Filmmaker David Lowery discusses how perspective, tone, and form influence how you visually tell a story. This video features special unused footage from A Ghost Story to illustrate how adjustment those three principles impacts the final film.
During every step of the process (writing the script, creating a shot list, production, and editing), focus on perspective, tone, and form. You can approach each of these by asking:
Perspective: From whose perspective do you want to tell the story?
Tone: What do you want the audience to feel?
Form: How do I achieve that visually?
As a director, you should challenge yourself in exploring different perspectives, tones, and forms, but you'll ultimately want to decide on a consistent way forward, so the film works as a holistic vision.
In A Ghost Story, David shot early scenes from the film with a broader comedic tone. It became clear that the perspective of the film didn’t land and the camera wasn’t in the right place. This perspective didn’t allow the audience to feel the isolation and sadness of the ghost, which was important in shooting the final version. When David returned to reshoot the ghost, he made adjustments to the perspective, tone, and form to find the right way to shoot the ghost and make the character work onscreen.
Open up to the unexpected moments that you will find as a director in all stages of making a film.
Although film is a collaborative medium, your vision as a director needs to be communicated and felt on screen.
David Lowery is an American filmmaker whose works as a writer and director include AIN'T THEM BODIES SAINTS (2013), PETE'S DRAGON (2016), OLD MAN AND THE GUN (2017), A GHOST STORY (2017) and A24’s soon to be released GREEN KNIGHT (2021). David is currently directing the Disney live action tale, PETER PAN AND WENDY. more...