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"Directors" who think they can colour time


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#1 Simon J Young

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Posted 16 September 2010 - 06:34 AM

I'm going to try to be brief and straight-forward here

4 months ago we locked picture and colour timed a film and everything seemed to be done...
I was the DP and colourist for this production...
however, now, 4 months later, he now suddenly has done a slight re-edit and now suddenly has a problem with the colour timing....

I first ask the "director" what is the problem... and he simply replies that he wants the film to have a more "normal" look. This means absolutely nothing to me because everyone's "normal" is drastically different from eachother.

Regardless - he is now sitting in on the re-timing sessions and has comments about what colour the out-of-focus wall in the background (that has NO bearing on the story) should be... and after asking him what EXACTLY he's attempting to convey with his new colour schemes, he has absolutely nothing to say and is at a loss....

at what point does a director "overstep" his boundaries and needs to step off?
i understand he's the "Director" ... but does that mean absolute power? I sure hope not... especially for a first timer...
I personally feel that if you really dont have any practical/technical experience with the software, or be absent of any PERSPECTIVE as to the reasons for making changes (which is a "director's" job).... i feel you should just humbly hand it over to more capable individuals who will help you find a "direction" (that being me - the DP and colourist... so I have a pretty solid grasp of the story and direction)

mind you he is a first time director, almost computer illiterate and has no technical expertise of any sort regarding post-production...
I've been shooting for 5 years now...

has anyone dealt with a situation like this before? just curious...
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#2 Brian Rose

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Posted 16 September 2010 - 10:11 AM

For me, it depends on where the money is coming from. I'm guessing you're being paid? More importantly, is the director also the producer, or is there another person filling that role? Because if it is the former, as much as it sucks, it seems the director can do whatever is in his stupid head, because he's writing the checks. If there's another bloke producing, perhaps you can go to him/her with your concerns.

Where it is tricky is, if you are not being paid, that is, if this is a low budg kind of thing where people are working deferred/in kind. If that is the case, I think you absolutely have a say in the final film, because that is where your investment lies. You have as much a stake as the director, in the film's success, and so I believe the process is much more collaborative.

For example, when I'm on a paying gig, I do my best to advise the director, but at the end of the day, he's paying me so he can do whatever he wants, regardless of how stupid I think it is.

But when I'm doing the occasional proj for free, I'll exert a greater force over the creative process.

Ultimately, I hope you got a copy of the film before the director starting working his "magic." So at least you'll have the good version for your reel, and not something all effed up!

Good Luck.

BR
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#3 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 16 September 2010 - 12:19 PM

Brian hits the nail on the head. As much as we may often disagree with a director, on a paying shoot, absent of someone higher (executive producer) the director is 100% in charge. In a more low-no egalitarian film then you have some more pull, and if you're politically savvy enough a lot of power, but again, director is your boss.
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#4 Mark Dunn

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Posted 16 September 2010 - 02:49 PM

Forgive me, but in England we call what you call timing 'grading.'
So your topic title, with 'colour' as the verb and 'time' as the noun looked rather philosophical, or at least existential.
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#5 Ruairi Robinson

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Posted 17 September 2010 - 07:12 AM

I'm going to try to be brief and straight-forward here

4 months ago we locked picture and colour timed a film and everything seemed to be done...
I was the DP and colourist for this production...
however, now, 4 months later, he now suddenly has done a slight re-edit and now suddenly has a problem with the colour timing....

I first ask the "director" what is the problem... and he simply replies that he wants the film to have a more "normal" look. This means absolutely nothing to me because everyone's "normal" is drastically different from eachother.

Regardless - he is now sitting in on the re-timing sessions and has comments about what colour the out-of-focus wall in the background (that has NO bearing on the story) should be... and after asking him what EXACTLY he's attempting to convey with his new colour schemes, he has absolutely nothing to say and is at a loss....

at what point does a director "overstep" his boundaries and needs to step off?
i understand he's the "Director" ... but does that mean absolute power? I sure hope not... especially for a first timer...
I personally feel that if you really dont have any practical/technical experience with the software, or be absent of any PERSPECTIVE as to the reasons for making changes (which is a "director's" job).... i feel you should just humbly hand it over to more capable individuals who will help you find a "direction" (that being me - the DP and colourist... so I have a pretty solid grasp of the story and direction)

mind you he is a first time director, almost computer illiterate and has no technical expertise of any sort regarding post-production...
I've been shooting for 5 years now...

has anyone dealt with a situation like this before? just curious...



Perhaps you should try to help him, instead of trying to undermine him. He may be inexperienced, and have a hard time explaining what he wants, but it doesn't look like you are doing much to make life easier for him.

Btw calling him a "director" like that is incredibly disrespectful. I'm sure he'd love to know you were going online saying stuff like this about him.

R.
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#6 Simon J Young

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Posted 17 September 2010 - 11:08 AM

Perhaps you should try to help him, instead of trying to undermine him. He may be inexperienced, and have a hard time explaining what he wants, but it doesn't look like you are doing much to make life easier for him.

Btw calling him a "director" like that is incredibly disrespectful. I'm sure he'd love to know you were going online saying stuff like this about him.

R.


with all due respect mr. robinson... when you dont have all the facts, reserve your judgment... and dont label people "disrespectful" and say they aren't "doing much to make life easier for him" when in fact, you don't know me or the director personally... we are actually good friends outside of work and I've been trying earnestly to help him find his "tone"... he has actually outwardly said himself that he doesn't feel he's a good director... so yes - I put "director" in quotes because he's admitted to having a hard time finding his "direction" - but he's not making it any easier for those who are trying to help him because he doesn't seem to want help...

the fact of the matter is that he is undermining me... and after trying to help him, he tries to make up for his inability to voice himself by trying to do something he has absolutely no idea how to do... THAT actually slows things down and wastes everyone's time...

i'm just laying out the current scenario and asking for thoughts...

so please mr. robinson - to be quite frank - i think YOU are being quite disrespectful by making such a quick and uninformed judgment on me.

maybe because you're a director yourself - you may take offense to me putting "director" in quotes - but being a director of your stature i'm sure you've come across conflict... and conflict resolution is a part of the game... but i don't need to tell you that since you've been nominated for an oscar, right?
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#7 Simon J Young

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Posted 17 September 2010 - 11:17 AM

For me, it depends on where the money is coming from. I'm guessing you're being paid? More importantly, is the director also the producer, or is there another person filling that role? Because if it is the former, as much as it sucks, it seems the director can do whatever is in his stupid head, because he's writing the checks. If there's another bloke producing, perhaps you can go to him/her with your concerns.

Where it is tricky is, if you are not being paid, that is, if this is a low budg kind of thing where people are working deferred/in kind. If that is the case, I think you absolutely have a say in the final film, because that is where your investment lies. You have as much a stake as the director, in the film's success, and so I believe the process is much more collaborative.

For example, when I'm on a paying gig, I do my best to advise the director, but at the end of the day, he's paying me so he can do whatever he wants, regardless of how stupid I think it is.

But when I'm doing the occasional proj for free, I'll exert a greater force over the creative process.

Ultimately, I hope you got a copy of the film before the director starting working his "magic." So at least you'll have the good version for your reel, and not something all effed up!

Good Luck.

BR


totally agree here Brian!

this is actually a small indie from-the-heart kind of production... so yes - my investment lies with the film itself... I am treading cautiously though since the last thing I want to do is offend the director, however, I will put my foot down soon.

I'm curious to hear other people's Director/DP horror stories... not that my scenario comes close to being horror at all, but I enjoy hearing how (or if) others resolved their personnel problems...

time to search some threads

thanks Brian
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#8 Ruairi Robinson

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Posted 17 September 2010 - 10:46 PM

with all due respect mr. robinson... when you dont have all the facts, reserve your judgment... and dont label people "disrespectful" and say they aren't "doing much to make life easier for him" when in fact, you don't know me or the director personally... we are actually good friends outside of work and I've been trying earnestly to help him find his "tone"... he has actually outwardly said himself that he doesn't feel he's a good director... so yes - I put "director" in quotes because he's admitted to having a hard time finding his "direction" - but he's not making it any easier for those who are trying to help him because he doesn't seem to want help...

the fact of the matter is that he is undermining me... and after trying to help him, he tries to make up for his inability to voice himself by trying to do something he has absolutely no idea how to do... THAT actually slows things down and wastes everyone's time...

i'm just laying out the current scenario and asking for thoughts...

so please mr. robinson - to be quite frank - i think YOU are being quite disrespectful by making such a quick and uninformed judgment on me.

maybe because you're a director yourself - you may take offense to me putting "director" in quotes - but being a director of your stature i'm sure you've come across conflict... and conflict resolution is a part of the game... but i don't need to tell you that since you've been nominated for an oscar, right?



"i'm just laying out the current scenario and asking for thoughts..."
"when you dont have all the facts, reserve your judgment"

I assume you are familiar with the phrase "Cognitive dissonance". Perhaps you could word your posts better to avoid confusion and wasted time in the future, as I can only judge based on the information you have provided.

Do you want people's opinions or not? Or do you just want people to respond that agree with you, and tell you how wonderful you are? Oh that stupid director idiot, how dare he change the color of the wall in the background of a shot in a film he's directing if doesn't know how to a computer or use DaVinci Resolve? He's obviously unqualified to work with actors, or decide on the color of walls! That more like it?

And how dare he do a "slight re-edit!" He must think he's the director or something... oh... wait.

R.
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#9 Simon J Young

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Posted 18 September 2010 - 05:49 AM

Do you want people's opinions or not? Or do you just want people to respond that agree with you, and tell you how wonderful you are? Oh that stupid director idiot, how dare he change the color of the wall in the background of a shot in a film he's directing if doesn't know how to a computer or use DaVinci Resolve? He's obviously unqualified to work with actors, or decide on the color of walls! That more like it?

And how dare he do a "slight re-edit!" He must think he's the director or something... oh... wait.

R.


context. look up that word.

good luck with all your work mr. robinson.
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#10 Rob Webster

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Posted 19 September 2010 - 06:50 PM

It's good how a potentially useful discussion can get ruined by a COCK fight.
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#11 Russell Scott

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Posted 20 September 2010 - 02:22 AM

It's good how a potentially useful discussion can get ruined by a COCK fight.


Posting in a public forum, with your whole name, about a film you're working on and then casting aspersions on the directors abilities was never going to end well. It wouldn't take 2 seconds to find the director involved - airing grievances in this manner is not OK.

With friends like these...
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#12 Alain Lumina

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Posted 20 September 2010 - 05:07 PM

There's aesthetic considerations, psychological considerations, and I'll steal something from the book "Directing Feature Films" I forget the author. Of course the classic by Egri on writing from the 1940's is quite adamant about having a central theme for the artwork.

One thing I've found in my admittedly limited experience is there always seems to be some tension/power struggle between a director and a DP.
I don't think that's necessarily bad, the DP can help save you from super-dunderheaded moves and offer vast improvements with their ideas, but if you're a director and you want to have any kind of distinctive style, you're going to have to stretch some conventions.
Accepting that there will be some power struggles makes it easier to accept and work through them

When there's some kind of dispute like this (in the book the collaboration method described was between writer and director) he very intelligently advocated "backing up" or "zooming out" (cringe) on the artistic goal.

You mentioned you actually did this when you asked him what the goal was in the wall color case.

Perhaps it might get you two aligned better if you educate/request more info about what overall tone the film is intended to have, helping him build his film work verbal vocabulary. Is there a theme which you can capture in a phrase and work from there ( i.e. perhaps for Blade Runner, wild guess= "take advantage of your very limited time in life")

When you've agreed on the general "mission", it might become easier to determine the goal of smaller parts, like the sequence with the wall where he can't articulate his goal.

Help him. Does he want the scene to be gloomy, nauseating, frightening-- if you provide the adjectives, maybe it will help him crystallize what he's trying to do.

People don't get angry when you just keep asking them about what they think and want as long as it's not like an interrogation, you're asking what they feel, you're willing to offer ideas, and you genuinely want to find out how they feel. I know this because I worked as a counselor, and there you're squeezing every damn detail out of them about their problems, but since you're doing it in the sincere interests of helping them, they don't mind it.

"What's the overall message of this film?" (difficult but he should at least be able to provide a general idea.Anything to get a starting point.)
"How should the audience feel when they see this scene"
"What colors are associated with that feeling for you?"

Also, I hate to pile on, but I too see a small but troubling sign when you place his title "director" in quotes --there's a danger you have condescension of some kind to his ability/role/vision. I think whatever the collaboration, you need to feel you have a shared goal with mutual respect and understanding.

If you don't think the guy can make something good, why do it?

I remember one power struggle with a DP I had as a director, I behaved pretty badly as he kept bitching about something I wanted to do which he really didn't understand because it was sort of a deliberately dumb idea.
Eventually I had the required "director' hissy fit and requested if he didn't like it he should "...then write your own f*&^*&^ movie!!!"

HAha...bad, I know. Maybe we know why Bergman stayed with Sven Nyquist all that time, they could work together without killing each other.
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#13 Alain Lumina

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Posted 20 September 2010 - 05:12 PM

double post oops
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#14 James Martin

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Posted 26 September 2010 - 08:58 AM

Good friend of mine and a director I collaborate with a lot, loves to do his own grading (on student projects etc etc...) - the only thing he and I really disagree about. Fortunately, I keep copies of the pre-graded stuff and usually do a grade to my taste for my own showreel, general public sees his version. Solves a lot of things....

He likes to crush the bejesus out of the blacks and make the highlights way hot, I prefer everything a little more textured, more subtle. It's personal taste at the end of the day.

If your director is having trouble just expressing what he wants though, if he is your friend, you owe it to yourself to give him advice on how to verbalise these things, at least. You know him better than we do.
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