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Studio Meddling 
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Post Studio Meddling
O.K. this topic is clearly movie-related, but it also applies to many other systems where a product gets made by creative people and people who finance it, creating a clash of interest.

Lately I hear the term "studio meddling" a lot of times. I am in no way defending greedy investors or producers who don't care about art. But I don't buy that the "director's vision" is always the best and purest, and "orders from above" just compromise true art. I think it is more complex than that.

I experienced it all first hand on a much smaller scale, making music for tv commercials, but I have a very good idea how it must be where the big time movies are made.

People who finance anything related to art (or true production of anything for that matter), do that because there is some kind of personal interest, otherwise they would concentrate on numbers only and just stick to investment fonds or the likes. The problem is, that these people usually have no talent and knowledge whatsoever, they just enjoy investing in an artform. Since they have the money and call the shots, they will eventually get involved in the creative process as they see fit. Don't underestimate the "envy" factor: "I have the money but I don't have the talent or knowledge to do anything like this".
So "studio meddling" certainly is not just driven by strictly following a business model, it is also driven by frustrated egos.

Now let's put ourselves into the shoes of a director: Anyone with an IQ over 70 knows: I can't make the movie I want, being given all creative freedom and equipment, and getting paid for it ridiculously huge amounts of money. So any director accepting to work with the big guys knows: he/she is in for heavy compromises. Nobody will ever say: "O.K. Do what you want, spend as much as you want - I will pay for everything."

Sometimes there are compromises because the director was able to make a name, build a rep, and create an impressive portfolio. But "studio meddling" simply is nothing but guys who pay for the whole darn thing making use of their rights to interfer and control. Too bad many of them don't know shit about the movies. But that's the price to be paid to get the movie done. The true "art" is not to overcome studio meddling, but to make the best out of it. I know that from working for clients who don't know squat about music but are very demanding. The true art is: deliver what they ask for and tweak and re-tweak, without ever getting sloppy, since your name is at stake. Sure you can't do anything if your work is handed to people who edit and eventually ruin it. But that's the risk. It's a miracle we still have some decent movies.

Input/comments/thoughts highly appreciated.


Tue May 08, 2012 4:25 pm
Post Re: Studio Meddling
I would wager that the movies that make the most money are movies in which creative people serve a functional, very limited role in the process at best. I am not necessarily evaluating anything with that statement; just making the statement.

This is a C'n'P from another forum I post on, which might be relevant.

Quote:
Pfft. You think the writers handle a damn thing in a Michael Bay movie?

Here's what happens.

The producers come up with a list of stuff that's supposed to be in the movie. A sample list might include boobies, explosions, a car chase, a talking dog, a giant spider, and at least five things that can be turned into action figures/other toys. The producers send this list to the writer (more likely, several writers) and demand that they string these things together into a story. The writers do this, according to an extraordinarily rigid three act skeleton structure that demands an action scene or twist every 10 minutes, a major turning point at each half hour mark, and a huge shit-hitting-the-fan final battle during the last half hour. This structure is essentially the container into which the things on the producers' list will be poured. It is the writers' job to make sure this happens simply and clearly enough so that the idiot executive producers, who are not creative and might not even like movies, can follow it easily while they're doing blow and possibly getting a blumpkin.

After the script is done, they send it to some poor underpaid/unpaid intern whose job it is to read the script and verbally summarize it to the producers. The producers will make a list of changes, which they either thought of during the verbal summary or in the interim before that, probably while watching other movies and seeing all the great ideas that went into them. (A retarded younger brother... why didn't I think of that? That's perfect for Die Hard 6!) Possibly, they will send these notes back to the original writers, but, more likely, the script and the notes will be sent to another team of writers entirely. Perhaps the process will repeat and yet another team of writers will receive script+notes after that, and so on and so forth.

At some point, this... thing will arrive in the hands of Michael Bay, who may very well have his own opinions about it and make his own alterations, within the permission of the producers. Further changes may be made during production. The last opportunity for changes--and it is a big one--is in the editing room, where everything from individual shots to entire scenes can be shuffled, included, excluded, rejiggered in CGI, or even reshot altogether.

It is possible that the original writers still have delusions of working an element of artistry into these otherwise mass-produced genre entertainments. Assuming that hasn't been stomped out of them yet, any strain of individualism that they might have worked into the original script will have been filtered out many times over by the time the movie actually hits the screen.

If you want to know what writers handle in a Michael Bay movie, it's brown and lumpy.


Tue May 08, 2012 4:43 pm
Post Re: Studio Meddling
Ken wrote:
I would wager that the movies that make the most money are movies in which creative people serve a functional, very limited role in the process at best. I am not necessarily evaluating anything with that statement; just making the statement.

I'd have to agree with this statement. They wouldn't keep making LCD movies if people weren't spending money on them- just ask Michael Bay.


Tue May 08, 2012 6:00 pm
Post Re: Studio Meddling
Ragnarok73 wrote:
Ken wrote:
I would wager that the movies that make the most money are movies in which creative people serve a functional, very limited role in the process at best. I am not necessarily evaluating anything with that statement; just making the statement.

I'd have to agree with this statement. They wouldn't keep making LCD movies if people weren't spending money on them- just ask Michael Bay.

Or James Cameron, I don't see how Avatar is any less of an LCD film then Transformers, without the 3-D, I doubt Avatar would've impressed critics nearly as much.

Here's a list of Executive Meddling for films:http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/ExecutiveMeddling/Film


Tue May 08, 2012 6:27 pm
Post Re: Studio Meddling
Flash fact: every time someone links TV Tropes on this site, I do this:

Image


Tue May 08, 2012 6:29 pm
Post Re: Studio Meddling
Ken wrote:
Flash fact: every time someone links TV Tropes on this site, I do this:

Image


I'm glad Gandalf the Grey is a fan of Quentin's as well.


Tue May 08, 2012 7:51 pm
Post Re: Studio Meddling
He appears whenever Tarantino parties hard enough.


Tue May 08, 2012 7:58 pm
Post Re: Studio Meddling
Ken wrote:
Flash fact: every time someone links TV Tropes on this site, I do this:

Image


Ugh. Diane Kruger can't even act in an animated gif.


Wed May 09, 2012 8:26 pm
Post Re: Studio Meddling
Sure she can. In that gif, she's acting like she's not uncomfortable sitting next to Tarantino in mid-nerdgasm.


Thu May 10, 2012 1:37 am
Post Re: Studio Meddling
Ken wrote:
Flash fact: every time someone links TV Tropes on this site, I do this:

Image


Ken, damn you and your evil soul to an eternity of torment and pain. You introduced me to TV Tropes, and my life has not been the same since. I don't eat, I don't go outside, my dog and cats have starved to death, and if I had kids, I'm sure they would be laying in pools of their own bodily waste due to neglect.

I think I had a wife once...


Thu May 10, 2012 8:58 am
Post Re: Studio Meddling
You might still have one. Check under the pile of 100s of opened browser tabs.


Thu May 10, 2012 4:13 pm
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Post Re: Studio Meddling
ed_metal_head wrote:
Ugh. Diane Kruger can't even act in an animated gif.

But she's so pretty... :oops:


Mon May 14, 2012 7:02 am
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Post Re: Studio Meddling
H.I. McDonough wrote:
ed_metal_head wrote:
Ugh. Diane Kruger can't even act in an animated gif.

But she's so pretty... :oops:


Well I think she wasn't all that bad in "Inglorious Basterds", but yeah that "Ohh Quentin, you are so awesome!" - face in that animated gif is really bad.

Re: tv tropes: I just take it in small portions. I don't go into a delirium tremens when I don't visit the site for a day or two. The coolest thing are the trope names BTW.
Like truly analyzing music, it doesn't take away the magic for me. It is a gut reaction from many people to say: I don 't want to know the exact thought process and the pre-existing building blocks of a movie - it would spoil everything for me. I think this depends on how an individual person ticks.
I always look behind the curtain and tv show sets, I love to see the inside of pipe chambers of theater organs and 19th century clockwork mechanics - it doesn't spoil the magic at all - it makes it all the more exciting. I grew up like that. Perhaps that's why I find it even better when I can spot all (or many) of the stock situations, structure elements, characters, plot elements etc.


Fri May 18, 2012 2:38 pm
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