Behind the Scenes: Anomalisa (2014)

I recently had the chance to interview Joe Passarelli, cinematographer of the stop-motion animation film Anomalisa (2014), for Filmmaker Magazine. Oscar-nominated for Best Animated Feature, Anomalisa was shot over the span of two years on an army of 18 Canon 7D cameras – one for each miniature set. Below is a quote from my Filmmaker piece highlighting the challenges of shooting stop-motion. Then continue onward for a gallery of production stills.

“We had one shot where the camera slowly pushed in that took five or six months to animate. Each frame, the camera is moving less than an eighth of an inch. So when you’re shooting something over that period of time, you’re going to deal with all of those technical things that you mentioned — people bumping cameras, people bumping lights, bumping props. When that would happen we would have to go on to set and try to fix it. But if something was really unfixable, then visual effects would come in and we’d talk with them to devise a plan. But even beyond the animator or somebody hitting something on the set, every morning we would come in and we would turn on the lights and the sets would look like an earthquake happened. Because it was cold in the morning but the night before it was warm because the lights had been on for 12 hours, the wood would breathe and (as the temperature) changed things on set would shift. Then sometimes the camera would sag slightly if the lens was heavier and it was on a motion-control rig. It was a very interesting process to figure out.” – Joe Passarelli

 

Behind the Scenes: The Films of Tim Burton

“Visions are worth fighting for. Why spend your life making someone else’s dreams?” – Orson Welles (played by Vincent D’Onofrio) in Ed Wood (1994)

“We don’t have permits. Run!” – Ed Wood (Johnny Depp) in the same film

Box office prosperity has never had a great deal of correlation to artistic quality when it comes to movies, but few directors have a filmmography where that relationship is as inversely proportional as Tim Burton’s. Which is a wordy way of saying that the more money a Burton film seems to make (i.e. Planet of the Apes, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Alice in Wonderland), the less likely I seem to be to enjoy it. That equation is summed up by the fact that my favorite Burton outing (1994’s Ed Wood) was by far his least attended. Ed Wood put so few butts in seats upon release that the same year’s Monkey Trouble, Lightning Jack and House Party 3 all more than doubled its box office take.

Below is a look back at Burton’s paradoxical career through a series of Behind the Scenes pics detailing the making of all 17 of the director’s feature films. I like to think that on each of them, Burton channeled Bela Lugosi (or at least Martin Landau’s incarnation of him) with the call to arms, “Let’s shoot this fucker.”

 

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