Taylor Swift “Would Love” to Direct a Feature Film
Taylor Swift is already well-known as a singer-songwriter, but on Saturday she appeared at the Tribeca Festival as a director, a role she’s only taken on in recent years, first helming her music video for “The Man” and, just months ago, directing her short film, All Too Well, soundtracked by the 10-minute version of the song of the same name.
Joined with surprise guests Sadie _ , and Dylan O’Brien who play the couple at center of the film. Swift spoke out about her process for creating All Too Well , and how she got to directing in conversation with director Mike Mills .
She said that she began editing her videos early in her career and making changes.
” It all started with meddling,” she explained. About 10 years ago, she explained, she started writing elaborate treatments for her videos and “outsourcing the directing,” but she saw taking the lens as a “natural extension of storytelling and writing.”
” It felt very natural to expand writing a song in my head and visualizing it in front of me to making a shotlist and storyboarding it and choosing who we wanted to head each department and who would help us put all the pieces together,” Swift, who also directed the music videos for “Cardigan”, and “Willow,” said. It’s been a different approach each [project].”
She admitted that she started directing “almost out-of-necessity” on “The Man .”
” My first instinct was to create the treatment and send it out. She said that she wanted a female director to oversee it. “And all my favorite female directors were booked, which is great. That’s great. That’s fantastic. That’s amazing.
Swift stated that she struggled with “imposter syndrome” for a time, feeling like directing was something that other people did .”
” I would just be there and think about it, like, ‘I love how they did that’; or ‘I would’ve done that differently’,” she said. “So, the list of things I was absorbing became so extensive that I finally thought, ‘I really want this. ‘”
And then once she started directing she didn’t want to stop, saying, “I found it incredibly fulfilling.”
While conceding that she’s still learning, Swift was clear that she approached the 15-minute All Too Well as a short film, “not a music video.”
She said that she would love to direct a movie.
” “It would be so amazing to write and direct an feature,” she stated. “I don’t see it growing in scale. I loved making a film that was so intimate with a group that was really small and a really solid group of people that I trusted.”
She explained that she is very aware of the challenges female filmmakers face.
” I’m also very aware of my privilege as a female filmmaker because I was able finance the film myself.” she said. “I have to constantly be aware that, as much as it’s a constant challenge for me to be doing something new, I also understand that it’s still extremely hard for women to make films, and I am always keeping an eye on that reality.”
Swift spoke specifically about All Too Well , Swift described how she used visual clues to foreshadow and better reflect the characters’ emotions.
Sink’s character, as viewers see in All Too Well, is a writer, and Swift explained that she foreshadowed that with the Pablo Neruda quote at the beginning of the film and Sink’s character wondering if she made up O’Brien’s character.
“One day she’ll write a book and she’ll fictionalize his character into a main character in the novel,” Swift said, adding that the chapter markers in the film are “chapters in her novel.”
There is also, as Swift fans have grown to expect, an Easter egg in form of a red typewriter. This first appears in a quick-pan when O’Brien’s character is introduced.
” Later, we see her using the typewriter and assume that he gave this to her. Swift explained that she complimented it and gave it to him. Swift explained that he has taken a lot from her, but he also gave her something. This dream and hope that she had of being a writer, I think her experience with him is what galvanized her into her life and her career.”
Something similar, Swift said, has happened in her own life, as she recalled how not owning her masters led to her rerecording her old albums, which included releasing the 10-minute version of “All Too Well” as part of the Red rerelease.
” I’m here talking about a short movie that I am extremely proud of, after I lost all my work. She said that she was unable to own her work, something I wanted since I was a child. It was very difficult for me. … Many of my most difficult moments and times of extreme grief or loss were a catalyst for what my life looks like today. I’m happy with where my life is at the moment .”
Swift offered some great advice about perspective to anyone going through a difficult time. “Timing & perspective just adds such an amazing view,” she said. “The farther you are from something, the more you can see
And that’s exactly what she did for the All Too Well movie.
” I wanted to show [the couple’s] closeness with handheld shots. Swift explained that Swift wanted to be so close, she could count freckles. Swift explained that as things happen and things fall apart, I wanted my shots to reflect the remoteness she felt, the desperate isolation she felt because her world opened up and she found this amazing, big, passionate, intense, and intense love. And then it all boiled down to nothing. The floor gave way. And she just feels so far away from her friends in her old life because she’s been in this adult, mature world that she never quite felt fit either.”
The audience at the Beacon Theatre was full of enthusiastic Taylor Swift fans who screamed and gasped throughout her time onstage, and Swift closed with another surprise: a live performance of the 10-minute version of “All Too Well,” during which the fans sang along.
I have been writing professionally for over 20 years and have a deep understanding of the psychological and emotional elements that affect people. I’m an experienced ghostwriter and editor, as well as an award-winning author of five novels.