Saturday, June 20, 2009

What Is Harder, Making A Good Movie Or A Bad Movie?

I tell my film students that it is as hard to make a bad movie as it is to make a good movie.

I remember watching a terrible movie on DVD a few years ago, then watching the "making of" special feature and seeing how much time, mental and physical effort went into the production of this awful film, how earnest and hardworking they were etc. ---- I guess the disconnect is at the point where someone or some people all missed the fact that the screenplay was bad and went forward with millions and millions of dollars to sail this doomed voyage.

On a film crew, everyone thinks that their job is the most important but, for me, as the screenwriter, I know that my job really is the most important because without me, nobody else has a job to do.

Of course plenty of films go into production without a screenplay. There was a film out a few years ago called "The Interpreter" directed by Sidney Pollack, starring Sean Penn and Nicole Kidman and I remember reading an article about it when it came out. Sean Penn says that he called Nicole Kidman and said that the screenplay wasn't even finished yet but that he though she had to be in the movie.

So, here is a movie with a big Oscar winning director, big Oscar winning movie stars and, for all intents and purposes, no screenplay -- in this case a screenplay that was apparently being written during production and thus, was, at best, a first draft --- and people wonder why the film bombed.

Of course, when I was working on "Pet Sematary" 20 years ago, I could actually see Stephen King sitting on the set re-writing the screenplay and it went on to be one of the highest grossing horror films of the 1980's.

For my part, though I can't remember the specifics, I do remember reading the screenplay and preferring the original ending to King's revision but who am I to second guess him?

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Some blogger I have turned out to be.
At least I can play it off like I have been working on screenplays.... because it's true.

I went on vacation -- a week in Maine, no internet, highly recommended.

I brought 5 screenplays to read for friends, fun.

I also brought half a screenplay to finish writing, finished it, started another one and finished that one too, sweet.

So, I have turned in two screenplays this week, both micro-budget deals that could be shooting this summer and I am about to start on what I expect to be the final polish on "Aftermath."