What makes a Paul Thomas Anderson shot feel so unique? That’s the question at the center of a new video essay from StudioBinder that analyzes the director’s most iconic images and teaches aspiring filmmakers how they can approach shot-buiding from a similar perspective.
Anderson has made eight features in his two decades as a director, including the upcoming fashion drama with Daniel Day-Lewis, and when looking at his filmography in chronological order one can easily see the evolution of his style and personal filmmaking voice. His early days were marked by his greatest influences — Jonathan Demme and his intimate closeups, Martin Scorsese and his tracking shots — and Anderson’s style has become defined by the way he has taken these touchstones and made them his own.
Working with cinematographers Robert Elswit and Mihai Mălaimare Jr., Anderson has created a shot list of never-ending ambition. He’s a formalist (“The Master”) and a radical experimenter (“Magnolia,” “Punch-Drunk Love”) who’s filmmaking continues to get more daring with each movie.
Anderson recently wrapped production on his untitled London fashion drama, which reunites him with Day-Lewis for the first time since “There Will Be Blood.” The feature marks a notable move in the director’s career, as he’s also serving as his own cinematographer for the first time. Focus Features will release the drama in theaters this Christmas.
Take a look at the breakdown of Anderson shots in the video below.