From Vancouver Sun:
VANCOUVER – Before she had a Twilight budget to work with, director Catherine Hardwicke had to make every dollar, and every moment behind the scenes count.
With Thirteen, her critically acclaimed directorial debut, the Texas native had just $1.5 million to bring the story of a straight-A student’s descent into a life of sex, drugs and petty crime to the big screen.
“On that one, I had such a very detailed shot list, and diagrams of how we were going to film every scene, and I had rehearsed with the actors,” said Hardwicke.
“That’s what made it possible to shoot that movie.”
On Oct. 1, Hardwicke will kick off New Filmmakers Day at the Vancouver International Film Festival’s Film and TV Forum with a workshop on the preparation process behind movie production.
Titled The Art of Prep: Directing Workshop, the 75-minute seminar will focus on creating tight shot lists, script development, the advantages of storyboards and other tips.
It will include handouts, audience participation throughout and examples illustrated with clips from Hardwicke’s work, including Thirteen.
The independent film garnered numerous awards and nominations, including the Director’s Award at the 2003 Sundance Film Festival, Golden Globe nominations for stars Evan Rachel Wood and Holly Hunter, and an Academy Award nomination for Hunter. Hardwicke’s other works include Vancouver-shot Red Riding Hood, a gothic retelling of the classic fairy tale; The Nativity Story; and the skateboard movie Lords of Dogtown.
Hardwicke also will discuss her experience directing Twilight, the vampire blockbuster that grossed $69.6 million on opening weekend — the highest opening ever for a film by a female director.
“I’ll talk about how we prepped the treetop sequence and the seven different locations we used to film that — what was the first unit shot, what was the second unit shot, what did Rob [Pattinson] and Kristen [Stewart] do, where we put the platform.”
Hardwicke, who began her career in Hollywood as a production designer, said she developed her techniques through trial and error, a year of schooling at the University of California, Los Angeles, and watching and working with a number of “awesome directors” including Cameron Crowe, David Russell and Lisa Cholodenko.
“Being a production designer, I was a department head right in there with them, next to them, coming up with ideas, pitching, running through rehearsals with them,” she said.
“I saw a variety of directors’ techniques and then on each movie I used what seemed to work best for that film.”
She also learned early on the importance of perseverance.
“My friend [told me] successful people, of all the studies they’ve done, they only found one trait in common, and it was not race, not nationality, not that you came from a wealthy family, not that you had a good education — none of that was consistent with successful people,” she said.
“The only thing that was consistent was a willingness to keep going after failure. Every successful person they studied would just get back on their feet and just go for it.”
Other speakers at the forum include television producer Lee Aronsohn (Two and a Half Men, The Big Bang Theory), director Allen Coulter (Sex and the City, The Sopranos) and director/producer/animator Tommy Pallotta (Waking Life, A Scanner Darkly).