Austin resident Shane Kelly worked as a Director of Photography on the set of Boyhood, the beloved Golden Globe winning film. In addition to being a talented cinematagrapher, Mr. Kelly is also the husband of Fueld's very own Summer Finley. Shane has worked on a ton of FF commercials and has also worked closely with director Richard Linklater on projects such as A Scanner Darkly.
First off, can you tell us what exactly your job as a cinematagrapher consists of?
Creating the look of the film with lights, frames and camera angles while also managing and directing the film crew. If it's a comedy, then bright and cheerful. Whereas a drama, the look calls for a moody, dark look.
Richard Linklater and you have worked together a couple times now and the results have been phenomenal. Can you tell us about him?
He is so very intelligent and humble. He knows a lot about everything and can talk to anyone about anything. I like to think of him as a philosopher. He likes to explore the world and characters through time. He's an actor's director. The script and the actors are everything to him. He's a great guy.
How much creative control do you have as DOP under Linklater?
I have an awful lot of creative control, especially on our last project (That's What I'm Talking About). He gave me a general idea of what he wanted and I made it happen. With Rick, he will let you know if he doesn't like something. But he's very free in that sense that he wants to hear your ideas. Luckily, he likes my ideas and that's why we work together. He trusts me to interpret the script and create the desired look.
What were the challenges of working on a film that shot over 12 years? What did you personally notice about the characters as the film progressed?
It was hard to keep it consistent. We were shooting the scenes a year apart but when it's put together, its only a few seconds in between scenes. Since there were no subtitled years edited in, it was left to the audience to interpret the time passing. So it was very important to keep the same look and we tried to make it very subtle. You have to remember what the last shot from a year ago was and make sure the new shot matches the last. As for seeing the characters grow, Ellar Coltrane had the most marked difference. I mean, with Patricia Arquette, we see her age and we age with her but she's still Partrica Arquette. With the boy, his growth was so dramatic. Every year he would show up with a new haircut or piercing - all just a part of his search for his style and his place in the world. I think the film really captured that.
Was it problematic creating fluidity while having two different DOPs?
So I worked on Boyhood 10 out of 12 years. I started as a camera operator and then took over after the other DOP (Lee Daniel) became unavailable. We had worked side by side for seven years before with Linklater so I was familiar with him and his work which made taking his place fairly easy. The film is very natural and not very stylized so it wasn't extremely hard to jump in and take over. Also, working with the same lighting gaffer was helpful because he would make suggestions and try to help.
How does it feel to be part of an award winning film?
it's always nice to be recognized for your art. It was somewhat of a suprise to win so many awards for Boyhood. We are all very excited to see 12 years of work pay off and we're very excited for Rick.
Can you tell us anything about the next Linklater film That's What I'm Talking About?
His next film is completely different from Boyhood and very reminiscient of Dazed and Confused. Set in 1980, this is a comedic film about the first week of college.
(Unfortunately Matthew McConaughey will not be featured, but you can look forward to seeing some young new faces.)
Is there already talks of what is to come next?
Rick is always working on something. He never stands still. But right now he is occupied with awards season. But I know he's excited to get back to work and you never know what is next with him because he's always thinking of new things.
Which project so far has been your favorite?
I mostly shoot commercials. My other films were shot with Rick. My most satisfying project so far was Tim's Vermeer which is a documentary that went up for a BAFTA. It was a challenging project because it's so different than working on a film or commercial. There is no script so you just go in and follow the action and hope to get something. But it's always nice to mix it up between commercials and features and just to try new things. Every job you learn something new and then you always can use the knowledge in whatever you dive into next. It's good to keep learning.