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Pak Talks Comics: Reader Q&A on filmmaking!

Welcome to Pak Talks Comics, wherein comics writer and filmmaker Greg Pak answers your questions. Click here to submit your own questions — and read on for the latest answers!
Jeffrey Thompson: What attracts you to filmmaking?
Greg Pak:
Filmmaking lets me flex every muscle in my body and brain. I grew up drawing, writing stories, doing black and white photography, and performing with school drama groups. All of those interests come together in making movies.
Also, I just plain love movies.
Finally, I love the process of filmmaking — particularly working with actors, the cinematographer, and the sound designer and composer to find the emotional core of a scene. There’s something absolutely beautiful about figuring out what a scene’s really about and being able to support that from every angle.
JT: Does a background with comics help with film making?
GP:
It actually worked the other way around for me — I started off in film and then became a professional comics writer. Then again, when I was a kid, I was drawing cartoons long before I ever had the chance to make a movie, so I guess it works that way, too.
So the answer is yes — going in both directions. Working in film definitely helped me get my sea legs in comics. I’d written dozens of shorts and a few feature films before I ever wrote a comics script. And since the basic principles of dramatic storytelling are the same, I suppose I had a pretty good foundation. Of course, there were a ton of comics-specific quirks and techniques I had to learn (and continue to learn to this day). But all that practice in thinking about how to tell stories visually was incredibly helpful.
And now, moving back into filmmaking with my latest short film, “Mister Green,” I’m finding that there are some things I’ve learned from comics that are helping me with filmmaking. I had a great time working with my cinematographer Sam Chase on the “Mister Green” set largely because the two of us found a really great vibe and in the face of some insane scheduling pressures, we were willing to take some big chances regarding the look of the picture that paid off in a big way. (That’s Sam and yours truly to the right there, thinking big thoughts on the set of “Mister Green.”)
I think working in comics, where there’s always an insane deadline that forces a constant series of nearly instantaneous creative decisions, has helped me become a little more fearless about taking the big creative leaps necessary to find beautiful solutions to seemingly unsolvable problems.
Thanks for reading and click here to submit your own questions for the next column!

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