Taylor Swift is already well known as a singer-songwriter, but on Saturday she appeared at the Tribeca Festival as director, a role she has only taken on for years. recently, first directed her music video for “The Man” and just a few months ago, her short film director, Everything is so goodsoundtrack to the 10-minute version of the song of the same name.
Joining surprise guests Sadie Sink and Dylan O’Brien, who play the couple at the heart of the film, Swift explains her approach to crafting Everything is so good and how she transitioned to directing, in conversation with director Mike Mills.
She explains that when she first started her career, she started getting involved in her video editing and making changes.
“It starts with intervention,” she said. About 10 years ago, she explains, she started writing elaborate treatments for her videos and “outsourced the director,” but she sees the use of lenses as a “natural extension of storytelling.” and writing”.
“It felt very natural to me to write a song and visualize it in my head to create a playlist and shoot it and choose who we wanted to lead each department and who would help put all this puzzle together. together,” said Swift, who has also directed the music videos for “Cardigan” and “Willow,” said. “And it’s a different approach for each [project]. ”
But she admitted that she started directing “almost unnecessarily” on “The Man.”
“My first instinct was to write the treatment, send it in. I wanted a female director to direct it,” she said. “And all of my favorite female directors are booked and busy, which is great. We like that. That’s great. So I just thought maybe I would? ”
Swift said for a while she struggled with “imposter syndrome,” feeling like directing was “something someone else did.”
“I just hung around with it and was like, ‘I like that they did that’; “I did it the other way around,” she said. “So the list of things I absorbed became so long that I ended up thinking, ‘I really want to do this.’
And then when she started directing, she didn’t want to stop, saying, “I find it absolutely perfect.”
While acknowledging that she is still learning, Swift is clear that she has approached 15 minutes Everything is so good as a short film, “not a music video”.
And she said she “would love” to lead a movie.
“It would be great to write and direct a movie,” she said. “I don’t see it getting bigger in scale. I love making an intimate movie with a really small group and a really solid team that I believe in. ”
However, she explains, she is well aware of the challenges female filmmakers face.
“I am also extremely aware of my privilege as a female filmmaker, because I was able to finance this film myself,” she said. “I have to constantly realize that, even though it is a constant challenge for me to do something new, I also understand that it is still extremely difficult for women to make films and I always keep an eye on reality. there.”
Be specific about Everything is so goodSwift explains how she uses visual cues as forms of foreshadowing and to better reflect her character’s emotions.
Sink’s character, as seen in Everything is so goodis a writer, and Swift explains that she foreshadowed that with Pablo Neruda’s quote at the beginning of the film and Sink’s character wondering if she made up O’Brien’s character.
“One day she will write a book and she will make his character a protagonist in the novel,” Swift said, adding that the chapter markers in the film are “the chapter in her novel”.
Also, as Swift fans have come to expect, an easter egg in the form of a red typewriter makes its first appearance on the quick pan when viewers meet O’Brien’s character.
“We then saw her type this typewriter and we assumed he gave it to her. She complimented it and he gave it to her,” Swift explained. “He took a lot from her throughout this story but he also gave her something. Dreaming and hoping that she became a writer, I think her experience with him is what shaped her in her life and career. ”
Something similar happened in her life, Swift said, as she recalls being unowned by her owner led to her re-recording her old albums, including the release of her own version. 10 minutes of “All Too Well” as part of Red rerelease.
“I am in this situation talking about a short film that I am extremely proud of because I have lost all my work. I can’t control my own work and I’ve wanted to since as long as I can remember,” she said. “It was a very difficult time for me. … Many of my hardest moments and moments of extreme grief or loss have been galvanized into my life now. I am very happy with where my life is right now.”
Swift then offered some helpful perspective advice for anyone else going through a tough time: “Time and perspective only add to a better perspective,” she says. “The further you step back from something, the more you can see it.”
And really, that’s exactly what she did with Everything is so good movie.
“I want to show off [the couple’s] proximity in handheld photographs. I wanted to be so close that we could count the freckles,” Swift explained. “And then when everything went and everything fell apart, I wanted our pictures to reflect the distance she felt, the desperate isolation she felt because of her world. opened up to this amazingly strong, big, passionate and intense love, and then just–all of a sudden, overnight, it boiled over. The floor fell. And she just felt so far away from her friends in her old life because she was in this grown-up, grown-up world that she also never felt fit in.”
The audience at the Beacon Theater was filled with ardent Taylor Swift fans, who screamed and gasped for air the entire time she was on stage, and Swift closed with another surprise: a performance. performed a live 10-minute version of “All Too Well,” in which fans sang along.