The Director’s Chair: David Fincher

Fincher on Fincher — How David Fincher Directs a Movie

August 9, 2021
StudioBinder (YouTube)

Director David Fincher explains his personal approach to film directing.

Special thanks to:

Variety’s David Fincher Interview
Escuela Universitaria de Artes TAI
BAFTA Guru
FilmIsNow Movie Bloopers & Extras
Moog Music Inc
Akai Pro Video

Chapters:
00:00 Intro — How David Fincher became a Filmmaker
02:01 Early Career & Return of the Jedi
03:18 Shot Composition and Blocking
06:19 “Relentless” Number of Takes
11:02 Directing with Precision
13:43 Color Theory & Creating the Look
15:48 Create a Feeling (Production Design & Music)
19:35 Final Takeaways

David Fincher is a director’s director. His reputation for having complete control over his work is well-known but many directors have had similar power. So, what makes his approach to film directing so captivating? In this David Fincher video essay, we’ll let the man speak for himself. Through a collection of interviews from throughout his career, Fincher guides us through some of the strongest characteristics of his directing style.

To date, over the past four decades, David Fincher has directed a plethora of music videos, commercials, and 11 feature films. Along the way, he has refined his directing style which can be summed up in two words: precise and purposeful. When watching any David Fincher movies, you would be hard-pressed to find an out-of-place camera movement, or a lazy frame composition. One lesson we learned from Fincher is how he balanced and imbalanced the frame during Nick and Amy’s first meeting in Gone Girl to show the “push and pull” of their flirting.

Another well-known staple of the David Fincher directing style is his predilection for shooting multiple takes. He famously shot 99 takes of the opening scene in The Social Network, for example. But there’s a method to his madness — he wants the actors to move “beyond muscle memory” especially in their domestic environments. In Fincher’s logic, when the actor sits on their couch, they need to have sat in it a hundred times to make it look like they’ve sat in it a hundred times.

Fincher also explains how he creates mood and tone with lighting, color, and music. With a darker frame, desaturated color, and the brooding tones of Atticus Ross and Trent Reznor, there certainly is a distinct experience watching David Fincher films. While all of this sounds extreme, the proof that he’s doing something right is visible on-screen.

♬ Songs used:

“Father / Son” — Makeup and Vanity Set
“Subdivide” — Stanley Gurvich
“Switchback” — Nu Alkemi$t
“Battle in the Forest” — Charles Gerhardt – National Philharmonic Orchestra
“Chasing Time” – David A. Molina
“Sugar Storm” – Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross
“Soul Sacrifice” – Santana
“Graysmith Obsessed” – David Shire
“Intriguing Possibilities” – Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross
“Wendy Suite” – Jason Hill
“Under the Midnight Sun” — Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross
“14 – Ghosts II” – Nine Inch Nails
“Corporate World” – The Dust Brothers
“Appearances” – Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross
“With Suspicion” – Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross
“What Have We Done to Each Other” – Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross
“Cowboys and Indians” – Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross
“San Simeon Waltz” – Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross
“Fool” – Ryan Taubert
“Where Is My Mind” – The Pixies

David Fincher Interviews & Quotes on His Filmmaking Process

Chris Heckmann
August 8, 2021
StudioBinder

Killer Casting Podcast: Actor Damon Herriman

Lisa Zambetti, Brian Hill, Dean Laffan
July 9, 2021
Killer Casting Podcast (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram)

We are so psyched to welcome transformational actor Damon Herriman to the show!  Mr. In Between fans will know him as Freddy the Strip Club owner, but there rest of the world knows him for tons of other roles including playing Charles Manson (twice) in Mindhunter and Once Upon A Time in Hollywood, Dewey from Justified, Kim from Secret City and so many others. Damon talks about working with Scott Ryan and Nash Edgerton, about his background growing up in the business as a child actor and so much more!

Listen to the podcast:

Killer Casting Podcast
Spotify

Podbean
Podchaser
Libsyn
Google Podcasts

Best Film Ever Podcast: Actor Sean Persaud

June 12, 2021
Best Film Ever (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram)

Catch Ian, Liam, Ellie, Ethan, and Georgia (who was only in about 90% fangirl mode) as we were lucky enough to sit down with an extremely talented actor, writer, and producer whose credits range from Mank to Shipwrecked Comedy to podcasting and even all the way to Cougar Town.  Revelations from the interview include:

  • Hearing how Sean got his start in Los Angeles
  • Sean talks about the development of the podcast he does with his sister, Sinead: Make Sean & Sinead Love Movie
  • Sean discussing the difference between being a producer on his own material and a day player on a big tv or film project
  • A small anecdote about what Gary Oldman is really like
  • Sean discusses his writing process and how it differs depending on the project
  • We learn about how to shoot in black and white
  • The BFE lot pitch their own film choices that most people hate but we can’t help but love
  • Sean reveals his best film ever and cuts down someone for hating a classic film
  • Whether Sean would turn down a call from Marvel boss, Kevin Feige
  • Pets on both side of the video call make their presence known
  • Sean teases a big announcement dropping for Shipwrecked Comedy on June 15th

Listen to the podcast:

Best Film Ever (PodBean)
Best Film Ever (PodPage)
Apple Podcasts

Spotify
Google Podcasts
Stitcher

Subscribe to Shipwrecked Comedy at their YouTube page

Check out Sean Persaud on his new film review podcast (with his sister, Sinead)

SBIFF 2021: Outstanding Directors of the Year Award Panel

Scott Feinberg
April 3, 2021
Santa Barbara International Film Festival (SBIFF)

The Santa Barbara International Film Festival Outstanding Directors of the Year Award is given to directors not afraid to push the envelope in the cinematic world, with an expertise that is both gracious and bold.

Moderated by The Hollywood Reporter Awards Columnist Scott Feinberg, the recipients are:

Chloé Zhao (Nomadland)
David Fincher (Mank)
Lee Isaac Chung (Minari)
Thomas Vinterberg (Another Round)

Watch the full panel in the following playlist:

Ethan Hawke and David Fincher present the Montecito Award to Amanda Seyfried at Santa Barbara Film Festival

Anne Thompson
April 9, 2021
Santa Barbara International Film Festival (SBIFF)

At the 36th Annual Santa Barbara International Film Festival, Amanda Seyfried was presented with the Montecito Award by her “First Reformed” co-star Ethan Hawke and “Mank” director David Fincher, who both shared their respect and admiration for the star.

Amanda Seyfried Discusses Mank, Gary Oldman & David Fincher

Scene at The Academy: Mank

Oscars (YouTube)
March 6, 2021

Mank director David Fincher, actors Gary Oldman and Amanda Seyfried, the cinematographer Erik Messerschmidt, production designer Donald Graham Burt and sound designer Red Kyle walk you through a boisterous San Simeon house party sequence and the recreation of William Randolph Hearst’s famed zoo.

Director David Fincher discusses Mank with Aaron Sorkin

A DGA Virtual Q&A

February 6, 2021
The Director’s Cut. A DGA (Directors Guild of America) Podcast

A disillusioned screenwriter in old Hollywood gets a shot at redemption in Director David Fincher’s biographical comedy-drama, Mank.

Fincher’s film takes place as film 24-year-old wunderkind Orson Welles hires scathing social critic and alcoholic screenwriter Herman J. Mankiewicz to write the screenplay for his masterpiece, Citizen Kane.

On February 6, Fincher discussed the making of Mank in a DGA Virtual Q&A moderated by Director Aaron Sorkin (The Trial of the Chicago 7).

During their conversation, Fincher spoke about his love for “the altar of cinema,” the communal aspect that can come through film. “For me, what I love about cinema is going into a big dark room with 700 people and through their laughter and through their surprise and through their shock and through their reactions you realize, I’m not alone. I’m the same. I’m wired into this group in the same way just organically and I’m picking up on all these other cues. That is what makes the cinema, or a great grand theater, an almost cathedral-like experience.”

Fincher’s other directorial credits include the feature films Se7enThe GamePanic RoomZodiacGone Girl; episodes of the television series House of Cards and Mindhunter; and countless commercials and music videos. He has been nominated for the DGA Award for Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Theatrical Feature Film for The Curious Case of Benjamin ButtonThe Social Network and The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. In 2013, he was nominated for the DGA Award for Dramatic Series for House of Cards, “Chapter 1” and has twice been nominated for the DGA Award for his Commercial work with Anonymous Content in 2003 and 2008, winning the Award in 2003 for Beauty for Sale (Xelibri Phones), Gamebreakers (Nikegridiron.Com) and Speed Chain (Nike).

Fincher has been a DGA member since 1991.

Listen to the podcast:

DGA.org
Apple Podcasts
Spotify
Google Podcasts
Stitcher
SoundCloud
PodBean

David Fincher: Maestro of Mank


Netflix Film Club (YouTube)
February 27, 2021

The cast and crew of Mank, including costume designer Trish Summerville and actors Gary Oldman, Amanda Seyfried, Tom Pelphrey and Charles Dance, speak to the focus and concentration that a David Fincher set demands. The acclaimed filmmaker himself, meanwhile, takes you through the process of crafting his examination of Hollywood’s Golden Age.

The Magic of the Movies: Behind the Scenes of David Fincher’s Mank


Netflix Film Club (YouTube)
February 28, 2021

Join acclaimed director David Fincher, actors Gary Oldman and Amanda Seyfried, and the cast and crew of Mank, for a peek behind the curtain of Netflix’s black-and-white ode to Hollywood’s Golden Age.