directing is deciding there are countless decisions in every scene.
In this brief episode of the director's playbook, we'll look at a small but powerful rack focus in sam mendy's road to petition and how it may be one of the most important shots in the entire film one of the most interesting thematic strands of the film is Relationship between father and sons, sons are put on this earth to trouble their fathers john rooney is the head of an irish crime family. 00:00:44
I tried to avoid more bloodshed.
You wouldn't accept that.
So i did what was necessary, but i've always loved you like a son.
His lead lieutenant is michael sullivan. 00:00:56
Your mother knows i love mr rooney [ Applause.
We had nothing.
He gave us a home, a life.
We owe him and their bond is solidified in this scene, which makes rooney's actual son connor boil inside .
Are you always smiling, because it's all so [ __ ] hysterical later michael son witnesses something he shouldn't see a shakedown that goes terribly wrong in chicago jesus christ, connor? What the hell are you thinking, connor must now answer for his recklessness to his father in front of everyone.
Is there something you would like to say about last night, i'd like to apologize for what happened, especially to you paul.
We lost a good man.
Last night, you think it's funny try again i'd like to apologize. 00:02:08
You would like to apologize.
Try again pay attention to how the camera tells us everything we need to know about this critical moment. 00:02:21
Mike just give me the names tell me who to visit.
Gentlemen, come on upstairs, everyone leaves as connor, sits, center-framed and alone as a filmmaker. 00:02:34
How would you direct this moment? Would you gather coverage from multiple angles or let it play out in a single shot? Mendes guides our attention to connor by pushing the camera in [ Music.
] we've seen this shot a thousand times before, but here's where things get interesting. 00:03:11
We catch connor's, eyeline glaring at his father and michael walking past, then the shallow focus leaves connor and follows rooney and michael instead, but why we aren't following what connor sees because they're behind him we're following his thoughts, his jealousy his rage, the bitterness of his father's Connection to michael diminished in importance by showing him out of focus, this isn't a one-off decision.
It's actually a motif with how connor has been presented to us twice before hello, the very first time we see him he's out of focus, remind me which little solomon are you, michael, sir, sir? I have to call me, sir.
Not your paw call me uncle connor and in this moment, when michael sits with rooney at the piano, we see connor watch michael's approach and then he fades out of focus into the background.
Like everyone else, connor is constantly being ignored, passed over forgotten by his father. 00:04:38
Take mike with you no pawn take mike with you, you can end this now you got ta.
Take him now: get upstairs , and in this shot we are forgetting him as well, and it was all done in a single shot with a very intentional rack.
Focus mendez squeezes so much out of this one. 00:05:07
Would this moment have landed as well if it was shot differently? Maybe, but these subtle and sophisticated choices make this an effective and memorable moment: .
So now that we've seen how mendy's directed the scene did he make the right choices, make your choice? How would you have done it differently? These decisions need to be made in advance, which is where studio binder comes in script, shot list storyboard and break down your projects to find the most powerful presentation of any scene check the description to sign up for studio binder.
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If you don't want to be forgotten and ignored, like connor rooney skip the homicide and just subscribe, see you in the next one , you .