Barry Sonnenfeld, Filmmaker and Author of Call Your Mother

Published on02 MAR 2020

Filmmaker Barry Sonnenfeld discusses his journey in filmmaking, from cinematographer for the Coen brothers to director of blockbuster films like the Men in Black series; and his views on the business of filmmaking.

On the art of filmmaking: “Film is all about pre-production. What you learn is that you never want to get on a movie set, scratch your head and try to figure out where to put the camera. The worst thing in the world is to be on a movie set, look out the window and see the grips and electricians throwing Frisbees while you're trying to make a decision. So, I think whatever profession you're in, it's all about pre-production. What can go wrong? What can you do ahead of time to figure everything out?... Preparing for everything.”

On the key to filming great comedies: “I always say that close-ups are the enemy of comedy because it's close up, the director's saying here, ‘I'm cutting to the punchline.’ I want the audience to be smarter than me. I want them to figure out where the punchline is. It's why I always tell actors never to be funny in comedy. That’s why you never want two funny people in your comedy.”

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