Why do not so successful directors keep getting second chances in Hollywood?

You’re right. Usually a successful film has way more writers than that, each giving it their spin.

Do you mean “unsuccessful”?

Often, crediting multiple writers indicates that there were problems with the script – usually because the concept was rethought, trashed, and rewritten. Not that it’s 100% certain that a large number of writing credits mean a bad film, but it’s not a good sign.

Belowjob2.0 – I fail to see what relevance your comments have to mine. I was explaining how movie credits differentiate between a writing team and multiple writers writing different drafts. I was not explaining how the WGA determines these credits.

The credits don’t necessarily reflect how many writers actually worked on a screenplay. There are usually more besides the ones credited, and in many cases, several more.

Sometimes, due to the vagaries of the credit arbitration process, the person credited only wrote a small part of the screenplay.

Also, a shitty script may not be a function of the writer(s) at all. It may be a function of changes demanded by the stars or the director.



No, I meant “successful”. There are very few successful movies, from Oscar and Cannes winners, to box office hits, that haven’t had at least three writing passes by different screenwriters. And there are many failures who have had a single author.

All they want to do is improve the film so it is perfect. For example: If the story is written well but the dialogue needs to be punchier, then you’d get in a new writer whose strengths were character and dialogue to fix that up. Then when a big name actor is signed on, the role has to be changed to suit, so a new writer might have to fix that up. And then, while the shoot is in production, the budget or a schedule change may require a quick re-write, and the only convenient writer to hand is someone new again. These are all legitimate and common uses for a screenwriter, and are intended to improve the movie at every step.

Yeah… I don’t think Catwoman’s problem was the directing.

Actually I’m sure this will be a controversial statement, but I don’t think that the directing (in it’s raw form) is usually a major influence on a film. A director can be a big influence, but usually that’s when they play other roles too, such as in the writing, or art direction, or storyboarding, or editing, etc. The two major things a film can owe greatness to are the writing and cinematography.

I love his films, but I wonder how Terry Gilliam keeps getting money given his box office record.

With regard to M Night, I think he fell into the trap of people letting him have more control, and his ego getting bigger. Even his later less good films still show his strengths at movie making in general, they just suffer from writing and concept problems.

That still has no relevance to my point. In the cast of Catwoman, there were two credited rewrites of the story, and two credited rewrites of the screenplay. There may have been a thousand other rewrites, too, but the point was that, with so many different people writing the script, the chances of it succeeding is remote.

But rarely do you see multiple screenwriting teams credited in a successful film, and often what happens is that one of the screenwriters had their script jettisoned for a better one (e.g., Shakespeare in Love owes everything to Tom Stopppard, one of the UK’s greatest playwrights, than to Mark Norman, writer of Cutthroat Island).

Others can and will weigh in on the script, but they don’t get WGA credit.

As far as Cannes is concerned, in Europe it’s routine for the director to get a writing credit whether he works on the script or not. Of course, US directors also work on the script, too – they just don’t get automatic credit.