Learn Directing Through DVDs - Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade

Victor Ramirez

Ok, so I'm going to start a weekly thing where I post a link to a DVD extra online or the Amazon link for the actual DVD.

The great thing about DVDs right now is that not a lot of people want them. You can find amazing collections with 3+ hours in extras and amazing packaging $2+ shipping & handling on Half.com. As a director and filmmaker, you should want them. Some of filmmakers' greatest secrets are given away in the commentary or "making of" featurettes.

This week, I am starting with an old favorite, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade Making Of Featurette. It is included in the trilogy box set. Watch it before you read this or after.

My biggest takeaway:
If you look at the DVD in a superficial way, the focus seems to be on how epic the film was and how great it is to work with Harrison Ford. However, by digging deeper you can see a recurring theme. The dynamic relationship between Indy and his father (played by Sean Connery).

In the best films, every great actor plays their character with a super objective. A super objective is different from a scene objective in that it doesn't end with the story. This affects the way the character interacts with others throughout the film.

For The Last Crusade, Indy is trying to get out of his father's shadow. An exemplary scene is where Indy and his father are stranded on a beach with a Nazi plane attacking them with strafing runs. Indy panics and attempts to look for cover. He is one upped by his father who calmly uses his umbrella to coax birds into the Nazi plane's propeller causing it to crash. Indy's father doesn't even break a sweat.

Watch some of your favorite movies - the father/son dynamic is also used in The Godfather. When working on your next project, look at the script and see what super objective your actors can use to breathe life into the story. If you can't find one, you may need to fix your script.


Do you have any DVD extras that changed your perspective on filmmaking?