If I was a film/TV director...

I guess I can make this a theme: what would you do differently if you were a TV or film director, using specific films and/or directors as examples.

I got the idea for this thread while watching an outtake reel for Peter Kay’s Phoenix Nights. One particular scene is running on and wasting money because the actors can’t stop giggling at certain points.

A concept touched on in a Gervais Extras reel I once watched (and now can’t find again) is that if a mistake is made enough times it becomes learned and habitual. And the scene is doomed because the actor is virtually programmed to make the mistake every time.

If I was the director: as soon as I see this begin to happen I would call for a time-out, a break. Something to make the actors forget what caused them to laugh. Anything so that when they come back to shoot the scene everything is fresh. Maybe they could even attempt a different scene (although I suspect budget concerns mean they can’t pick-and-choose which scene they are filming on a particular day)

p.s. the gervais extras outakes vid I refer to and can’t find is one where Maggie Jacobs (Played by Ashley Jensen) is in a hospital and has to deliver a line to a kid in bed. She learns the speech-impedment mistake, and gervais and merchant liken it to the teacher in Peanuts.

I would have started this thread in Cafe Society instead of IMHO :smiley:

IF I were a Hollywood God, I would make it law that 1% of a films budget has to be spent on scriptwriters. I can’t begin to number the times that a film was well made and acted, but the script (and plot) sucked.

To me the best example was Titanic. Every cent of hte budget was there onscreen. But of all of the great heroic stories that really happened, Cameron was only able to come up with that mediocre love triangle dreck? Don’t get me wrong, I liked the movie, but with a decent script it could have been one for the ages.

I also wouldn’t let anyone who writes the script, direct it. And vice versa.

I would remove the Hollywood necessity to ‘explain’ everything, no matter how lame that explanations.

E.g. the footling ‘rationalisations’ in The Ring and the later Star Wars movies. Ringu and the original Star Wars movies were so much more scary/inspiring respectively when there was no logical rational for Sadako’s terrifying supernatural behaviour, or the ‘midi-chlorians’ being the driving ‘intelligence’ behind the Jedi. Stoopid.

Revedge is on the right track.
The problem is that more often than not, the original script is pretty good, if not great.
Let’s say the story is about an aging professor in the 1930’s who discovers a cure for cancer in the Amazon but is murdered before he can bring it back.
Then everybody puts in their two cents.
Suddenly, the lead has changed to a young woman (Reese Witherspoon) who discovers a new lipstick color in Atlanta, Georgia.
And they decide to make it a comedy and hire Robin Williams to play the part of the CEO of the cosmetic company and Reese falls in love with his son who is actually engaged to Reese’s step-sister, played by Queen Latifah.

It is not that there are not enough good script writers, it is that there are very few competent producers and studios. They are all shooting for that all-powerful teen market and those blockbuster opening weekend box office numbers.

If they were filming Gone With The Wind today, I shudder to think who would be in the cast, but I can assure you, somehow the South would win the war and Scarlett and Rhett would live happily ever after. It tested better with the teen market.

I’d use a fucking tripod.

I’m getting mighty sick of shaky-cam & flash-cut editing techniques. They can be effective when used sparingly or for good reason but, too often, they’re just a cheap way to ratchet up excitement and/or disguise poor directing, acting, stuntwork, special effects, etc. I blame Michael Bay for the popularizing the abuse of handheld cams but he was hardly the first and definitely not the only offender (Paul Greengrass I’m looking at you).

Hodge (just got back from Bourne Ultimatum and still somewhat pissed off)

I’d look for new source material instead of relying on remakes, or telling the same story, over and over.

I’d use more unknown actors. After awhile, Tom Hanks is Tom Hanks, no matter what role he plays, or how he restyles his hair. Give somebody else a shot.

And yeah, I’d go broke. :slight_smile:

Destroy SAG, the guilds, and the unions which exist only to inflate budgets and cripple production schedules at this point - “Grindhouse” shouldn’t run into issues because someone somewhere gets upset at two directors putting their name on a movie.

Destroy the MPAA. The reasons are self-evident.

Destroy test-marketing and product placement.

Destroy the entire insurance system. Movies shouldn’t be held as financial hostages because of obscure insurance disputes (see: the Terry Gilliam “Lost in La Mancha” documentary).

Well, there you are. I’d hire VCO3 as the producer. Then I’d have him hire the assistant director, who would assumer the title of director while I went out and freaking neutralized the freaking suits.

I really think we’d be a winning team. Hell, some of our movies would sink, but the rest would be LEGENDS!

(Example: Hal Solo in Star Wars brags about how he made the whatever-run in 3 parsecs. Luke gets up and leaves the cantina, saying to Obi-Wan, “Let’s go, dude! This asshole is supposed to be a starship pilot and he confuses a measurement of distance with a measurement of time.”

They wind up hiring the crew of the Firefly instead. Penis ensues for the evil Empire.)

For every film I made that had a “downer” ending (no matter how well done, or completely required by the plot it was), I’d film a quicko alternate “happy” ending—or, in cases with particularly galling villains, a “killing spree” ending. Possibly both.

Why? Well, for the sole purpose of rewarding the loyal viewers who buy the DVD, even after I’ve horribly wrenched with their emotions…and to ensure that said DVDs quickly top the sales and rental charts, very possibly convincing the suits that it’d be worth their while to fund my other projects in the future. Everyone wins!

I’d focus on B-movie and television directors, producers and writers and force them to take an intensive course in my Theory of The Cheese. (I’d focus on B-movie folks because A movies generally demonstrate at least a passing awareness of Cheese Theory.)

The Theory of the Cheese is simple: the cheese is what rewards viewers for watching a movie. Just as real cheese is the thing at the center of the maze that gets the mouse through the maze, so movie cheese is the reward offered by movies that gets viewers to watch them.

And the Theory of the Cheese is this: when writing a script or planning a TV series or a movie, you START with the cheese, and build everything else around it. You make sure the focus of your story is delivering the cheese to the audience. In an adventure story that might be exotic civilizations and derring-do. In a fantasy story it might be contact with ghosts or fairies that helps the protagonist grow or learn or solve a major crisis. In porn it is the sight of people having sex. (Porn does OK with the cheese, but practically nothing else.) In erotica it would be the experience of two people being sexually attracted to each other, or several people or whatever, their emotions and feelings and of course the sex itself.

WHATEVER the cheese, you make sure the story delivers it, and delivers it well, and that you deliver the cheese you promised. I’ve seen to frickin’ many stories where the cheese almost completely missing. Like the Buck Rogers TV series episode “Planet of the Slavegirls” which is almost devoid of slavegirls – here’s a link to my review on that one (NASFW site, so direct linking disabled):


Like the recent Black Dahlia, a movie which is SUPPOSEDLY about a horrific crime but is really a love triangle story which has nothing to do with the Black Dahlia.

Like the birds of Prey series that didn’t last a season because it promised hotties in skimpies fighting crime, and instead delivered frumpies in dumpies having relationship problems.

Oh, there is much to be learned about the cheese out there.