INTERVIEW WITH CINEMATOGRAPHER ANDRÁS RODER

  • A producer is a leader or a boss?

I feel like producers are leaders who gather all the pieces that are needed for a project and collaborate with others in a way that they bring the best out of a script.

  • What qualities or attributes do you look for in people you are looking to employ or work with?

It really depends on what the given position is, but in general I’m looking for people who work well within a team and might be able to bring some value that anyone else on the team wouldn’t posses. On a film set every department is about juggling resources and compensating weaknesses in order to set ourselves up for success.

  • What do you look for in a script?

I don’t really look for anything specific but I do appreciate unique stories that might not have been told or might not have been told from a certain point of view. Overall, I’m interested in scripts that read like good books and have intriguing characters with a unique perspective.

  • How do you select a director?

I tend to work more as a Cinematographer so I’m usually not in the position to select a director. However, in the case of this project I based my decision on how close of a match our taste and sensibilities were. Our lead was a little boy and it was also important to have a director who’s really good at directing children.

  • Would you recommend writers think like a producer when writing their script? Or, just write with reckless abandon and then worry about the cost, or whatever, after they’ve grabbed a producer’s attention.

In general, I’d say no. There are always some expensive factors that can be changed later on without ruining a story if necessary, but it’s always better to see what the original intention of the writer was. The most important thing about expensive scenes are not how expensive they are but what they are trying to say and how they support the story.

  • How involved in the writing of a project do you get? Are you more involved in the initial development?

I usually get as involved as needed. Everyone is different when it comes to writing a script so I think it’s important to respect the process of a writer. In this case, I wrote the script and I got a lot of feedback from the rest of the team and I got a lot of input from my director.

  • How much influence as a producer do you have with the choices made by the director and/or DP?

Since on this film I was the executive producer and a cinematographer at the same time I had to find the balance between collaborating as a cinematographer and leading the way in the overall direction of the project. It was really easy to have balance in this because the team was on the same page about 95% of what the film needed. In general, once the director and DP were hired, I think it’s better to be more hands-off with them unless they need more input from the producer.

  • What is the most important thing you have learned during your career?

There are probably hundreds of things that I’d call really important. Once Vilmos Zsigmond said that having a good script is the most important thing. Everything else cinematographer, director, producer, production designer etc. – come after that.

  • If you had an unlimited budget at your disposal, what would be your dream production project?

Some dark period piece thrillers with lots of night exteriors.

  • What does the future of film look like?

For a while I think film sets are going to have to follow the Covid-19 guidelines. This is probably gonna affect the budgets and scripts of most indie films. There’s a lot of uncertainty and it seems like streaming companies are going to fill in the hole that was created in the disrupted distribution system of cinemas.