Film director Robert Rodriguez is living proof of how technology is reshuffling the Hollywood deck. At AMD’s Global Vision Conference, the Austin-based filmmaker discussed his anti-Hollywood digital film making credo and technology focus and previewed a clip of his new movie, "Planet Terror," which is due in theaters on April 6, 2007. The movie is part of a double feature that will be shown along with Quentin Tarantino’s “Death Proof,” which are together are know as Grind House. "It's a throwback to lurid entertainment using high tech to make a low budget looking movie," Rodriquez said. The clip indeed looked like a lurid low budget movie from the 1970s, but with the violence, gore and language of today's edgy films.
"The industry is so behind what is happening. When you get outside of that you can come up with new ways to do things," Rodriquez said.
Desktop film making technology is taking the creative process out of the hands of the studios and putting it into the hands of people outside the studio, he added. For example, if he needs to shoot at night and in the rain with shiny pavement and cars, it only requires a green screen. The rest is digitally layered in, saving actors from getting wet and lowering the cost to deliver a product to theaters. With digital technology, he can see what will appear on the screen immediately and have the capability to manipulate the bits on the fly. He is an evangelist for digital film making and talked about how he was influenced by George Lucas and Francis Ford Coppola, and how he has infected other directors, like Oliver Stone, with the high-definition digital video bug.
Rodriguez, 38, started making movies in his back yard when he was 12, and produced his first feature film, El Mariachi, in 1992 for $7,000. "Now I could make it for $70 bucks," he estimated. Digital technology is at the core of Rodriquez's Troublemaker Studio. "Technology can help you create happy accidents--you are writer, director, photographer, sound mixer. It's not that I am better than anybody…I just know I will make it wrong in all the right ways that will charm people make it human and not make it feel manufactured. The technology makes it possible." Rodriquez said he has been mixing his own movies in his garage since Spy Kids 2. "Technology has gotten so fast, it's waiting for me [to catch up]," he concluded.