David Lynch is an auteur, whose surreal films have carved a jagged path through Hollywood. Originally an artist, the film-maker has subsequently made a name for himself through his bizarre, beautiful and imaginative dreamscapes. Independent, creative and boundary-breaking, his media projects have left a lasting impression making his style of film-making one many try to emulate.
A much-admired and enigmatic force, he’s a great choice for Masterclass, offering some of his insights into the film-making and creative process. Taken sitting down in a large room, the course mimics Lynch’s penchant for artful images and sounds. Creating a similar atmosphere to represent his style and head space, the course centres around him discussing aspects of his process sitting in front of a blank piece of paper.
While you’d imagine he’d use the blank canvas, it becomes something of a red herring as the legend only starts to use it well into the discussion. Smoking a cigarette, adding extra ambience to the up close and personal chat with Lynch, it’s exactly what Lynchland fans would expect and want.
In this light, he’s just as cryptic as he is about certain aspects of the game, attributing much of his artistry to intuition and idea-catching. Often referring to the pursuit of ideas as an exercise in fishing, the references are far from direct, allowing him to maintain some of the mystique he’s become known for. While he doesn’t necessarily unpack the meaning of any of his scenes, the course does leverage his previous works as illustration of some of his discussion.
Playing clips from Twin Peaks, Eraserhead, The Straight Story and Wild at Heart to name a few, Lynch explores some of the creative structure in this films. Citing some of his influences, such as Fellini’s 8 1/2, Polanski’s Chinatown and even Capra’s It’s A Wonderful Life, he reveals some of his personal preferences from pop culture.
As a writer-director, Lynch talks about his origins, his work ethic, his methodology and idea generation. While his style may be cryptic and far from an exact science, he expresses some of his tips for coaxing the best results. From teamwork and creating the right ethos on set to collaborating with the right people, Lynch unpacks some of his biography, some of his filmography and great insights when it comes to the craft of film.
As a devotee to Transcendental Meditation, he has a bonus video on this, which he attributes to some of his success with freeing himself up to catch ideas. The course offers some valuable behind-the-scenes information from an experienced writer-director from a diverse range of fields. It’s wonderful to get more personal access to the film-maker’s unique thoughts and disposition, even if the advice isn’t as practical or groundbreaking as you’d hope. While he may not offer up all his secrets, it’s still an entertaining and valuable session for budding film-makers and creatives.