The Allan McKay Podcast: Tim Miller, Founder of Blur Studio

Allan McKay
July 5, 2022
The Allan McKay Podcast

Tim Miller is a Film Director, Animator, Creative Director, and VFX Artist. He was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film for the work on his short film Gopher Broke. He made his directing debut with Deadpool. He is also known for creating opening sequences for The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and Thor: The Dark World.

In 1995, Tim co-founded Blur Studio with David Stinnett and Cat Chapman. Blur is where animators and artists can collaborate and be in control of their creative destinies. Since then, the Studio has evolved into an award-winning production company with work spanning the realms of game cinematics, commercials, feature films, and more. Committed to their clients, artists, and the telling of great stories, Blur continues to grow as a high-end animation studio and original content creator, having recently helmed Netflix’s first animated anthology Love Death + Robots.

In this Podcast, Allan McKay interviews Tim about the history of launching Blur, its legacy, Tim’s ongoing collaboration with David Fincher, directing Deadpool and Terminator: Dark Fate, and creating Love Death + Robots.

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Pixel Perfection

Jarred Land / RED Digital Cinema

Adrian Pennington
April 2022
British Cinematographer

Jarred Land has spent his career in close collaboration and connection with filmmakers, supporting the execution of their vision with powerful and ground-breaking tools.

Jarred Land runs RED Digital Cinema, the company whose 4K camera went from scepticism to admiration on a run of prestige movies like David Fincher’s Oscar-winning Mank and series like The Queen’s Gambit. Since 2013, Land has led a team focused on precedent-setting technology for filmmakers.

Land didn’t found RED but joined Jim Jannard before the launch of the first camera and during the hardcore, technology banging sleepless nights part of the story, where a small group failed, learned, succeeded. From the first conversation Land had with Jannard and still today, the focus is on providing a more complete tool for filmmakers.

Born in Edmonton, Canada, Land’s father ran gas stations and shopping malls, imbuing in him an entrepreneurial spirit. The teenage Land’s passion was mountain biking which he segued into his own bike courier company in Vancouver.

A chance encounter with a client inspired him to take up videography using the Panasonic tape camcorder DVX100. “I couldn’t go to film school because I was running my company and biking 100km a day, so I set up a bulletin board for help,” he says.

Read the full profile

David Fincher Tries Animation in ‘Love, Death + Robots’

Fincher, left, directed the short under Covid protocols. “I didn’t quite realize how much I communicate through my face,” he said.

Noel Murray
May 19, 2022
The New York Times

The director made his first animated short for the new season of this Netflix anthology. “It was an incredibly freeing, eye-opening, mind-expanding way to interface with a story,” he said.

Before David Fincher became an A-list director and multiple Oscar and Emmy nominee — lauded for of-the-moment films like “Fight Club” and “The Social Network” and the TV series “House of Cards” and “Mindhunter” — he was one of the co-founders of the production company Propaganda Films. Propaganda was known for its visually dazzling TV commercials and music videos, and Fincher honed his craft in dozens of miniature movies made in myriad styles.

Yet until recently, he had never directed animation, even though he loves the medium so much that he signed on a few years ago to be an executive producer of the Netflix anthology animation series “Love, Death + Robots,” which returns for its third season on Friday.

Love, Death + Robots” sprung from the ashes of a project Fincher had been developing with the “Deadpool” director Tim Miller since the late 2000s: a revival of “Heavy Metal,” the animated movie series inspired by the adults-only science-fiction and fantasy comics magazine. The first season of “Love, Death + Robots” debuted in 2019, featuring 18 episodes (ranging in length from 6 to 17 minutes) that adapted short stories by genre favorites like Peter F. Hamilton, John Scalzi and Joe Lansdale. An eight-episode second season followed in 2021.

Despite his involvement, Fincher never made a short of his own until Season 3, when he and the screenwriter Andrew Kevin Walker (who wrote Fincher’s crime thriller “Seven”) tackled a tale by the British science-fiction author Neal Asher called “Bad Travelling.” Set on the high seas on a distant planet, the story follows a merchant ship as it is tormented by a giant, intelligent crab that manipulates the crew members and then eliminates them one by one. Fincher described the short as “like a David Lean movie crossed with ‘Ten Little Indians.’”

Read the full interview

Literally! With Rob Lowe: Steven Soderbergh

Rob Lowe
February 10, 2022
Literally! With Rob Lowe (Team Coco)

It’s Showtime! When Steven Soderbergh joins Rob, the two friends get to ask the questions they’ve never asked one another. In this episode find out about Steven’s new film Kimi, and how he thinks Sex, Lies, and Videotape now feels like a Jane Austen novel.

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Red Carpet Rookies: Jeff Cronenweth. Cinematographer

Mike Battle
January 31, 2022
Red Carpet Rookies

In this episode, we’re joined by one of the world’s greatest Cinematographers, Jeff Cronenweth. Born into the film business, he grafted his way through the rungs of the camera department and music video scene of the 1990s, until he got the call from David Fincher to take the reins of Fight Club. From there it’s been a run of legendary movies including, One Hour Photo and Gone Girl, as well as The Social Network and The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo both of which he picked up Oscar nominations.

What you’ll learn from Jeff:

  • Jeff’s opinion on whether film school is still necessary
  • Whether music videos are still useful starting grounds for DPs
  • How Jeff get imposter syndrome on Fight Club
  • What it’s like to work with Aaron Sorkin
  • How does the DP Director relationship work
  • Jeff’s opinion on the film fanboys that constantly copy the ‘Fincher/Cronwneth aesthetic!’
  • Whether Jeff has taught David Fincher anything
  • What a day of prep is like for Fincher and Jeff

And of course in our quick-fire: Jeff’s no 1 piece of advice, favourite film, book to read, person to work with, and more.

Listen to the podcast:

Red Carpet Rookies (with a transcript)
Apple Podcast
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Follow Mike: Instagram, Twitter

David Fincher’s “The Goon”. Development Hell

Andrew S. Baldwin
January 30, 2022
Supervoid Cinema (YouTube)

The Unmaking Of Movies. In-depth accounts of the ‘Greatest Movies Never Made’, Prominent ‘what ifs?’. Behind the scenes looks at canceled movies, lost projects, and the reasons why some projects went down in flames of development hell… Superman, Batman, Iron Man, Spider-Man, He-Man, Aliens, Hellboy, Robocop, and many more!

David Fincher has long been signed to produce a movie adaptation of Eric Powell‘s cult comic book: The Goon, published by Dark Horse, to be co-directed by Tim Miller and Jeff Fowler of Blur Studios with an original screenplay by Powell.

Video contains test animation for the David Fincher / Blur Studios / Dark Horse Entertainment produced film The Goon. Based on the Dark Horse Comic series by Eric Powell. Clancy Brown and Paul Giamatti provided the voices for this test. All artwork & footage belongs to its respective creators.

Indie Film Hustle: Cinematographer Jeff Cronenweth, ASC

The Art of Cinematography & David Fincher

Alex Ferrari
December 14, 2021
Indie Film Hustle

Cinematographer Jeff Cronenweth, ASC, is the son of Jordan Cronenweth, ASC, one of the most influential cinematographers in history, most notable for Blade Runner.

He worked with his father as a camera loader and second assistant camera during high school, graduated from the USC School of Cinematic Arts, and worked his way up to first assistant camera and then camera operator until the mid-1990s. He also worked for legendary Swedish cinematographer Sven Nykvist.

The first major motion picture where he acted as a DP was for David Fincher‘s Fight Club. Other notable feature films on which he worked as a DP are One Hour Photo, directed by Mark RomanekK-19: The WidowmakerDown With LoveThe Social NetworkHitchcockThe Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Gone Girl, and recently, Being the Ricardos, written and directed by Aaron Sorkin.

He was nominated twice for an Academy Award for Best Cinematography for his work on Fincher’s The Social Network (2010) and The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2011).

Listen to the podcast and read the transcript

I am Sitting in a Room, Listening to Mank

Cormac Donnelly
October 2021
Screenworks

This video essay examines the innovative use of sound recording and mixing in David Fincher’s Mank (2020). Whilst Mank received a limited theatrical release, the film is most widely available via the Netflix streaming platform. The essay takes as a starting point the rerecording and spatialisation of the soundtrack, with a focus on the home viewing experience. Donnelly argues that the re-recording process used on Mank’s soundtrack could potentially suggest a method by which films released into the domestic market could retain the reverberant sonic signature of cinematic exhibition. The published screenwork draws upon interviews with Fincher’s sound designer Ren Klyce, as well as the work of experimental composer, Alvin Lucier in order to better understand the experience of listening to Mank in our own rooms.

Watch the video essay and read the research statement

Read the original in-depth interview with Ren Klyce:

Making Mank’s Vintage Hollywood-Magic Sound

VOIR: Trailer and Poster

From executive producers David Fincher and David Prior.

A Netflix documentary series.

As told by
Walter Chaw, Drew McWeeny, Taylor Ramos, Sasha Stone, and Tony Zhou.

Take a closer look at the stories that captured our imaginations.

VOIR

Only on Netflix. December 6, 2021.

Director David Prior Talks ‘The Empty Man,’ ‘Voir’ & Netflix Becoming “Custodians To The Cinematic Experience”

Andrew Bundy
November 5, 2021
The Playlist

There’s a specificity of intention to David Prior’s “The Empty Man” that eludes most studio horror projects. Inspired by the Boom Studios! comic (created by writer Cullen Bunn and artist Vanessa del Rey), Prior’s debut could have been a success story were the movie released under different circumstances. Inherited by Disney following the Fox merger, and dumped into theaters mid-pandemic, “The Empty Man” certainly wasn’t given the A24 Ari Aster treatment, which is a shame, as Prior’s film would make an outstanding, grief-tinged double feature with “Midsommar” or “Hereditary,” though its shape is far more chimerically hypnotic. 

Laying somewhere in the cosmic ether between David Fincher’s serial killer films, “Se7en” and “Zodiac,” Prior’s sepulchral vision slithers like a paranormal odyssey in the guise of a J-horror procedural a la Kiyoshi Kurasawa’s “Cure,” veteran character actor James Badge Dale aiding in making detective work look effortless through a mesmerizing lead performance. “We go looking for things we have lost… More than that, there is no such thing as loss,” a mysterious cult leader, played by Stephen Root, preaches

Audiences missed out on “The Empty Man,” but it’s deservedly found a devoted following. “If the price of making the movie I wanted to make meant getting abandoned by the studio and left to be picked up by passionate people who saw it on their own, that’s not a bad outcome.” Prior told us, “At least it’s the movie I wanted to make. It wasn’t some highly compromised, shortened, messed up version of that probably would have gotten more support from the studio but it would have vanished from everybody’s mind as soon as they saw it.”

Prior was later approached by David Fincher (for whom he used to direct documentaries) about a new film appreciation series, titled “Voir.” Scheduled to debut at AFI Fest this month, Netflix’s video essay project spotlights “passionate voices that love movies… highlighting the elements that get people excited about cinema.”

In a time when streaming services threaten to swallow up the theatrical experience, “Voir” is an essential look back at what makes film uniquely hypnotic. “Movies cornered the cultural conversation throughout the 20th century.” Prior told us. “It was the art form of the 20th century… [movies] don’t hold the same place in cultural thinking they used to and there’s a lot that’s important being lost.”

No great film deserves to be forgotten, and Prior is keenly aware platforms like Netflix now hold the keys to Hollywood’s kingdom, as “custodians to the cinematic experience.” “The Empty Man,” may not have mopped up box office dollars but revealed its director to be as impassioned and skilled a filmmaking scholar as David Fincher. We were fortunate to sit down for an extensive chat with him ahead of “Voir’s” upcoming premiere. Eerily, both his debut film and new Netflix series stemming from an obsession with Jaws,” the legendary Steven Spielberg, a fervent supporter of his film appreciation project.

Read the full interview