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Bill Megalos “Do not start working in the movie industry if you do not adore it”

25 March 2010 / 10:03:34  GRReporter
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  • - Your work is focused entirely on Africa and Asia. However is there anything in Europe and more precisely in Greece which has the potential to attract your attention as an artist?
  • - Regarding the development, Europe is too well developed. I have always wanted to go in Albania and I deeply regret that I didn’t do it when the time was right. I had to go there many, many years ago, when Enver Hoxha was still there. In the beginning of the 80s of the 20th century to walk on the streets of Albania meant to be walking three or four centuries back in time. I really regret that I didn’t go there on time. I love Greece, I love Eastern Europe and I know that it has some interesting times and I would like to be there more often, but I look at the world from the point of view of its development. There are some project for micro financing and micro crediting, which would be interesting topics for movies. I am sure that if I take a closer look I would also find other interesting things, however I haven’t yet found the time to do it.

 

  • - Which part of making movies is your favorite?
  • - I really love making movies, traveling because this is when you meet people, this is when you live the story of the movie. I wouldn’t say that I like to sit in the editor studio and edit. Despite the fact that I admit that editing is a very important part of the process of making movies, when the film becomes a whole and starts to make sense. In the first 20 even more years of my career I was never personally editing my films. I was working with other editors as a cameraman, who had to provide certain frames. With the invention of the editing program Final Cut Pro and not even with the first, nor with the second, but with its third version I myself started editing my movies. And now I feel great respect for the editing part of the film production.  This program opened for me a completely new world which is very different from the shooting of the film and I am grateful to it for teaching me to work in this way. When you are shooting your attention is focused on the time, on utilizing every minute of the day, to find fast and easy solutions. “We are here for one day. We have to take all the necessary frames for one day and to make all the interviews”. Shooting a film is like dancing, it fills you with enthusiasm, it makes you react fast or you lose the moment. There is nothing like this in editing. In editing there are no easy decisions, just right decisions. I tell to all of my students and all the people I am trying to help that there is only one rule in editing and it says that you have to put your ass on the chair and work. You could find thousands of excuses not to edit. Even the greatest and most famous editors I know are among the biggest loafers. You go in the biggest editing studios in New York where documentaries are created with the biggest budgets and you see all the editors, with no exception, to wonder about all day long and talk to each other and to postpone putting their ass on the chair. Until it comes 4 o’clock in the afternoon when they panic and everybody rushes to his desk and starts working. And works, works, works until it comes midnight. And this happens every single day! It is very boring to edit. You have to lie to yourself in order to do it.

 

  • - How did you get to the Media Workshop of Main for the first time?
  • - It is hard for me to remember how I came here for the first time and who hooked me up with the organization. Somebody who was already teaching had recommended me as a good teacher. However I don’t remember who it was.

 

  • - How long have you been teaching here?
  • - About 20 years, but 15 at the least.

 

Tags: interview Bill Megalos documentary cinema
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