One Perfect Shot is a docu-series from Ava DuVernay. The title comes from a popular Twitter account by the same name. Six directors are invited to talk about their process and their creation of one perfect shot from one of their films.
Each episode in One Perfect Shot followed the same pattern. Ava DuVernay talks about film and introduces the director featured in the episode. Then each director talked about the path they took to whatever film they picked for their perfect shot. Each director picked two collaborators from their film to discuss the film with. These collaborations were production designers, cinematographers, costume designers, editors, composers – they ran the gamut.
Finally, the director walked through a very real looking simulation of the scene. They talked about everything from the emotion they were expressing, the character development they were going for, the way they chose the location and much more.
It was a fascinating look into the creative process. It showed how much talent and work goes into making a scene that just sweeps you along and gives particular meaning to an entire film.
The directors and films began with Patty Jenkins talking about the scene in Wonder Woman when Wonder Woman walks across no man’s land in her full regalia.
Aaron Sorkin talked about the riot scene in a Chicago park in The Trial of the Chicago 7. He talked about how they staged it, how they made it look like there were thousands of people there and how they used archival footage to be historically accurate.
Kasi Lemmons talked about the scene in Harriet where Harriet Tubman steps from a slave state across the border into a state where she was a free woman.
Jon M. Chu explored the wedding scene in Crazy Rich Asians. He talked about how important the depiction of a normal part of life like a wedding was to the story and to Asian representation.
For Girls Trip, Malcolm D. Lee chose the zip line scene on Bourbon Street in New Orleans. They filmed it on a night when the streets were full of real revelers, who mingled with the actors in real time.
Michael Mann talked about an action scene in Heat. It was filmed with numerous cameras all shooting at once as a gun fight unfolded on a city street.
I don’t know if someone who isn’t a movie nerd like myself will be as fascinated by these brief looks inside movie scenes as I was. I was delighted by every episode. I hope there will be a second season of this series on HBO Max.