Thursday, December 24, 2009

My Notes on Ted Hope's Notes

Ted Hope has his 50* Ways You Can Do Something Different on This Production. Here are my snarky notes on his, er, 13, points. Merry Christmas!

  • How can you help other artists with this film you are doing? Can you bring others into the process?
  • We're not in this to "help other artists". If it's helpful to them in order to get another credit or something for their reel then yay. Otherwise, it's about making a good picture, not about them.
  • Do something stylistically just because you like it. Allow something to be "outside" the film, something that doesn't fit so right and is only there because you dig it. Why does it always have to fit?
  • Please. How about we not do this deliberately? There will be a lot of self-indulgent crappity things you'll be fighting in the production and post-production of the picture, how about we try to make things work for the picture?
  • How can you help the world by the content of this film? How can you work for impact first, and business second (without ignoring those financial obligations, that is)?
  • If you're doing something else first then you're fired. "Help the world"? Feh. Try to make a movie that doesn't suck. How's that for helping the freakin' world?
  • How can you have less environmental impact on the world with your process? Recycle. Use less paper. No styrofoam. Car pool. Carbon credits.
  • How about we do whatever's cheapest so we don't run out of money before we make deliverables? Yeah, let's not print out sides every damn day. And stop making revisions, try to make the script not suck before you start shooting.
  • How can you do more to show appreciation for your collaborators? What if you put people first would that change your content significantly?
  • We show our collaborators appreciation by not shooting their families.
  • Are you really collaborating with your crew? Do they feel like you are? What if you listened more, and spoke less?
  • How about we shoot the damn movie, and everyone spoke less?
  • You say it is a team approach, but what if everyone was treated equally? What if your equality carried over not just to financial matters, but also in terms of access?
  • If we treat everyone equally, we will be here all the damn day. No, we're not going to shoot a special scene so you can have a fight scene on your reel. No, we're not adding visual effects you've always wanted to do. And no, we aren't doing a dance sequence so you can show off your best moves. We're making a movie. Right over there. Camera is up. Say your lines. Hit your marks. Quit your whining.
  • What if you completely demystified the process and opened it up to comment by all cast, crew, and fans? As opposed to the studio's no-twitter policy, what if you made it a requirement?
  • OK so wait, you want to go from interfering with their 1st Amendment rights and what they can't say to interfering with their 1st Amendment rights and forcing them to say what you tell them to? How about we leave the cast and crew alone and let them do whatever the hell they want?
  • What would be a different business model? Could you give it away? Free it? Never plan to screen it theatrically? What if the movie was not the main event, but something else was?
  • Yeah good luck with that. When you figure that one out I'm all over it.
  • Place the bar higher & reach higher. What makes something better? What if you made sure you could answer any question as to why before you started? Or maybe this would be the opposite and you should answer no questions but hold it all within yourself...
  • What? I have no idea what this means.
  • Is your work truthful? Is every action, emotion, reaction honest? Are the settings truly lived in? Can you extend only from your characters, their psychology and socio-economic situation -- removing your own intent from the design?
  • Truthful? Honest? Are you making a movie or saving your marriage? If you want the truth then go outside. I want fiction. I want it to not suck, but I want stories. The "truth" is just bullshit you believe.
  • What if you built your audience base prior to shooting? And maintained significant communication with them throughout the process? How might that change your final work?
  • That's a pretty good idea actually. +1 for you. I'll get right on it.
  • Innovate. Try some new equipment on every production. Improve a simple process. Isn't production about the communication of information in the service of art, as efficiently, economically, and aesthetically as possible?
  • Dear God man, don't just "innovate" it to be saying you're "with it". Don't "innovate" when you can make something not suck instead. Just because everyone's using a new lens or (Lord help us) a new camera does NOT mean we should be using the same stupid thing. You know that old Schoeps microphone that grand-dad used to record the dialog on his movie back in the 60's? The one with the T-power? Yeah, it's still the best.

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