Dec 29, 2009

Interview with Hans Zimmer: photography parallels

I came across this interview with the brilliant and well respected, Hans Zimmer -- you know, the guy who's composed just about every famous movie score you can think of (Rain Man, Gladiator, Lion King, Pearl Harbor, Black Hawk down, Power of One, The Dark Knight -- just to name a few).  His most recent work is for the new "Sherlock Holmes" movie, which I have yet to see, but plan on it soon.  As I listened, I found myself drawing several parallels to the life of a photographer.  I'm inspired by leaders in their respected fields and Hans is no different....It's worth a listen!

Click on the link below and scroll down a bit for the Audio interview

I put a few of Mr. Zimmer's thoughts below and then in italics some of my own as it relates to photography:

Opening minute: 
Coming off of one success (The Dark Knight) to making another success (Sherlock Holmes)

[If we've had a recent success in photography, how do we push through to the next project to make it as good (or better) than the last.  How does the pressure affect us, etc.]

Minute 2:10 (how he concepts his ideas)
-Writes based on a concept, Watches the movie, Sits down with director (in this case Guy Ritchie) to hash out some ideas - irish music, gypsy music in the beginning of this one.
-How to make sequels (Pirates of the Carribeans was his first sequel).  Use all of the original tunes, but quickly got boring...

For Dark Knight - pretended he didn't have anything to start with and didn't reference Batman Begins when sitting down to write the music for The Dark Knight.

[I was thinking in terms of getting re-hired by a client or getting hired to shoot the same shot you've done before for another client.  It can at times, feel boring or without life.  How do we shoot with new life each time even if it's a project, concept or shot that we've done a million times?  Any thoughts here?]

Minute 5:45:
What it's like to watch the movie all the way through with an audience for the first time and what their reaction is like. "2 seconds before they raised their hand, felt like ten years..."

[This sets up to be a perfect visual in my mind as I see Hans Zimmer, Guy Ritchie and producers anticipating the reaction of their first audience to scenes, reveals and music they've spent hour upon hour rehearsing shooting and editing.  As photographers, we spend this excessive time ourselves, especially when shooting commissioned work where satisfying the clients demands is top priority.  However, whether being paid or not, whenever we put our best work out there, watching our own "audience" react can be extremely nerve racking.  Each time I press the [send] button on an email to a client with work from a project, a little prayer is offered in hopes that I've hit the proverbial ball out-of-the-park.  I've had my fair share of balls that didn't quite make it to the pitching mound as well as the occasional home run.  When the audience (client) doesn't provide a standing ovation, there is a little engine that fires up within and works to understand where things may have gone wrong and practices over and over to improve upon it for the next round (I'll be the first to admit this can get out of hand sometimes if you overanalyze like myself).  Going back to the "fail video", I recently posted.  there is absolutely nothing wrong with missing the mark as all people fail and great people fail often.  The caveat is that you've absolutely given everything you had to the intended shoot/project.  If I've put everything into a project, as alluded to by Mr. Zimmer next, at the end of the day, I can go to sleep feeling satisfied without needed the applause of the audience.  I am the first and most important audience to please independent of the critics and voices out there.  Being true to ourselves as artists in this regard brings those projects (both personal and paid) that we most enjoy anyway]

Really interesting from minute 6:45 on..."We put everything into these movies.  We put all of our heart and soul."

[The great artists, entrepreneurs, and people find a way to put their whole "heart and soul" into something.  They completely immerse themselves into their chosen field.  Even within photography, it's easy to start shooting a particular subject or type of work because it's, quote, paying the bills.  This is a good reminder to A) put everything we have into a project and B) go after those shoots and subjects we are most passionate about shooting]

Minute 27:59:
"At the end of the day you write (shoot) for yourself"
"Be bold about it. Don't be shy."
Minute 30:
"The job is to get better.  The job is to learn something.  The job is to have new ideas."
Minute 30:30:
"If you stop running, it must be really hard to get the muscles back up....the idea muscle"

[This is my favorite block of quotes from the interview.  Here you have an extremely successful composer/artist that is talking about getting better at his craft and learning something new every day.  If there's a list of people that have "made it" in their respective fields, he would probably be on that list and yet it sounds like his mentality is likely the same as it was on his first major motion picture.  We are always growing as photographers; finding new ways to express ourselves and challenge ourselves.  Exercise the muscle as often as possible!] 

I'd love to hear your thoughts on the interview.  Any new insights or parallels you can draw personally or professionally?  I look forward to a good discussion!


SamPerry said...

Minute 27:59:
"At the end of the day you write (shoot) for yourself"
"Be bold about it. Don't be shy."
Minute 30:
"The job is to get better. The job is to learn something. The job is to have new ideas."
Minute 30:30:
"If you stop running, it must be really hard to get the muscles back up....the idea muscle"

Great advice; Push your limits, break the rules, see what you create, you will learn. I try to keep reminding myself of this.

Thanks for posting this interview.

Kevin Winzeler Photography said...

You bet Sam!
We all need to remind ourselves of this. I was just thinking again about the analogy of the 'idea muscle'. Keep pushing our ideas out there and avoid stagnation.
Happy New Year everyone!

Frozen Forever Photography said...

It also helps to have a group of people around you that are pushing towards the same goal. I feed off of other people being creative.

Thanks Kevin... you are one of those people!

Kevin Winzeler Photography said...

@ Frozen - I completely agree with you about feeding off of the group. To me this is both the blessing and the curse of the internet. I spend so much time in different communities learning and conversing. I also see a need for us to get out from behind the monitor and meet people face-to-face, with camera in hand and put our creative minds together in that regard. The endless access to information we have over the net seems to have replaced (sometimes completely) community collaboration and meeting up with folks in person. What do you think?