Shave that Monkey and call it a mental patient

Being able to call myself an Auteur is one of those little luxuries born out of the necessity of making small independent films where, besides the voice talent, I've done all the work. When I started out it just made it cheaper (free!) and easier.

But in the bigger world of film it's quite possible that if you honestly think you're Auteur then it probably means that no-one really wants to work with you. I think that's probably the most disappointing thing about school this semester was that I only had one crew member from the school, the rest being friends. Sure it was because my film was a last minute inclusion to the shoot roster and I, being a part-timer, had a lot less time to meet and schmooze other students into coming along for the ride but I still ended up in that role of Auteur. Driving the production, making all the arrangements, and making all the decisions... As a Director, this is exactly what you do not want!

Probably the best time I had in terms of production was working with another proper student filmmaker, his film won a lot of awards (a great indication of his ability to lead his crew and he's not completely clueless), who did camera on one night of my shoot. He doesn't have a lot of experience on camera and he did start the night asking all those questions about camera operation that should have been answered long before we were turning on a camera to shoot. But the difference is, once he realised I didn't particularly care, he started making the decisions for himself. (Of course I was feigning indifference, sheesh, that's probably a risk most filmmakers wouldn't take but I pretty much knew he had it in him and we were 'only doing a student documentary').

THIS is the way to make films! Sure, as a Director, make sure your crew know what you expect. And this other Director cum documentary camera man and I had a pretty good understanding of what was needed. But you've got to trust your crew to take that information and turn it into camera positions, lighting set-ups, camera moves, sound... basically footage that's of use to an editor. Every crew role is a specialisation, I challenge any Director to have all the answer all the time regarding these specialist jobs. No. You need those crew members to be telling you how to make things happen. And still, a lot of young Directors find this really hard. They have a vision. They have the answers. They have to make it perfect. They have gotta relax or they'll be working by themselves very quickly.

Now that doesn't mean that if you see something you don't like you sit on your hands and trust the crew member will work it out. By all means, call 'Cut' and say something, it'll be better for everyone... particularly the editor. But you still need to treat that person like a professional, undermining their confidence is only going to get a whole lot of decision making pushed back onto your shoulders. Trust me, you'll have plenty of decisions to make as it is. And of course once you call 'Roll' again you can't hold their hand, THEY still have to do the job they're assigned too.

So that's it. I'm totally done with being an Auteur. I want to make films. Not force them into existence. Next semester I have no choice except to be a crew member (if anything at all), no Director's position for me (Yay!), and whether I'm boom swinging, clapper loading, pushing a dolly, or placing props on a set, I hope the Director isn't an Auteur and I don't make them call 'Cut' too often.

Take: 9

Blogger handmaiden mused...

"Auteur" what an odd word.(& excuse me for saying, pretentious sounding)
I just can't imagine that word describing you.

I'm glad you don't want to be one.

Wed Dec 19, 06:01:00 pm

Blogger Gnat of Glass mused...

I had to look that shit up. DAMN YOU!


Thu Dec 20, 02:50:00 am

Blogger G3T Films mused...

L>t, It is an odd word... I made it up in 1918 during a game of poker at Ipatiev House in Ekaterinburg with the Tsar of Russia, Nicholas II, to describe the feeling one gets when you're holding a pair of pocket aces and then are unexpectedly shot in the head. He liked it so much he named one of his hot air balloons Auteur. A movie of the balloon was the first colour footage ever shot in Russia hence the words connection with filmmaking. The balloon was green.

Thu Dec 20, 09:33:00 am

Blogger G3T Films mused...

You asked for it Gnat and now you're complaining that you learnt something.


Thu Dec 20, 09:34:00 am

Blogger Ticharu mused...


Thu Dec 20, 12:20:00 pm

Blogger G3T Films mused...

...the rug!

Thu Dec 20, 01:14:00 pm

Blogger Gnat of Glass mused...

I can live with my new knowledge.


Fri Dec 21, 06:13:00 am

Blogger handmaiden mused...

Oh my, you are getting artsy fartsy aren't you? Soon you will be insufferable.

Sat Dec 22, 07:59:00 pm

Blogger JLee mused...

At first I thought you said "amateur" haha

Sun Dec 30, 12:40:00 am


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