Making the Intangible Tangible

What is tone? How does a director establish it and best communicate it? Establishing the tone of your film is a key element of filmmaking, a vital part of the process of making the intangible tangible.  

The director’s vision for a film and his or her voice are key elements of tone. As are frame rate, music and sound effects, lighting, colour, production design, wardrobe and makeup, framing and movement. Tone is all encompassing.  

In the first two of three new workshops on tone, run by the Directors & Editors Guild of NZ, participants will explore with director Rob Sarkies how a director goes about setting the tone of a film.

The third workshop with another esteemed director will be announced at a later date.

Tone with Rob Sarkies

Rob Sarkies

Credit: Matt Grace Photography

Tone is suggested by the script and clues will be found in the story, setting, action and characters. But it is also determined by the director’s tastes, culture, and instincts. Rob’s workshop explores how to translate all this into a coherent visual form and communicate it to others.

Rob’s work ranges (quite literally) from comedy to tragedy so he knows the importance of establishing a unique tone for each production, be it film or television. Using examples from his work, Rob will guide participants through a process where they can explore tone for an upcoming work. It will help to have your own project in mind – a short film, a first feature, a web series etc – when you come to the workshop.

 

Wellington – Sunday 18 April 2021, 9:30am – 4pm
Applications close Tuesday 13 April, 3PM. More info >

Auckland – Sunday 16 May 2021, 9:30am – 4pm
Applications close Tuesday 11 May, 3PM. More info >

 

Travel Allowances

DEGNZ Full members based outside of Wellington and Auckland can apply to the Guild for travel support up to the value of $250 (incl GST). We have six grants available.

To apply you must meet these criteria:

  1. You live outside of both the Wellington and Auckland regions.
  2. You are a NZ Citizen or permanent resident.
  3. You have a confirmed place in one of the Tone workshops.

For additional information and criteria, see here.

 


This initiative is brought to you with the generous support of the New Zealand Film Commission.

NZFC

Last updated on 1 April 2021

View from the Top banner

I was listening to a podcast this morning in which Eliza Hittman, the director of the feature film Never, Rarely, Sometimes, Always was being interviewed. It very clearly highlighted to me that she is a talented filmmaker, although I have yet to see this film or any of her others. She just talked like one, both in terms of her writing and her directing. But something caught my ear as she was discussing her work, and that was the praise that she had for her editor.

Now I’d have to say it was brief, and understandably so. The interviewer was pressing her on her approach to filmmaking and she was trying to respond succinctly to his questions.

But in pondering what to write about this week it made me want to highlight the craft of editing that can so often go unacknowledged, whether it be in features, drama, or any other genre. Sure, we have awards that bestow upon the editor some recognition, but in general conversation both within and outside of the industry you rarely hear someone say that the editing was amazing.

Of course it’s not that easy to single out editing, in big part because the best editing is invisible according to many of the greats who practise the craft at the highest levels.

It can be easy to think that editing is a technical craft, particularly since digital technology took over the edit suite. Yes, button pushing, technical wizardry and digital manipulation have replaced scissors and tape. Editing operates though at both a conscious and an unconscious level—feel, mood, pace, tension—these and all the other elements of filmmaking are as much the realm of the editor as they are of the director.

As in Eliza’s case, the person most likely to complement the editor is the director, particularly in features. They generally are true collaborators crafting the work together: Scorsese with Schumacher, Caro with Coulson, Pooley with Woodhouse. You don’t have to dig deep to see where the director – editor bond exists, and stays when the connection is found.

In television, it’s more often the producer who appoints the editor or editors to a project. And most producers know a good editor can save their bacon. Smart directors quickly figure this out as well.

We are fortunate in New Zealand to have a lot of good editors. On the DEGNZ board, Annie Collins, Francis Glenday, Margot Francis. Peter Roberts, former President of DEGNZ, another. Current President Howard Taylor, who now firmly sits in the director seat, started out and worked for many years as an editor. And we have many other current and past members who have made their mark as editors on both New Zealand and international features and shows. As well, we see in our workshops and through the work we are exposed to new generations of editors who are grasping both the craft and the art that makes great editing.

Next time you watch something great on the big or small screen, take some time to find out who the editor was if it’s not something you do already, and look them up. They will have made a big a contribution to your enjoyment most likely because you didn’t notice it.

So let’s move that rarely said acknowledgement to sometimes or always, making editors and editing a little more real to everyone.

Tui Ruwhiu
Executive Director

Last updated on 25 March 2021

American on demand service Hulu has picked up the US rights to Kiwi drama Rūrangi, directed by Max Currie (DEGNZ). Currie expressed his joy saying, “Holy cow, we are streaming on Hulu! This is proof the sky’s the limit for New Zealand’s burgeoning trans talent.” The platform will release Rūrangi in June of this year for its American audiences.

UK company Peccadillo Pictures previously acquired the UK rights to the series and plans to release it later this year. For New Zealand audiences, Rūrangi will be available on NEON in May.

Season two of the series is currently in development and the film adaption is on theatrical release in Aotearoa. Rūrangi was closing night film for Sydney’s Mardi Gras Film Festival (Feb 18-March 4) and is currently screening at BFI Flare: London LGBTIQ+ Film Festival in the ‘Hearts’ programme (March 17-28).

Read more

Last updated on 25 March 2021

Congratulations to the recipients of this years Te Aupounamu Māori Screen Excellence Awards. With two time Academy Award nominee Ra Vincent, taking out the $50,000 award, both Julian Arahanga (Ngāti Rangi, Ngāti Raukawa), and Puti Puti Rā Simich-Pene, were awarded $10,000. Arahanga was recognised for 30 years’ of industry experience working on a range of productions with some of the world’s most influential filmmakers.

Last updated on 25 March 2021

DEGNZ member and editor Luke Haigh won big at the Axis Awards, the local NZ advertising awards held in March. Luke took home four of the six editing awards given out on the night.

He won Gold for editing on Toyota Hilux Unbreakable Bond, a Silver for editing on Chorus Badnet and two Bronze for editing on Worksafe and BNZ. Congratulations Luke!

 

Last updated on 25 March 2021