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How NOT to direct


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#21 James Steven Beverly

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Posted 30 March 2007 - 12:09 AM

I saw that thing with Kubrick as well. As you all know, a little blow up from a director here and there is kinda expected during the course of a shoot, it's common, more the rule than the exception. When I work with Hal Ashby on Secondhand Hearts, he barbequed the crew because I was working with a cold and was blowing my nose with paper towels because I didn't have Kleanex. I hadn't said anything about it but he saw it and went nuts. It just happens with the pressure and all. I blasted the crew one time because they were throwing my equipment arounded and had damaged some of it, although I feel I was somewhat justified in that case. But THIS guy! I saw I Heart Huckabees and liked the movie a great deal. I didn't see anything directorial-wise I found particularly inspirational but I did like the originality of the script and felt the performances were good. I guess DISPITE the completely unproffesional behaviour of the director it managed to rise somewhat above it. All in all though, I have to agree with what someone said earlier, I'm kinda glad to hear Geoge Clooney took the time to choke the piss-ant son of a bitch. Sometime that's the only thing guys like that understand. B)

Edited by James Steven Beverly, 30 March 2007 - 12:10 AM.

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#22 James Steven Beverly

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Posted 30 March 2007 - 12:32 AM

Hi Cap'n,

I didn't mean to imply that this might have been all Lily's fault


OH no, dude. I never thought that's what you meant. I was just making an obsevation based on her comments from both clips. Don't worry, I still think you're like way uber-cool :D
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#23 Brad Grimmett

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Posted 30 March 2007 - 04:26 AM

From what i've heard David O. Russell has a bad rep for being a rage monger. There was a story about George Clooney chokeing David O. Russell on the set of Three Kings.

The way I heard it David O. Russell punched Clooney in the face and Clooney choked him. I'm not sure in what order though. Imagine a director punching one of their stars in the face! Unbelievable.
This is a rumor of course...I didn't see it with my own eyes.
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#24 Rupe Whiteman

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Posted 30 March 2007 - 10:21 AM

... Thanks for the link Tim - enjoyed it! - I'm not sure who's the bigger actor though, O'Russell or Tomlin. A great angry luvvie moment!

... My brother used to be a feature sound editor - he worked on Tony Palmer's epic production of 'Wagner' starring Richard Burton and all the 'knights - Gielgud, Olivier and Richardson... Palmer was pretty crazy and there were many many arguments. There were occasions when the nagra was kept running off camera - the 1/4 inch picking up radio mics of the three 'Knights sitting around slating Palmer with those fantastic voices - all happily swearing away... Priceless stuff but sadly lost. (I presume!)

An interesting project and not a lucky one - my brother's assistant, Stephen Waldorf was shot 5 times and pistol-whipped by police in the West End having been mistaken for a man who'd shot a policeman dead in the Underground!..

'Wagner's well worth a viewing - great cast, Storraro at his peak and of course some powerful music...
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#25 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 30 March 2007 - 11:16 AM

'Wagner's well worth a viewing - great cast, Storraro at his peak and of course some powerful music...


I have the Region 2 DVD, although it's a rather hi-con transfer.

I used to have the 10-hour version on VHS tape that I taped off of the Z Channel back in the 1980's.

Unfortunately Palmer's direction seems to consist of slowly zooming in on every scene.
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#26 Troy Warr

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Posted 30 March 2007 - 12:09 PM

I just saw on TV last night that Clooney has been under suspicion of leaking that video, and that he's offering $1 million to anyone who can prove it:

http://www.eonline.c...27-9c991b2983a7
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#27 Robert Lachenay

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Posted 30 March 2007 - 12:43 PM

After watching that, it's no wonder why Russel's movies are such god-awful stink bombs. No clue who he thinks he is to call Lily Tomlin a "c*nt." She's Altman's friggen' girl...who is he?

Edited by Robert Lachenay, 30 March 2007 - 12:45 PM.

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#28 Ken Cangi

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Posted 30 March 2007 - 12:49 PM

I just saw on TV last night that Clooney has been under suspicion of leaking that video, and that he's offering $1 million to anyone who can prove it:

http://www.eonline.c...27-9c991b2983a7

Oh how I love the Internet. It is the great equalizer. For so many years, celebrities were portrayed to the world as being intrinsically above common behavior. The Internet summarily exposes them for what they really are - normal human beings with common behavioral habits.
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#29 ryan_bennett

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Posted 30 March 2007 - 01:38 PM

I didn't mean to imply that this might have been all Lily's fault, it looks like Russell was changing his mind about every five minutes as to what he was expecting from his cast. My guess is he doesn't know how to rehearse a cast, find the problems, fix them and then get on with filming. No actor wants to get notes in the middle of a performance.


Watch Fellini: I'm A Big Liar, then you'll really see what O. Russell did was nothing compared to fellini. But Russell, I can't believe seeing this because you really don't get a bad vibe from the movie.
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#30 Ken Cangi

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Posted 30 March 2007 - 01:50 PM

But Russell, I can't believe seeing this because you really don't get a bad vibe from the movie.


That might have had more to do the professionalism of the actors.
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#31 Brad Grimmett

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Posted 30 March 2007 - 02:49 PM

I just saw on TV last night that Clooney has been under suspicion of leaking that video, and that he's offering $1 million to anyone who can prove it:

http://www.eonline.c...27-9c991b2983a7

This is really getting entertaining now! :P
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#32 Andy_Alderslade

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Posted 30 March 2007 - 03:31 PM

Perhaps occasionally yelling at someone (as a controlled act) may be the ticket...


Thats a dangerous and dark path to go down.

If it work, great. But there's no guarantees you'll be able to sleep that night afterwards - and that will probably make things even worse.

And of course if you can do that sort of thing, and sleep at night - then what sort of person have you become?
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#33 John Allardice

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Posted 30 March 2007 - 03:50 PM

Thats a dangerous and dark path to go down.

And of course if you can do that sort of thing, and sleep at night - then what sort of person have you become?


The sort of person that can successfully helm a modern studio movie.

J
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#34 Robert Lachenay

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Posted 30 March 2007 - 05:57 PM

The sort of person that can successfully helm a modern studio movie.

J

Unlike Russel.
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#35 James Steven Beverly

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Posted 31 March 2007 - 12:16 AM

Watch Fellini: I'm A Big Liar, then you'll really see what O. Russell did was nothing compared to fellini. But Russell, I can't believe seeing this because you really don't get a bad vibe from the movie.


I think the difference is Fellini is a freakin' genius were as O. Russell is at best reasonably competent. There is something to be said about forgiving the excintrisities of genius. I truely believe people like Fellini work on another plane than us mere mortals and sometimes that spills out as pettiness out of shear frustration that no one is able to see things as quickly or clearly as they do.
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#36 James Steven Beverly

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Posted 31 March 2007 - 12:37 AM

Well here's something depressing from IMDB trivia on Three Kings:

Director Cameo: [David O. Russell] The 'Hollywood actor' George Clooney strangles in the epilogue sequence.

So APPARENTLY ol' George didn't ACTUALLY choke O. Russell for real...what a shame <_<
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#37 Brian Drysdale

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Posted 31 March 2007 - 08:51 AM

What's fascinating about seeing Kubrick working is just how small the crew is, on these huge sets. There's almost a film school shoot quality about it, or a low-budget indie film, very intimate and hands-on for Kubrick.


I gather that Kubrick did a trade off between having a small crew and being allowed the time. Although I'd imagine the sparks etc were off screen in the "The Shining " documentary.

I'd heard a story when they were shooting "Barry Lyndon" in Ireland that Kubrick was giving calm consideration to the actors, whilst outside the sparks were struggling to keep the brutes (which were blasting through the trace covered windows) up in the middle of a storm.
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#38 Rupe Whiteman

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Posted 31 March 2007 - 09:33 AM

You watch that moment in the behind-the-scenes footage and it's nothing really, Kubrick being slightly whiney because Shelley missed the cue to come through the door at the head of the shot, which is really something between Kubrick and the AD, not Kubrick and her, but it's not a major flare-up or anything. Perhaps it's true that Kubrick wanted her to stay on edge so he kept needling her a little all day long, to keep her focused (maybe her concentration tended to drift). Or maybe he just tended to needle people. Or maybe he was tired.

What's fascinating about seeing Kubrick working is just how small the crew is, on these huge sets. There's almost a film school shoot quality about it, or a low-budget indie film, very intimate and hands-on for Kubrick.


... I worked on a documentary about Kubrick some years ago (I kept a vhs copy of the fascinating 2 hour rough cut as the show went out at an hour as is the way of broadcasters). We interviewed many of the great ones' collaborators. He was pretty tough on Shelley Duvall but had a performance he wanted and she gave it after a lot of probing and emotion. I think the tension between them, which is only partly seen in the doco', went very much to helping her create her character on screen... a tough part playing a hysterical character for 7/10ths of a shoot - and a long Kubrickian shoot at that. Of all the people interviewed Malcolm Mcdowell came out with various claims and exaggerations about Kubrick which I frankly did not believe. He seemed happy to contribute to the sea of myths out there. I think the Hollywood sun had got to his head.

I think that Kubrick kept his crews as small as he could do to help the creative process on set. Big crews are a distraction for directors and can only add to the pressure on their shoulders. Big crews can be very distracting, take a lot of managing and have their own inertia... I know several directors that love and thrive on the intimacy created by a small tight crew around them... If it's run right, you get more done.
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#39 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 31 March 2007 - 09:52 AM

I know several directors that love and thrive on the intimacy created by a small tight crew around them... If it's run right, you get more done.


Doesn't hurt to have a really long schedule to compensate for a smaller crew...

It's mainly a time management issue. If ten lights have to be set-up by five people instead of ten people, it will take twice as long. If you have the time to compensate, or use less lights to compensate, fine.

Kubrick had large crews to pre-rig his sets so that a smaller crew could do day-to-day changes to the lighting. Plus he used a lot of small practical lighting for intimate scenes. But you couldn't do a big film like "Armageddon" with a small crew, not with all the physical effects and huge lighting and camera set-ups.

The size of the crew should match the schedule and the complexity of the set-ups. Unfortunately moment to moment you can't shrink or enlarge the size of the crew; you need enough people for the biggest set-ups scheduled that day.
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#40 Boyd McCollum

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Posted 01 April 2007 - 02:26 PM

I was rereading some of William Goldman's Adventures in the Screen Trade last night. Really interesting story he tells about the making of A Bridge Too Far. Anyway, he mentions in that story that the absolutely toughest job belongs to the director. He said that the director is under enormous stress and pressure, from day one, and not day one of shooting, but starting with the writer and going all the way through post production. He said Attenborough slept for 3 days after the shoot wrapped.

On top of all that creative pressure and intense focus for months and years at a time that the director deals with, comes all the responsibilites of the director, including all the handholding and coddling of the writers, producers, cast, crew, etc. The director is not a master on set - he's the ultimate servant. He works in service of everyone, trying to give them everything they need to do their best. Then on top of it all, he's expected to be the ultimate Fonzie - calm, cool, collected, and never wrong, at all times.

So there are times when you go 5 hard hours down the road, telling the actors to play it one way then change your mind. Definitely not the ideal, but a million times better to deal with the stress of chucking that work away, then to put up some crap on the screen. There aren't any do overs when it's being projected at the theater.

And don't forget, many directors are as sensitve and tempermental as any actor, and are as open to being in the moment creatively as it happens as actors are - they need to be to be a good director.

I don't know the director, and I don't condone his actions, but I don't condemn them either. In several of the clips you can hear him say "I'm trying to help you" so it's probably as frustrating for him that he can't help as it is for Tomlin. And he's trying to get the right performance from all the actors, and that makes the film better and the actors look good. I guess my point would be to cut the guy a little slack.

And maybe with this out on Youtube, he'll try to temper himself a little on his next film.

just my $0.02 worth.

Boyd McCollum
Director/Editor

Edited by Boyd McCollum, 01 April 2007 - 02:29 PM.

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