Nov 7, 2008

Yeah! and Stupid Directors

So, this week I thought I would talk about.... The Election?...No, seems like everyone else and their dog is posting about that. I have only to say...YEAH! And I'm bummed that I missed out on buying a November 5th newspaper. Damn people that wake up early and buy all the newspapers. Living in historical times, one must buy historical stuff so one can sell it on eBay one hundred years from now! But, I missed out on that one.

Last week was an out of town job for five days. The director was a jerk, condescending and had no clue how to handle the actors. The sound guys were hilarious and liked to make fun of the director when he wasn't nearby...loved them. And the camera guy was cute. (aren't they always?)

A big bonus for everyone was that the lead actor who had to perform long dialogue scenes in three minute takes...(that's a lot of non-stop talking) knew ALL HIS LINES and rarely missed a beat. Thank God, otherwise the shoot would have lasted two weeks! During the wrap party I complimented the actor on his ability to spew out all that dialogue. He replied "You know, I looked at the script and thought these could be really long days if I don't know my lines, so to be respectful to everyone I really needed to have my dialogue down, I didn't want the production to go into overtime because of me." I loved that actor!!!!!

My favorite moment with the pissy director was when he stood in the middle of a field and yelled to me "Hey Script! (he never called me by my name) "What side was the main actor on?" I replied "Camera Right".

(Camera right is a technical term for those smart directors who know how screen direction works. In this case...I was clearly speaking above his intelligence level...but also for those of you not film savvy camera right is basically as you look at the monitor it's what appears on the right side of screen)

Since Mr. Pissy director was facing me from behind the camera...if he had pointed to the correct side he would have used his left hand. So he screams back to me using his RIGHT hand "This side?"

"No" I call back"Camera Right." and indicate to his left hand.

He replies in a most condescending tone (as if I didn't know my right hand from my left) screaming from the middle of the field "This is my right hand! You mean my other right hand!!! Which one!!!" and begins to flail both of his hands as if he's trying to fly...

At this moment I could hear a snort from the sound guys suppressing a laugh. I replied "You are correct, the actor was on this side." And I made a sweeping hand motion to indicate the right side of the camera. Dork.

It always seems when the director is an ass, the rest of the crew are extra nice to me. Possibly feeling bad because I have to endure Mr. Pissy at close proximity every day. The Key Grip asked me each morning if I needed anything, our Gaffer, who for some reason always drove our RV cart, would pick up MY chair and take it to the next location for me. The sound dude's made me laugh and well, every time the D.P. (camera guy) flashed a smile at me...yup that made my day.


anonymousassistant said...

I've seen that before, and it boggles my mind. How do you not know "camera right"?

I was operating on a show, and the director asked me to move the camera left. So, I unlocked the wheels and started rolling left.

He goes, "What are you doing?"

"I'm moving left, like you asked."

"Can't you just... turn the camera?"

"You mean 'pan left'?"

How do these guys get to be in charge?

emon said...

I guess you could say some directors use being an ass to put a lid on how fucking dumb they are.

I've always admired actors who work with ass-directors and are still able to perform.

Nathan said...

Of course I have a lot person-to-person dealings with directors, but Gawd am I thankful that I don't have to spend much time near camera. I don't know how you guys survive that. Even with the good directors.

D said...

A few years ago I did a mo0vie shot by a DP who was the most incompetent cameraman I have ever seen, yet thought he knew everyone's job better than they did. The high point of the show was when my Key Grip told him he was "an amateur" and didn't know what he was doing (to all you tech types, he lit most interiors to an 11) Anyway, halfway through the show I rounded a corner and saw him explaining eyelines to the director (a nice but clueless guy). I thought,"How can WB give these bozos 5 million dollars to make a movie?"

Scripty said...

Anonymous- Tilt, Pan, I've heard many a director screw those up.

Emon- I agree, how actors can remain professional with a toddler like director is beyond me.

Nathan-Actually the nice directors are fun to work with...although finding a nice PLUS talented director is the trick

D- I can only imagine what screen direction advice this incompetent D.P. had to tell...and believe me...I've heard many interesting although completely wrong explanations of screen direction.

Anonymous said...

One of my friends was on a job with such a bad director a score board started up on the back of one of the set flats. Whenever the director shouted at someone that crew member got a point. It became a competition to see who could finish the movie with the most amount of points. The director was screaming his head off for months!

Scripty said...

Anonymous- Thanks for the can only wonder how many points were racked up throughout the show.