When it comes to sharing insight on creative technique, director/editor/cinematographer Steven Soderbergh is way out ahead of the pack. He's also got some chutzpah. Last year, he converted Raiders of the Lost Ark to a black-and-white silent film to emphasize Spielberg's staging, shooting, and editing tactics. In 2006, he executed his own edit of Michael Cimino's infamous commercial dud Heaven's Gate, affixing a title card reading, "I acknowledge that what I have done with this film is both immoral and illegal."
Miraculously, both of those projects are still live online, though his equally cheeky re-edit of 2001: A Space Odyssey was removed after a takedown request from the Stanley Kubrick estate. In that context, it's hard to believe that Soderbergh wasn't the major director to attempt a shot-by-shot remake of Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho (that was Gus Van Sant, in 1998), but he did create a full-length re-edit that incorporated elements from both versions of the film.
Now, Soderbergh has published The Knick: Anatomy of a Series, a free 128-page e-book on the first season of his Cinemax series, which aired last fall. It includes the 10 episode scripts by Jack Amiel and Michael Begler along with an assortment of production photographs. But the meat of it is the lengthy, episode-by-episode email exchange between Soderbergh and Cinemax head Kary Antholis during the 466-hour editing process.
You'll have to download the book in iBook format for an iOS device through iTunes if you want to read it. It's being positioned as a promo piece for digital downloads of the series, but it also provides a rare and revealing look at a very efficient high-level collaboration.
Here's an excerpt from Steven Soderbergh's foreword.
Here are some fun, completely useless facts compiled by script supervisor Tom Johnston:
• Total Set ups: 2081* (28.5 daily average) (*Total number in dispute)
• Total Scenes shot: 557
• Total Pages shot: 539 4/8
• Total Number of Pages in which the word “Cocaine” appears: 56
• Total Number of Pages in which the word “Douse” appears: 8
(4 are non-sexual references)
• Most Set-ups shot in one day: 60 (Day 15 in 11.5 hrs. – Int. Surgical Theater – Christiansen Previa Surgery sequence)
• Number of Days more than 40 Set-ups were shot: 12
• Least number of Set-ups shot in one day: 10 (Day 48 – 11 hrs. – Int. Men’s Ward, Int. Tenement building, Reshoot Ext. Algernon beats up Traveling man)
• Number of Set Ups shot on an 18mm lens: 577
• Number of Set Ups shot as “dueling 18’s”: 33
• Most pages shot in a day: 11 4/8 (Day 38 – Int. Thackery’s Townhouse – in 13.8 hrs.)
• Least pages shot in a day: 3 6/8 (Day 32 – Ext. White Tenderloin – Phinny Stabbed – Ext. Cigar shop – Ext. Brothel)
• Longest Day: Day 63 14.5 hrs. – Cromartie Hospital[…]”
Excerpt From: Steven Soderbergh, Jack Amiel, Michael Begler, Steven Katz & Cinemax. “The Knick: Anatomy of a Series.” v1.2. Cinemax, 2015. iBooks.
Did you enjoy this article? Sign up to receive the StudioDaily Fix eletter containing the latest stories, including news, videos, interviews, reviews and more.