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Spike Jonze - Auteur Theory
SPIKE JONZE
                         22ND OCTOBER 1969


•   Spike Jonze is an American director, screen writer, producer and actor.
•   He came from a qualified background and attended San Francisco Art Institute
    (SFAI) in California.
•   Alongside co-editors of ‘Freestylin Magazine, Mark Lewman and Andy Jenkins,
    he had frontage on an international BMX Club called Club Homeboy in the
    1980s. This is where he began working as a photographer and later creating the
    ground breaking Homeboy and Dirt – brother publication of Sassy Magazine.
•   He became active in 1989 and since then has produced amazing commercials,
    music videos, TV and films.
•   Jonze is known for music collaborations with the like of Weezer, Beastie Boys and
    Bjork as well as writer Charlie Kaufman.
AUTEUR THEORY
   Spike Jonze is an auteur theorist which means as a director he uses the
   commercial apparatus of film-making in the same way that a painter uses
                  paint and a paintbrush or a writer uses a pen.
  The Auteur Theory is a way of using personal factor in artistic creation as a
     standard of reference and a feature that continues throughout directors
                                      work.
 Jonze’s personal factor is making films and music videos that are off-beat in
   their visual storytelling, particularly their mix of live-action, animation, and
                                       puppetry.
   The idea of having a personal factor (almost like a trade mark) is used
                     amongst many directors. For example
OTHER AUTEUR THEORISTS
Another example of an auteur theorist is Tim Burton who is an American
writer, artist, film producer and director. His personal factor is movies that
are dark, gothic and quirky themes. His most famous movies consist of:

•Edward Scissorhands
•Planet of The Apes
•Batman
•Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
•Batman Returns
•Alice in Wonderland

Much like Spike Jonze, he is known for collaborating
•Musician – Danny Elfman
•Actor - Johnny Depp
•Partner/actress – Helena Bonham Carter
WEEZER – BUDDY HOLLY
Buddy Holly was the pioneer of rock and roll who is described as the most influential and
  inspiring singer-songwriter for contemporary and later musicians. The lyrics in the song
  pays reference to him and was released on what would have been his 58th birthday.
 Throughout the video, there is live action from the Weezers who are shown performing
   at the original set of ‘Arnold’s Drive-In Diner’ from the 70s TV show ‘Happy Days’. The
 atmosphere is very fun and energetic and intercuts clips from the show which appears
 effectively combined with the contemporary footage. The idea of it being set in a well
known location, allows viewers to relate to the video and become more in tune with the
               featured footage from episode #53 and several other episodes.
   At the beginning of the video there is subtitles used to show the director and creator
      which allows it to be viewed as an episode or a film rather than a music video.
 The cameo appearance by cast member Al Molinaro from ‘Happy Days’ (whereby he
plugs in his hometown ‘Kenosha, Wisconsin’) in the introduction creates a sense of union
      between the band and cast members. It also gives viewers a feel as if they are
 watching a scene from the show ‘Happy Days’ as there is audience laughter heard at
                           both the beginning and end of the video.
     Creatively, Fonzie (another member of the cast) is shown dancing to the bands
   performance in the memorable climax. This was done by using a body double and
            editing to make it look as if he was there on the day of the shooting.
    Overall, the visual storytelling in the video is off-beat however, has a very creative
    aspect to it by making it seem as part of an episode in ‘Happy Days’ which is what
                                 Jonze intended to show case.
Cameo appearance by
                                                                                 cast member Al Molinaro
                                                                                 from ‘Happy Days’ set in
                                                                                the original Arnold’s Drive-
                                                                                          In Diner

                                                                                ‘To be continued’ makes it
                                                                                   feel as if its an actual
                                                                                  episode from the show


                            The group beastie boys at Arnold’s Drive-In Diner
Featured Footage from the
70s TV show ‘Happy Days’




                                                                                 Subtitles at the beginning
                                                                                  of the video to show the
                                                                                    director and creator

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Spike Jonze - Auteur Theory

  • 2. SPIKE JONZE 22ND OCTOBER 1969 • Spike Jonze is an American director, screen writer, producer and actor. • He came from a qualified background and attended San Francisco Art Institute (SFAI) in California. • Alongside co-editors of ‘Freestylin Magazine, Mark Lewman and Andy Jenkins, he had frontage on an international BMX Club called Club Homeboy in the 1980s. This is where he began working as a photographer and later creating the ground breaking Homeboy and Dirt – brother publication of Sassy Magazine. • He became active in 1989 and since then has produced amazing commercials, music videos, TV and films. • Jonze is known for music collaborations with the like of Weezer, Beastie Boys and Bjork as well as writer Charlie Kaufman.
  • 3. AUTEUR THEORY Spike Jonze is an auteur theorist which means as a director he uses the commercial apparatus of film-making in the same way that a painter uses paint and a paintbrush or a writer uses a pen. The Auteur Theory is a way of using personal factor in artistic creation as a standard of reference and a feature that continues throughout directors work. Jonze’s personal factor is making films and music videos that are off-beat in their visual storytelling, particularly their mix of live-action, animation, and puppetry. The idea of having a personal factor (almost like a trade mark) is used amongst many directors. For example
  • 4. OTHER AUTEUR THEORISTS Another example of an auteur theorist is Tim Burton who is an American writer, artist, film producer and director. His personal factor is movies that are dark, gothic and quirky themes. His most famous movies consist of: •Edward Scissorhands •Planet of The Apes •Batman •Charlie and the Chocolate Factory •Batman Returns •Alice in Wonderland Much like Spike Jonze, he is known for collaborating •Musician – Danny Elfman •Actor - Johnny Depp •Partner/actress – Helena Bonham Carter
  • 5. WEEZER – BUDDY HOLLY Buddy Holly was the pioneer of rock and roll who is described as the most influential and inspiring singer-songwriter for contemporary and later musicians. The lyrics in the song pays reference to him and was released on what would have been his 58th birthday. Throughout the video, there is live action from the Weezers who are shown performing at the original set of ‘Arnold’s Drive-In Diner’ from the 70s TV show ‘Happy Days’. The atmosphere is very fun and energetic and intercuts clips from the show which appears effectively combined with the contemporary footage. The idea of it being set in a well known location, allows viewers to relate to the video and become more in tune with the featured footage from episode #53 and several other episodes. At the beginning of the video there is subtitles used to show the director and creator which allows it to be viewed as an episode or a film rather than a music video. The cameo appearance by cast member Al Molinaro from ‘Happy Days’ (whereby he plugs in his hometown ‘Kenosha, Wisconsin’) in the introduction creates a sense of union between the band and cast members. It also gives viewers a feel as if they are watching a scene from the show ‘Happy Days’ as there is audience laughter heard at both the beginning and end of the video. Creatively, Fonzie (another member of the cast) is shown dancing to the bands performance in the memorable climax. This was done by using a body double and editing to make it look as if he was there on the day of the shooting. Overall, the visual storytelling in the video is off-beat however, has a very creative aspect to it by making it seem as part of an episode in ‘Happy Days’ which is what Jonze intended to show case.
  • 6. Cameo appearance by cast member Al Molinaro from ‘Happy Days’ set in the original Arnold’s Drive- In Diner ‘To be continued’ makes it feel as if its an actual episode from the show The group beastie boys at Arnold’s Drive-In Diner Featured Footage from the 70s TV show ‘Happy Days’ Subtitles at the beginning of the video to show the director and creator
  • 7. BEASTIE BOYS – SABOTAGE The music video for Sabotage is the opening credits of a 1970s style police show called Sabotage. Within this purely energetic music video, each member of the band are characters from the show who are introduced as fictional actors through the use of subtitles that appear on the screen when the footage is paused. The style in which this is shown is exactly the same way a cop show in that time period would have been shown. This is simply because the music video is a tribute and charicature of 1970s crime drama television series such as Starsky and Hutch, Baretta, S.W.A.T., Hawaii Five-O and The Streets of San Francisco. In the introduction of the video, we are immediately alarmed with some type of action through the siren on the top of the car giving us the idea that there has been a crime and the sound of the drums and guitar which creates intensity. Following that, the chaotic pacing of every shot appearing on screen draws in the viewer to become highly focused on everything that is going on. The vocals used instantly after fit in well with the video because it is loud and alarming. Overall, the music stays at a constant level to fit in with the action however, becomes even louder when the lead vocalist sings. The video is set in both a urban and upper classed american town whereby there is low and high buildings (that the characters jump on and over), grafitti, high ways and flats to name a few which is shown through a vast amount of camera angles, shots and movements. This consists of birds eye view, high and low angle, canted angle, mid shot, wide shot, close ups, two shot, extreme close ups and pont of view shots that are all used effectively.
  • 8. The editing is extremely fast paced with a lot of cuts as well as camera movement such as panning, tilts, tracking and fast zooms to create an atmosphere that is highly exhilarating. The effect of panning is to show the audience everything that is going on as well as a hand held camera which makes you feel as if you are apart of it – especially when shots shown are not 100 percent clear. The fast zooms into peoples faces shows you facial expressions and the way in which each person is feeling. It also gives you a feel that the action is coming towards you. Moreover, all the camera angles, shots and editing are used to give the audience a range of perspectives throughout the video and create a particular feel to what is being seen. The police bravado is exaggerated however, this feet's in with the idea of it being comical. Each member of the band are dressed as cops with dark wigs, thick moustache's, braces, suits, shirts, ties and aviators which is a typical representation of an American cop. With all the influence from the writers of the television shows, Spike Jonze was able to create an imitation of their styles into a chaotic music video with deliberate exaggeration for comic effect which is one of his personal factors. It also had a mix of live action, loud up tempo music and natural lighting that created a sense of realism and was classed as one of Spike Jonze’s famous music videos simply due to his creativity .
  • 9. Introduction of the video Here are a range of camera shots and angles that are used in the video.
  • 10. JAY-Z & KANYE WEST - OTIS Otis is a music video by Kanye West and Jay-Z who are well known American hip hop artists. Posthumously, the song is constructed upon a sample of Otis Redding’s ‘Try A Little Tenderness’ which includes his soulful voice and a few grunts which is rapped over by West and Jay-z who traded off of verses throughout the track. Effectively, the two share lines that are about subjects such as fame and wealth. The main focus in the video begins with a brand new Maybach 57 that is fixed between blue industrial buildings alongside 6 figures in white. The pace of the music begins slow as we hear the sample from ‘Try A Little Tenderness’ which matches the pace, the camera draws nearer to the car with Jay-Z and Kanye slowly appearing from the sides - almost as if they are walking either side of the camera. As they appear we see props such as a saber saw and a blow torch which suggests violence and contrasts with the luxury vehicle that viewers were once focused on. The scene is fairly dull coloured with white, blue and black being most dominant however, appears dark when the camera focuses on the car being destroyed and customised. The other scene throughout the video is brightly coloured with natural sunlight that features an American flag in front of a building that contrasts well with what the rappers are wearing. As the camera cuts to the beat of the music, from one scene of the car being customised and another where the rappers mouth and act out the lyrics, the volume of the music increases to build up adrenalin and eventually show the reconstructed Maybach 57 with no doors and windows that has been turned into a ‘Thunderdome cruiser’ and emphasised by the screech of Jay-Z. There after, we see the two rappers racing around an industrial lot in the Maybach with four models laughing and smiling in the back as well as the two rapping in front of the American back drop and building alongside the car.
  • 11. The video is located in an industrial lot that is predominantly blue and is set in the day with high key lighting from the sunlight shining throughout. The casual clothing worn by the rappers consists of white t-shirts, shirts, denim blue jeans and trainers. The models are also dressed casually which creates realism and allows the audience to relate to them. They are both portrayed as two laid back friends who like to have fun, enjoy themselves which creates a fun happy atmosphere to the video. In some ways, the video could be viewed as comical as all the people in the video are shown to be full of laughter – a key aspect that Jonze likes to include. Amongst the people in the video, there is a cameo appearance by Aziz Ansari who also portrays this fun laid back attitude. The style of this video is performance as there is a range of things shown to the audience. This consists of racing in fast cars, fireworks, rapping, customising cars and a general camaraderie of the two main people. The editing reflects the personality of Jay-Z and Kanye West with scenes that are slow paced to add emphasis to what is being shown. For example, the car turning around at such a high speed is slowed right down for the audience to capture the facial expressions of each persons face and illustrate the fun that they are having. The camera angles, movement and shots vary throughout with low angle shots, mid shot, close ups, panning, zooming and hand held shots whereby the rappers take hold of the camera and screams into it. The most dominant type of camera shot in the video is wide view and two shot which were used to give viewers the scene from a bigger perspective, emphasise how big the location was and remain the focus on the two artists. On the whole, the camera angles, shots and movement have been effectively chosen to produce a realistic video whereby they are showcasing life as fun. Despite the last scene using dark natural lighting from the night sky which usually would create a depressed dull atmosphere, the fun happy atmosphere continues throughout with fireworks and blow torches appearing brightly in the background and loud screams of the artists which could portray a sense of achievement, relief and overall happiness.
  • 12. Here are a range of camera shots and angles that are used in the video.
  • 13. TRADE MARK Jonze has a trade mark to frequently cast and collaborate with: • Catherine Keener • Writer – Charlie Kaufman • Actor – Chris Cooper • Cinematographer – Lance Acord He has also been known to make flawless combinations of special effects into live action photography which has been used in • Being John Malkovich (1999), • Adaptation. (2002) • Where the Wild Things Are (2009).
  • 14. To conclude, Spike Jonze is an auteur theorist because there is a consistency of ideas used throughout his work which makes it recognisable amongst viewers. From the videos that I have watched, his work is very creative in terms of ideas with a mixture of live action and music that works well with one another. His videos also have a tendency to have some type of influence from people in the past, whether that be a show, singer or television series that he portrays effectively within his work. He also has a regularity of working with the same people whether that is in films or music videos.