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Friday, September 09, 2005

The agents view...

Bit of a lazy post this one. By here is what Julian Friedmann said on another message board - yet it seemed highly relevant. He is still starting from a point of view of getting yourself a hyphen.

I applaud the debate about why so few writers direct, although as an agent my experience is that most of those who do so fail to see that if they are any good as writers they should want a better director than themselves, and if they think they are any good as a director they should want to direct better scripts than they can write. Too many writers are forced to try directing because they can't sell their script to anyone and because the industry appears to love writer-directors.

Instead, I think that it makes more sense for writers to become "filmmakers" by producing. Directing is very skilled, ideally requiring both training and considerable practice doing shorts and television before risking a feature film. The September issue of ScriptWriter Magazine has an entire editorial about this, because it will be a more successful way forward in my opinion as the technology becomes simpler and less expensive. There is also an article on how films are sold and distributed, essential knowledge that few writers have.

We are entering an era of UKP 50,000 to UKP 250,000 feature films, some of which will make a great deal of money even if they do not get theatrical release. It will also be an era in which theatrical release becomes less important.

Remember, Julian's idea of a writer-producer dramatically shifts the balance of power. Now the writer-producer can fire the director!


Michael Leahy said...

Tim, good blog here!

I must say I agree with Julian from a theoretical viewpoint at least. It would seem logical that the guy who came up with the idea for a film (in the case of a spec) should be well placed to see it through to the end. If he or she has sat with the thing for a year or more, they must be able to see where it could go in the hands of such-and-such a director.

On the other hand, producing can be a monumental thankless slog.

Personally, if I was to get involved in directing, it would only be on condition that God-the-Father be my assistant. Quite a rider.

Tim Clague said...

I think a lot of writers take up writing just because it means they don't have to deal with producing or directing. But it is these ideas that I am politely challenging in this blog.