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Transcript of Peter Jackson
1. Name two of Peter Jackson's five favourite films.
2. What was Jackson's first feature length film?
3. Name Jackson's 20 minute short film.
4. What kind of lense did he typically use?
a) wide-angle b) subjective camera b) short angle
5. What is Jackson's production company?
Peter Jackson was born on October 31, 1961 in Wellington. Jackson was an avid film fan as a child, growing up with Ray Harryhausen. A family friend gifted Jackson a Super 8 cine-camera, which he used to make short films with his friends. This included a remake using stop motion of his favourite film King Kong.
Technical and Artistic Contributions
Jackson began at a young age making short films. He received a prize for his twenty minute short film The Valley. His first feature film, a splatter horror fiction comedy, was a 1987 film called Bad Taste. Later contributions to film include Heavenly Creatures, The Lord of the Rings trilogy, The Hobbit trilogy, and The Lovely Bones. He also produced the movies District 9, and The Adventures of Tintin.
Style and Reoccurring Themes
Peter Jackson is renowned for his coverage, shooting a scene from as many angles as possible to provide more options as possible. Even scenes of simple conversations often include various camera angles and shot-sizes. Jackson also includes zooming closeups, and one of his most common visual trademarks - shooting closeups of actors wide-angle lenses. Jackson keeps the depth of field very short using wide angle lenses, despite being very close up.
Jackson has been described as an auteur, because he is the main driving creative force behind any of his films, and takes great interest in their details.
Jackson was early to use computer enhancement technology and digital special effects in his films.
Jackson cites his favourite movie as King Kong. He credits this as his biggest inspiration in filmmaking. Jackson said that when King Kong fell off the Empire State Building, he cried. Jackson also said that George A. Romero's "Dawn of the Dead inspired his love for splatter movies. Jackson credits Martin Scorcese's films Goodfellas, and Casino to be influences, saying, "something about those particular movies and the way Martin Scorsese just fearlessly rockets his camera around and has shot those films that I can watch those movies and feel inspired." He also said that the 1970 film Waterloo inspired him in his youth. Jackson has cited his five favourite films to be King Kong, Dawn of the Dead, Jaws, Goodfellas, and the General.
Specifically in the Lord of the Rings trilogy, Jackson often used an effect called "forced perspective". Since the 2D cameras lack depth perception, things that are far away look smaller. The crew would take advantage of this by creating sets and props of different sizes based on the characters interacting.
For example, in the scene in which Frodo and Gandalf are riding in the cart next to each other, it appears as though Frodo is much smaller. However, Elijah Wood is actually sitting much farther back, and the post next to him is much larger then the one next to Sir Ian McKellan. With this visual effect the crew was able to hire average sized actors for smaller sized characters.
Throughout the Lord of the Rings trilogy, Jackson follows a classic narrative style, with few flashbacks and breaks in the story. This contrasts heavily with the Lovely Bones which features a non-linear narrative style, the story jumping around frequently in the timeline.
Jackson's 1994 release Heavenly Creatures, a murder mystery drama, marked a major change in both style and tone, contrasting the splatter films he had previously released. This was the first film to bring Jackson to mainstream prominence in the industry.