#1  
Old 03-06-2010, 04:57 PM
Most Recognizable Director Trademarks

Sometimes Director's leave something you'll find in all/most of their movies here's a few I can think of.

John Woo - Doves
Spielberg - Overexposure
Tarantino - Fake "Big Kahuna Burger" restaurant franchise & always has a shot from the inside of a car boot.
M Night Shyamalan - Twists
Hitchcock - self cameo's.
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  #2  
Old 03-06-2010, 05:53 PM
David Lynch and Guy Maddin - major dreamlike weirdness
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  #3  
Old 03-06-2010, 06:03 PM
Sam Raimi - the POV shot (where the camera follows a flying object straight to its target)
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  #4  
Old 03-06-2010, 06:05 PM
Wong Kar-Wai: Lingering shots at 4 fps, using one song over and over as a motif for each film, being intimate without showing usual signs of affection, a lonely, misfit main character who is desperate to make a connection.

Alejandro Jodorowsky: stories tend to involve alchemy, heavy use of symbolic imagery involving Eastern philosophy or a critique of Western religion, frequently casts actors with physical deformities, all his important films involve a main character trying to overcome the limitations of their body and mind.
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  #5  
Old 03-06-2010, 07:01 PM
Ed Wood: Angora fetish
Lucio Fulci: Eyeball trauma
Hitchcock: Blondes / Wrong Man plots
Kevin Smith: Static two shots
Wes Craven: Booby traps

Last edited by SAI; 03-06-2010 at 07:07 PM..
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  #6  
Old 03-06-2010, 07:05 PM
First one that came to mind was Jonathan Demme. He always does this shot with the actor looking straight into the camera and talking. Almost like they are talking to the audience but they are actually talking to the other character. I know for sure he used it in The Manchurian Candidate and Philadelphia.
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  #7  
Old 03-06-2010, 07:08 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by kru3ger View Post
First one that came to mind was Jonathan Demme. He always does this shot with the actor looking straight into the camera and talking. Almost like they are talking to the audience but they are actually talking to the other character. I know for sure he used it in The Manchurian Candidate and Philadelphia.
And frequently in The Silence of the Lambs
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  #8  
Old 03-06-2010, 07:09 PM
Nice call, Demme definitely used it in the Silence of the Lambs as well. That's a hard shot to pull off because you walk a fine line with it because if it's done wrong, you'll feel that the actor is looking at the camera, but he does this technique perfectly where it feels intimate and it fits naturally with the scene.
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  #9  
Old 03-06-2010, 07:35 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by CosmicPuppet View Post
Nice call, Demme definitely used it in the Silence of the Lambs as well. That's a hard shot to pull off because you walk a fine line with it because if it's done wrong, you'll feel that the actor is looking at the camera, but he does this technique perfectly where it feels intimate and it fits naturally with the scene.
Ah yes it's been awhile since I seen the Lambs. Yeah he definitely pulls it off well though. I found it really disturbing and creepy at times in Manchurian though, which is a good thing.
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  #10  
Old 03-06-2010, 10:13 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sheriff Jigsaw View Post
Tarantino - Fake "Big Kahuna Burger" restaurant franchise & always has a shot from the inside of a car boot.
He also uses Red Apple cigarettes.

I have to ask, Jigsaw: what do you mean by Spielberg and overexposure?

I'll add Renny Harlin, who includes a reference to Finland in most of his films (mostly a bottle of Finlandia vodka)
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  #11  
Old 03-07-2010, 12:35 AM
I was also going to point out that Renny Harlan will put little references to Finland in his movies. There's a little flag in a potted plant in the background during Deep Blue Sea. And in Driven, there is a shot of a cheering fan with his face painted like the flag. He also does cameos sometimes.

Michael Bay - 360 shots.

James Cameron - shots of people's feet, usually walking/running towards the camera.

Paul WS Anderson - close ups of a single eye - usually zooming in or out of it.

Tim Burton - black and white things that spiral and twist.
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  #12  
Old 03-07-2010, 01:28 AM
Ridley Scott - Historical epics.

Akira Kurosawa - Asian Samurai Epics

James Cameron - Bloated budget epics
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  #13  
Old 03-07-2010, 02:25 AM
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Originally Posted by God of War View Post
Akira Kurosawa - Asian Samurai Epics
To be a little more specific, Kurosawa was famous for using Telephoto lenses. He filled his frames with so much information and was very meticulous when it came to spatial placement of his characters. I'm not aware of any current filmmakers that follow a similar technique.
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  #14  
Old 03-07-2010, 06:05 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sheriff Jigsaw View Post
Spielberg - Overexposure
Not really sure what this means, but ok.

Spielberg also has other trademarks:
-absent father/father who's neglectful (E.T., Hook, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, War of the Worlds
-90 degree character shot - where there are (at least) two people in a frame; one character is facing the camera, the other character is facing to the right or left (profile shot)
-the moon


Quote:
Tarantino - Fake "Big Kahuna Burger" restaurant franchise & always has a shot from the inside of a car boot.
-he also has "Red Apples" cigarettes . . . as well as a brand of cereal that doesn't actually exist which name escapes me


Kurosawa also had several trademarks (other than the samurai epic, which technically isn't true - he made other movies from other genres as well):
-class distinctions (Seven Samurai, Yojimbo, Rashomon, Stray Dog, High & Low
-the wipe transition (which George Lucas "borrowed" for the Star Wars movies)
-telephoto lens (which was already mentioned)
-he also used the 90 degree character shot (Spielberg "borrowed" it from him)
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  #15  
Old 03-07-2010, 06:33 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by Weapon X View Post
Sam Raimi - the POV shot (where the camera follows a flying object straight to its target)
Other Sam Raimi trademarks are his car popping up in all his movies, a cameo from brother Ted, and Bruce Campbell being involved in some capacity (most of the time).
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  #16  
Old 03-07-2010, 06:55 AM
Tarantino also seems to have a foot fetish moment in most of his films, be it visual (Jackie Brown, Kill Bill, Inglourious Basterds, From Dusk Til Dawn) or in dialogue (Pulp Fiction's foot massage conversation)
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  #17  
Old 03-07-2010, 10:06 AM
Regarding the cereal: Tarantino often features old classic and discontinued cereal brands from the 70's, like Count Choco. He also often uses the "trunk shot", and in Basterds, replaced it with the "body shot". He also often features a long-take one-shot in his films.

Other trademarks:

Wes Anderson features a slow-motion tracking shot in almost every one of his movies. He also often features an underwater shot.

David Fincher: Every Fincher film features a shot in which a character walks into focus.

Sam Raimi also tends to use the "crash zoom" in many of his films including the Evil Dead and Spider-Man films, as well as Drag Me To Hell: When he has the camera zoom in very quickly, like in old Westerns. Tarantino used this technique in Kill Bill quite a bit. He also features the same Oldsmobile Delta 88 car in ALL of his films, from Evil Dead onwards.

Stanley Kubrick often has lengthy tracking shots through enclosed spaces, like Kirk Douglas in Paths of Glory, Malcolm McDowell in Clockwork Orange, Lee Ermey in Full Metal Jacket, and others. Also, he often uses zooms.

This isn't exactly a director trademark, but movies based on Stephen King novels are often set in Maine, and often feature protagonists that are writers. Similarly, Charlie Kaufman-scripted movies often take place at least partially in the mind of his characters, even when it's not so obvious (Adaptation, Confessions of a Dangerous Mind).

Paul Thomas Anderson often employs whip-pans in his films, in which the camera rapidly whips around to another frame, often with a dissolve in the middle to conceal a transition between two shots.

The Coen Brothers have a recurring theme of circles in their films - the hat in Miller's Crossing, the hula hoop in Hudsucker Proxy, the UFO in The Man who Wasn't There, the coin in No Country, and some others.

Robert Altman is known for his sprawling ensemble casts, and films featuring many characters and no clear-cut protagonists. In fact, his films are so over-populated with characters, that a common recurring element in his films is overlapping dialogue - many characters talking at once and having multiple conversations at the same time, so that you never really know who to listen to because everyone is talking at once.

I'll think of more later on...

Last edited by Monotreme; 03-07-2010 at 10:57 AM..
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  #18  
Old 03-07-2010, 10:23 AM
M Night Shyamalan- himself (cameo)
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  #19  
Old 03-07-2010, 10:39 AM
Spielberg - Against the sunset shots

P.T Anderson - Elaborate and long steadicam shots
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  #20  
Old 03-07-2010, 12:17 PM
Christopher Nolan- the main character(s) end up becoming a completely different type of person by the conclusion of the film.
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  #21  
Old 03-09-2010, 01:16 AM
David Fincher - quick pan

example: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mAktQvv-rvM @ 13 second mark
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  #22  
Old 03-09-2010, 05:01 AM
Kubrick -- the insane, thousand-mile stare of his characters. He just loves it. And so do I.





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  #23  
Old 03-09-2010, 05:12 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by CosmicPuppet View Post
Kubrick -- the insane, thousand-mile stare of his characters. He just loves it. And so do I.





Wow I never really put all that together, that's pretty awesome
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  #24  
Old 03-09-2010, 05:13 AM
Without getting into all the deets as to what the "trademarks" are here's a few Directors instantly recognizable to me.
David Lynch
Tim Burton
Robert Zemeckis
Steven Spielberg - some obvious traits in each of his films
Martin Scorsese (older days mainly always used a few little tricks if you will that were unique to his sense of humor)
Christopher Guest (same troop w/ few differences ever in the casting-luv it!)
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  #25  
Old 03-09-2010, 09:27 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jig Saw 123 View Post
Christopher Nolan- the main character(s) end up becoming a completely different type of person by the conclusion of the film.
Haha that's called good character development, something a lot of films today completely and utterly lack.
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  #26  
Old 03-09-2010, 10:05 AM
Mamoru Oshii - Bassett Hound.
Peter Jackson - Self cameos.

Last edited by Cronos; 03-09-2010 at 10:11 AM..
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  #27  
Old 03-09-2010, 04:04 PM
Sam Peckinpah - Most of films have scenes of violence shot in slow motion.
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  #28  
Old 03-09-2010, 04:06 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by Smiert Spionam View Post
Haha that's called good character development, something a lot of films today completely and utterly lack.
True, but it seems like in his films the character(s) go on a psychological roller coaster.
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  #29  
Old 03-09-2010, 04:12 PM

The very first that comes to mind is Brian DePalma.

Besides the fact that he is basically the 'master thief' (in particular from Hitchcock) he uses split screen in almost, if not all, his movies. He also has a taste for long tracking shots, slow motion and using long dramatic music sequences.
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  #30  
Old 03-11-2010, 01:20 PM
John Landis

See You Next Wednesday
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