Steven Soderbergh on What Needs to Change in TV Production and Editing

The director of 'The Knick' talks about an auteur-style of television production.
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Steven Soderbergh spoke to the Directors Guild of America about his long and varied career, touching upon his latest work in television. Most recently, Soderbergh directed all 10 episodes of Cinemax’s period medical drama, The Knick.

"Our situation was atypical: There was a single director, and the show was scheduled, budgeted, and shot like a 10-hour movie,” Soderbergh explained about The Knick. “I’m hoping we’re going to see more situations where directors are involved earlier in conceiving and building the universe of a show, and that the idea of parachuting in a guest director to do an episode becomes less the norm than having a smaller, cohesive group of directors that essentially are part of the creative team and are working on the show the whole year. I think you get a better result that way."

The auteur, famous for shooting and editing his own films as well as directing them, also has thoughts on the way TV shows are traditionally cut. “The editing patterns of television need to evolve,” he says. “I was watching a very well-made show the other night, and it was a scene of two people in a conference room. The shots were interesting and really well thought-out, and I’d say there were probably eight angles. But they used all eight angles within the first 25 seconds, so for the remaining three minutes of the scene, they were just bouncing around to these eight angles instead of doling them out gradually so that there was a sense of increased momentum and design. It was literally just cutting on every line and using all of the angles as many times as you could in three minutes. That’s a very TV mentality in terms of how to cut a scene together, and that needs to change.”

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