Paul Thomas Anderson Says You'll Learn More from This Commentary Track Than in 20 Years of Film School

Paul Thomas Anderson Says You'll Learn More from This Commentary Track Than in 20 Years of Film School

Dec 18, 2012


The Master director Paul Thomas Anderson has been making films since he was a wee lad. His father was a late-night horror movie host and bought the would-be filmmaker a Betamax video camera. P.T.A.'s interest in film grew from there. After experimenting on his own, he eventually enrolled in NYU's film school, but quickly left. "Film school is a complete con, because the information is there if you want it," he would later explain. The Dirk Diggler Story, Cigarettes & Coffee and Hard Eight were born soon after. His breakout movie was based on the 1988 Diggler short, Boogie Nights, and Anderson has since become what some have called an "accidental auteur."

Although we'd like to believe P.T.A.'s talents and technical skill materialized like magic, he was reliant on his heroes for a little advice during those formative years. One of our favorite film Tumblrs, Cinephilia & Beyond, has shared an interesting bit of P.T.A. info with us. It turns out that the director's real film-school experience was the audio track on John Sturges' Bad Day at Black Rock LaserDisc. Anderson had this to say:

"My filmmaking education consisted of finding out what filmmakers I liked were watching, then seeing those films. I learned the technical stuff from books and magazines, and with the new technology you can watch entire movies accompanied by audio commentary from the director. You can learn more from John Sturges' audio track on the Bad Day at Black Rock LaserDisc than you can in 20 years of film school."

We've shared part one of that commentary in case you're ready to enroll in the P.T.A. film academy. Head to Cinephilia for part two.

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