Oscar-nominated director gives tips to summer filmmaking camp

by Shyan Zakeri and J.J. Woronoff


Jason Reitman ’95, director of “Juno”, showed a group of aspiring film makers in Feldman-Horn auditorium, half a dozen trailers from some of his films. When the reel finished and the lights came to life, a thunderous applause erupted from the audience.

Shortly after, he talked to the summer school film camp about his career and what it takes to make a great movie. The Q and A session was led by the Head of the Upper School Visual Arts Department, Cheri Gaulkeand John Glouchevitch ’06.
“All you really need to think about is how your audience feels,” said Reitman. “Just ask yourself the question ‘Does this feel honest, does this feel real, does it sound like bulls**t? Is this what happen in real life?’ That’s the most important thing, if a movie doesn’t seem believable, the audience won’t like it, said Reitman.

“If an actor isn’t getting line three right, don’t tell them to focus on that line but to focus on line two and they’ll be so focused on line two that they’ll say line three naturally,” said Reitman.

Reitman really feels connected to his films. He spent around seven years working on the script for “Up in the Air.” He tries to bring in elements of his life into his films, although he isn’t afraid to cut something from a film.

“If it doesn’t work, it doesn’t work,” said Reitman. In “Up in the Air” he drew influence from his own life.

“I like to be alone on planes. It kinda relieves my stress,” said Reitman. During his early years, he worked on a few commercials.

“I felt like all I had to do was say action and cut,” said Reitman. “I didn’t like [commercials because I didn’t live them.”

Growing up as the son of a famous director, Ivan Reitman, who directed “Ghostbusters’, “Ghostbusters 2”, “Kindergarden Cop”, “Junior”, “Evolution”, “My Super Ex-Girlfriend” and “No Strings Attached”, Jason spent a lot of time in movie theaters as a child. His parents would drop him off at the multiplex and he would watch movie after movie. The only thing that sucked is I had to pay for every movie. I didn’t even think of sneaking in. I was a rich kid,” said Reitman.

Reitman’s favorite films include “Election”, “The Apartment”, and “Sullivan’s Travels” among others. Reitman is currently working on his film, “Young Adults”, and has another in post-production.
This story was written by students in the Summer School Journalism for Print and New Media class.