One of the things I love and enjoy the most about working at 4YE is the chance to express my love and admiration for people in the pop culture world. Having done so already with my friends and co-workers Kayleigh (with our Top 5 Sebastian Stan roles and our 10 Reasons why Sebastian Stan is a fangirl’s dream) and Jamie (Top 5 Lee Pace roles), now it’s my turn to take it to another level.
As a filmmaking student, I find myself looking up to directors and writers (more so after having experienced the difficulties of being both) and there’s one particular man who has my whole heart, respect and admiration: Edgar Wright.
Why Mr. Wright? Well, that’s what I’m here for.
I might get a bit technical here but don’t worry, it will be easy to follow.
Edgar Wright has a very particular style that has made him stand out from all comedy directors. Instead of cheap jokes, predictable come-backs and overall dumb situations and dialogues, his style focuses more on the visual aspect.
Fast cuts, close-ups, epic entrances, whip pans, wipes and a mastery on the use of on/off screen dynamic.
As explained by the man himself in “The Art of Close-Ups”:
“I’m a big fan of getting into a scene late and leaving a scene early, that’s what they always say in writing is like ‘come in late and leave early’, and I think you’d think close-ups for me is a good way of doing that.”
I see it as a clever way of getting rid of useless shots, people, objects or even situations and go straight to the point of the scene, which makes the overall product flow better and avoids it getting tedious and boring.
It’s his particular style which, in my humble opinion, made him the perfect choice to direct Scott Pilgrim vs the World. I cannot imagine that movie without Edgar’s touch of magic.
Not only is he a brilliant director but an incredible writer as well. The Wright/Pegg talent combo was one of the greatest things that have ever happened in the filmmaking world. The Cornetto Trilogy (Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz and The World’s End) is some of the finest pieces of comedy you will find, I can guarantee you that. Trust me. Scientist, I am.
In short: it’s visual comedy at its finest.
Let me tell you: the art of the close-up is not easy. I attempted to do it last semester and failed a bit (the person in charge of editing didn’t understand the point of it so it didn’t look as it should have). Plus, it was a stop-motion animation. A bit harder to achieve than with an actual person.
You are a master, Mr. Wright.
Listen to Edgar talk about the art of close-ups:
Edgar Wright made his first movie when he was 20.
I repeat: Edgar Wright made his first movie when he was 20.
But let’s go a bit back, before his first movie. Let’s jump on the TARDIS and go back to 1991, when he made a stop-motion animation for a contest… and won. 1991, guys. He was 16 years old. I suddenly feel I’ve been wasting my time enormously.
He started making short films with a Super 8 camera when he was around 15, but it was thanks to the British TV show Going Live! that he got a camera like the Gods intended. The contest was simple: a charity short-film for Comic Relief. He won the contest, he won the camera and that’s how he started making more and more shorts. And then he was ready. At the age of 20 he decided it was time to make his first movie and so A Fistful of Fingers was born.
A Fistful of Fingers is, contrary to what you might believe, a western. In fact, his comedic style started building when he directed the British sitcom Spaced, written by Jessica Hynes and Simon Pegg, starring both of them plus Nick Frost. This was the beginning of that beautiful friendship/partnership that gave us the Cornetto Trilogy. Geek lords bless Spaced.
Back to A Fistful of Fingers, Edgar has shared he is not quite ok with the final product but he certainly learned a lot from it. All in all, the film had an actual distributor and even though it was only shown in one cinema, it was reviewed like any other film (Variety and even The Hollywood Reporter reviewed it). It caught the attention of comedians Matt Lucas and David Walliams and that’s how he made the jump to TV.
Now, let’s talk about Spaced, shall we? It became a sort of cult classic when it was released on DVD but what is important is that it was the beginning of the Pegg/Frost/Wright partnership we came to love with the Cornetto trilogy. It’s also with Spaced where we can see the now trademarks of Edgar’s style.
Then came Shaun of Dead. It was thanks to the success of the film that the world turned its head to him and got many offers, including Scott Pilgrim vs the World. The rest is history.
Edgar Wright is a beautiful combination of talent, passion and hard work.
Passion for movies and everything filmmaking related.
I thought I would never see (oh how I wish I could say ‘meet’, but not yet) a human with a bigger passion for movies than James Gunn and then Edgar Wright happened.
It’s not only that deep love for stories but also for the craft itself. Did you know he, Judd Apatow, J.J Abrams, Christopher Nolan and Bennett Miller joined forces to step up against the disappearance of celluloid? It’s the on going debate of film vs digital, and they are against the disappearance of the craft of shooting on film.
“I just like the discipline of shooting on film. I like to hear money burning through the camera. It makes me more responsible”, Wright said.
The passion for movies is strong on this one. He curated movies at the New Beverly Cinema in Los Angeles (currently owned by Quentin Tarantino) and always had a movie to recommend or comment about on his twitter account. He is currently on a “twitter break” and his movie-talk is probably the thing I miss the most.
Here, have Edgar recommending some movies for you.
Sense of humour.
I am weak for a man with a sense of humour. Oh sorry, I probably should have mentioned that when I say that I love Edgar Wright I don’t only mean his work but also his personality.
The man is always smiling; I haven’t seen one interview where he doesn’t smile and laugh, especially if he is accompanied by Simon Pegg and Nick Frost. They are the sparkles and shine of the world.
Edgar also happens to be a huge fanboy. Of course, as a fangirl, I am weak for a fanboy. Even better: he has shared a few pics of him at a very young age meeting Tom Baker and even one pic of him dressed as the fifth Doctor.
Isn’t it the cutest thing ever?!
Plus, he has the most contagious laugh; I giggle every time he laughs. Allow me to refer you to one of my favourite Wright/Pegg interviews, in which you can also see his level of fanboy.
I was once told that when you do something with love and passion it shows, and that’s exactly what happens with Edgar’s work. There’s a lot of love, passion and dedication in every single one of his movies and it definitely shows. He is one of my biggest inspirations.
His next project is Baby Driver, which has been described as a “collision of crime, action, music, and sound”; a bit of everything we love from his previous works (small cultural parenthesis to praise the sound of Hot Fuzz).
In all honesty, I’ve learned more by watching his movies, behind the scenes clips, and interviews than in one year of college. I’ve especially learned screenwriting essentials just by watching him and Simon Pegg’s writing process than I did in my two screenwriting classes. He has been my biggest teacher and he doesn’t even know.
It is for all of these reasons and more that I love and admire Edgar Wright. Thank you for your greatness, Mr. Wright!
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