Small Beginnings: Paul Thomas Anderson

Today’s episode of Small Beginnings takes a look into the life of a screen writer, director and producer with a characteristic style and very layered stories and characters.

Paul Thomas Anderson was born in Studio City, California in 1970. His father was a DJ and actor and encouraged Paul to pursue his dream to become a filmmaker. He began to write as a teenager and worked in a pet store cleaning cages until he had enough money to produce his first short film. Anderson is one of the few talents who never graduated from film school but learned filmmaking by watching movies, reading books and magazines and listen to audio commentaries from directors. Instead of film school he went to work as a production assistant on TV series, music videos and game shows in LA and New York.

He continued to scratch together money to make short films which brought him to the Sundance Institute Art Filmmaker-Workshop where Michael Caton-Jones became his mentor. Through collaborations with Rhysher Entertainment Anderson got to produce his first feature film Last Exit Reno which made his breakthrough with “Boogie Nights“ possible. The film was nominated for 3 Academy Awards. Both Mark Wahlberg and Julianne Moore starred in it and became big Hollywood stars after that. After that New Line wanted to produce Anderson’s next work no matter what it would be and guaranteed him full creative control. The result was Magnolia and Anderson quoted that it was the best film he would ever make.

His films often feature stories with numerous characters and layered plots that never lack big names like Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Julianne Moore, Mark Wahlberg, Daniel Day-Lewis, Adam Sandler and Joaquin Phoenix.

His next project will be a drama about the fashion industry in the 1950s and filming will take place in 2017, again starring Daniel Day-Lewis, his first acting work since “Lincoln“ in 2012.

We thank Paul Thomas Anderson for his inspiration and courage to pursue his passion without holding back. We wish him all the best for his family and career and hope for many more examples of great storytelling!

I am always looking for that nuance, that moment of truth,
and you can’t really do that fast.

– Paul Thomas Anderson

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