Todd A. Dos Reis, A.S.C is a Cape Verdean-American Director of Photography. His most recent work is The Blackening, but today we will be talking about his new project, The Irrational. It stars Jesse L Martin, a world-renowned behavioral scientist who lends his expertise to an array of high-stakes cases. Todd shares with us his expertise in lighting, camera work, and secrets of the industry.
Why were you interested in this project?
Todd: I was asked by David Frankel, the director of the pilot. David Frankel and I had worked together on the Entourage pilot way back in 2003. And we had been in contact ever since. And he called me and said he had a pilot in Vancouver. And I loved working with him so it was a no-brainer. And then I got the script and it was even more fantastic because it was an interesting, original idea that I hadn't seen before. Jesse L. Martin was going to be the lead. So I was like, fantastic. I’ll work with a historical figure. And it was done. I was in. Sign me up.
What influenced you to do the push-ins?
Todd: Before we shoot every episode, the director, the showrunners, and myself have what's called a tone meeting. And every episode, Erica, Sam, and Mark will say, “here's what we want to do. These are meat and potato scenes. These are scenes that we want to emphasize. And sometimes at the end of an act, or to emphasize some kind of important moment, we'll do that push in”. And basically, we just go, “Oh, this is the last shot of the scene. Let's make sure we do a little slow push.” But I'm gonna tell you a secret. Sometimes we don't do the push. And the editors will do a push electronically. I'm sure no one's ever said that out front and the truth. But yeah. So I mean, if we don't do it on the set, and they want to do it, they do a little bit of a little electronic push-in in editing. It's an electronic push so it doesn't feel as good when you end up [with it] but with digital right now you can't tell. Especially people that are watching it at home, they really can't tell.
What were the references for this project?
Todd: Our leading points were Seven, Clockers and the HBO show Euphoria. Because we like the darkness about it. We like the suspense of it, the drama in it, and how the visuals led to the drama. Those three projects. Those three references were all done on film. So we were shooting digitally of course, because hardly anybody shoots on film anymore. So we wanted to make it as filmic as possible. So there are a lot of times if you look at Alec Mercer’s flashback, that was mimicking a skip bleach film look where you don't take the silver out and then you put different colors on it. And it makes it look like that grainy, dirty look that you saw in Clockers, and a lot of Spike Lee films had it back in that period. But Seven is completely like that with Darius Khondji. I give him all the credit.
What was the film that turned you into a filmmaker?
Todd: I'm trying to think. If you pick any Gordon Willis [Film], as a cinematographer. Conrad House, as a cinematographer. Any of their films that I saw young, that's what I wanted to do.