Sunday, October 31, 2010

Lazy Sunday # 143: A Director's Medium

Since it's Halloween, everybody and their avatar is posting horror videos. But you want to know what's really scary? I mean jolts up the spine, hands get clammy and blood turns to ice water scary…?

It's that first time the guy (or woman) who's going to direct your script tells you how they want to approach the material.

You've babied it from three words on a napkin or an image you got while taking a shower. You've sweated  through weeks of writing and re-writing.

You've fought the good fight at the network, incorporated all of their notes without compromising your vision, chopped a couple of things to make the line producer happy, added a monologue so your lead has something new for his reel and now…

You're face to face with the immensely talented artist who's going to breath life into it all. And s/he says…

"I'm thinking spaghetti western meets Eastern European art film."

"How do you feel about losing the first two acts and starting the story there?"

"I don't like being locked into a shot list. It's too confining."

"I try to over-cover and then build the show in the edit suite."

"I know the network has signed off. But I really am the best dialogue man in the business."

Every one of those is a direct quote I've gotten from a director on the first day of prep along with the always interchangeable. "I get the show but the (horror/comedy/crime show) thing is feeling "been there, done that" and I'm honestly not at my best with (kids/animals/actors). So how about we kind of go-against genre and make it -- Fresh?

Directors. When they're good they make everybody around them look like a genius.

And when they're not…

You spend a lot of late nights hoping you are one.

It's widely accepted that film is a director's medium and television is a writer's medium and while I know what that means, I don't.

Yeah, I get that there needs to be one overarching vision and that devolves to the last guy to handle the ball on a movie and the one who's going to be back at the factory next week in TV.

And while the audience appreciates only having to get inside one head in order to follow the story, they have an even easier time if one head takes a smooth hand-off from the other and improves the clarity of the vision.

In those instances, two heads really are better than one.

Which means each head better be screwed on straight to begin with.

Or you get this…

Enjoy your Sunday.

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