How PT Anderson Made Magnolia. “That Moment”

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In 1997, fresh out of college and living in San Francisco, I was taking filmmaking classes and hoping that soon I would be the next big thing in the film world. After hearing a lot of great reviews about a new film called Boogie Nights, I went to a matinee and for the next 2 hours realized exactly how far I was from being the filmmaker I wanted to be. Boogie Nights, for me, was thrilling and compelling on so many levels. After it came out on DVD, I would end up watching it over and over just to figure out how PT Anderson put together all of those wonderful whip pans and combined music and editing to create such an energetic and entertaining experience. And he was only a couple of years older than me!!

Of course, walking out of the theater, I huffed to myself, surely this guy is just a one hit wonder or maybe he had a lot of help and just got lucky. And then, within a year or so, he came out with yet another film, even more brilliant that his first film. Again, I went out and bought the DVD for Magnolia and was pleasantly surprised to find an extra disc with nothing but special features. The most important of all of these was a documentary called That Moment. For the first time I was able to get an inside look at how PT Anderson thought and worked. Now, many years later, I look at filmmaking very differently but many of the ideas that I have carried with me over the years originated with this documentary which I consider a must-watch for every young filmmaker.

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