Tony Zhou, a native Vancouverite, has made a name for himself by creating videos in which he analyzes a different part of the filmmaking process. The man could build his own film school using these videos as the starting point.
He doles out a new video on Vimeo intermittently, every few months or so, and each time sites like Reddit go crazy for him. He articulates complex ideas surrounding the engineering that goes into filmmaking as masterfully as a professor, but as simply as Roger Ebert. It’s this style of translation that may be the answer to why he’s become so popular in the last few years; that and his voice is pretty relaxing.
Here’s a list of some of the elements Zhou explores in his video essay series Every Frame A Painting: Joel & Ethan Coen’s shot – reverse shot style, an editor’s thought process, ensemble staging, Buster Keaton’s gag styles, composing movement, cartoonist Chuck Jones’ evolution as an artist, how to do action comedy, the way characters ‘win’ a scene and why it’s important, the art of silence, and, possibly most importantly, why filmmakers use Vancouver to shoot a film that takes place in a different city.
I just wanted to bring a little more exposure to one of the best film essayists out there, especially because he’s Canadian. If you can’t bring yourself to open a book, open a tab and spend a few hours listening to Zhou.
Let’s hope in the future he gets as much recognition, acclaim, and opportunity as the filmmakers he explores. Vimeo, and Reddit are not enough for this guy.
You can find him below.