The Big Picture
- Gareth Edwards, the writer/director of The Creator, has an unusual filmmaking process of monologuing and making mental notes aloud for his team to heare.
- Edwards used a wireless microphone to share his thoughts and plans with the entire crew, including department heads, which helped in synchronizing efforts and making adjustments on set.
- Edwards also provided sound effects during filming, which served the purpose of pacing and timing shots, demonstrating his attention to detail and involvement in designing the movie’s audio landscape.
Every creative has their own process when it comes to developing a project. For The Creator writer/director Gareth Edwards, that means monologuing the whole time while filming and making mental notes aloud for his team to hear according to cinematographer Oren Soffer. The unusual practice gave Soffer and the crew a window into the director’s vision for the film as well as a few laughs as Edwards worked through everything. Speaking with Collider’s Perri Nemiroff at Fantastic Fest, Soffer shared his experience working with Edwards as the director laid bare his creative process.
Soffer recounted a real push and pull effort on behalf of the team and Edwards on set where both sides would make changes back and forth and the other would adjust accordingly. Being so in-sync and adaptable, along with all the tests and shoots at real-life locations instead of sets, made The Creator a rather swift, affordable filming process. It also helped that “Also, we had Gareth mic’d up,” the cinematographer said. “This was the other thing I’ve never seen anyone do before, but we had Gareth on a microphone. So, he was on a wireless mic that was picking up his monologue, and we all had him in our ear, the whole crew, the AD, the other department heads, everything.”
As Edwards built up his sci-fi world, Soffer and the rest of the team got a front row seat to his whole thought process in a way that also helped them determine how best to help him bring it all together. “So whenever he needed something or would call out, or he would be able to say like, ‘I’m gonna drift over here and frame up this other thing,’ so now we know where he’s gonna go,” Soffer added. “Or he would say, ‘Oh, I’m gonna start tilted up here, and then we’re gonna add a ship over there and tilt down into the shot, and we’ll come up with that. We’ll add that later.’ Like he’s giving himself VFX notes for later, for the monologue.”
Gareth Edwards Did His Own Sound Effects While Filming ‘The Creator’
Edwards wasn’t just sharing mental notes out load or verbally processing where he wants to go next, however. Soffer also revealed that, while filming and monologuing, “the best thing about it is he does sound effects.” As funny as it is to imagine the Rogue One director voicing the sounds of a war between AI and humanity, the cinematographer says it’s all according to plan. “So we’re set up in an action scene, and then he’s doing like ‘Pew pew pew…’ all the sound effects, which is very funny and endearing but actually serves a purpose because it’s about pacing. So it’s about the timing of certain shots. He’s basically sound-designing the movie in his head while we’re shooting it.” All of this sounds like perfect material for the special features on an inevitable home release for The Creator, a sentiment Soffer echoed. “We absolutely said on set that we should do an alternate sound mix that only uses Gareth’s sound effects for the DVD or the Blu-ray, and I really hope they follow through.”
The Creator stars John David Washington as Joshua, an ex-special forces agent on a mission in the heart of AI territory to assassinate The Creator, the architect of advanced AI, in an effort to turn the tide in the war in favor of humanity in the not-so-distant future. He soon realizes, however, that The Creator’s secret weapon with the ability to end humanity is an AI named Alphie (Madeleine Yuna Voyles) which takes the form of a child. Shaken by his discovery, Joshua begins to question the nature of life and true love. Gemma Chan, Ken Watanabe, Sturgill Simpson, Allison Janney, and Ralph Ineson round out the star-studded cast.
The Creator is in theaters now.