure through his commentary tracks, most fascinating of which was probably the one for Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf, where he talks to the film’s director, the great Mike Nichols. Take a break from work, give him a shot and find out for yourself why he’s considered such an amazingly clever little know-it-all.
“One of the most informative commentators is Steven Soderbergh, whose quote I have up on the right hand side of the main page about what he thinks about commentaries as a resource for any wannabe filmmakers. No stranger to bringing on guests to sit in with him as he discusses the films at hand, he is joined by another filmmaker—Neil LaBute—who acts as a sort of moderator as he asks Soderbergh various questions about the filmmaking process. The range of discussion goes anywhere from rehearsals to using sound. Listen to it all below.” —filmschoolthrucommentaries
Steven Soderbergh and Mark Romanek on filmmaking: “In what I found to be one of the most illuminating discussions about the filmmaking process I’ve heard in a while, Soderbergh touches upon low budget filmmaking. Extensively covered points are about working with non-actors, shooting digital, and process of directing such a low budget film.” —filmschoolthrucommentaries
“Writers Brian Koppelman and David Levien join Steven Soderbergh in a discussion on the nuts and bolts of filmmaking. Discussions include on cutting the footage up to camera, exposition, ideas, improvisation, seeing effort in shot designs, subjective versus objective directing, and structuring sequences without shot repetition.” —filmschoolthrucommentaries
An analysis on the technical directing side of Steven Soderbergh’s sex, lies, and videotape. Edited by Shaun Higgins.
Here are several photos taken behind-the-scenes during production of Steven Soderbergh’s sex, lies, and videotape. Production still photographer: Diana Gary © Miramax Films, Outlaw Productions, Virgin. Intended for editorial use only. All material for educational and noncommercial purposes only.
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