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Interrotron on Errol Morris Shoot

by Joshua Handler

 

Interrotron on Errol Morris Shoot

by Joshua Handler

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Academy Award-winning director Errol Morris is best known for his brilliant documentaries The Fog of War and The Thin Blue Line.  These are groundbreaking films.  The Thin Blue Line was especially groundbreaking because it showed the power of documentary, as it was used to get an innocent man out of jail.  So, when I found out that I was to be working on an Errol Morris-directed commercial, I was intrigued.  Even more intriguing was that this commercial was a Weight Watchers commercial.

Note:  many budget producers use the EyeDirect, this is a device that functions in a many similiar to an Interrotron.  It does not require an operator and is less expensive to rent.  But for best results a real Interrotron such as the one Morris uses is more professional

Morris’ Weight Watchers commercial was not like any other commercial.  The commercial featured Academy Award-winner Jennifer Hudson and former SNL member and comedian Ana Gasteyer.  On set over the two shooting days were at least 40-50 people and two blocks were blocked off in Manhattan during the first day of shooting.

The first day, we shot in a couple of locations in lower Manhattan.  The shoot started very early in the morning and went until mid-evening.  When  Mr. Morris arrived on set, it was a truly incredible experience.  Morris is a fascinating director because of his unconventional approach to directing.

 

When the first subject was being interviewed for the commercial, Morris first ran through the short script he was given and then began to interview the subject like he was directing a documentary.  He would ask her simple questions like “how did you decide on Weight Watchers?” and then would intersperse those with humorous questions to make the subject comfortable.  Once comfortable, the subjects would talk more openly and would be more relaxed.

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