Clint Eastwood has been honing his showbiz skills for nearly seventy years. During that time, he has stepped into some of the most iconic roles in cinema. He has also directed some truly great films. It doesn’t matter if Eastwood is behind the camera or in front of it, the product is bound to turn out great. Much of that has to do with all of the experience he has under his belt. That experience has allowed him to develop his approach to filmmaking slowly over the years.
On every project, Eastwood tries his hardest to nail scenes in one or two takes. However, that is only part of his truly unique approach to filmmaking. Eastwood talked about his approach to filmmaking and how he developed it in an interview for the book Film Craft: Directing. Before the book’s release, IdieWire ran an excerpt of the book featuring Eastwood’s interview.
Clint Eastwood on How He Approaches Filmmaking
The Oscar-Winning Hollywood legend said that the key to staying fresh in filmmaking is to never stop learning. The moment that you stop being a student of your craft is the moment you become stale. In the book, Eastwood said he started learning in his early days. While working on Rawhide, he took in how the various directors on the show interacted with the cast. At the same time, he watched how actors responded to the directors.
Clint Eastwood likes to keep things moving quickly on set. However, that doesn’t mean he wants a high-stress environment. In fact, he wants the exact opposite. As a director, he wants to see actors really stepping into a role. In his experience, it is easier for an actor to do that if the atmosphere on set is calm. At the same time, he wants to be able to give the actors confidence that what they’re working on is going to be good. Keeping these two things in mind allows Eastwood to be an effective director.
The overarching theme of Clint Eastwood’s approach to filmmaking is flexibility. He goes in-depth on this in the book. He says that every project is different. So, each one comes with its own obstacles. Both the actors and the director have to be aware of this. At the same time, they have to be able to adapt to whatever comes up.
It isn’t just the flexibility to think on his feet that keeps Clint Eastwood effective on the set. He talks about making changes and split-second decisions on set. For instance, sometimes he will change scripts on the set to fit the actor or environment. Also, he modifies his directing style from project to project. Sometimes he takes time to rehearse with actors. Other times, he knows he doesn’t need to do so. It all depends on the project and the actors.
In short, Clint Eastwood stays flexible and never stops learning. Those two things make him effective on both sides of the camera. That same basic philosophy can be applied to just about any line of work.