Robert Rodriguez swears by HD video, swears off film

Wired interviews director/etc. Robert Rodriguez, a young master of the atypical production process, for the launch of his new film, Spy Kids 3-D. It's less than a year since Spy Kids 2, when the NY Times' Rick Lyman looked at Rodriguez's one-man-band approach to movies. (Director is only one of seventeen different credit categories in his imdb profile. More than almost any other director, a Rodriguez film is literally, a Rodriguez film.)

But yet he's not really considered an auteur. Unlike more auteur-y directors (Steven Soderbergh comes to mind) who enjoy passionate followings among critics and film schoolers, Rodriguez' vision is far less rarified. I mean, he sets out to make westerns, teen and kiddie movies. But he makes them well, he makes them profitably, and he makes major production innovations that should have a farther-reaching influence.

Here's an early interview by John Connor, from just before El Mariachi's appearance at Sundance; not much has changed, it seems. Rebel Without a Crew, Rodriguez's production diary from El Mariachi, is a modern, entertaining bible of the behind-the-indie-scenes genre.

[update: Maybe more like the bible than I intended. Making a feature for $7,000 is as tough to duplicate as feeding 5,000 with a fish. Indie filmmaker Felix suggests that anyone who reads Rebel Without A Crew should also read The Unkindest Cut, movie critic Joe Queenan's hilarious failed attempt to replicate Rodriguez's $7k feat.

Also, the Ed Park's Voice review pegs Rodriguez for his "DIY monomania." If his DVD commentaries are anything to go by, he may be to annoying to become a guru. ]

Since 2001 here at, I've been blogging about the creative process—my own and those of people who interest me. That mostly involves filmmaking, art, writing, research, and the making thereof.

Many thanks to the Creative Capital | Warhol Foundation Arts Writers Program for supporting that time.

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first published: July 21, 2003.

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