1

CONTENTS
Preface Terms of Reference Chapter One
The relationship between the Writer and the Director

Page 2 Page 4 Page 5

Chapter Two
The relationship between the Producer and the Director

Page 21

Chapter Three
The relationship between the Producer and the Writer

Page 42

Chapter Four
The producer in the marketplace

Page 57 Page 66

Chapter Five
New Technologies: Triangle in a changing world

Chapter Six
Towards new curricula

Page 84 Page 104 Page 117 Page 126

Chapter Seven
Conclusions -- Group reports

Chapter Eight
Triangle : The future

Appendix
Biographies: Speakers Participants

2 Observers

PREFACE

Sixty delegates from twenty-eight film schools and four related training institutions gathered in Rome on December 9th for the Triangle Conference organised by the executive committee of GEECT. The theme of the Conference was an examination of the collaborative, “threesided” relationship between the writer, director and the producer, and the integration of training for all three roles within the curriculum for film and television training. It was the largest gathering of practising teachers ever assembled to examine a single, specific topic in film education. The GEECT initiative was supported by Ente Cinema in Rome who hosted the event at the CINECITTÀ studio complex, and the costs of the conference were funded partially by the Media 2 training programme. Other partners were CINECITTÀ, Quantel Ltd, Ateliers du Cinéma Européen, Paris, Centro Sperimentale di Cinematografia, Rome, the University of Westminster, London, and the Hochschule für Fernsehen und Film, Munich. Twenty-two of the participating schools were members of the GEECT regional group. They were joined by delegates from Brazil, Ghana, Mexico, Singapore and the United States. Underlying this GEECT project, one of the four projects of the current CILECT biennium, was the belief that the producer, writer and director -- always the initiators of any film -- must learn how to collaborate more effectively in order to create a viable product. It was hoped that the conference conclusions would point to key, common values and highlight contrasting attitudes that cannot be found in a single school. The working process of the conference provided an effective model for this research. The first three days were divided into morning presentations by professional film makers, followed by afternoon discussion groups with delegates divided into groups representing specialist teaching in one of the three disciplines under review. The final sessions enabled delegates to consider reports and conclusions from the discussion groups, and to evolve guidelines for a follow-up conference built upon the experience of the week. The delegates unanimously agreed that the Triangle Conference should be reconvened in 1998 with a dual brief:

3 a) to focus on specific curricula design aimed at integrating the training of writers, directors and producers as a creative partnership. Details of effective workshops and seminars already in use in member academies should be explained and demonstrated for delegates. b) to widen the debate to include input from students representing the three disciplines.

This document is presented not only as a record of the Conference in Rome, but also as a stimulus towards a review of current practice in film education. The timing is relevant. To paraphrase an observation by Paul Schrader, the distinguished writer and director : Young people, the consumers of film education today, were born in an analogue world -- but will live and work in a digital age. Film schools with foresight are already grappling with this fundamental and profound change in the technology of the moving image. The practitioners forming the creative triangle will have to embrace this new world. The tools they will use are evolving constantly. The creative potential of their partnership -- if fostered in today’s academies will make them masters, not slaves, of technological change. Michael Powell, the British film maker, once told students: “Film making must not become a mechanical process. It is an association of artists who, if they learn to trust one another, can perform miracles.”

we need to learn to train the trainers.must learn how to collaborate more effectively in order to create and present a viable product. We believe that this learning process should be central to the practice of film and television schools. To move beyond the personal experience of the single professional temporarily borrowed by a single school. It seeks to reinforce the integration between the stages and the acts of writing. . and only afterwards with the students. integrated curricula in each of the three disciplines. Director and Producer. These are the themes that must be addressed first with the teachers. the interchange between teachers is vital to establish teaching methods that are tested and experimented. We seek a kind of objectivity. The Triangle project therefore seeks to promote an initiative centred upon the work of students within the schools. In other words. but in the perspective of the impact with the “real” professional world.always the initiators of any film -. to create an awareness in the teachers that will raise the issue of marketing the audio-visual product internationally. We believe that these key figures -. In addition. directing and producing.4 TRIANGLE CONFERENCE TERMS OF REFERENCE The Triangle Project deals with enhancing the understanding of the importance of the effective relationship between the Writer. an established methodology that each school could refer to in setting its own.

” Nowhere is this debate enshrined and defended more rigorously than in the world of the moving image -. one of the primacy of the “author. This profile was recognised by most of the delegates at the conference. that the central philosophical issue in the examination of the nature of collaboration in any creative endeavour is. editing systems and so on. inevitably. sound equipment. early in the conference. However. often . A film student is generally considered to be a writer-director whose private vision must be served by lowly craftspeople working on his or her behalf -.operating cameras. Lip service may be paid to Michael Powell’s “association of artists” but what has been described as the “my film” syndrome remains the dominant theology.and in the academies where emerging film makers are trained. at best. Attempts to legislate for collaboration met widespread resistance. This demand is not solely for feature length fiction scripts. Student screenwriters are relegated to their garrets.but for their student directors. there are a growing number of schools with discrete courses for script writers. to labour alone on feature-length scripts usually read only by their tutors and. destined (with few exceptions) to be of passing interest to agents looking for potential talent.5 CHAPTER ONE The relationship between the Writer and the Director. delegates revealed an almost universal problem in creating a meaningful relationship between the student writer and director. Writing for the short film form. Many delegates identified this problem as the single most frustrating element in film education. and ignores the current and increasing demand for writers of original and engaging stories for film and television. This offers only a short-term solution within the School. It was clear. and only limited success. In spite of this discernible change. Therefore most schools compromised by organising courses for screenwriting and script development -.

6 considered even within schools as mere apprentice activity. GEECT Co-Ordinator. the prevailing tendency is to have courses of writing for directors because we assume that the directors will write their own films. the Conference organiser. Indications are that talented and trained screenwriters are now in greater demand from the film and television industries than new directors. the presentation was drawn from the professional experience of Italian cinema. Caterina d’Amico: We are here to discuss the relationship between writer and director in cinema. To give the thoughts and reflections a pedagogical outcome. we explore what happens when this is not the case. The Conference began its first day by challenging that model. told delegates: “The aim of having the presentations by professional film makers was not to seek solutions to the problems of film schools. Perhaps that is a reflection on many academies which persist in perpetuating the model of “total film maker” for their individual students. We want to explore the advantages of having this relationship. Mario Monicelli ( director and writer). when we are faced with a relationship that brings in more than one person. is now being reappraisal as an ideal training model. It is the job of the delegates to put those ideas into a schools context. As Caterina d’Amico. The professional panel are all collaborators -. Appropriately. Here. in our schools. In other words. .Suso Cecchi d’Amico ( writer).working together as writer and or director to develop a screenplay. Vincenzo Cerami (writer) and Gianni Amelio ( director) NOTE: CVs are attached as an appendix. Caterina d’Amico. They are in the programme to raise questions and to throw some ideas forward. today.” The morning panel was distinguished -. where tradition has established the collaboration between two or more writers and the director in the development of a single script. especially for the rapidly expanding television market. In most of our countries. was the moderator and translator.

the story is set around one or more actors. who then puts it to the team of writers. but he or she always works on commission. In my own work as a director I tend to have not only one writer. he kept on writing for other people. details around a story. because the director ultimately holds the movie. The ideal situation is to write in groups. The procedure that I am accustomed to is different.but also when he was already a very established director. a first idea. Other screenplays are built specifically for certain actors. is thrown in the middle and then is worked and elaborated by a the writers as a group. Never on his own. Sometimes the movie is taken from a book.” . ideas.not only before he started directing himself -... The specific function of the writer is to be able to build a story on commission. Therefore the writer should not be concerned to defend his own ideas. Usually. in Italy. Helping the director within what he wants to do. He has to be honest with. and committed to the director. although in Italy this is not very frequent. The writer takes a given theme. to follow the ideas of the director. An idea can also originate from a producer. but always together with other professional screenwriters. the core idea of a movie comes from the film makers -. or given actors. He has also directed fifty-seven feature films. But it is important that there is more than one person involved in the writing. but several writers. That is the specific skill I look for in a writer. It may be a director. Mario Monicelli : “I am aware that in schools the director writes his own script and doesn’t like the idea of collaborating with somebody else. The writer should not feel or grow too attached to his own views or ideas. It is not vital that the director is present. or given situations. The duty of the writer is to suggest atmosphere. Fifty-five of them he has written himself. but should be able to abandon these ideas if need be. and within what he can do. or even someone else. I tend to work with teams of several people where an idea. or it may be a writer.7 Mario Monicelli has written more than fifty screenplays for other directors -.the producers or directors. It is a small portion of our production. It is not necessarily the director who starts a film. but always in the framework of helping the director. characters. The main idea of the film may come from several different people.

They took the book and decided that the beginning of the book was excellent as a piece of literature. Monicelli decided to accept the commission. Cerami was not a screenwriter. and had always considered himself a film maker. The same process occurred with the ending. He had embraced an enormous range of movies. Gianni Amelio: . They wanted to change it. Cerami had a very clear vision of how to start the film. we are familiar with the director who is always present when the script is written. They went back to Cerami to ask his opinion. They went to Cerami. It was not in the book. We have the opinion that the director who does not follow very closely the development of the script is not a good director for the film. and asked him to join them in the team of screenwriters. I think I did a better job as a director because I felt that I was more detached. That is why she expected him to have a slightly different view. Cerami declined their offer. and only two of these movies I did not write myself. and began looking for a suitable idea for the beginning of the story. It is expected that he or she will also write with the group. It was Cerami’s first novel and was a huge success in Italy. His experience was in literature. His experience was different because his approach to movies altogether was rather different from Monicelli. So Monicelli and his colleague suspected that Cerami was already screenwriter. Monicelli was given the task of translating the book into a film. even if he did not want to acknowledge it.8 Monicelli then recounted his own experience of making a film out of a book written by Vincenzo Cerami. At that time. But I must confess that I have made fifty-seven movies. In both cases. one of his fellow panellists at the Conference. They wanted him to be part of the process. But Cerami knew how to end the story as a film. It was not in the novel. but he knew the effective beginning. Monicelli: In Italy. Caterina d’Amico then introduced Gianni Amelio. Amelio she suggested was more passionately attached to his films. but did not work for a film. He follows very closely the elaboration of the idea. I was less involved in the script and therefore I had a fresher eye. So they started working on the movie. Monicelli had made many films. and formed a collaboration with Serrgio Amidei. one of the top screenwriters of Italy.

A producer -. because yesterday’s rules are already too old. The next day you have to be prepared to throw away the rules that you invented yesterday and start again to invent new ones.big or small -. Cinema is a world where you have to invent the rules day-by-day. tells him: “Of course I have. If we look at old film posters. In the Sixties the genre that was popular was what we would call the mythological or historical story. I have written it. Since producers never want to pay. We took a piece of history and made it romance. the figure who took up the Cross to help Christ in his exhaustion. Sometimes it is the writer. That’s for sure. Would you like to come up with an idea? An idea that could be set in ancient Rome.. But only at the moment that the film is nearly ready to be made.. the more influential the producer. Sometimes it is the actor. Let’s have a revised version. The stronger the industry. and ask how those films were made -.. and made a telephone call.” The screenwriter gets a contract and writes a screenplay. Then they may go to a director.” That gives him time without paying. It is ready.Or maybe he wonders: “What is the genre that will attract people nowadays to movie theatres?”.. That process I have just outlined works only because the producer is committed. For each film we must have someone like the Cireneo. if he is a professional. Go ahead. The producer reads it. I am sure that the producer of those movies woke up one morning. Films are born like that. Who does he talk to?. In other words. The producer says: “Fine. . got to his office.who was the first one to have the idea -.” That afternoon. the writer appears in the producer’s office. This is the industrial type of film making.9 There are no rules. He would have told the screenwriter: “Nowadays the sort of movies that are very popular are those that are somewhere between mythology and history. this producer says: “This is not quite good enough.we would have to say that the real author was often the producer. or maybe on a pirate ship?” The screenwriter. for each film to get made there must be a figure like that. and the more the component skills are separated. the producer is the author. He did not call a director. In these cases. He calls a screenwriter. Sometimes it is the director. One morning he gets up and reflects: “What is the story I can tell?”. Sometimes it is the producer.wants to entice people into the cinemas. and tells the producer a story.

Therefore a young film maker must not only have an ambition to write. A producer can react to these two pages in one of two ways. an aspiring director is rarely offered a film to direct. It happens. The intelligent way is to recognise the value of the idea. Amelio pointed out that another. He can react in an intelligent way which is extremely rare. It is a matter of investment -. is to become an assistant screenwriter. Neither is it Richard Fleischer who directed it. a “sister” of Calamity Jane. .not of money -. He checked old documents and references.” And the young director says: “I will do it all by myself. but to a very small extent.a treatment of a would-be film. A screenwriter who was writing one of these scripts. My name did not appear. He took all this material to the screenwriter and was told to develop it into some scenes. not so well known route to becoming a writer. Far more often. there were the spaghetti westerns. It often happened that this research led to the assistant incorporating his/her findings into a scene which appeared in the final movie. Amelio himself) to check details of -. Nobody will give him a script to direct. and this is the less intelligent way. In that case he tells the young director to find someone with more experience to work together to write the script. the producer says: “Go ahead.but of creative input on his part. Amelio said he had to become an expert in the details of the life of Belle Starr. because he allows this decision. Amelio: So I became a writer -. He was told what was supposed to happen in that part of the script. Of course. It is necessary for him to propose his own ideas first. and therefore decide that the young film maker might be able to realise it. but should realise that is a necessity. for example. So a young would-be filmmaker usually cannot show any examples of his work. My role involved checking historical research. It is Dino de Laurentis who wanted it and who commissioned it. In the Sixties. of course. could not be sure whether or not he had made some historical mistakes in the screenplay. In Italy there is not the tradition nor the practice of making short films. Christopher Fry who wrote a very good script.for example -events that occurred between Alabama and Mexico around the 1870s.but not one who was credited as the author.10 The real author of Barabbas for example is not the writer. What he can show is two pages -.” Very often the producer is responsible. He would ask an assistant ( in this case.

. In my generation that was easier. it was his personal view.and last -. I know what I do not want. We have already had the idea. illustrate his personal thesis that there are strong rules if the industry is strong. If the industrial model is weak. Either the young film maker is a genius.movie. but I do not know as clearly what I want. She was asked what.. It depends on the intelligence of the individuals involved. Italian film makers were a small group who literally lived a . There should be at least two. three.. “The first rule: You have to know the personality of the director very well. I was very lucky. This applies also to the dialogue we will write together. Mario Monicelli added his viewpoint on the same question: “What I ask from my screenwriter is to have ideas to improve the story that we have already written together.. there are no rules. and we have built up a plot together. and has made his first -. asserted Amelio.11 The effect is to create an overblown ego in the director. It is impossible for me to do this alone. It is also very difficult to do this with only one partner. the atmosphere. He is happy to take advantage of this indifference coming from the producer. four or even five writers.. The rules can be totally contradictory. a story.For Monicelli. in her opinion.” Suso Cecchi d’Amico has written more than one hundred screenplays.to refine and to enrich the story we have decided together.. the ideal screenwriter is the person who makes me understand what I really want. Again. It is a matter of luck. as is the case at the present time in Italy.. I don’t know whether it applies to everybody. and with Monicelli she has written nearly twenty screenplays. the feelings of the characters. He was asked what he looked for in his screenwriters. This is how I work with writers.. These examples. and would have made a masterpiece anyway. was the ideal relationship with the director. to go deep inside the characters in certain situations. The result has two possible outcomes. Most of her work has been written in teams with two. So for me. Or he is not a genius.. Therefore I ask my screenwriters to work within the frame of this story. Amelio: “Very often when I start to make a film I am slightly confused.. to find more subtle development. Everything can happen. their moods. This is very personal..

With producers. They do not care.. Maybe it is a bad habit. cinema was built out of the broken walls of the city. The producer is somebody who is a matchmaker.. They have made their money in advance. The collaboration was so tight that in those first movies it was very difficult to understand who was doing what.’ or the other way round. What is relevant is the attachment to the making of the film.12 lot together. Whenever I speak of those very first films. I always use the expression: ‘We brought chairs from home. the writer and the director. They have secured their money. But such a producer is no longer someone who is in the business passionately. The director was not an isolated figure. To know each other was not difficult. In the past.. rather than intelligence. Here in Italy. Today it is nearly impossible. But back then there were those with the passion for film making anyway. and I write. I am talking about the Italian figure. They are not really interested in whether the movie is a success or not. so he went into producing. but I do not know whether objectively this is so.’ Everybody brought from home whatever they had to help make the film. but I believe that it must be very much the same all over the world. Often they had fantastic instinct. Therefore they are detached. but who were so passionate that it was a pleasure to work with them. but they do not have a strong interest in the movie itself. In the past I have known producers who were not very bright. Somebody who puts together money coming from different sources. For me it is the best way.. I got this habit from the start.” . In those past days the producer was amongst this group of people. and I feel very nostalgic for it. or felt that he could not make it. Some of the money they have put together stays with them. It would not have been any surprise to be told: ‘Today you shoot. They loved movies. He was one amongst many people who collaborated in the making of the movie. I am still attached to this way of working.” This is no longer the case. And also the producer. the producer was often someone who had wanted to be a director. They were film makers. all working together.. We lack these passionate figures desperately.. Today the producer has changed. They were one of us. The producer.and to the story-telling. even today. it is not so relevant whether or not the movies they want to make are good or bad. but he had in some way failed. but I still have this need to know the director I am working with very well. not very cultivated. We considered that the producer was “one of us. I started working just after the War. They are no longer one of us. They were passionate people. I certainly prefer passion in a producer. and then makes a movie. all working together in the same pot.

Ideas born out of boredom lack richness. So I want to be able to tell a story that can only be perceived through the eyes or only through the ears. he will want to invent something.the craft. the radio uses a language that can only be perceived through the ears. the importance and the need for story-telling is vital and central. The cinema uses a language that needs writing. and this moment of “invention” can lead him astray. It depends on the director.should be emphasised in schools. when the student has learned the craft.. If you have a director who knows his skill and his craft. and give it to him.. He will be bored with the story. This is why I am so interested in cinema. I began by being the helper to the helper of the assistant to the assistant director for Pasolini’s “Gospel According to St Matthew. In the same way. I have always been obsessed with story-telling. Nevertheless. Schools should exist to teach skills. Then. In fact. In the end you have to tell a story that can be read only through the eyes.13 Turning to the relationship between the writer and the director. he or she does not occupy all the space.. Suso Cecchi d’Amico said there were two different types of relationship. he will not have anything new to add when he starts shooting the film. The screen writer must also have the freedom to work alone. In movies. If the director is too involved too early. The extreme model of the industry -. That is why I say that it is important for the writer to know the director well.the American way -. The director should keep a certain freedom of mind in order to be fresh when he gets to stage and to shoot the film. a story-teller. Vincenzo Cerami was described as “a full-time writer of practically anything and everything.. I consider myself as a narrator. He was asked what he thought a young writer should know in terms of writing for the cinema. I learned about the synthesis of story-telling in a movie. I started off in cinema by being an assistant director. he goes out and does what he wants. which is the most difficult thing to learn.” He is also a distinguished teacher.often has a professional director who is given a script and merely stages it. But not too much.” My main duty was to control traffic near the locations. This conception of film direction -. . I do not consider myself as a writer. He can anticipate what the director is best at creating. then he can work with a screenwriter who helps him develop his ideas. If he is bored. not as a final language.the concept of the director as ‘a stager of scripts’ -. In other words. to use language in this intermediate way. While in literature a narrator has an important space.. but as an intermediate language towards the final product.

And I must say that every time I work more than once with the same director. When a screenwriter meets a director years after they have worked together. Personally. All that I have gained I carry with me to the next project. we both try to make profit from these conflicts in terms of extracting visual material and narrative material to project on the screen. . Together the director and I give structure and rules to the universe of our narration. and he also runs the risk of instinctively repeating himself stylistically.at the service of the person who needs it whenever I write for the cinema. In each case therefore.new languages..to be a story-teller -. The way the problems are overcome is always the fruit of the collaboration with the director.. There are certain problems of the story-telling process that a writer is always confronted with. I have a different experience from that described by Suso. Each time I work with a director like Amelio. I am able to hide for many months at a time behind the eyes of talented people for whom I have a high regard. I am confronted with a different person. and often becomes even embarrassing.. That is because I need this intimacy. much more. Only through experience do you learn how to avoid these traps. the writer has increased his knowledge of how to avoid problems. Most of all. probably. he finds that the director has directed three films in the intervening years.. That is inevitable when one is trying to see the world through anther person’s eyes. it is a time of great emotion. even those who have never made a film before. whilst the writer has written thirty scripts. But I try to choose the directors I work with by selecting those with a novel or individual outlook on the world. When one moves on to another movie. Never a team. If the relationship is good. I work only for directors. have been very lucky. The director runs the risk of falling prey of his own language and his own style. because I tend to always write alone with a director.14 Then I put this vocation of mine -. one takes that experience along. One’s mind has been opened up.. I enter their thoughts and their style and become part of it. a human being. He finds himself constantly challenged to find different morphologies. Every time I write a film it is as if it is the very first of my career. I became capable of seeing elements I would not have discovered alone. the result is the same. It implies a series of conflicts that always happen between a director and me. Therefore the screenwriter has had the chance to learn much. So my work is very intimate. The screenwriter is exactly the opposite. I come out of each project with an experience that is not only the writer’s experience but is also the experience of a citizen. I. Ultimately. too.

. And it is useful to suggest that dialogues are always lies.. Therefore the secret of good dialogue lies in the scenes that are before the dialogue itself. after you have taught all that you could possibly teach..’” . And this renewed dialogue will need to have a new type of language to be developed which is appropriate to the project. Then a greater breadth of possibilities will become apparent. students should study literature. radio. For instance. the universe of story-telling will be illuminated.. student can be taught an awareness of narration.. However. but starting with this.. Asked what a student screenwriter should be taught at school. to take back the strings of the dialogue. So we always have to start discovering each other again. Go and write. This is only one example. When the dialogue begins. the use of the third person. to teach the writing of good dialogue. It is very difficult to teach what to do. you must tell your students: ‘Now forget everything that you have been told here. theatre. At the end. as well as cinema. a clear understanding of narrative forms. there are other elements that can be taught. This is something that can be taught. With a study of all these specific conventions.. you have a scene with two characters who are about to talk. what is called “free style” or indirect form. Cerami said he considered it a mistake to limit the student’s horizon to writing only for the screen. This tended to narrow the vision of the emerging writer. the audience thinks they know exactly what they are going to say to each other..narrative research. the use of the first person as the narrative voice. Then the writer can make his characters say something quite different. This widening of the horizon should also occur in terms of research -.. what the French call mise en situation.. The students should also consider that. You can teach screenwriters that they should never try to write dialogue unless the characters are already in the situation. it is essential to teach students to put the characters into an appropriate situation. A teacher of screenwriting should attempt to broaden the vision. In other words. the coup de theatre or turning point of the story.15 He is different because he has made that very film we worked together on earlier. The only elements that can be taught are what not to do.. and techniques to find the unforeseen happening of the story ( the device that changes the perspective from first person subjective to third person objective point of view). it is not possible to teach story-telling. the sense of a narrative language and its conventions. That is the secret of wonderful dialogue. For example. In his opinion.

But experience of the film making process should not end there. This is not cinema. whereas the director and the editor have to invent from something that exists already. very rich in detail. When an experienced writer sees the first cut. and what is not to be cut. Then the writer and the director can do the job together in the cutting room. and there are no certainties any more. This too can be taught. Film making is a choral experience. The writer. This is because the writer is accustomed to invent out of nothing. He indulges himself. to help them become better writers? Suso Cecchi d’Amico suggested that it was important for a writer to apply what he/she learned on the set. The writer is enjoying himself. The cutting room provided a vital experience.16 The panel was asked if they considered it necessary for writers to acquire experience of shooting. When an emerging writer writes for himself. he usually knows immediately where he can reduce it. The writer should follow it through to the cutting room and to the finished film. This is a great help to the director. Should the writer be present? The panel agreed that it was better to see the first assembly. and cinema is about the essence. The more they know about each other’s jobs the better.. They start to have doubts about what is to be cut.. because they are writing for cinema. on a set for example. The writer gains another useful insight by being present during the shooting. It is usually too long. One of the most vital things a writer must learn is rhythm. Another question related to the viewing of rushes.the time it takes to set up for each shot -. . the director and the editor become very confused. Everybody should feel part of the process. the tendency is to make it very long. Gianni Amelio stressed that film making is such a collaborative undertaking that the more the students can do together the better. perhaps by twenty minutes or even an hour.particularly close-ups -and each scene. So it has to be cut. It helps them to realise the time factor -. Then when there is a second screening of this first edit. particularly in relation to performance. They learn to put only what is essential into the scene. Once they experience this expensive time factor. they bear it in mind when they are writing. and that rhythm is best learned in the cutting room.

. and all around this feeling there is an aggregation of talents. and screenwriting. and that knowledge is also essential for editors.. Cinematographers have to learn about rhythm. the panel was adamant. Often he makes the choice because he imagines there is more free space there -. not separately.. a director will never be a director if he does not know how long it takes to set the lights.” Such a student will never be a good screenwriter. Faults can be corrected. And while his ideas become clearer. Such confrontational relationships are not worth pursuing. but not that. In film schools there are usually teachers of directing. Whoever enters a film school is in love with film making in its totality. If the director cannot “feel” an idea as his own. that it is impossible to be a writer without a knowledge of direction. put every student in contact with all the aspects of this machine he/she has fallen in love with. It is a sort of back-door to becoming a film maker.. A screenwriter should try to . That is why film schools should. full stop. he will never be able to shoot it. Turning to the problem of strong conflicts between writers and directors. The student needs this experience to clarify his own ideas that are quite confused when he enters the school. editing. My duty is to write. for maybe one year. As a result. Nobody wants to do one specific thing.“I have to know this. the teachers prevent the students learning about other fields. cinematography.than if he wanted to become a director or a director of photography.and a greater chance of selection -. Very often the problem is the unwillingness of the teachers to collaborate between themselves. These talents have to be cultivated together. He suggested that such a student does not enter the school in the same frame of mind as a student who enters university to study physics. but laziness cannot. It is very stupid when a screenwriter insists on some elements that the director cannot accept. The screenwriting student might think-. It grows out of the attitude that one is not responsible for certain things. A film comes out of a feeling. In the same way.17 Cerami offered another view of the student writer. or set-up a travelling shot. he will understand one fundamental thing.. “A student who enters a screenwriting course does not know what a screen writer is. Directors should also know about screenwriting.and he would be wrong -.

a director tends to work with the same people as often as possible.18 convince a director. the result will be very poor.. It followed therefore that the central issue of the Triangle Conference.. not just in terms of how pleasant life can be. Delegates were interested to explore the panel’s views on the ideal curriculum for a film school.. If the director gives in. In the past. to talk about dreams.. For instance. The Italian method relied totally on the concept of creative collaboration. but in the end. It was pointed out that in order to avoid such conflicts.. and shoots the idea. Mario Monicelli was of the opinion that the quality of film schools can vary greatly. He works to establish a relationship with a small group and stays loyal to them. Collaboration is essential for the sake of the work. This prompted a broader look at training in relation to professional realities. It is even ugly to consider the relationship between the writer and the director as something that operates only during office hours. Good results of work are what matters. Real experience should be required in the training of young film makers. The delegates were reminded of the distinguished contribution to film education made by some members of the panel. the winner is the film. if the relationship is good. in Italy there was a system that is not operating any more. Therefore production companies . a school that concentrates only on theory is not a good school. but in other capacities in the film -making process as well. based as it was on a reappraisal of collaboration within the curricula of film academies. but never to force him to accept an idea. Suso Cecchi d’Amico agreed. The panel stressed that the model of the Italian cinema was totally opposed to the concept of separated tasks.. This is because an awareness of the different jobs is essential. To look forward with pleasure to the writing sessions ahead. It is important to like the people one works with. not only in their own disciplines. A school that has a curriculum which allows this breadth of experience is a very good school. A school that offers only theory and analysis does not work. that stated that everybody who left the State School of Cinema (CSC) had to work on at least two films as an assistant in his chosen field before going into the profession. was already a modus operandi for the film makers of the host nation.To eat together. One can shout and yell of course.

It is necessary to hammer into the heads of students that they are going through an experience -.that will ultimately lead them to work in movie making. Mario Monicelli was asked what he thought a director should learn in a school. and had to given them this form of apprentice training for a period. what was the ideal path of study for a would-be director? In his view.. apart from the screenwriting courses and all the other programmes and curricula. and of the character. It is necessary to remember that the actor has his own relationship with the director of photography. The conflict a young director can have with the actor is even greater than the conflict he or she can have with the writer. He also has his own vision of the film. He said that if a student came to him and said: “I have a degree as a director. Students apply there in order to get a diploma -. the actors. of the story.a degree. A major problem for a director is that he has to collaborate with a series of people -. It is more difficult to learn how to deal with actors. by the end of his time at the school. the DoP and so on. At the end of this experience they will certainly be richer. and it does not often happen that these individual visions coincide with that of the director.19 had to take them on board. the single most important element for a directing student is to know thoroughly the relationship with actors. but it is equally possible that you might have another student. He becomes the central point of all these visions which he has to .. and each of these people has his own vision of the movie. As a final word on this subject.but only one of several experiences -. the acquisition of a degree. This should be the central activity. So you might have someone who will graduate and ultimately make a film. It is essential to know that each actor has his own vision of the film.” or “I have a degree as a screenwriter. Suso Cecchi d’Amico reminded delegates that Francesca Archibugi and Paolo Virzì.the screen designer. the writer. he suggested. It is a ridiculous claim. A student can learn about acting during the experience of being at school. but not necessarily ready to do whatever they want to do in the profession. If the student has as his sole aim. The school cannot be a guarantee for success.” this proves nothing. A conflict with an actor takes place while shooting is underway. who might have to start all over again in another profession. In other words. It was. an end in itself. It is like having a degree as a fine artist. Gianni Amelio was critical of the CSC in Rome. two of the best film directors of the last generation of Italian cinema had both come out of Rome’s Centro Sperimentale. the school has failed.

He does not know what is happening on the set. The hardest relationship in this regard can be with the editor. it was the part of the iceberg that was hidden that did the damage. it can be taught. in the beginning one always looks at the clutch when changing gear. makes the inferior film. and a part that is hidden. it is not very difficult to know where to place the camera -. Monicelli drew a parallel with a ship’s captain. For instance.. the part of the director’s work that is seen can be learned. If the director is talented. “We know that when the Titanic crashed against the iceberg. If the director translates a certain stupidity with stubbornness. So if we extend that metaphor. rather than when you are in school. Sometimes there are directors who are very intelligent. “When one learns to drive a car.20 reconcile.. So all of the submerged part of the director’s skill you learn better when you are on the set. one doesn’t look at it any more. He is away somewhere preparing for later shooting. You have to defend yourself very strongly to keep your own vision of the story. this can be an asset. A better training experience is to fulfil the script role. It becomes an automatic action. Someone who arrives on a set quite by chance and watches a . Nearly always. but also be smart enough to accept the few ideas that are also very valuable. The most delicate requirement is that he or she must learn to defend themselves as a director. and worthwhile contributions. Gianni Amelio agreed. This is very useful experience for anyone who wants to be a director. because each of these people come to the project with very good ideas. The assistant director is rarely on the set. He has to be very careful. It is made up of relationships and techniques and knowledge of the different elements. It means that he or she is sitting beside the camera with the director. but less stubborn. “We can speak forever about this visible part of the iceberg. Another role that helps the learning process is to be script girl or script boy while the student is still at school. He has to learn to take which they bring and to incorporate the best of their contributions into his own vision. Even maybe. he would design it as an iceberg.. He said that if he had to design the concept of direction.which is always the central problem for any film student. An iceberg has a little part that is above the water that can be seen. The hidden depths can finally be understood through experience alone. but because he expects them to bring ideas. but they lack the character to be a director. When one knows how to drive. he has chosen his collaborators because they are not only equally talented. from the mass of ideas that are thrown at them by all the other people who collaborate with them. because there are many elements that can be useful. the one who is more intelligent.

Yellow cannot care less about blue or green. Actors are for a director what colours are for a painter. instead of using colours. Imagine a painter who. It is not only virtues that push a director towards being a good director.” .21 director directing a movie for one hour sees this visible part and believes that this is what directing is about. Only the director has in mind the harmony that he wants to achieve in his painting with actors.” In other words. “Monicelli mentioned a key point when he spoke of directing actors. It is a combination of faults and qualities.. Only the director knows that he has to combine black and blue and white and red. “The real elements are in the hidden part of this “talent iceberg. It is not true... is taken by the colour. he believes himself to be the only colour on the canvas.” It is a question of character. Each actor believes himself to be the only actor on the screen. The colour tells the painter: “You have to use me like that.

. It was not until the late Fifties that it was seriously challenged by the theorists and practitioners of the Nouvelle Vague in France. but the duo -.the often uneasy relationship between the producer and the director. this empowered the director to claim “auteurship” whilst at the same time diminishing the role of producer to that of “enabler. often complex and difficult. Inevitably.” This intellectual stance had a profound effect on film analysis and criticism which in turn had a profound effect upon the development of film education and the curricula of the large number of film academies which were established in the Sixties and Seventies. In other words. and still is.22 CHAPTER TWO The relationship between director and producer Throughout most of the first century of the cinema. a film is a handmade artefact.e. a small factory ) but of an author. collaborative partnership was not the triangle. Their thesis proposed that on an aesthetic level there should be an approach to film as the product. it was copied or interpreted in modified forms by the European industry. Even in schools with established specialised courses for the training of producers. the traditional creative. The film student was perceived as an emerging director who usually wrote his or her own material. Some schools still prefer to concentrate on the training of production managers as support crew rather than to develop “creative entrepreneurs”.through its tutorial support and financial controllers -. not of a studio ( i. Created and sustained by the studio system in the United States. The institution itself -. like a novel written with a “camera stylo”.provided most of the services normally carried out by a producer. the integration of these students within the school programme as a whole was.

Channel Four was a pioneer. and the example of a . There was. nor from a reappraisal of any form of corporate/ studio/ company contribution. and therefore judged a safer investment. It came not from state subsidies. schools in the former communist countries also found an urgent need to train producers for film and television capable of operating in a free-market economy. The film academies lagged behind. Talented young film directors would eventually get their breaks. By the mid-Eighties. with the collapse of the state control of production in the Eastern bloc. In Britain. the number of graduate film directors emerging from the major schools outnumbered the total slate of feature films made nationally. for example. The emergence of strong independent television networks hungry for quality product introduced a novel pragmatism to European cinema production. It came from the “poor relation” of cinema -. However. the now established practice of Europe-wide co-productions often involving major television networks. spurred by the state’s generous subsidy system.television. an occasional acknowledgement that some training in production management might be useful. They were known. In Britain. also spurred a renaissance of national production wherever they invested. ZDF. the attitude in some film schools was gradually changing. Their investment in cinema. because the television companies were producing star directors as well -. In other words. in spite of the changing realities of the industry. as noted above. In Germany. Canal Plus. the Munich school.particularly between producing and directing -it was possible that partnerships would be formed that continued beyond graduation. If film schools created a curriculum that reflected an interrelationship between certain specialisations -. graduating producer students would create work opportunities for their colleagues from other disciplines. That assumption was easier stated than proved. These owed nothing to a studio system. and the unit cost per production were yardsticks that still did not have to be defended. A new idea was mooted. In Germany. The unit cost per student.23 In the early Eighties there was a profound change in attitude to film production in Europe. In France. but were essentially production houses with producers who assembled their teams on a project-by-project basis. But the early Eighties were generally fat years.trained in-house on single or series drama. By the beginning of the Nineties. whilst certainly born out of self-interest. Small independent companies proliferated. reached a similar conclusion.

London. Head of Film at BBC. presented by the University of Westminster. expressed doubts that the concept of a better collaboration between student writers. Joost Hunningher from the University of Westminster. Therefore. He suggested that it is a marriage doomed to failure because. in film education. perhaps playing devil’s advocate. took part in the presentation. . There is a love affair between the writer and the director that has lasted for a long time. The industrial model was from Britain. Stephen Frears. and Mark Shivas. the figure of the script editor has come to play a significant role in the normal process of script development. Through the influence of these companies.” There is another lover. Schools would find it difficult to abandon the relationships with which they are used to work. the training of producers as creative entrepreneurs is still not considered a priority in many academies. and then go out into the reality of the industry and find something totally different.24 handful of schools. It took into consideration the role of the major television networks as key players in the development of feature film production. many are afraid to “go down the aisle. They reflected on the relationship of the broadcasters to film makers. However. They have served film education very well over the years. directors and producers could succeed. Introducing the speakers. So it is necessary to confront the question of whether or not the Schools are preparing their students in the best possible way for the future. and the significance of story editors in the development process. The director. That way could be through collaboration. consideration of the “triangle concept” could be useful if it prompts the question whether or not schools are preparing students to work in the best possible way. He posed the question: “Was collaboration the most important thing that we teach ? Will it be the aspect of their education that will help our students most in the future? ” He said that all delegates must be aware that frequently students work in one method inside their institutions. the second presentation of the Conference concentrated on exploring the relationship between the director and the producer.

It could be the producer’s wife. Turning to the Triangle concept in the professional world. This is particularly relevant if he/she is involved in the script development stage. the rough cut. However. is the person who puts the film together. a producer. and the marketing of the film. he said. Mark Shivas told delegates it was essential in the first instance. In order to achieve this structure. However. or perhaps with a director and writer from the start. be counted as one of the creative team. before going on to perform the various functions outlined above. the co-production deal. at least. on the other hand. it was also clear that there are various kinds of producer. and often for commenting on the script. to find a producer and a director who can talk to each other and are trying to make the same film. the deal. So in many cases. Mark Shivas described his own role as “running BBC films. The presentation began with a consideration of the different functions performed by an executive producer. Perhaps he works only with a writer. the co-moderator. it can be completely meaningless. He carried responsibility for raising the finance for the film. the rushes. . A co-producer might mean that two people are filling the producer role together. a co-producer and a line producer. the executive producer credit can mean almost anything. A producer. then assembles all the elements and involves him or herself throughout the production and beyond the production to the marketing of the film.25 Christopher Williams. He might work with a director from the start. the executive producer can also. It could be almost anybody who thinks they could get themselves an executive producer’s credit on the film. began by stressing the absolute necessity for coproduction in British film making. It can mean that someone bought the rights to a book then passed them on to someone else but retained executive producer credit in any film that might be made from the book. It can also mean that someone had a very ill-defined function on the picture but insisted he needed a credit. the cast. The producer credit is the one that really counts in the making of the film. in some cases. and makes comments on the various drafts of the script. To the less initiated. the titles appear to imply different roles.” As such he took an executive producer credit on most of the films the BBC co-produce or produce.

For example..that of the Script editor. Shivas said the first quality would be an indication that the director knew what he or she was doing.” Shivas referred back to the Italian model. The director had to inspire confidence in the producer. ” A British producer might go to America for finance for a particular type of story. We look in France. complex. and a director who had made one 60-minute film before. “I agree with the observation that the only way one can find out if one can work with people is to work with them and see what happens. Specific qualities varied from case to case. Maybe it is written for television first. Christopher Williams observed that there is a role that was particularly important in British television which has now become equally important in contemporary British film making -. Germany...clearly worked so well together when I met them and talked to them that it seemed a good idea to put money into the project. Channel Four puts a million pounds or so regularly into films. . but had written for the theatre. he considered there was no single characteristic that pointed to the potential talent of a director.” He added that there is no substitute to demonstrate that one can write a script. Finding the co-producer depends on many factors. Mark Shivas agreed that often the necessity was to bring together a number of co-producers. director and producer -. Television companies which put money into feature films have their own requirements. all over the globe. where the location is set. But not necessarily. It was such a good script and the three -.. And the more co-producers who are on the team...” Pursuing the identification of specific roles in the collaborative process. in itself.26 “To find three people who are trying to make the same film is more difficult than it seems. “I have produced a film for a writer who has never written a screenplay before. We re not proud as to where we find the money. Maybe the director or the producer works for television first.. the period movie for example. Therefore as most movies are going to cost two million pounds plus. other than by writing a script.... there has to be a co-producer. the more difficult it is to make that same film. Turning to the experience of current British production practice. This was.writer. The BBC usually put less than that sum. the kind of story it is. Apart from that quality..” Asked what qualities a producer would look for in a director. The same film had a producer who a few years ago was a third assistant director.

and we cannot afford to make them anyway. We don’t do horror movies. At present we are working on about twenty scripts. The script editor has to establish a relationship with a writer that a producer cannot afford the time to sustain. and at the same time we work together to develop projects. She finds me scripts. we talk to the writer about the script -. Mark Shivas was asked to describe the type of projects to which that creative partnership responded. That is just one area of the BBC where people make films. We have to remember that the films we make will eventually be screened on television. My script editor is in charge of reading them or getting them read. In television. the script editor was the person who found projects and had a relationship with a writer throughout. the process is the same. what might be wrong with it -. She is my right arm. With that sort of brief. We have one other reader and me. “I have a script executive.” . “When we find a script we are interested in. a producer may produce as many as a dozen plays or films a year. This script editor . We do not want action /adventure movies because Americans do them better than we do.what is right with it. but always on behalf of a producer. we look for films that can be made for between two and five million pounds. who works with me. In series productions there are other many writers. so there is a need to ensure that the characters remain constant throughout. Therefore a producer cannot give total time to any single project. “By and large.” Building on that working relationship with a script executive. as she is now called. what could be made clearer.27 Mark Shivas agreed. In television it was on the long-running series that showed the value of the script editor. simply because it is difficult to raise money in the Britain for films that cost more than that. That is one function of the script editor. If there is a producer or a director is attached. In television. There are other people at the BBC who make feature films and they also get a similar amount of scripts submitted. “What we look for is more difficult to describe than what we don’t look for. We don’t do much in the way of police movies because we think there are enough of that sort of thing on television already. I and the script editor look at more than one thousand scripts a year.writer relationship was usually well established before the director was brought on board. That tradition continues.what is unclear. That applies to scripts that do not have any other members of the team attached.

” He quotes the example of “My Beautiful Laundrette.” he suggested Mark Shivas referred to the script of the British hit film “Four Weddings and a Funeral. “ It is difficult to construct an economic logic around an accident. never gave me a sense that there was an obligation to deliver big audiences. it was possible that the people who made “Trainspotting” knew that there was an audience out there. Then the film was delayed six months and he did a long rewrite of one two-minute scene because he had nothing better to do. Duncan Kenworthy. He did another draft during . We grew up at time when the sort of films that we made did attract big audiences. but there was no pressure on the film maker to achieve that goal.2 . So part of my brain still thinks “I could make a really good film out of this. but did laugh at the twenty-five percent that wasn’t supposed to be amusing. He did two more big rewrites after Mike Newall. and would still be amazed by it.” How many drafts did that script go through? “Richard Curtis had written five drafts of the script before he gave it to the producer. “The tradition that both Mark and I come from. He did another one when Channel Four came on board. So it may well be that we are not particularly well trained to make films that have a huge commercial potential.” He did concede that to make a film based on market research or with a specific audience in mind might work. as a film maker. The films of mine that have made money always seem to me to have been a complete fluke. After the read-through. “It defies all logic. He did another one after the first round of casting.2 to 2.” He said he was amazed by its success. a further one when the budget went from 3. However. Stephen Frears said it could be argued that any film made in Britain that achieved a large audience is always a fluke. “It may well be that this is a generational thing.” I don’t think very commercially.5 millions to 3. On the other hand. he took another hack at it when people didn’t laugh at the 15 percent that was meant to be funny. the director came on board. He did one more after Kenworthy’s comments. but you could not expect this of middle-aged gentlemen.7 millions. which was right inside television. and then another draft when the budget was cut from 3. he came from a generation that was trained in different values. It may well be that some younger people actually do have a sense of what other younger people may want.” He suggested that the team who made “Four Weddings and a Funeral” would also consider its success as a fluke.28 Turning to the conventional concept of audience size as a measure of a successful film.

” Then reflecting on his own experience. and he figured that was seventeen drafts of the script. said that when a picture actually starts shooting. Returning the role of the producer. to add his conception of a creative producer. as a director.29 rehearsals. they are doing well. Some are great at “schmoosing” everybody. being a producer is like driving a truck downhill when the brakes have failed.. he observed that all the films that he had made that had been successful had all had very. Alan Marshall. Shivas said that he did not know any producer who had all the qualifications that a producer should have. when they are needed. One expects things to simply appear.” Shivas then returned to the role of the script editor in current British development practice. Stephen Frears agreed that it was possibly naive that it was not carried out more often.” Stephen Frears was asked. “There are other times when there are rows. apart from Saul Zaentz. “A really good producer is good at many of those things. the woman who was production manager on “My Beautiful . That is all that there is to it. but the reality is that there are.. bits of machinery for example. who has just produced “The English Patient” and who produced “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” and “Amadeus” who I think combines all those things in one person. And he didn’t resent the re-writing because the awful truth was that the script got a bit better every time.. The producer fulfilled that function. Some are very good at raising the money and the business side. but I don’t know one. The other day. Some are great on developing the scripts.. Shivas said this practice was rare in Britain. Some are very good on the organisational side of the picture itself. Of the concept of new writers being brought onto a script to complete the re-writing process. who was Alan Parker’s producer for a number of years. as a director. You just try to keep it on the road and hope you get to the bottom. It is hard to describe. and everything to run very smoothly. Was there a tension between producer and director? He quipped: “If they can handle me.. It would be good if there were not any rows. He confirmed that there was no script editor on “Four weddings and a Funeral”. It is like marriage. very good collaborations. “Of course. one expects a lot from a producer. Some are fantastic at marketing the product.

Frears added. you simply disagree.” Turning to the relationship between the director and the writer -.” . films were made on certain dates.” A director would be sent the script and asked if he or she wanted to make it as a film. Eventually it was decided that he should be a director.. even at the BBC the director was expected to have opinions. and I discovered on the second one. this actor to be available. It is disturbing to have the studio put their worries onto your shoulders. There is nothing else that I can do. There is an incredible list of distinguished writers who worked for the Corporation. and so on.Frears said it was a matter of upbringing. The Corporation was at the centre of commissioning new writing in Britain. how good the producer on the first production had been. Harold Pinter and so on. Writers employed by the BBC in the sixties and seventies were very good at their craft. those opinions became more and more dominant. If a director did not want to make it. Coming from the BBC. It will either be reasonable or there will be some way round it.. The BBC chose to patronise the very best writers in Britain. in the BBC at that time. Mark Shivas observed that no one would not write for the BBC at that time if offered the opportunity. someone else was given the opportunity.. I had no knowledge of that. a false sense of security. If they can’t deliver. “ It is difficult to generalise. It is better to have the disagreement out in the open. the director. I got phone calls at night from the studio on the second one. to keep him free of direct interference. they come to me and say so and why. “Can they deliver what I want? We want this much money.” Of course. he said he worked in a department that made films.” Of the director’s attitude to a producer. training and temperament. Frears added. “ If you were a classy writer. The producer should guard the director. have made a series of decisions which are supported by everybody. the question is simple. Therefore. I realised that the first producer had guarded me very well. and he subsequently made a number of films there.the other side of the triangle . “I grew up with a sense of security. I have made two studio films. because you.. you wrote for the BBC. David Mercer. although I used to fight with her all the time. It was done “in another part of the forest. When films work it is all sweetness and light. In time. When you disagree. In other words.30 Laundrette” told me that she spent the whole time in tears. I depend on someone else to deliver them. The films were prepared by other people. The script was written before the director was offered the project. so I suppose it was being very well handled because it was being kept away from me. that’s all.

Alan Bennett..” said Frears.Alan Bennet who was to write the script.. have stayed with him. I sent the writer a pile of notes. I was also involved in the development of the Grifters. “I have always kept out of script development. and to look more wittingly and more elegantly in order to cast more cleverly. Then Alan Bennet sat down to write the script. He said that his earlier training in the theatre -. this work was very popular with audiences. I was taught to look more interestingly. It was a place where the writing was absolutely central..31 Frears went on: Part of the deal that the BBC entered into with these writers was that their material would be treated honourably.in particular his experience at the famous Royal Court Theatre was important. However. “So I now take a much more active role in the preparation of the scripts. however much I may deny it.. I would say that that is script development. Stephen Frears said that he believed it was vital to learn to trust one’s own instincts. Christopher Hampton. the art of casting. and have much more to say about the script than I used to.” However. This involved examining your feelings. The same applies to the next film that I am going to make. said Frears.” At the time. . John Lahr who had written the book and myself. Then it was a matter of taking decisions.in particular. “The script.. I have always found that situation very debilitating. A book was sent to me and a writer was hired. “I was taught to cast by people like Lindsay Anderson and a great woman there called Miriam Brickman who could be said to have invented modern casting. I must say that we developed “Prick Up Your Ears” -. “ Since the BBC at the time was not in the business of making people rich... artistic satisfaction was our reward. The most successful productions he has directed have been the product of collaboration with fine writers. Roddy Doyle. So I guess I am involved in script development. being involved in ideas before they are written.. He was asked if this applied also to script development.” Pressed to comment on his approach to actors -. which I think is sensible. the story. It is always said of me: “Oh he doesn’t develop scripts. So I was well trained in that sense. I do think that casting is very important. so it was a good time to be alive.Last week. that was what we all concentrated on. So when a director was hired..following the earlier comments by Mario Monicelli -. and have feelings about what you were going to do. and often when things go wrong. he was aware that the writing would be honoured. The principles learned at that time. he felt that the film industry no longer honours this relationship in quite the same way. it is because you haven’t cast it properly..

why make the film?’” Questioned about the British production model. Mark Shivas added his own perspective of this “surprise element” -. Of course we hope that might happen too.32 Reflecting upon the possible gap between the film that might exist in the director’s head and the final. like Pakistanis. ‘Will this go big in America?’ In that way. we would like the films to be successful in Britain. Those films. the Wild West. Then it is filtered through my brain and my intestines and if I am lucky. or European subject matter. The process of ingestion. or people in the 18th Century. then the television screening can take care of itself.the gap between the film that he imagines when he reads a script and the final product. or the Irish. I would ask them: ‘What are you doing?’ They have to explain everything to me. coherent often in ways that take me by surprise. They were not designed for television. Mark Shivas said that he wanted his slate of films to be successful in the cinema first. That is the wonderful thing about making films. and digestion and regurgitation has been gone through. As Nicholas Ray said: ‘If it is all in the script -. the process of educating myself is really the moment when the film gets made. can be financed . have something there that you never thought was there in the first place. If they are successful in the cinema. “ We want as big an audience as we can get. it emerges as something complete. Primarily. Frears observed: “What I have always found is that I often make films about subjects I don’t know anything about. “It is extraordinary how often films. and I see people doing certain things. if the story is clear. including whole aspects of character that you hadn’t really seen in the script. we believe. finished product. “When I see the finished film I am always astonished at its clarity and that it is coherent. rather than asking. If I was to make a film on my own doorstep of my own life. And because I start from a position of quite idiotic ignorance. say. or people in the American West or mothers who kill their sons.. with its “made for television” implication. I would not be very comfortable because I would not know what there was about it that people did not already know.. It does not make sense for us to put money into films that are all-American or all-Australian or all-Japanese. without fully understanding it. when they finally put together. We think along those lines all the time. But I must say that the films that we make are primarily British subject matter. “When I try to short circuit that process I find that the results are not very good. You slowly absorb what it is you are making.” “ If I go to. madness lies for us. as some people tended to think.

“The student director thinks it is his film. Shooting for television often meant shooting in 16mm.33 from other places. The problem word was co-operation. The student writer thinks it is his film and the producer thinks that it is his film.” Giving his response to the “made-for-television” debate. Musical Drama and Film at the University of Hamburg reminded the panel that the conference began with the premise that collaboration had to be an educational aim. it is the producer who has found the idea. He suggested a different perspective. That is our justification. “If you have in mind a creative producer. The dialogue with actors did not change because the film was. His institution had already decided to avoid the “auteur” attitude which they believed had contributed to the death of German film. The result is permanent conflict. The teachers use their authority to take decisions if the students don’t find themselves in common agreement. then it will be everybody’s film. the discussion focused again on the central issue of the conference. We get our money from the British television licence payer.” Asked how such conflicts are handled in the “real” world. in some way. Professor Hark Bohm from the Institute for Theatre. and the producer who brings together the writer. and so that brings a conflict. “We have solved the conflict by having a regular teachers’ conference. Stephen Frears said there was no difference in attitude by the director. The triangle relationship and the nature of collaboration. and that meant shooting closer because of the lack of definition. the director and even the actors and the cameraman. Mark Shivas observed that finally it is always primarily the director’s film. Before the session ended. The only difference was that it was made free of pressure compared with the responsibilities a production would have to an American studio for example. The Institute had committed itself to a structure based on the triangle concept. That was the only difference. However their experience had been that the hardest element to teach the students was to work together. Occasionally we make an exception. The camera was not placed differently. Otherwise it is the director’s film. It makes sense for us to do stories that are close to home. If the director is able to take everyone else along with him or her. made for TV. but very occasionally. Professor Bohm observed that his colleagues from the writing class and the producing class would disagree with that viewpoint. But if .

It means that you have to take the team with you. and of course it starts off as the producer’s film. Taking responsibility is not same as being an auteur. and the director is the captain. “One of the jobs of a good producer is to make every member of the team work together in the most effective way -. You take all your decisions with them. That is the producer’s job first and foremost to get people together who are going to work happily together. By accepting the responsibility that I am the director means that in the end someone has to make the final decision. Stephen Frears added his view: “If I make a film. and it might as well be me. “The producer creates the atmosphere. You have to conduct arguments with them. The most important thing is that the team -. They are simply the people with whom I am going to make the film. the cameraman and so on . I believe that you cannot make a good film without a good director. And I don’t think that you can make a good film without a good script. and it is coherent. the writer.” Asked to expand his concept as a producer of “the director’s film.” Mark Shivas said: “When I say that it is the director’s film. The producer has to have a certain amount of arrogance to start the project. it becomes primarily the director’s film. “We tried to use the analogy of a ship. But it does not mean that I behave like a monster. it is not the ultimate solution. That is what I am paid for. The writer is the one who knows how to build a ship. The producer is the ship owner.the producer.” Professor Bohm outlined the approach of the Hamburg school.all make the same film. It is also possible to achieve that by having worked together before. the people around me -.the writer. the producer and the director -. When the ship is at sea. That can only happen by discussion and being with each other a lot. It might be simply another way of saying: ‘This is the way I see it.are not inferior people.34 the aim is to train the students to co-operate and to find compromises. the . then later he needs a certain amount of humility.’ Mark Shivas put the onus for collaboration on the producer. I mean that the director is the most important person on a film. You can certainly make a good film without a good producer. Then when the production begins.and that is usually to make people co-operate rather than to fight with each other.

I produced a film called “A Private Function” in 1984. That is the most benign solution. but not necessarily compromise. So the first steps can happen in many different ways. It seemed so obvious. books. writers? Then.it was a combination of looking for subjects.” Enrique Nicanor from Spain.. representing the INPUT Conference and EAVE of the Media-2 programme. I would try to option it. did he seek producers? Or did he work solely to commissions? What are the first steps? Mark Shivas said that when he was a producer -. but I could not think why it had to be talked about. However I have noticed that students find it very. because I had been in the business a long time. perhaps. did Mark Shivas actively seek subjects. Then I had to interest a director in the project. “I was asked to talk to students about collaboration.” Asked what happens when the boat sinks. Sometimes I tried to buy the rights of a book. but that depends on having quite exceptional human beings.35 director is the one who has to tell the crew what to do. plays.. . I agree with the observation that what is shot is the director’s responsibility. later did he seek directors? In the experience of Stephen Frears. very difficult. ideas. Bohm replied promptly: “That is the captain’s responsibility. or if I had a script that I liked. The ship owner always has the last responsibility because he has supplied the money. I do not think that collaboration involves compromise. Convincing others. I suppose that is because of thirty-five years of the auteur theory. asked both Mark Shivas and Stephen Frears to reflect on the differences in the decision-making processes of the producer and the director . Sometimes they would come with a director attached.. which was like having a big birthday present. and therefore in a sense. as a producer. But I do not think that the concepts of the director’s film and collaboration are contradictions. Prof.. Alan Bennett and Malcolm Mobray came to me with the script... They asked me whether I would produce it.For example.as opposed to his present job as executive producer putting BBC money into projects -.” Stephen Frears is currently a visiting tutor in the Fiction Direction Department at the National Film and Television School. it all has to come to the director in the end. Sometimes potential projects would come to me.. scripts.

the American approach is markedly different. he was astonished that a film so eccentric. The second name was Jeremy Thomas. someone said “there is this boy called Tim Bevan. I wrote three names down. so controversial. The trans-Atlantic perspective was provided by producer Larry Turman of the Peter Stark Producing Programme of USC.” He looked after me whilst I was making the pop promo. which look mainly to the domestic market and audience first. on the other hand were interested in content. but they have to manoeuvre within the system. “”On “My Beautiful Laundrette” I obtained the script from the writer. I gave him the script of “My Beautiful Laundrette. “The Hollywood studio system is in the world marketing business and they are very good at it. and they are very good at it. I would say that Tim Bevan is probably the most successful film executive in Britain. At the end. ambitious fellow who wanted to make glossy thrillers. There. we had a long discussion about who could fire whom. “A friend of mine wrote a script for me to direct. He reflected on what he called “the profound difference” between the American experience. Marketing dominates everything. He was hired and then went on to raise a lot of money. “The process is roughly the same. so literary a film should be the one which made him successful.” He was a young. and some very fine films come from Hollywood. but America is about business.” . But he couldn’t do it. they might ask first what the poster will look like. European films. And it is very nice to report here that the first name I wrote was Mark Shivas. and that of the European industry. So it is a very. I remember on the plane to Spain with Jeremy. If an idea or a subject is submitted to a Hollywood studio. And there are some fine. “Unlike the British models described here. Spanish and so on.36 Stephen Frears said it was a very interesting experience when a director hires a producer. so political. When the film became a success. Incidentally.” . and will that poster be translatable into German. then they asked me who I wanted to produce it. At precisely that moment I was working on a pop promo. I told him: ‘You’ve looked after me for two days.apart from the fact that American film makers were in the marketing business. so you should produce this project. Japanese. genuine creative artists there. very interesting position when the director hires a producer. The financiers were fine. He said that the American perceptions of the creative process were quite similar -.

When you present a film with confidence. ”There are a lot of very bright people in Hollywood.37 Stephen Frears agreed. He continued: “America -. Normally one is kept away from such people on the grounds that we are such sensitive souls that we might expire if exposed to salesmen. He had met the people who had the responsibility for marketing the film. “To use a slang phrase.” Larry Turman agreed that such contact represented a different kind of collaboration. They want to feel your confidence. Stephen Frears reminded the delegates that the issues which he and Mark Shivas had explored were markedly different. It applied to all walks of life. the doubts seep into the film and there is an air of uncertainty or unease. But there are many caring. bright people who want to do good films there.. “What the audience want is to know what film they are watching. “We come from a place where success is an accident. so they censor themselves to certain subject matter which is quite narrow. but it is like going through a minefield because they are always thinking: ‘Can we reach a global audience and can we gross $100 million?’ . but they are in the service of a common mentality which is different from what I experience of the rest of the world. He said that his next film -. Good work comes out of Hollywood. adding that the power of confidence was not exclusive to the world of film.or Hollywood -.” Larry Turman remarked that success was also an accident in the United States film industry. That means they have to think globally. This means it will be dominated by special effects or a hero doing heroic things. The American system is such that it is very expensive to do a film. They think marketing.” The marketing teams were very good at their jobs when they were handling seemingly universal subject matter. then admitted that perhaps that was “not quite true. Even for me who was born there and lives there.had already given him an experience he had never encountered before.” Larry Turman agreed. but often forgotten element. it is called “dumbing down” the audience with something that will not require a lot of subtitles for release in Europe. When you yourself as a film maker have doubts.. The audience can sense it. it affects the audience.” Stephen Frears added a simple.is a very easy target.an American production -. He said: “They seemed to be no less intelligent than we sensitive artists.

When you have to watch the people behind you. It is the dominant concern. Every Monday morning. You have to watch the road. Stephen Frears said that he could understand that young people quarrel. For the students. They treat the writer well.” . very difficult or impossible. The film that does the most business must be good. That is a common mentality that I do not encounter elsewhere in the world. At that point they attend to the writer. It must be driven by some anxiety. Panic drives them to realise that they depend on the writer. This protects their investment. and are busy with their own things in their own disciplines. just as middle-aged people quarrel. the press prints the figures detailing all the business the current films have done. it is a big problem. “You have seen the attempts to bring producers. It is very difficult to work together when you are young and you don’t know what you are doing. “I think that it is more than that. the notion of collaboration. and those in cars next to you. “ It is very difficult to drive a car the first time. directors and writers together in some form of collaboration. whereas if you are having to earn a living. they all watch their own business.” A delegate made an analogy to learning to drive a car. Or it may be just immaturity. some fear. you have to deal with other people. Sandy Lieberson asked Stephen Frears to reflect on his experience as a teacher of directing at the National Film and Television School.38 “In America something happens now that did not happen when I began producing many years ago. It may be just the hermetic nature of a school.” Continuing the central theme of collaboration. They are completely helpless unless the script is got right. So with the students. and the know-how to spend lots of money to advertise and market a film to help assure a substantial amount of business. But I don’t know where it comes from. Experience is the most important thing. “ I think that there is a point when they ( the directing students) suddenly realise that they are going to be shooting in a few weeks’ time. I don’t know why they are so separate. Can you bring any insight into your experience there in terms of attempting to make it work from the point of view of the directors?” Frears told him that the experience has taken him completely by surprise. Of course that comes out of insecurity and anxiety. Americans have the resources financially. It is absolutely foolish. I have no explanation for it at all.. It allows them to quarrel. of forming a group is very..

you are probably not going to be able to influence other people. If you do not have any quality like that.into Europe. “ Clearly a talent in the chosen field which would be expressed through something I had seen that they had already done. Meeting them. brightness. to consider the qualities he would expect to find from a would-be producer entering a school. produced or directed. Shivas said the reply was equally difficult.” Stephen Frears said he would look for an independent mind. is as many and as varied as the people that you meet.. as British film makers. Even the film industry’s own trade union recognises some schools. A lot could be based on what project they wanted to do next. Someone who was provocative and interesting. Mark Shivas was asked to define the qualities he would hope to find in a graduate from a producing course. and having a sense of their confidence helps. So there is a strong. in Britain.lively. a student film that they had written. some better than others. Head of the Department of Film and Television at the University of Art and Design in Helsinki challenged the panel. “I suppose it should be a person who has an indefinable presence in the room when you meet them. so that you remember them. Industry professionals regularly teach at the NFTS... . Is there any relationship or exchange between the British film industry as an institution and the film schools which other countries could learn from? Does the industry have any responsibility for film education and training? He was told that the National Film and Television School was partly funded by the industry and by the Government. are the ones who smuggle the American experience of film making -. Joost Hunningher pointed out that there were some schools which had no direct links with the industry.. formal link with the industry. For example.” When the question was reversed.the American methods -. For what reason that you remember them. but not others. This is also true of the teaching faculty. I think that a producer has to make a strong impression of some kind of personality when you meet them. I need to have the feeling that they could deliver. and finally. You have numerous film schools.39 Lauri Törhönen. But it has to be based on seeing some work that they have done. It is as vague and as simple as that really. “The British Film industry has much experience but you.

.. NOTE: At the conclusion of each presentation. I have been on selection panels. “When there are students I have trouble getting through to. bleak.. often were not. you try to bring it out” Think back on his own career. Mark Shivas said that in the best circumstances the writers should be either very close or not far away from the actual shooting. as a teacher. It is very.I got better as a film maker. they will be individual. Stephen Frears brought laughter when he suggested that it depended how lonely the rest of the writer’s life is. they like to be on the set. but then would find contradictions to it.students from hundreds of potential talents who applied he might be tempted to think that there was some general principle of selection. but the selectors also had to trust their first impressions. the Conference delegates formed smaller groups -representing each of the sides of the triangle -.” Hark Bohm said that at the Hamburg school. The students we chose who we thought would be all right. However. The final consideration by the panel was reserved for the writers -.. Then. and you cannot legislate for it. he will probably succeed.” he said. you must have some sense that when a person matures they will have some individual voice. If you are lucky you sense something interesting inside the student. The teacher has to try to extract that essence.writing. If they live lonely. inevitably I trace the problem back to the selection process.the third side of the triangle.or ten -. which involved marriages and children. What makes somebody interesting is indescribable. You cannot escape the fact the when films start to work. directing and producing. he said. and life. I ask:‘ Why were they chosen in the first place ?’ So basically. So a teacher is trying to project into the future the expectation that each student will turn into an interesting individual. There were certain standards. very difficult. But all selectors should admit that they can make mistakes. the panel of selectors had experiences similar to those outlined by both Mark Shivas and Stephen Frears. I avoid being part of that process. “If someone has the personality which impresses you. miserable lives.40 If he was selecting four or five -. They are unavoidable and inevitable.. but failing that. and he has the ego wish to become a producer. You can’t expect students to get married for that reason. he said: “When I began to sort myself out. Their final .

the concept of teaching writers about marketing was viewed with caution. But soon. John Furia of the writing faculty of the University of Southern California suggested that marketing could strangle creativity.” The students have to know which audience their work is aimed at. That was clear as they began their deliberations. the students have to learn to be personal. is not helpful to tell our students that they have to keep an eye on the market.” If this is true. there is no ideal model. It is just a stroke of luck if a script hits the market in the right place at the right time. he said: “In truth. It was necessary to develop an awareness in our students that “nobody knows. Other works that come out of the screenwriting programme are given to other departments to be developed. The general feeling was that writers have to develop an awareness of the audience.” He suggested that even distributors know little about the certainties of the marketplace. at the same time. the differences between the schools was so wide that it is nearly impossible to develop a standard model. The writers there are encouraged to work with actors. at the conclusion of the British presentation. It was essential to know what kind of audience is available. the groups made an interim report. However. Jan Fleischer of Britain’s National Film and Television School said that in his opinion. and they are encouraged to direct their own scripts using a crew of technicians who are provided by the school.. and another two-year post graduate programme. and it certainly seems to be so. the number of students involved and the national requirements can create great differences. Which ever audience they chose. It was felt that writers should not know too much about marketing.41 reports form a later chapter. . to deliver a story that is very much inside the personality of the writer. The writing group: Everyone in the writers’ group subscribed to the idea of collaboration. But. There are many different audiences “ out there. USC offers a four-year programme for screen writers at undergraduate level. nobody knows nothing about the market. It is included here as an indication of the wide range of approaches to the concept of collaboration represented at the Conference. Therefore the group considered that it was not possible to develop a special model. There is not one audience.. He went on to describe the programme at his School. and what their expectations are. As far as marketing is concerned. The first difference is between undergraduate and post-graduate schools. nowadays.

for example. If the concept is one of the “creative producer” it could be that the school should support producers who initiate projects. The group felt that such a move could be possible but it would be an illusion. the director remains the main figure in the triangle. That responsibility cannot be transferred to the shoulders of students. to defend the concept of the good or polished script. there is no tradition of screenwriting as a separate skill. where film education is forty years old. because the school has the responsibility to control its students. in which the writers and directing students had to convince the student producer to commit his/her production budget to their project.42 Professor Wolfgang Langsfeld reminded the group that cinema audiences change. Course Director at the London College of Printing and Visiting Tutor for Screenwriting. having final approval resting with the institution. the delegates suggested the collaborative negotiation could be organised differently. Young film makers in Germany have begun to develop projects that were designed for that age range. The director always has an idea at the back of his mind that he is going to “save” the script by shooting it. So it is necessary to be precise in the design of courses for screenwriters. The main characters in their films represent that generation. Phil Parker. the belief is that the director has to be trained to make a . A producer should also be able to sell a project to a directing student. the Royal College of Art. He does not give his full concentration to developing the script in the writing stage. Scriptwriting was introduced to the Dramatiska Institutet only four years ago. In Greece. That has proved very successful. stressed the need to develop and defend courses for screenwriters. The wide differences between schools at present makes a consensus view difficult. The directing group: For the directing group.people in their late teens and early twenties. rather than as at present. Now it is largely a young audience -. Projects are still dominated by directors in that country. Henk Muller of the Dutch Film and Television Academy. Considering a framework for teaching creative collaboration. they have reached 21% of the box office. In Sweden. said there has been some consideration of the question of handing the selection of projects over to student producers. because this year ( 1996) the cinema admissions percentage is moving in favour of German films. So the concept of creating a collaborative team which reflects reality in the industry is not totally practicable. There. The contribution of Ingmar Bergman illustrates this approach. He thinks that he will make his contribution by bettering it when he actually shoots it and puts it on the screen.

Therefore he or she has to be able to write a screenplay. contains one big star -. From Denmark came the observation: “No good director ignores a good script . students were asked to submit ideas. or a good producer. it was difficult to generalise. or of teachers and representatives of the industry. the role of the director is still very dominant. Inevitably therefore. students were asked to submit more than one idea and the approved projects were selected by the tutors or by the panel. to decide whether or not it will make an effective film..43 diagnosis of the script. Again.the director. and that delegates themselves could accommodate the idea. However. it was also clear that in most schools. A view from Holland supported this argument. and they assumed that role during the development phase. In other schools. The group also considered the idea that every project should have a student script editor taking part in the development process. This was supported. in whatever form. the triangle in most schools is lopsided. but suggested it was not necessary for scripts written by a directing student to be realised. the triangle. Elsewhere. it was possible to see that some elements of the triangle concept already existed in schools.. Joost Hunningher said that even at the interim stage in the Conference.” On the other side of the world. but only if this function was part of the training of student producers. . Summing up. the approach to training screenwriters varies a great deal. In many cases. That process seems to be common to most schools. The producing group: The producing group concentrated on examining how the representative school selected projects for development. because of the wide variety of approaches favoured by schools. It seemed that most schools favoured a form of panel composed of teachers. in Singapore.

Holland. Scandinavia. France. On a trans-European scale.“the star” in the production firmament -. The key players are the producer and the writer. This evolution of a partnership model inevitably requires new training for both writers and would-be producers. as noted at the conclusion of Chapter 2. Switzerland. a number of interlocking initiatives are supported by the new MEDIA 2 programme. the past isolation of the screen writer is being replaced by an active integration within the collaborative process. Many of these initiatives place emphasis on the writer producer partnership. professional level workshops and seminars aimed at training screen writers and developing potential script ideas. the concept of collaboration should also be at the centre of any reappraisal of curricular priorities in our schools and academies.the network of support for European film makers now operates in a different way. On these grounds alone. most schools still reinforce the concept of the student director as the dominant partner in the creative process -. There are now numerous national initiatives established to encourage new screenwriters. . Germany. Ireland and Britain have established semi-permanent. As a result.44 CHAPTER THREE The relationship between the Producer and the Writer If.

even when it is only one person doing all of those things. That is possible and if you take a pessimistic view of life. writing a script. producing it. ” providing the case study. but since then. the former director. it is then directed. The way we interact with the process will vary according to how many people are in the team. it is inevitable. and Ed Guiney of Ireland.And from the script to the film there can be another disappointment. Colin Young introduced his outline of the work of A.E.45 Ateliers du Cinéma Européen (A. a wedding and three or four funerals. another disappointment. Because at each stage when you move from the idea to the script there can be a disappointment . most of them do not have the talent. Now one of our working hypotheses is that.E.C. It was Rene Bonnell.C. director and producer should be the same person. by reviewing the changing attitude in Europe to the role of the producer. That is the job we have. is still there. a partner in the Triangle Conference offered the day’s model with Colin Young.C. But the bottom line for the work that we do at A. This was. We were lucky at the time that many of them had the talent. And from the film that you have shot.’ That might be because the New Wave gave the idea that the writer. “If we assume that we start with an idea that becomes a script.all of those talents -. a criticism of the way we have organised film schools in Europe since the end of World War Two. producer of “Guiltrip. to the film that is shown in the theatres.) in Paris. but maybe it is not so good now. We can ask ourselves what we can do as teachers or as trainers to improve that situation.. as much as anything. now senior consultant.E. but to give the opportunity to other people to be successful. I think that we should notice that this process of giving birth to an idea. editing it and distributing it. the President of La FEMIS in France who said a couple of years ago: ‘French cinema was wonderful before the New Wave. It will then be edited and music will be added to it and it will distributed. on the whole. and it was wonderful during the New Wave. We could speak about this process as a birth. And Bonnell was suggesting that this was a bad thing for us to do because not everybody has that talent.resided in one individual. or at least give it the best chance to be successful. which is work primarily . Not to do all those things ourselves. We have pretended that talent -. directing it. it is better if they are not all the same person. which assumes the selection of the artists who will play all the roles.

when we started interviewing producers three years ago to come into our programme. Why? Because we think European cinema faces a number of strategic problems. if we are to be more competitive. It seemed to us that it would be too big a task of reconstruction if they did not think that question was important for the producer. what we really mean is the audience. This enables the work of those talented colleagues to be properly directed towards an audience which will want to see the film.k. It was too late already. but there was a shortage of projects which . but if they clearly had never thought about this question. At A. and our research showed us there was not a real shortage of money for film production in Europe. although we talk a lot about the market.C. or do we hinder or weaken the creative process?’ We have to do everything to protect it and encourage it. I believe to give the writer those problems. What is at stake is the question: ‘Do we help the creative process. The American producer is very often in conversation with a writer saying: ‘What is the audience supposed to think at this point?’ We tend to say: ‘What is the idea at this point?’ It is the same thing. The producer should remind the writer of that continuous process. both on the side of the script and the finance all through the process. who is passionate about that talent and who will take the responsibility for thinking of those other things. If we give those problems to them. It comes from that cultural habit of the American cinema of always thinking of the end result -.46 with producers. that was o. The hypothesis that we based our work on is that a key element in the process of film making in Europe. Initially..E. we moved on to the next person as quickly as possible. I believe that it is better if that creative talent is associated with a producer who supports that talent.the person or people who will enjoy the movie. But the producer can remind the author of the audience from time to time. is to create the conditions for doing good work in the project. but it is a different point of departure. We make them think of the wrong thing when they are writing... is the role of the producer. What are the problems facing the producer here in Europe? We did a study of this four years ago. we interfere with the creative imagination. we would ask them: ‘What audience do you intend your film to be made for?’ If they hesitated. It allows the writer to be clear and to communicate. The producer is not the representative of the audience during the creative process.. and preparing to be creative. And I also think it would be wrong to give the director those problems. It would be wrong. And I think that this is one of the major skills of the American producer. with intuition.

What are the rules of the game in each country? How do you qualify for support from. There was very often a question of language of production. We have to allow those two elements to constantly influence each other. At the end of the day. France or England? There is a lack of knowledge about good writers and actors in other countries.. The producer would then have a separate meeting with financial people who would then examine his idea about how much he thought the film would cost. that we have to think about the idea of the script and at the same time.. The market is like this. and it is looking for different things than you have thought about. say. and not the producers. Since almost all European films are now co-productions.47 attracted finance. but sometimes they were not.. Sometimes they were. One is a lack of information. with which his or her film could be compared. The producers were having trouble finding the money because other people who had the money were saying ‘No. Is it a type of film that is going to be too expensive to be competitive? Lack of information about the ways to get access to the different financial support systems in each country. That goes right from the very beginning when we select our producers. Hamburg. the budget and the money.in which language the film will be produced. And the other is a lack of experience in evaluating financial problems. as a methodology. assumed from the beginning. this lack of knowledge about the creative people available as collaborators in other countries is becoming an increasingly difficult and important factor. The bottom line is ‘Who are the co-producers that we could work with in other countries?’ They could not only help access the money. and when we interview them after we have accepted them into the programme. How do you go about finding these people?” . We find there are two major problems facing the producer. we would bring those two groups together to see if they were talking about the same movie. That was because other people were deciding what the market was. We have instituted a pre-workshop discussion where a young producer would come to discuss with me and a couple of other people the script and what he or she thought its potential was and what problems we could see in it. how it would be financed and how it would recoup its investment. but might also be the right kind of creative partner for a particular project..’ So we have. That is a completely different matter. A lack of information about the global performance of different types of film.

The choice of language in which a film is shot. Someone has to be running the company which provides the opportunity for the writer and director to do their best work.C. but also we have to think in more general terms. Good money is money that allows you to make the film that you want to make. “How do producers hold onto the rights of their films? How do they manage to finance their films and retain the rights that are crucial for building their business? That is not an easy question. Colin Young listed items he considered essential to take into consideration. We talk about good money and bad money.E. We talk in terms of having a business plan for a film. I am . How you arrange the whole cash flow of your production activity so that the money coming back from recoupment allows the company to be sustained at the proper level. Is it something that is moving the company in the direction they want to go? Will it be in a better position than it was five years ago? And so on. So that each film they choose to make can be evaluated against the objectives of that business plan. it will do exceptionally much better in the United States and in Japan and in some other markets. you are in a whole new project. There is some evidence that if a film can be shown in English. Now perhaps you begin to see why we don’t think this is the job of the writer or the director. Before you know it. It could also be bad money in another way. although increasingly encouraging. I mentioned a short time ago this question of language. Bad money is money that requires you make a different film. That can come up in so many different ways. If you get a hundred dollars from Hamburg.” Other major issues facing the emerging European producers also concern the trainers at A. There is a kind of fake mythology building up which suggests that English is a more commercial language than French or German or Italian or any other European language. It could mean that you have to put in the wrong cast elements just to get the money. That might be convenient or a problem.48 Turning to financial issues. So the way of negotiating your financial support is becoming increasingly complex. That might then inflate the cost and requires you to make a different kind of film. you have to spend 150 dollars in Hamburg. We talk about the whole process of recoupment. about each company having a business plan for its own development. Possibly also you have to start thinking about changing the director because that cast will not come for that director.

All of the producers we have worked with who have this problem. Otherwise we find three possibilities. We have to be able to test opinions. a director having to work with actors in a language which is not the first language of the director. It would be not impossible to make them in French. So in both those cases we are supporting their intention to produce the films in English. the producer is taking an unnecessary risk. it is no good just being generous. Is that the best way to get a performance? These questions have to be examined case by case. One. In the other three examples there is no reason -.to shoot the productions in English. One film could have been set in Brittany just as effectively as on the west coast of Scotland or Cornwall.. We are honest and at the same time. we can find a more general opinion.. I do not think it is possible to make rules. it is the same with the producers with whom we are .either creative or commercial -.E. other sources of finance. If you think about a conversation with a student who has written something really terrible. One would be in a mixture of English and German. that ‘the industry is like that for the moment’. But there is the question: ‘Does this twist the project out of shape. and why not make it in French? Two other projects are different because they are based on English language novels. All they get is the particular opinion or prejudice of the person they are talking to. other distributors.49 speaking of films shot in English. we get somebody’s prejudice. does it put the creative team into position where they are no longer competent? For example. They had decided this. It is no good just being honest. You have to somehow find a way to be both. We have two key words for how we respond to everyone.. Well. In that way. but because of where they are situated it would not be very plausible. Clearly a workshop like A.. All six brought us proposals to make their films in English. not dubbed into English. novels which have their first reputation in the English language. other sales agents.. Thirdly. If that is ignored. has to offer more than just a personal opinion. even though the decision would make it impossible for them to get any support through the French system of film subsidy.. generous. so that the project is not worth making? Or. and that has to be taken into account. and another could be a mixture of English and French.. We had to investigate each proposal case by case.C. We are asking the producer why not put it in Brittany. But I can give you examples of the latest six French producers we are working with. The second is an opinion which is limited to the experience or the competence of the person being consulted. We have to include in the examination of the question. tell us that it is very difficult to have a rational conversation with anyone about that question of language. is to listen for a tendency.

because they have decided to set the original project to one side. I would also go further and say that it should not also be the rule. the producer. we have a continuous monitoring of the progress and development of each project.50 working. Similar problems are experienced by their colleagues. although not always the producer’s method. writers and producers will together study how to improve their story-telling ability. in some way. but they have made the decision. Now.. These workshops also allow us to continue the examination of their projects. We have to feel that the producer is somebody who is open to collaboration... having made our selection. Then. we have the possibility of working very closely with Sources and with a new project which is starting in Britain called ARISTA. but with a new project. Also.C.C.E. After this process. what are its strengths and what are its weaknesses. This is a project to examine story editing. I will give a little more detail about our methodology. In selecting projects for A. we say to the producer that we are absolutely married to them. we have to have some sympathy for the project and conviction that there is an audience for it. You have to be both. And you have to support the producer’s intention.E. at our level. I don’t . For the time being at least. we are trying to maintain the right kind of relationship between the three different elements. with the MEDIA training programme. We do that first in one-to-one sessions and then in a group. the value of doing things one-to-one and in a group is that the producer has an opportunity to realise that they are not alone. I would say that it would be great if these relationships were not the exception in film schools.C. So A. Not because we have decided... we are married to the project. we have excellent relations with producers over the last three years who sometimes have dropped the project they brought to us and have taken up another one. So we stay with them. We try to be absolutely clear and truthful with each producer about our opinions of each project. is that for an initial period of one year after that. For us. I say for the time being. The most important part of the work of A. in which story editors where they exist. Finally. We have to like.E. In conclusion. we are looking for people who understand that movies are made for somebody. Sources and Arista will be another triangle where. the producers are all brought together for a five-day period when we examine a number of different issues that have been indicated already about the state of the market. We have to believe that the producer has a very good relationship with the other creative partners.

the A. you could make it very expensively with big stars.E. marketled approach. I don’t think one film school should have the same model.’ Neither are we told that if the story line is changed to make it more like an American film. the more models the better. or at least getting a film made that would maximise its potential and maximise its audience. and will be directed by a first time Irish writer. They are the creative strength of our schools and they will be the creative strength of our industry. With “Sweety Barrett” I was thinking about getting a successful film made. or if you look at it from an American point of view.E. Most of the producers going to A. or if you make it for a different budget. which operates in the Anglo-American axis. have made films. the producer is the one asking the questions and pushing the writer or the director in a particular direction. So. Stephen Bradley. But the emphasis is on making these films better. In a way.E. what A. Schools should not select students who will fit the model. Where I live in Ireland.. He had taken a project called “The Tale of Sweety Barrett” to A. Schools should find the model that will fit the students. I had already made two feature films. will get made. And many films that are with A. in a way. experience.C.” Ed Guiney then offered delegates his particular. where producers are more powerful than they have been historically in Europe. That can be a relatively traumatic experience.51 believe in rules.E.. It was written. is about is finding the right road for each project. we will have a more successful product.C.C. experience is about thinking clearly about one’s ambitions for the project. or asked to reconceive the way in which a film might be best made. You could make it very cheaply. I think every film school should have the possibility of using the model that is appropriate for the students they have in front of them at the time. Out of chaos comes the imagination. or how best the producer . personal response to the A.E. That is not a crude. Very rarely is the producer being pushed or questioned. If you have a good strong story you can set that in many different budget contexts. or if you put a big actor in a main part. if you commercialise your project. That is a crucial distinction. In producing my first two films I was really thinking only about getting them made. Out of that comes chaos. Rather.C. and looking at the different ways in which those ambitions can be realised.E. It is not about saying: ‘Well.C. I always believed that “The Tale of Sweety Barrett” would be made. That was not the issue.C. I don’t believe that every film school should have the same model. In one sense. you will attract a bigger market.

A. In my group I had an American distributor.C. It can be depressing. But I found it very useful in terms of my own approach to the kind of projects that I want to produce and the context in which I see them. all of whom discuss each project in a group situation. That goes through both a creative and financial analysis.E. and a story editor. It was very liked by the development funders we had gone to Ireland... a well-known French producer. They do that.. Then the producer brings the project back home. how that talent might be maximised and its potential brought to the greatest fruition.1. a portfolio of projects I would like to make in the future and how I would like to make them.E. I was coming to A. and talks to the writer. When I went through the whole process of analysis and reaction to my project. or a notion of the tendency of an industry. But it is also very useful in terms of how one reconstitutes the project in one’s own mind. All of this can be frustrating. My project has been in development for about a year. One is the project and what happens with it. But after coming out of A. That happens before the actual fiveday workshop itself. feeling quite confident about the whole thing. it had been reconstituted as a smaller film -.52 might serve the talent. an international sales agent. In A. I thought that we might get one well known American actor in it and so on.5 million pounds film. So I was initially thinking that “The Tales of Sweety Barrett” was going to be 2. They think they are the people who raise the money. They can move on from that point. We had also made some progress in terms of attracting coproducers in Italy and in Germany. or based on limited experience. but it does make one look at the strengths and weaknesses of what one is doing. The other element to talk more generally about. So the film was on its way to being made. which was perhaps more important for me than the actual development of the project. people ask what a producer does. It takes place in Paris with a very small group.C. ..5 million pounds -with a more distinctive edge to it than we had thought of before.C.E. I was getting a lot of reaction from these people.E.C.based perhaps on prejudice. Now I feel much more comfortable with that. there are two things to think about.. has a set of consultants. These reactions were different opinions -. but they also do other things. Then I was able to marry the creative impulse in the project with the financial impulses in the project. were the kind of thoughts that it provoked in me about being a producer and the nature of producing. Very often. Then it happens again at the workshop in a larger group. Sometimes it is a difficult question to pin down.

C. but you should make it with your eyes wide open. Who is going to sell it for you once it has been made. That is incredibly valuable. It does not mean that you should not make that project. That may not be strictly true.E. your ambition for that project has to be tailored to the reality of the marketplace. Then when it goes into production. I think that is a very satisfying way to think about the producer’s point of view. you can move on with something that is worthwhile. And one of the nice things we heard was the notion that development is very much the producer’s time. the producer has to make his or her mark on a film and do as much work as possible. more obvious advantages of the A. including the A. The other. I am still in the middle of it..53 If you are going to have a project by a first time director. and indeed the director.C. We got to know each other very well. Those are my general reactions to my experience of A. People start to talk honestly about projects and about their relative experiences.E.E. When you come back together again in the postproduction phase. staff and the consultants who came with us.C. But so far. experience are the chances to meet other producers. For the five days of the workshop we were brought to an hotel in Deauville and rarely stepped outside the hotel.. It is time when the director can be pushed to think about all the ways of approaching the filming.. It is the time when the script can be worked and re-worked until it is in the right condition.” . We did everything literally except sleep with each other. There were about nine producers and about fifteen or twenty other people. that is not going to have lots of wellknown stars. Very quickly. which is very much the director’s time.C. The posturing one needs to do in the marketplace or at a twenty-minute meeting is very quickly dispensed with. an honesty emerges and develops. so good. creating the conditions for the director to do the best work possible during production when the producer is not actually in control of the process. At the same time.E. It means that during the development of a project. It is the time when he or she has most control of the process. the producer can think about the marketing of the film. That is the time to think about the music. that made a lot of sense to me was a realisation of the role of the producer in the life of a film. the producer has already created the conditions not only in terms of the script but also in terms of choosing the crew and cast. Perhaps in a year’s time I will have a different view of it. It is during development that the producer is in control of the process. or which has difficult subject matter. The other element of A. It is a time when the producer can anticipate the difficulties of that.

That is achieved in the form of a training programme. There is a small permanent staff of around five people. to get the advice of somebody on a continuing basis who is associated with A. does not give any money to the producer. Vice President of INPUT ( the international conference of public television).E.C.C. whereby a person associated with the producer and with the project acts as a godfather or a godmother. It is also a development activity. the producer and for the problem that the producer has. asked how schools -. Producers do not have to spend much time in Paris. but more than a hundred consultants are used each year. The “tools” of the training programme are their projects. Most of the work is done in the producer’s home country or city. They might start with a script consultant. That relationship will be different in different countries. but who is not a member of our staff. because A. we felt that at minimum cost we could invite trainers from different countries to participate in our workshops. They are chosen for the project.E. There is also a “godparent” system.offered concepts of collaboration which could be useful for schools planning new curricula. in the non-English-speaking areas -.54 Colin Young said A.. There are no activities except those around the projects that are brought by the producers. ARISTA in particular -. This would enable the trainers to establish a .C.E. It offers services.could learn to develop curricula which incorporated the concept of the producer in the middle of the triangle. How can they train their trainers? Could potential trainers join A. It is not a development company.SOURCES-2. This person has the right kind of experience for that producer to use. It was also pointed out that other MEDIA-2 training initiatives -. In A.C..C.E. This is difficult for countries which do not how access to a range of experts. is primarily a training programme for producers.particularly in the South. by moving the consultant to the producer whenever possible. to get the experience and expertise? Caterina d’Amico told the delegates that in its future plans. Colin Young said the Triangle Conference gave a unique opportunity to look at how programmes that are already running inside the MEDIA-2 programme could relate to the training that already exists at the national level.C. Enrique Nicanor of Spain. then move on to financial or legal consultants then marketing consultants as they move closer to production. The best way to describe it is as a service unit giving enhancement or improvement to the development process. They do not keep the same consultant as they go through the process. A. has decided to ask teachers form CILECT schools to attend its workshops as observers.E.E.

C. we allow our producers to submit their material in any language. I was told recently that producers from Spain have a different ambition.. They told us: ‘We needed you here five years ago. but the structure of their industry is different and their ambition is different. However. And the money involved is not very much. They have a system that is working in Spain. This is not a criticism of Italy.C.E. In that way. in Portugal. And in Britain we were asked why we were so late.E.E. It was the experience of all the programmes in MEDIA-1 that the participation from the South was very weak. The last point about A.” Joost Hunningher welcomed the A. They do not have the ambition to be European.55 relationship with A. is that it has been. in Italy. it is then only a question of money. There are very good people there.C. and with producers and consultants we use. And yet the Spanish producers do not appear to believe us. We have to think of A. in Spain.E.C. It is evaluated and discussed in any language. The moment that appetite is there. A. In Paris. they could become part of the network. The British door had been open for a long time. In Italy. it is no use just inviting them to come to A.C.’ So the French door was closed.E. . but they had no way to engage with us because there was no structure that could connect with what we were doing. They are perfectly happy to be Spanish.E. the German producers were queuing to learn what we were doing. That is the underlying question. And the Italians did not even know there was a door. All of our work is in French and English. It merely demonstrates the structural differences between the various countries in Europe. We have to accept that the way in which the industries are developing in the Southern part of Europe are quite different historically and actually from the way the have developed and are developing in the North of Europe. from the beginning.C. They can have a career as a Spanish producer.E.C. If we want to encourage them to take a different attitude. we met many producers who thought that what we were doing was wonderful. The German door was opening. There has to be an appetite in each country to do something in a different way. in Greece. bilingual. A. initiative but observed that the element of creative conflict between the producer and the director was largely ignored by institutions like A. Three years ago.C. Now there is the possibility to build those structures so that an Italian producer who has the appetite to do something different will have the opportunity to do it.E. A.C. we were told that producers there could not use the programme because the director was the main figure.E.

is that it does not prescribe a way of working to the people who join it. what should be the kind of movies that he wanted to make. because it gave us what was called the ‘cinema de papa.. the cinema du boulevard. it helped me find a way of working. and perhaps .’. and those directors trust him.what did it mean to him to be a producer. and helped me to find the way I want to work over the next years. then that is reflected in your relationships with other people. when conflicts or surprises have been raised by a director or a writer -. individual cinema. A producer has to find out what kind of cinema he or she is making and where their contribution can be.E. So they don’t understand each other.. For me. That would simply be repeating French history.. That is not always the case. Together they do good work. And we think that the producer is the best ally for that creative activity. passionate.C. and how he wanted to make them.. If you are as secure as you can be in your own approach to your work. Certainly in my case. The Americans can do that better than we can. And that is not what anybody wants.it is very often because they haven’t talked enough together about what they are trying to do together. Ed likes working with new directors. the most interesting thing about A. Ed Guiney added that he could see the reality of the question.56 Why is the development and training of the whole team not part of its remit? Why the producer alone? Colin Young: “The answer to why we concentrate on producers goes back to my statement about who is responsible for what. we had to say what we wanted that producer to do. It would not surprise me if that was the way his company develops. But I would not be surprised to see that what Ed does is to collect a group of people that he works with over a long period of years.. The whole purpose is not to replace the auteur cinema with the producteur cinema.. and they have a career together. When we decided that.E. And often some producers are not right for very experienced directors. It does not tell a producer how to do it. was when Ed Guiney said he was encouraged to think about what sort of person he was as a producer. We are talking about an activity and an attitude which can affect all the relationships. In my very limited experience. why not educate everyone else in the team to behave in a different way as well? “What is effective about A. If producers are being educated to develop in a different way. Some producers are not right for first-time directors.when one or the other is appalled at something the other is saying -..C. We need a personal. There will be as many answers to those questions as there are producers.

2 seeks to provide screen-writers with a range of “tools” -. SOURCES 2 Aims and Objectives: In establishing SOURCES. the broad objective has been to bring back European audiences to European films.57 they should not be working with each other in the first place. should also be involved in some way in the next round of SOURCES workshops. But again.2 addresses the disparity of investment in the creative preproduction process. You cannot prescribe behaviour in any relationship. No amount of bringing them together to teach them how to behave is going to create a situation where they may work well together. both in the cinema and on television. but is included here for information. which has its roots in the training of emerging screen writers in Europe compared with their American counterparts. SOURCES. This investment should not be measured only in financial terms. often closed concept of writing for .2 encourages writers to extend beyond their own. The working language of SOURCES is English. especially the script teachers.2. Rolf Orthel introduced SOURCES to the delegates.” NOTE: The following statement about SOURCES-2 was not available for presentation at the Conference. This is another MEDIA-2 initiative -. SOURCES. but in the past we have also worked with scripts submitted in German. SOURCES. but more significantly in the time and expertise brought to every stage of refining the art and craft of scriptwriting.this time principally for screenwriters. SOURCES. In simple terms.processes by which a script can be enhanced in order to reach the widest possible audience. We hope that each workshop will eventually offer the opportunity for between two and four script teachers from GEECT schools who want to see how the work is done with the writers and their producers to attend sessions. In confronting this central aim.2 recognises that the blueprint for success lies in the quality of the scripts written for national and international production. “When designing the programme we thought that the teachers. producers are involved in the workshops. French and Spanish languages.

Attitude to the process of communication can be defined as “the act of telling a story so that it can be understood.2 is determined to avoid mere reproduction or imitation of imported styles. and has built the strong foundations of its workshop programme on this collaborative process. whereby each participant attends two sessions approximately two months apart has been chosen as the most effective model for three reasons. Equally. It is a central credo of SOURCES -2 that scripts are best created as part of a collaborative process. it encourages an open creative society. The workshop format. but also with story analysts and editors. SOURCES. it stresses the merits of the collective. European writers need to be encouraged to work not only with co-authors and producers. . SOURCES.attitude and awareness. and third. If the aim of SOURCES -2 can be condensed to its essence -. First. Second.” Awareness implies not only the need for an emotional and intellectual engagement with an audience. informed way the wide range of other.2 offer emerging screen-writers two key attributes of talent -. SOURCES derives its name from its core philosophy : Stimulating Outstanding Resources for Creative European Scriptwriting. It is especially relevant for those who wish to enter in a positive.2 is an advanced training course for screen writers and producers. the participating writers are encouraged to share the joyful experience of investigating the creative process. Those who work as the SOURCES -2 team are fully committed to improving the quality and diversity of European cinema and television.2 has gathered teams of such experts. directors and producers.58 themselves -.its participants have to accept that the art and craft of screenwriting involves the simple presentation of complex universal ideas. collaborative process. but also of the realities of working in the audio-visual industries. by using its interactive methodology. Therefore the workshops of SOURCES. it reveals the mutual problems faced by emerging writers.creative writing for a mass audience -. Through a series of “Sources of Inspiration” lectures by established European writers. SOURCES. structures or genres.in favour of developing stories with a universal relevance and appeal. Past experiences enlighten the way forward.the so-called “pure artistry” of the solo author -. it steers clear of a single mechanical process by building bridges to the past masterpieces of Europe’s national cinema cultures. They are aware that the outstanding resource for this renaissance is the talent of those writers selected as participants in the programme. the problems as well as the process of writing for the moving image. complementary development programmes available through Media 2.

writer analysis. Story editors. story editing and sophisticated techniques of development. Film and television producers.individual selfcontained 4-hour courses designed and taught by European film and television professionals on different aspects of writing. The story editors. ways of helping them to become better writers *a detailed examination of development in Europe country by country. Producers and writers apply together as a team. A producer coming to an ARISTA workshop brings with them a project and the project’s writer. Writers. 3. The workshops also present a crash course in: * story-telling theory in Europe from Aristotle to the present day * creative writing techniques for story editors and producers * an introduction to story structures within new technologies * ways of identifying good writers.59 The other Media-2 initiative which is relevant to the Triangle concept is: ARISTA which offers advanced training in story analysis. Any professional who works with writers and scripts through development into production. region by region *how to design and write a story editor’s report Alongside project work. Organised as a series of intensive 7-day story editor workshops. English is the working language of the ARISTA workshops. although the methods and ideas explored are applicable in any language. producers and writers use these projects to try out new techniques and ideas generated in the workshop. . in any film culture. the ARISTA programme is held three times a year in different European countries for three particular groups of industry professionals: 1. detailed script editing and general story development. 2. participants take the ARISTA module courses -.

They are still learning their art and their . and GEECT’s founding co-ordinator. formerly director of La FEMIS in Paris. Director of Programming at Gaumont. and the lessons to be learned from examining the current professional practice in relation to collaboration. now an independent producer and Director of SOURCES-2. The panel consisted of: Fabienne Vonier. The moderator was Jack Gajos. a producer with Pyramide Films. the French model moved outside the concept of the triangle in the creative process of film making. and Francis Boespflug. an acquisition and distribution company based in Paris. Paris. Before addressing their theme. Their presentation concentrated instead on the role of the producer in the marketplace. Jack Gajos referred to the need to stress upon students that they are would-be writers and would-be producers.60 CHAPTER FOUR The Producer in the Marketplace Protecting the Product Continuing the examination of European cinema and television.

the scenarist must learn to look at the rubbish bin without bitterness. writing should be carried out as late as possible.” If there is a conflict between the screenwriter and the director. a producer now involved with distribution. But inside our schools we have to work hard with students to foster imagination. after the idea of the film is clearly understood and the narrative is in place. Fabienne Vonier. he was also responsible for scheduling the booking of almost 400 cinemas in France. there is only one victim... They work like movie screenwriters and must understand that in the process of creating a movie. said Jack Gajos that was largely overlooked in current educational models. That phrase is well known. The French screenwriter. . The curriculum should be developed with that principle at the forefront. He said that his position in Gaumont differed from that of a producer or even of a distributor.. She shared the panel with Francis Boespflug. And we have to help would-be producers to recognise and encourage the imagination of their would-be writers.. imagination is a muscle.’ We have to work on dreams.. uncompromising. In his role. Jean-Claude Carrière has said “the screenplay is like a chrysallis -the film is the butterfly. This was an area. and on imagination. The young director has to learn to film not only the script. nor producers. He was quoting one of the speakers representing the French industry.” His work was consumed in the process of film making. to include marketing and distribution. Screenwriters are not novelists. As Bunuel says.. he or she should learn to be tough with their film. They would contact him at different stages of development and production. his or her text must disappear..61 craft. He has no dreams. What should young producers learn? Jack Gajos suggested that first. Andre Breton once wrote: ‘He is a bastard. “ In my view. They are not yet writers. Director of Programming at Gaumont. The French poet. This attitude should extend to the producer’s working relationship with the writer. even to the editor of the film. He described his relationship with writers and producers working inside a company like Gaumont. or between the screenwriter and the producer. even rude. Jack Gajos quoted a saying from the French film world: “When the shooting stops.. and often not taken seriously. but also his or her personal vision of life. and that is the film itself. Her contribution to the discussion would highlight the need to focus the curriculum for student producers beyond the making of films and programmes for television.

62 Gaumont was the main exhibition circuit in the country covering 50% of the market. That scheduling involved tough decisions and choices. But the ability to make informed choices is central to the whole film making process... at the beginning, in the middle and after the film itself is completed. “The choices facing me are tough. They are different from the choices I faced when I was a producer, or a distributor. “When I have to look at a project with a producer and a distributor, the discussion is complex. On one side there is only the project, and the relationship I have with the distributor and the author. On the other side, there is the current state of the market. The borderline between the two can be difficult. “Sometimes, you have to say: ‘I think your project is interesting, but I do not think there is an audience for it.’ That can be tough. On the other hand, if you tell them that the film is very enjoyable and will be successful in the cinemas, you are guessing. You cannot be sure. You can be wrong. Who knows the market? There is no crystal ball. So I am always aware that my answer is going, on one side, to the producer and the distributor, and, on the other side, to the director. So I have to be very fair... and clear. Most of the time when I am in discussion with the producer and the distributor, the film is already made. Maybe they show me the first cut. When I give my opinion, it is always based on the market potential. I do not want to interfere on the production side. Whenever a project begins, it is essential for its producer to consider the public...whether it be mainstream or a smaller, select audience. Is there an audience for this film or not? At the end of the project, the question is the same. This time, it is a person like me who asks it. It is a tough question, and the answer can never be completely certain. Remember, the audience is very clever. Consider the American model. Film makers there are continuously looking at the market. And if you look at the figures from all over the world, they are not wrong to do so. On the other hand, in France we are still strong on the production side. Why? Because we have the quota control, and because we have the responsibility to put some good films which might not have a guaranteed audience into our cinemas. That is the responsibility of a company such as Gaumont. I might even say that I am proud to do this, especially when a film starts exhibition in this way and finishes strongly by word of mouth. I must confess it is rare -- but it does happen. Probably France is the only country in Europe which uses this system. We are not angels, but we do have this sense of responsibility. With the help of television, the French film industry can stay alive. Without the help of television it

63 is finished. It would be impossible for independent producers and distributors to operate if television was not in the market for financing productions and for buying the final product. In France, we also have a system of mediation to ensure fair dealings for independent producers. For example, if a small distributor has a problem finding theatres for a film, he or she can appeal to the mediator. He will then act as a go-between for the distributor and people in charge of cinema bookings. Again, France is the only country with this type of mediation for the cinema industry. Turning to France’s quote system, which limits the number of foreign imported films in relation to national production, Francis Boespflug said it was useful, and all European countries could benefit from some form of quota, not just for cinema, but for television as well.

Fabienne Vonier was also involved in production and distribution. She told delegates that she began her career as the manager of an art movie cinema. Then she moved into distribution, and now is also a producer. Both positions are now integrated in her career. To be a distributor, she said, is merely to act as a go-between. A producer, for her, is the leader of a group, rather than a solo occupation. She offered her view of the current state of French cinema. “As you know, France has been supportive of the concept of “politique des auteurs”. It was created in the sixties, after a long period of very popular cinema. In all European countries after the war, all the theatres were full. There was a very large audience. Then it fell into decline. Then in France in the sixties we had this approach to cinema we called “politique des auteurs”. Young people completely opposed the notion of popular cinema, and began writing and directing their own stories. They were the new auteurs. Even now in France, it is common for our great directors to consider themselves to be alone, to have the right to go in any direction they want, to control the content, and the destiny of their films right to the end. Now, the situation has begun to change. Even this examination of the relationship between producer and writer is a sign of change. It acknowledges that there is a writer involved. When France acknowledges that there is a writer involved we will have more possibilities to make good films. In France for some years there has been a system which helps directors -- especially young directors -- to direct their films without having to conform to market demands. They can receive money to realise their film even if they are just at the beginning of their career. This system was created to react against the market force. We believe it is a good system

64 because it allows more films to be made. To achieve a really great film, maybe it is necessary to have a hundred lesser films to be made. Even in this system, we are still living by the theory that one young man or woman can be a very good writer and a very good director and a very good press attaché for himself or herself, and can convince a producer, and good actors to work with them. In reality it is too much to expect all that of one person. Cinema must be taken more and more as team work. Two talented people are better than one. If there are three, it is even better. To illustrate her point, she referred to her experience as producer of “Carrington,” the first feature film of Christopher Hampton. “ Christopher Hampton is a very famous writer. He works often with famous directors like Stephen Frears. He had just come from Hollywood when we met him to discuss the project “Carrington” that we had read ten years earlier. To make films you must be very patient. When Christopher came and we began to talk about the script, it was, for us, very moving because Christopher is a great writer. You cannot speak to a great writer as you can to a young director who is beginning his career. But we did our job and we told him what we thought, page after page of the script. “ Because we were French, we were astonished that Christopher not only accepted it, but wanted this discussion. For him, it was the only way to work. To be inside a team. There was no problem at all. So with John McGrath, the English producer, and Christopher as writer and also as director and with us, every day and every hour, it was team work. It was great. “ Maybe we were so surprised because in France, it is always a little bit difficult to have this sort of relationship with a director. The director is the star in France. It is changing, more and more. The best example which comes to mind is Alain Renais. We call him an author, but he never writes his films. He has always worked with writers and prefers it that way. He never wanted to be called an auteur. He always wanted to be called a director on the credits and posters. He never liked “Un film de Alain Renais.” Only “Directed by Alain Renais.” I think that this sort of relationship is taking place more and more with the great directors. The problem is more with the young film makers because it is very difficult for them to find a way to meet writers. There are very few great writers of the cinema. There are maybe ten or fifteen altogether, and everybody wants to work with them. So they are becoming the stars now in France, like everywhere else. But I cannot say that the common position in France now is where the producer works directly with the writer without a director also involved. We are not there yet. It could happen, but it is very rare. We have made some progress, just by

when the film was almost finished. handling the foreign sales. So was Christopher Hampton. just as much as they have to learn to answer questions about the content and structure of their film. but he accepted. It was a tough meeting. Together they must learn to defend a script. we had a meeting with our American sales people in Los Angeles.the producer. in France. Newall was very fair. Maybe it is not the way for everybody to work. from the beginning to the end. they said. the director was to be Mike Newall. but to see a film at the same time.” Turning to the application of professional practice to curriculum design. Euston Films was attached as British producers. We had an American partner. We thought some changes might be made. I have worked with a lot of directors including Stephen Frears.” but he was not available. it is a trio -. Jack Gajos said it was important to train young producers not only to read a script. John McGrath joined as British producer and we began a new discussion with Emma Thompson. Originally. He was surprised.” After that. the director and now the writer. but it can also result in a fantastic film. but only as writer. At the end. It was too long. and directing it three months later.” “So we had to find another director. I was there with John McGrath and Christopher Hampton.65 having the writer gaining importance beside the director. My position with Christopher was in between. Then the British producers pulled out. He supported the approach to training that encouraged writers and producers to learn together. And we had Gramercy handling sales in America. He was attracted to “Carrington. He is not sure of anything. At best. he was not available for a film like “Carrington. Christopher said ‘Nobody’s right. the distributor has to make judgements on behalf of the potential audience. So we began again. But he started to make a small British film called “Four Weddings and a Funeral. In one way. In the middle of it. The British producers were tough. I remember seeing Louis Malle writing “Au Revoir Les Enfants” in one month. The Americans wanted to cut the movie by ten minutes. “This time we decided that Christopher should direct. . Caterina d’Amico observed that the process of evaluation by a distributor would be markedly different from that used by a young producer in choosing an idea or a script for a production. Polygram. She was a big fan of the script. What criteria do they use? How do they try to estimate which films will work for an audience? Using the example of “Carrington” Francis Boespflug said that when Gaumont began its involvement with the project. They refused to cut a second from the film.

can say “No” to an American movie. distribution and the cinemas is why the American majors dominate the world market. even with Emma Thompson and Jonathan Pryce. there is no chance of controlling the market. the cinema is still alive because no U. “If you don’t cut. to resist selling theatres to foreign companies. “But the film is British. He knew that if he refused to change the film. If cinemas are sold.” Sandy Leiberson suggested that Francis Boespflug was advocating a form of protectionism .’ “So he was the only person to take a decision. So let us go back to the editing. we don’t pay. and the film was a big success because we did it exactly our way from the beginning to the end.representing most of the other cinemas. you can help the movie reach a wide public. where is the equilibrium between those two extremes? Francis Boespflug said there were 4. That is the only way to protect the market. . he said. If you control the whole chain. “Controlling the chain of production.S. Polygram released the film in the U. That is one of the things I have admired about exhibitors. I’m not sure who is right. and see what our options are. If on the one hand there is a market dominated by American films and the market is controlled by two or three exhibition companies. company can control the cinemas. French or American. But in France. Pursuing to his theme of protectionism.66 I’m like him. the three controlling companies are concerned about the state of the national cinema industry. In France. They have around 75% of the market. More than 700. The 25-30% of the market they control is the exhibition space for current French cinema. So I . Sandy Leiberson said :” Exhibitors always seem to be very broad-minded people who will play a film if it is going to do business. Gaumont controlled the production. We are the owners of the theatres. One thousand of these theatres are controlled by the American majors. Do you know any other country that can act in that way?” His point was. It took two prizes at Cannes.000 people saw it in France.K and it failed.at least in America.with two or three companies controlling 90% of the national outlets.” We made some changes “In France. “Carrington” was just one film in the middle of a number of movies. Polygram and Gramercy were very direct. the distribution and the theatres. That was because the distributors did not handle the film carefully from the beginning to the end.even three people . For Polygram.500 cinemas in France. the project could be lost -. “But three companies -. and on the other hand there is a lack of interest by exhibitors in whatever country they are in to exhibit their local films. It did not work so well in the United States either. whether it is German.

If it is just thrown out into the market. Then you could nurture a French product. the product succeeds. Italy.67 don’t see their refusing local films out of a principle. acceptable and natural. is not commercial.marketing skill. I ask myself whether you would ever say ‘no’ to “Jurassic Park” or “Mission Impossible” ? In practical terms doesn’t the American dominance of the world market come from their ability to spend $100 million on a film and make it such an event that people in Germany. with instant communication. Larry Turman. everyone throughout the world knows about it the next day. isn’t it a limited right in a practical sense? The American skill is in creating events that stimulate market demand. The Americans have such a powerful marketing mechanism. Colin Young: . “How can you allocate space for this type of distribution if you don’t have the entire freedom to refuse to screen ‘Jurassic Park’ to give just five cinemas to a different type of film?” As earlier. the method of distribution is different. to have your attitude towards nurturing the French cinema. but with a more modest film.. A mainstream film would represent another model. with care taken over every step over the dissemination to ensure the visibility of a product the company believes in. the trans-Atlantic view came from the American delegate.” Summing up. But when I hear you say that you have the right to say ‘no’ to American films. but out of their judgement that a film is not viable. if a film is a big event and a success in America. France want to see it. If there was a small “art” movie that might attract an audience to five cinemas in Paris and maybe ten around the country. He said: “It is both understandable. So although you have the ability to refuse a film. not content. The Europeans seem concerned with content. Francis Boespflug said the example of “Carrington” was only one model of distribution. Today. Caterina d’Amico said the model showed that if the distribution strategy is followed carefully. It needs as much care in that phase as in its actual production.” Francis Boespflug: “ It is just like a fox in the middle of chickens. Do you know the winner?” Sandy Leiberson: “ I know 20th Century Fox.. I know the winner. it is probably lost. “So that your choice to say ‘no’ would come not with such a blockbuster. the Americans with marketability. Even if it could be considered protectionism by some.

It is not the only question. but it is a major question. That is what American films are largely based upon. This was not a big problem when we were making a small number of films.. That is because the French have had a consistent policy of keeping part of the market open to their own product. And that is what the goal of dominating market share represents.. I think that we have these two problems at the same time in Europe: access to the screens.. We are about to have a big problem.68 “Looking at it from Britain. on the whole they like them. you can have some dessert. the films are being made. but the type of film being made is designed almost exclusively from a business model. through the Lottery system. I totally accept the point that Americans have the ability to make an event out of their movies.not less than thirty percent. What are we going to do with these films in our own cinemas? We will have great difficulty finding screen time for that amount of film. and how to tell stories that people want to go to see. But we will have 42 films ready to be considered this year for Cannes.” John Furia of USC warned against the homogenisation of the cinema industry. We have the money to make the films now. It is like telling my children: ‘If you eat your vegetables. It is precisely related to who is owning the cinemas and who is controlling distribution. it is also a question of nutrition. What is a balanced diet? Francis Boespflug has said we should keep some screens for our own films. By that. and they will have a big problem finding a national audience.’ There is a big difference between the British market and the French market. the McDonaldisation of the making of films. but we have trouble getting more than ten percent of the market for our own product.. We have not had that kind of percentage in Britain since the fifties. to appeal only to the mass market. So any policy to support cinema that makes it harder for our people to see films that they enjoy will be unpopular and self-defeating. However. that should be our greatest fear. Because of this finance. we have to accept that when people see these movies. I think that we all have a responsibility that we have not often fulfilled. The business model requires films to be directed at the largest possible mass audience. he meant that the films should not only be in English. Britain speaks the same language in the cinema as the United States. They are satisfied. The percentage of the market that a film maker can find in France will be there year after year -. We have never had such a large number of films at that time of the year. I think that for all of us who are film makers or people interested in the making of films. I was delighted to hear Francis . rather than an artistic one.

comparatively low cost in relation to the return at the box office.. to communicate to an audience smaller than a mass audience. That is the benefit our European films can have -.” Chapter 5 New Technologies : Triangle in a changing world .” Fabienne Vonier reminded the delegates what success represented in the world of film making.69 Boespflug describe the stand he takes in France. there have been small movies made by European directors which have gone on to be big successes. “More and more we read that some American film has been very. In the last few years at Cannes. that they not be self indulgent as they so often have been in the past. very successful all over the world but did not actually recover its costs. and continue to be. That responsibility is that if we preserve a share of the market for niche films. So there is a way to lose money with big successes.self indulgent in the sense that people make films to please themselves rather than to communicate. That is. Maybe our responsibility is always to remember that success is when the gross is bigger than the costs. But it is a responsibility for film makers all up and down the line. The machine is more and more expensive. but not an audience of one. but the difference between the cost and the gross.. It is not the number of tickets sold in the world.

an up-coming computer programme for “virtual storyboarding.of new technologies has already transformed the practice of film production and post-production as well as programme making for television. The new languages of the image: A series of “state of the art” presentations gave delegates an opportunity to review the latest technology in relation to film production. Change was in the air. the potential for image control and manipulation has transformed the content of the artefact.demonstrated the Domino image enhancement and special effects system. had necessitated profound reappraisal. transformation has brought new languages to the audio-visual area. the discussion centred on possible changes in the curriculum to enhance the creative potential of collaboration -. The increasing sophistication -. Others saw the need to align their teaching practice to reflect their national industrial model. One delegate described it as “ a shared awareness of new possibilities.” There was unanimous agreement that as cinema passed its first century.70 The central theme of the conference addressed the possibilities for change in the central philosophy and practice of film and television academies and schools. For some schools. the session closed with a sneak preview of CATS ( Computer-aided Theatrical Score) -. education for the medium was at a cross-roads. whilst at the same time avoiding mere replication of a flawed system.a partner in the Conference -. dramatic changes brought about by external political and social forces.” This is a European industrial project funded by the E. Changeable. Novelty has become the norm. The weather in Rome was unsettled. . Regardless of individual approaches by schools or privately held convictions. delegates at the conference were not inclined to argue in defence of the old “auteur” model for today’s film student.C. Today’s students expect to speak tomorrow’s language.and accessibility -.particularly in relation to story development. and developed by an Italian-French-Spanish consortium. Finally. Quantel -. In both cases. Later delegates were introduced to Kodak’s Cineon system and toured CINECITTÀ’s Cineon installation. At the same time. For some schools.

Quantel was a partner in the Triangle Conference. the speakers stressed the collaborative and creative potential of new technology which occurs when producer and director join the engineer. and the CATS computer generated 3-D design programme. Kodak (Italy). . Kodak (U. Milan. Even more significantly. and have not explored its possibilities.K.” Caterina d’Amico was the moderator for the presentations. We should expect all our teachers to be aware of the new possibilities. representative of Quantel. As one speaker put it: “It is the mind behind the machine that gives it its capabilities. but also -. our students are very often disappointed. In fact. Interactive. Australia. Guido Battaglia. David Bush. we are rarely confronted with the need to absorb these new languages because most academies do not have the equipment for what are commonly called the new technologies. They know something about these languages. they have not mastered the use of this technology. at the present moment. manager. product manager for Domino. foreign vocabulary. Stephen Shaw. Mauro Vendramin of Kodak Research Centre.” The presentation offered the delegates access to three state-of-the-art developments -Quantel’s Domino. CINECITTÀ’s Cineon. Gilberto Tofano and Patrizia Palamidese. We recognise that it is important to change this state of affairs in our schools. members of the CATS development team. As a result. Therefore they see the new languages as a distant.K. digital motion imaging specialist. many institutions are still convinced that they will never be able to afford the new equipment.and especially -. and expect us to use them as well. It is important that not only the technicians are acquainted with these possibilities. The daily use of these new technologies is now the norm in the industry. The speakers were: Leonello Gasperini.the creative team for the stories that can now be told. senior product manager. She told delegates that any consideration of changes in philosophy and practice at the creative centre of film and television education had to take into account the reality of the new languages of the image.71 In each of these encounters. when they leave school. Italy.) . “ In our schools. Mike Walker. Quantel U.

They are trained by Quantel as the supplier. can not only use for special effects but to control costs and to increase the possibilities of your creativity. A student from that institution was being trained to use the equipment in order to realise his graduation film project. Quantel has concentrated on applying the former. There is one example. If properly incorporated within the script. . People only remember the big titles. but many of the other film resolution electronic systems on the market -. on the contrary. By using electronic equipment in a focused way. it can also make the producer smile within the context of low-budget films. but the roles are fairly specialised in that the equipment needs a relatively high level of knowledge of its possibilities. currently being made by a London company which has a budget of only $ 750. Stephen Shaw said his company was already working with the Royal College of Art’s film and television department.that all of you. “Most people tend to think that electronics is an exotic exercise. That is generally accepted to be a low budget film.a very powerful one -. the company is able to save money on the production of the film and use it in the post-production period for digitally generated effects. Stephen Shaw.are not aimed purely at the big-budget films. and in the immediate future. Technology can be user-friendly or.” In terms of accessibility for students. but electronic systems are useful for anyone who understands what they can offer. At the present time (December 1996). distant and far from the creative needs of film makers. but there are many. Such creative partners needed to know what the use of electronics can do for them now.” There are many more films out there which gain from using such systems. Domino has been used in the creation of more than 250 films. only relevant for highly specialised budgets. The equipment is sold directly to production companies who have specially dedicated operators to carry out the work. directors and producers. and within film direction. it is useful for that purpose. scriptwriter. What we want to prove today is that electronics for cinema is a further instrument -. user-friendly approach to Domino equipment.000. the product manager for the Domino system. That is why it needs dedicated operators to drive it.72 Leonello Gasperini said that it was no longer a strange concept to talk to writers. also stressed that the electronic systems available today -. This is not true. directors and producers about the electronics of cinema. smaller-budget films that have already been using this technology. Obviously.not just Domino. Everyone remembers examples like “Independence Day. and how they work.

it is using an electronic camera. All the processes that were available before. or by doing aerial photography as in bi-pack work. What these new systems can do is to enable you to take your original idea and actually use it. Sometimes it is very difficult to achieve that effect practically. There is a scanner that physically extracts the information from the raw camera negative.. These three components all work together to produce seamless. It is less dictated by the constraints of the film equipment. but rejected for practical reasons.it is in the scanner that the film itself is laced and light passed through it. in-camera effects.. “None of this equipment is replacing any tools or devices that have been in use before. bi-pack work. transparent environment to give the film maker the creative tools that cannot exist in any other way..something that can be used to advance or enhance the creative effects that previously might have been considered. It could even be the linchpin for the story. The second component is the control station that drives all the functions to ensure the highest quality scan possible. Of the three component units -. If you could see inside the scanner. Quantel’s Domino uses disk storage to hold that information.73 In order to demonstrate the potential of Domino. A work station. physical effects. all-dancing environment that is going to do away with film opticals. The system that is used to achieve such special effects. So it is an additional tool that adds to the creative power of film effects. you would see that it is very like an aerial printer. One of the biggest problems with non-digital systems is that they can be restrictive. And a film recorder that puts the “effected” material back onto 35mm film. This is an all-singing. . consists of three major components. aerial printers -. either by doing physical work with it. The image is scanned and converted into electronic information.” It is important to have the electronic data stored in a format that can be accessed as quickly as possible..the traditional optical techniques. A film maker may have a specific idea. still exist and will still be used. These systems should be regarded as an additional tool. examples of scenes created electronically were screened. But rather than using an optical camera to receive the image. or a specific look he or she wants to put into the film.. The information is stored in an electronic “box. so that the end film adheres closer to the original concept.

there is very little that is special about the recorder. or more density. this requires a highly trained.a model -mounted on a gimbel.whatever effects are required to get the end result as the original storyboard requested. with a sky that has a lot of cloud and atmosphere overhead. and an answer print produced from it. It is something that can be easily followed and understood by someone who does not necessarily become involved in the electronic part of the process. colour correction -. The recorder work station is where the image is put back onto film. are composed in this work station. Do this effect and I want to see the result at the end. The next step was to put the galleon back into the shot. but concentrated on the process . One example came from the Muppet version of “Treasure Island. The galleon was shot as a blue screen element at Shepperton Studios outside London. Thus they are directly involved in the work. Because it was shot away from England there were no clouds in the sky. In this way.’ The film maker can follow it through. or move an element of the image. The end result is a new camera negative that matches the original footage. It is a standard animation camera. the creative team can become involved in the electronic process. using a fishing boat that had been painted red deliberately so that it stood out from the sea. The work station is pen and tablet driven.the way certain effects are achieved. match components. specialised operator who actually drives this component. as if he or she was looking at the shot through the viewfinder of a camera. the blue screen keying. The shot itself started life as footage that was shot in the Caribbean. that simply re-records the information that has now been created. Where the compositing. Other than the fact that it is recording an electronic signal. But the way that this particular system works is very intuitive. The demonstration did not dwell on the specific electronics. The scene required the galleon to leave Bristol Harbour to find new lands. It means that the producer or director can sit behind the operator and watch what is going on. Obviously.74 It is at the work station that the creative work is produced. It becomes a very creative part of the film process. It can then be intercut into the original camera rushes.” The storyboard required a shot of a sailing galleon on relatively smooth sea. It was a miniature -. rather that saying: ‘Here’s the film. Inside the cabinet is a standard animation camera. There was a video-assist camera associated with it so that the puppeteers could rock the boat relatively in sync with the movements of the red fishing boat . not something that is a black art. so it is very easy to follow the process step-by-step. They can choose more colour.

Another example was demonstrated for the delegates. it has already proved invaluable in film restoration. then scanned electronically to enable the seams of physical damage to be eliminated. For example. Now there is -. Original colour characteristics can be restored to faded negatives. So electronic systems are becoming widely used in the processes of restoration. and in front of buildings which comprised the background. torn film can be patched together manually. foreground projection or rear projections or blue screen work. There was then a second “plate” shot. There is no problem whereby the boat or the water appeared out of scale. it is possible to create travelling mattes that follow background elements that are not easy to paint out. It was not necessary to be precise in the movement because the electronic system could lock the two movements exactly together later. this time. Electronic systems can do more than merely remove scratches and repair tears. Bi-pack work using mattes can already be carried out very simply with aerial printers.a miniature boat in a real sea with no problems of scaling elements like water. out in the English Channel. This works for fire in exactly the same way. and keyed into the original fishing boat shot so that even the wake of the galleon appears in proportion. However. Films can be re-ratioed if the original aspect ratio can no longer be projected. Rather than having locked-off shots. in the case of electronic systems such as Domino. For example. The electronic system can also be used outside the domain of pure effects. The boat was then extracted from the blue screen shot. This provided the sky elements that were required. including “Bambi” which has been completely restored using the Domino system.” . This capability is becoming more and more applicable as people recognise that back catalogues of films are deteriorating from damage and age. Elements of the image that are missing altogether can also be replaced electronically.in reality -.75 in the original footage. it is now possible to shoot a background plate and add the elements to it afterwards. The example shown was a sequence of end credits for a movie in which the text rolled up behind trees which formed the foreground. These three elements were finally combined together to give the required result. A number of cartoon animations have been restored recently. It used similar techniques.

and almost everywhere else in the world. One of the problems that grows with these systems is the idea that anything can be fixed or corrected in post production. For example. Their quality control slips. Manager of Interactive. It is quite likely that film making for cinema will. It will take some time. the potential of these technologies have become more and more evident. These systems should only be used when absolutely necessary. This becomes very costly. It has to be a viable proposition. Finally. cloning and collaging images from several different sources. . and will reduce budgets dramatically. used the Domino system to demonstrate several processes of image manipulation including motion control.76 But Stephen Shaw also sounded a note of caution. It is not good saying :’I want this particular effect or image using electronics just because I like it. He told delegates: “Gradually. the cost of using them still has to be balanced against budget. film makers can become casual in their ethics of shooting. to take commercials that have been made for television. when the storyline calls for an effect or a capability that cannot be performed any other way.. “ Although these systems are very powerful. there can be a tendency to shoot indiscriminately in the knowledge that flaws can be resolved later. the system is extremely cost effective. a major post-production company based in Milan. of course.. Rather than strive to do as much as possible with the camera. It is a very labour intensive.’ The film maker must always be certain that the overall production will benefit from the use of the new technology. move towards the potential of the same kind of digital post-production. tracking. as these techniques have improved and refined. in Italy. It is true that electronic systems like Domino can solve such problems. In other words. but I think it is moving in that direction. another advantage of working with this new technology.. and convert them to 35mm film retaining the high quality expected of such productions. Then . in the future. David Bush. but the film maker will have to pay for that privilege. time consuming process. This has been especially true in the world of advertising. It provides the ability to take video originated material. there is not one frame of a commercial seen on television that has not been processed using these kinds of technology. and physically copy it to film. Today.

. That is better than relying later on Quantel. effects-based films. Each composite shot needs to be worked out carefully in advance. My quest at the moment is to try to demystify these new technologies.” Steven Shaw agreed. The European culture is not looking for special effects. In that way. This was particularly true of the advertising world. or some other technology to restore the required image through time consuming.. It is a waste of time to chase technology for technology’s sake. And secondly. what is being written may be feasible within a certain budget. Now. especially while the script is being written. the electronics experts were involved in the production process very late. Such technology is useful when it makes sense. whereby someone who knows the capacity of the technology system -not an operator -. Already. For there to be a need. and advise on how the sequence should be developed and shot. more often. post production advisers are present on the set during shooting to ensure that the footage is practical and correct for what has been agreed will be created later. we realise that people need to understand how to use our equipment. they have built up a huge and lucrative business around its possibilities. It is acknowledged that the special effects supervisor needs to be called in at the earliest stage. people have to be writing scripts. Most people in Europe have the impression that they are only useable for extremely high budget. . As the developer and manufacturer. These are two elements that will probably never happen in Europe for obvious reasons.77 A few years ago. Yet these technologies are being used in Europe for a number of low budget films. For us to sell the equipment.. because it was badly planned and shot in the first place. and so on.can read a script in development. Euro-budgets will never be at that level. Which element needs to be shot first. In the feature film business there is now more time for discussion and consideration of solutions to narrative problems. combining locations for single sequences and so on. The Americans were using this technology before the Europeans. putting together scenes that will require our sort of special effects. “Pre-planning is the sensible way to use this equipment. An element of service is necessary. Films like “Independence Day” and “Twister” were only made possible because the necessary spectacle could be created artificially. there has to be a need. Creative use of new technology requires pre-planning with expert consultation.

Because of these very stringent requirements..78 We are a manufacturer.K. So any scanning equipment must capture all the detail and subtlety of the film. the other in London.) presented an overview of the Cineon system. But we are more than happy to have people come to us to spend time getting to know the system. We cannot set up a school for training. CINECITTÀ’s Cineon is the most powerful installation in the world.” The Domino system used for the demonstration was brought to the Conference from Britain. The Quantel presentation was followed by an introduction to Kodak’s Cineon system.” Mike Walker.first of all we have to scan the images into the system. So DXR is fundamental to all Cineon products. This was available on site. through the digital processing. Kodak introduced the Cineon digital system for post production world-wide. At first. as there is a working installation in CINECITTÀ itself. That would be our contribution to the general educational process. following two main routes. “Fundamental to Kodak’s philosophy on the design of digital imaging systems is the company’s commitment to maintaining image quality throughout the process. the spectral response and the resolution of 35mm film. So Kodak decided to enter this field. . If it is to be of any use. Senior Product Manager for Kodak (U. and getting to know what they can do. All Cineon products use DXR to maintain the full image quality throughout the range without compromise. to film out. The work stations have to maintain that image quality throughout the digital process with no visible loss. and is a technique that ensures that when we scan the image. The first was to create Cinesite companies -. After that. So if we look at the system components -. Guido Battaglia.. a digital film system has to be capable of managing the full dynamic range. Kodak developed the DXR technology. we capture all the subtleties of the film correctly. digital motion imaging specialist for Kodak (Italy) provided the introduction before delegates saw a demonstration of Cineon in action. from film in. and to learn what were the creative and practical needs of the film makers. the industry looked towards the video environment. “ The idea that led to Cineon developed at the beginning of the eighties because there was the need from film people to use digital tools and digital creativity. DXR stands for Digitally Extended Range.one based in Los Angeles. to work together with the film industry to explore the possibilities of visual effects. And the film recorders must be capable of converting the digitally processed image back to film with total fidelity.

It does give very good results but they suffer from flare and resolution and colour imagery problems. It is a monochrome tube.79 usually from 35mm negative using the Genesis scanner. It can also be programmed to automatically process work overnight. As you know. Grain can be added in the digital imaging if it is required. a much slower stock can be used. It will automatically take a queue of jobs to be done and render the images overnight. Kodak has developed an alternative technology. This makes the combination of original film and computer graphics comparatively simple. where we can exchange work with other work stations. Because of the high light level from a laser. There are currently five laser film recorders world-wide. This uses spectrally balanced RGB lasers to record the image directly onto film in one pass simultaneously. a cathode ray tube like in television. The image can be viewed on the work station and be sure that it is a good representation of what will be seen on the final output of the film. Using DXR it captures the full density range. To do this. The SG platform also allows us a powerful networking facility. work can be passed between them. any graphics packages. it is moved to the work station. One the original facsimile has been captured. green and blue. and records frames much faster. 3 in Hollywood. to produce the colour image onto 5245 film for instance. so that those images can easily be pulled into Cineon for use. it moves on to the film recorder. 16mm or 35mm. one in London. So we can use a 5244 interneg stock. we use industry-standard Silicon Graphics computers. The Cineon work station is also DXR calibrated to maintain the colour accuracy. 8 seconds a frame. So the system offers complete control over the grain level. When the digital process is complete. This is capable of scanning negative or positive. There will not be more grain from the recording process. However. The laser recorder gives much better colour rendition. when the computers are not being used. By linking a number of work stations together. It is called the lightning recorder.. or even 8-perf Vistavision frames.. and one in CINECITTÀ. CRT is a much cheaper technology. shared and distributed. It is an open platform system which allows interfacing with other software packages -. producing a digital facsimile of the original negative. and the frames are exposed sequentially red. which gives virtually grain-free images. Typically. a slower stock has less grain. The standard film recorder is a standard CRT. There are some problems with CRT recording.” .3-D animation packages. because they can compromise the image quality. sharper images and better contrast.

in being able to discuss these needs and possibilities with a person who is experienced in special effects. All it does is add a different point of view of how the story can be achieved. However. or may not. all the result of collaboration between the producer. The development started in 1989. “The Cineon software was developed by Kodak in Australia. for example. writers and directors and cinematographers. Eventually a storyboard is put together. I was part of the research and development group. Many people have seen it in action. We can do bigger. The introduction of digital technology to help tell this story does not change that model. there was a question about when. This concept may. not just in the writer’s head but also can be easily translated for everyone else who is associated with the development of the film. is the dialogue. brighter. Earlier. It is very easy to say: ‘Here is digital technology. Everyone knows that at the present system involves assembling writers. helps to clear the way for how these concepts are to be advanced. Sometimes one might wonder: ’Is it just because the word digital is in there? Or is there a real need for the technology to realise the story’s visual potential?’ While we show the equipment and its capabilities. The real question then would be: “Does that add to the impact of the story?” In the end. because that is when ideas are really formed. but that might only give more advanced techniques and more sophisticated effects. The answer is “as soon as possible. and left on the cutting room floor. Some people would say that pre-storyboard is even better. the sequence in question may be weeded out. That is optimal.80 Mauro Vendramin from Kodak’s Research and Development Centre in Australia..it is amazing how similar the model is to the existing model of producing a film. I think writers and cinematographers have in their minds a concept that they want to tell the world. and are interested in the possibility of using digital effects. the most important element of the contacts we have with the industry. Here at CINECITTÀ. a special effects supervisor should be involved. reflected on the relationship between new technologies and the industry -. better things. the Cineon system was installed three months ago. The need for the dialogue to happen is obvious..the real work -. be produced with standard cinematographic techniques. Thus a story is formed. . We start to work together to see where this type of service can add value to the film project.what new technology offers producers. who put ideas together.” Definitely as soon as a storyboard is put together.’ When that is translated down to what really has to happen in order to tell a story -.. in the creative process. writers and the director.

It was a beautiful piece.” It is not a hurdle. It is important that information reinforcing this concept is provided through seminars. Whether it was an optical special effect made back in the time of “Star Wars” or the digital special effects of “Independence Day. I do not think that light could travel through eighty layers. As we see it.unfolding.81 Digital special effects do not change the model.. It could be said that digital technology adds to the collective thought of the story-teller -.the collaborative energy of the writer.” Two dancers together.. Kodak does not see digital effects as being the death of film. Some people would say that the restriction added an extra dimension. It is there to augment -.a preview of a new technology still in the prototype stage of development.no black magic. . digital effects allow us to upgrade the quality by which cinematography can reach the general public. We are only talking about a machine. extreme slow motion. when more than one image is added to another. the clarity of the shot is diminished. As many layers of images as is necessary can be composited together to get the required effect.” The third presentation was a look forward to a world of “virtual storyboarding” -. There is no magic -. then it is maintained. The use of digital effects is merely an extension of the story-telling process. It is the mind behind a machine that gives it its capabilities. This piece was intended to be shot in colour. Digital technology is not a replacement. The only thing that changes is the method by which the story requirement is accomplished. the producer and the director.” the discussions are the same. and film is Kodak.and not perceived as a threat to the cinematic “art. it is an enhancement. if the same process was attempted with an optical system. It has been developed to keep the story -. It is not there to replace anything. there was a famous short film called “Pas de Deux. but because of limitations in optical technology. A long time ago.to make things better. There is not the degradation of going through generations of film. to keep the ideas and the concepts of the story-tellers flowing. In “Independence Day” there was a shot assembled by Cineon which has eighty layers. But the capabilities of that era meant that the film had to be made in black and white. Once it has been captured digitally. So what do digital systems provide? They give a film maker the opportunity to totally preserve the “feel” of the shot. and through film schools to allow the new technologies to be a comfort -. That could be translated as “the death of Kodak” because Kodak is film. The issues are the same. The effects were like strobing.the potential of story -.

Gilberto Tofano.T. project from its first. not only including cinema and television.” The name of the project is Computer Aided Theatrical Score.82 The project is called C. The final version has a deadline in June 1998. and partners from theatre and cinema. Representatives of the theatre and cinema world who have seen it have been impressed by its expressive capabilities even though it is still at a schematic level.S. Amongst these partners is the Union of European Theatres.S.R. Gilberto Tofano described the project as software which amongst all the big-screen achievements will “look like a miniature.S. C.S. The project was introduced by Gilberto Tofano and Patrizia Palamidese. to which all the major theatres of Europe belong. The first animation demonstration is ready for presentation.A. theoretical concept phase. but also any spectacular event belonging to the domain of entertainment. the National Council for Research in Pisa.A. is an Esprit project in the field of information technology funded by the European Community involving a consortium made up of Italian.Computer aided Theatrical Score -. fashion or sports. software industries. The word ‘theatrical’ was retained on purpose in the name of the programme to honour the theatre as the historical prototype of multi-media art..S. a first version will be ready to be tested and uprated by the partners belonging to theatre and cinema. He is now also the manager responsible for introducing the project to the public.T. has participated in the C.” “Nevertheless.-. In June 1997. It therefore acknowledges all the great treasures of invention and achievements of theatre which later overflowed onto the daughter arts of cinema and television.T. the development team believe that C. a theatre director and film maker for RAI. as it is dedicated mainly to the single professional for “homework.A.T. work began in December.A. After a long period of preparation. it was always considered applicable to any form of performing arts. 1995. the Italian Television network.T. At the present moment we are concluding the functional specification phase.N.an industrial project funded by the European Community and developed by an Italian-French-Spanish consortium. Patrizia Palamidese is the director of the computer graphics department of the C. The . and has followed it as the artistic advisor. was born in a theatre environment. will be a very useful tool.A. Spanish and French research institutes. Although the idea of C.

It assists the professional in the drafting of his or her audio-visualising ideas. “It is not by chance that it is made before representatives of cinema schools. It assists in the collaboration of producers.” He pointed out that the presentation to delegates was the first public announcement of the existence of C.T. but there are many other elements.” Patrizia Palamidese explained the criteria followed in the animation process. There are also institutional partners responsible for the research. Therefore they are unapproachable by a single professional from the financial point of view. in a way that is very difficult to achieve with the written word. France . 3-D animated storyboard. We are working on a very agile. directors and actors. programme was one of very few projects funded by the European Community in the domain of multi-media systems. experts in the field of 3D graphics.S.T. because C. C.. Second. They include Artec of Valencia. and GEOD the research institute of Grenoble.A.A.T. writers.S. project could take. Animation is the core of the programme.S.83 demonstration still cannot be shown publicly because it has to be registered by the European Community commission which follows the project through each of its development phases. easy to use.S.T.S.A. It is nothing more than a tool to assist the conception of an idea of a film or of a staged show. a producer of PC cards for real-time 3D animation. For instance. This will impact on the potential direction the C. Amongst the development partners are two industrial companies -. because cinema is more open to new technology than theatre.P. and A. Now we need to place the project into a feedback cycle with professionals and with teachers in the world of film and theatre training in order to gauge the effectiveness and efficiency of the programme. It is an advanced. does not aim to substitute the show or the film. and require powerful work stations and technical assistance.T. but they are very difficult to use. She told delegates the C. Many powerful and very costly simulation softwares exist. a software corporation in Pisa. First. the young professional and the student.D. one of the most fascinating projects carried out by our partners at the Research Institute of Grenoble University involves voice analysis and synthesis.A.Intext. low-cost tool.A. is meant mainly for the single professional. The Institute has made great progress is resolving the suspicions of the theatre and cinema industries towards the creation of a synthetic voice system.

A. The user has a main window on the computer screen which represents the stage or the space where the performance will happen. the design of the set or location. and producers of films for television. there is an array of resources displayed on the screen. It is possible to change components for a set. lighting.S. Their contribution is to help the development team understand the specific requirements of their medium to extend the potential of C.S. Potential C. This approach allows the team to evaluate and synchronise the different elements of a performance or a film production. software. This window is best explained as the viewer or camera point of view of a scene. there is an original document which describes what must be produced. and then immediately represent the scene as a ”virtual rehearsal” of what has been imagined by the writer and/or the director. If one studies all the steps taken in the development of a film or theatrical script from concept to production. These include analysing movements and gestures of actors within a set or scene. the creative team can use a computer to write the script.T. provides a easy user interface.A. The user has many libraries on the screen from which to select elements. the user has on the screen the visualisation of what happens at a certain.T. C.S. There are different terminology for the theatre and cinema applications.T. So the function of the people involved passes from the writer of the description on paper to those responsible for the realisation. the camera and its motion. “What is C. At any one time. Then there is a phase of rehearsal and production. As with any other software programme. designed to do? It is a computer system to design and represent a script -in all its components.S.A. It also allows a preliminary evaluation of costs for budgets. users are also represented. based on the addition or elimination of the various elements within the scene.T.S. or properties for the . When a user wants to build a new scene or to put different elements in a scene.A.T.A. precise moment in the script. The functions and capabilities on offer include: A representation of the stage or space where the scene will be set. C. costume design.84 which specialises in speech synthesis.A. music and sound. They come from theatre schools. Using the C.S.T. software is able to switch from one terminology to another. the dialogue.

85 set, cameras and lights, or even change the characters. The user can also test different kinds of motion for each character.

The representation of characters has been kept simple. This is because the software is meant to run on a low to medium level work station, or even better, on a PC. It is designed to offer simulation of a scene which include many elements, including many actors moving at the same time, as well as speech and sound effects. This means that we have had to recognise problems of performance. We are designing a new level of geometric characters. Of course, one can have a character with a shape which is more complex, even with detailed faces, but the performance would slow down. Another characteristic of the software is the ability to change the parameters of each element which is in the scene. This can be done by clicking on any object in the scene. This reveals a deck of cards which contains all the information on the characteristics of this particular object. I use the word ‘object’ as it is used in the computer field. It means any element, even an actor. On the screen, an actor is characterised by a body which can be changed in its representation to match the specific physical properties of an actor. The actor is then associated with one or more motions or gestures. Some design of costume can be added. Then speech -- lines of dialogue -- is also possible. When the user wants to define some motion for an actor, he or she can call up a window. The screen would then show a plan of the set or stage, and the user can draw a path simply by moving the mouse in any direction. The line of the path is built automatically by the computer. The user can change this line easily, by moving the mouse. The user can have a visualisation of all the paths of many actors at the same time. When the user has defined all the elements of a scene, the next step is to play a simulation. The system provides opportunities for the user to play back the scene which then contains all the elements that have been defined. There are two levels of functionality. One is like a videotape recorder -- play, pause, forward, back and so on. The other function allows the user to select only a sub-set of the items he or she has defined. For example, if the user has defined a scene with many actors who speak and move, but wants to study only part of it, or to exclude some elements -- like speech, for example -- that is also possible. The user can zoom in and out during the simulation to go close to the character, to concentrate on a detail, just as a camera does. It will be possible to view the scene from the

86 camera’s point of view, and to vary that POV according to different lens characteristics. In fact, within the programme is a complete model of the camera -- with the capability to change all the parameters of that camera, the field of view, its position in relation to the set, specific tracking movements, and so on. In structuring a scene, the camera is the artificial eye of the audience, which is capable of getting in amongst the action to narrate the story with a sequence of frames.

Another characteristic of C.A.T.S. that is completely new and not found in any other animation computer system, is a “score” window. This gives the user a description of all the elements placed within the scene. On one side there is a list of the elements. On the other is a list of the selected behaviour patterns along a time line. This description is very useful, because in this way, the user can change the time, the duration and the position in the overall composition of the script, simply by clicking on an item and moving it along the time line. Another facility is provided by the “script” window. This system contains a description of all the composition elements in thematic blocks. The user can act as an editor to change, reorder or delete elements from this part of the composition in a similar process to the “score” facility. There are other tools that allow the user to introduce natural speech, and lines of text in his or her own voice which are then repeated by the synthetic actor. The natural speech can also be edited, which means that some parameters or characteristics of the voice can be changed by the user. The system can also create synthetic speech. There is also the possibility to define the characteristics of the voice of a specific actor. These characteristics are automatically used as a default every time the actor is introduced in a scene. The programme can also mix different voices, sounds and other audio elements. In spite of the complexity of even simple character modelling, the representation of movement is very realistic. The user-advisors working with us, has described this as one of the most important innovations of the C.A.T.S. programme. The programme can import geometric objects including both properties and actors which have been designed using other computer design or drawing systems. In the future, the programme will be able to export the multi-media script which it has memorised to other photo-realistic animation packages. In that way, as an extra bonus, a realistic animation of the scene can be preserved.

87 The programme must be considered a tool for those members of the creative team who have to plan elements and events in time and space. It is not an animation system like those programmes which are used to create photo-realistic animation. This is a working tool which enables the user to place elements of design on a stage or in a set and then to study possible movements within that space according to a time scale.

We have devoted particular care to the user interface of the system. The mechanism of interaction and commands are as simple as possible. The interface includes a limited number of operating panels. The logic of the approach is very intuitive. We intend that the system can be learned very quickly and can produce results fast. Complexity of operation has been the biggest fault of other commercial animation systems in the past. In terms of cost, the software has to be comparable with relevant PC programme costs. It is intended to be accessible to the individual user, and not limited to the financial resources of big companies.

It is difficult to be specific about the minimum power needed by a computer to run this software. There are too many variables to define a minimum requirement. This depends on the number of characters needed to move within a particular scene. The more characters, the greater the drive power required. The same reservation applies to the complexity of the stage or set design. So there is no predetermined minimal requirement. You could have a low-level PC and use it for comparatively simple designs of sets with two or three actors. As we develop the pilot programmes, we will be able to describe the limits more precisely. In any case, the package will be implemented with differing levels of capability. We also have to take into account that the performance levels of PCs are increasingly rapidly. What cannot be done today, will be possible tomorrow.

The conference aimed at establishing as a priority the development of a new curriculum for training producers. it was clear that few schools had an established triangle model in their curricula. .88 CHAPTER 6 Towards new curricula From the discussions.

He had an incredible production schedule -. He was a real producer. and fifty percent foreigners. He loved film. University of Southern California. . It was not planned to be for Dutch people only. and Vice-Co-Ordinator of GEECT.because he was not a great businessman -. Amsterdam. as well as documentaries. Film and Television. described its philosophy and its method of working. The Maurits Binger Institute in Amsterdam was conceived upon the triangle model. Los Angeles Andrea Lucia Gentile of Opera Prima. He went to Paris in 1896 to learn a few printing techniques. Jeanne Wikler.fifteen or sixteen full length feature films a year. Help. its founding director.’ . and there he saw a demonstration of moving pictures. was that the balance would be fifty percent Dutch. The Conference had the opportunity of examining several models : Jeanne Wikler. Help. The ideal we had when we were setting it up. But in spite of this -. It was planned to be an international mixed group experience. they too often focused only on the administrative. Help. Mexico. Centro de Capacitacíon Cinematográfica. Lawrence Turman. It has around fifteen students at a time. determined to introduce film into the Netherlands. business side of the profession. Budapest. and he had incredible energy. Director of the Maurits Binger Institute. Director of the Peter Stark Producing Program. No one else in Holland has attempted a level of production like he did. and ignored or relegated to lesser significance the potential for training creative producers capable of leading the development team. Janos Zsombolyai. I went to the CILECT Conference in Mexico completely green. He was excited and returned home.he went bankrupt. He was the son of a printer. The moderator was Rolf Orthel of the Dutch Film Academy. A year ago.89 Where such courses existed. The institute which bears his name opened its door in September. Academy of Drama. He built up a production studio called The Film Factory of Holland. “Maurits Binger was a film pioneer at the beginning of this century. with the big question: ‘I have to set up a film institute. and he was a photographer. Head of the Film and Television Department.

because these are all people with a certain number of years of experience. the Binger Institute is a post-academic development and training centre. and in that period they develop feature film scripts from a synopsis phase to a first draft. This is what is in the air now.90 Several of the people here gave me good advice.. It is new. I picked up this need for collaboration. but how? How do you do it within a school situation? How do you get these young people to work with each other? Once again. We just develop. Therefore they have to have reached a certain level of maturity. In all of the discussions that I had with colleagues and people in the industry everywhere. They are allowed to stay on. directors and producers. We opened on September 1st this year and Dick Ross came to kick our year off. at least. the Binger experience is relevant at this conference because the participants work exclusively in creative teams. We have done it. and also that they have the opportunity to sharpen their own vision and to develop themselves as film makers. To make a very long story very short. Only then can they benefit from what we have to offer. we are the guinea pig. we are doing it. and therefore we are very flexible. We do not produce. . I should emphasise that the Institute is not really a school. We are very small. So I did not do it alone. or. if they can afford it. to find out what the real world is really like.. I could start with something new. The teamwork of producer. We do not accept people directly from film school. writer and director is the backbone of our institute.. in terms of the triangle.. for a second semester to develop their scripts further. We have a group of approximately fifteen writers. So I did not have the thankless task of coming into an erstwhile institution and changing it all. So. They come in for a period of five months. We help them and their projects into the market place. What we offer them are a number of workshops from script doctors. I did it with a lot of advice and a lot of help from colleagues from all over the world. It is very important that they go out into the world and have their confrontations with the industry.. guest tutors from all over the world who come for a short amount of time and work very intensively with them on aspects of their screenplay. Even though they are different group of people from so-called conventional film students -they tend to be between 30 -45 years old and they have experience. Collaboration is a good thing. That is the reason this conference is going on. Those are the only three categories that we address.

The Creative Team. some of the ideas might be useful. but realised he did not know much about reading scripts. He came to us. but not your project. That meant that he and the other producers are involved from the start in all of the . and we have eight teams. So that seems to work. He had produced lots of television and short films. so that when they are in the writing phase. You can come in individually. but their application project is not. there is a writer bringing his or her side to it. to become a creative producer. We select the projects separately from our people. but maybe if I give a few examples of how we work. and we put people with you onto your team. When we opened our Institute on September 1st. And he did not know much about actually coaching writers and helping them. So we say: ‘OK. It is our attempt to address the auteur position. So we do accept writer-directors but we do put a co-writer with them.because we encourage everyone to bring a project -. And when the director is directing. At the moment we have nineteen people. but we will take you” would all run the other way. we had two discussions. they can really have a discussion. as did most of the producers. producer. and we fill the team up from other participants. There a various ways that you can come into our institute.’ I thought that nobody would accept that. The first was called “The Baby and the Bathwater. We will put you on the team of somebody else. I cannot say that this is how to turn it into a curriculum of a film school. I thought that everyone who came to us with a project -. So I know that I have been in a privileged position. Because I have been in that position. We will take you. We work on the basis of projects. That is how we deal with the writer-director. we put another writer with them when they are writing. I thought I would take a few examples of various teams that we have and explain how that works. You can come in as a full team. we will not take the project.I thought that the ones to whom we said “ we will not take your project. But they didn’t. And you can come in as part of a team. They stayed. Writer. We have a young producer who came to us because he wanted to learn how to become a creative producer.” The other was called “Sharing the Vision -.” The first session suggested that we should not throw everything that was good about the auteur away with the bad things. so if we find a certain person interesting. If someone comes in as a writer-director.91 I could act on it right away. instead of having to put big changes into an existing institution full of staff who have been there for a long time. or the project is not commercially viable. director. we have been able to get some very fast results.

At the same time. the writer. He has come from the video art world.writer dialogue into all phases of the process. We have added another writer to her team and a producer. we insist that they are present whenever we have a story meeting. artistic and avant-garde who wants to learn narrative film making. In return. His director is very inventive. distribution and scope and size of the potential production. which is very good for the Institute because it is very British and nobody else has that. There is another example. He used to be a director. He is writing a screenplay. then went back to the National Film and Television School to learn to be a screen writer. We form the teams the first week. he will not be the producer. In this case. He is a published writer -. He is also learning how to work with actors. what a really well-written script is. That is a marriage made in heaven.” We have an ex-producer who is writing now. The interesting thing about this writer is that he has a rather Merchant Ivory style. So the director is learning what a finely crafted script is. So it is an ideal that we have to mix ideas and talents. We have put a director with him who will not ultimately direct this film. we admitted him and now he is co-writing a project.like all of our writers. There is a producer attached for the moment. They all had synopses of two or three pages. However. Nobody read a single script. A co-writer who comes from theatre. Dick had them come up one by one to tell their story. He had every single person tell their stories to each other. He is there as a producer’s voice to talk about audience. He is afraid of going to far with the approach. On their very first day. and we have added a producer and a director on to the team. So they are “part of the plot. They develop the scripts along with our directors and our writers. We have another writer from Britain. But ultimately. We have another project brought by a writer who is under contract with Polygram. . because the team aims to sell this particular project to the best producer they can get. but who brings the director . what characterisation is. promising writer. But we did not pass any of them out. Dick Ross was helpful in doing that.92 writing sessions and all of the story meetings. But he did not know anything about film. These are just examples of a number of ways that we have mixed and matched. who has a tendency to be somewhat conventional is being shaken up all the time by his director with his wild and wonderful ideas. at least for the period they are at the Institute. Polygram are getting a good deal because they are getting top script doctors and top coaching for this young. Polygram is the external producer.

attitudes to the audience and so on. So I want him to come in at certain times. So I can say that the team work has been the most important innovation we have introduced for everybody there. I will now describe each of the workshops and explain how each team member has profited from them. and talk about your story with you. The producer is throwing in production ideas -.not day-to-day. But they have always found other ways. When we have story sessions or other workshops. people were automatically drawn to each other. There is a cohesion in the entire group. we asked them to give their preferences about whom they would like to work. And interestingly enough. they all understood they had to learn how to pitch. He said: “Look I will find you another writer who you will find more compatible. and most were exactly as we had predicted ourselves. who had wonderfully complementary talents.93 By doing so. The director is talking about whether it is directable. We told them that we had our own ideas about the match making.” That is what I call a creative producer because he is really managing people to get the best out of them. it is not just the one team presenting.. but we wanted to give them the illusion of democracy. But I don’t want to lose the other one because he is really gifted. It does not seem to be a problem. Personalities clash. It was the young producer on their team who stepped in and found a solution. All of them are working on . They come to us three times a semester. It is the other people around them who are contributing as well. They have learned that since then. So we already had that at the back of our head. That happens. in one case there was a director and a writer who did not know each other. The two script doctors come from the University of Southern California. Most of them could not tell their story in any cohesive way. It was long and rambling and they had a hard time saying what it was about.. but who did not get along because their personalities were too strong. They join the teams who are developing their stories together. In fact part of our selection process was partly based on our ideas of who would match up with whom. and interpretations of the characters. So they made up their own selection. The other good thing about this method is that when you hear someone telling a story and you hear the passion behind it. and your hear the emotion behind it. After that story-telling session.. Some of them shifted later. And the writer is throwing in his ideas as well.

” The director sits there feeling good. This was wonderful for them to get the feedback and be able to re-write. a scene was directed every day from one of those scripts. Scenes for workshops are drawn from those scripts. That’s the advantage of pitching in teams. The directors learn how to work with a composer. They were watching like hawks. and that can influence the writing itself. She was able to work with the director to find the basic problems within the scene.because the writer learns to start thinking in terms of music. So. and I believe in it. The scenes were actually easy to produce. It was a new experience for most of them to be on the set. The writers got feedback immediately about how actable the scene was. A film scorer from New York will work with our people. of course can add his or her touch. that is more common. The writer. on music. even though they were not directing the scene. It is extremely comforting for the writer or the director who is doing the pitch to have a producer say: “I’d like to introduce you to the most talented director who ever walked this earth. The whole team takes part in the pitching sessions. they will all have to pitch at various film markets. I suppose nobody wants to pay them for that extra time.94 development together. they were rewriting as they were going along. and the producers learn how important it is to budget music and composers into their calculations early in the process. from the director and they got feedback from Margarethe herself. she starts conceiving the music. and can pitch the project with a lot of confidence. It does not matter to them whether they personally came up with the story. This particular music tutor always works from scripts and on the basis of those scripts. . So when Margarethe came. Apparently in England. I love to work with this person because he has a great project. We were very honoured to Margarethe von Trotta come recently to give an eight-day workshop on directing actors. This is very important because when they get out into the world at the end of their time with us. or whether it was someone else on the team they were added to. but in Holland that does not happen. We are planning another workshop. We will examine the steps needed to develop music ideas from the script phase. The producers were there also. That is really good for all three groups -. rather than to leave it as a lastminute costing that gets eliminated because there is no money left to pay for it. The only thing that we demand from our script doctors and our tutors is that the material they use is drawn from the scripts that we are developing. and see how the dialogue they had created actually fit in the actor’s mouth or not. We have pitching practice. They got feedback from the actors. or how shootable the scene was. It was useful for the other team members to be present. but they had the opportunity to see how well the pieces worked.

and who are eager to learn and who are ready for the experience we offer. The Institute began with a minimum age of 25 years. These people cannot take in what is offered to them. That person had the rights on the project when he or she entered the Institute. Because we work collaboratively. We have contracts. then there grows a kind of attitude that says: “I’m great.he or she often thinks they can do anything. When a candidate is too young -. They have know what they can do. The scripts or ideas have to be submitted in English. Now. “ We also have participants who are in their mid-forties. or maybe who want to make something that is especially challenging. yet. Jeanne Wikler said that this factor was very important. We have had two participants like that. Dutch dialogue. Nobody can tell me anything. I am sure that you all know students who. There are also people that age who can be rigid and who can’t absorb new ideas or criticism.. and what they cannot do. but they do. Binger claims no authorship. We get really good people to work with us. This is an element any school considering implementing a triangle system has to consider. like a first feature film. So we need to get tutors for. Problems can arise when they work on dialogue. The projects belong to the people who brought them into the Institute.. Asked about the level of maturity of the applicants. and retained the rights when he or . no one had any claim on them apart from the originator of the project. the question arises : who is the author? So we had a detailed contract drawn up by an attorney in which we specified that any ideas that were contributed to a project during the time the project was with the Institute. the working language is English. “The limited budget from which we operate is spent as much as possible on importing expertise. have some success for a year or two. Both aged 25. when they get out of film school. At the Institute. They may be translated back into their original language when they finish. “We want people who know what they want to learn.” “I don’t know why such people choose to come back into education. or switching from documentary to fiction. What they have to offer suffers if any student has too great a self image or ego..95 That is an example of a single workshop in which all three sides of the triangle participate. Those people we would not accept. and they were the youngest. “Ready” means that a candidate has found his or her limits in what they have done and now want to make a breakthrough into something harder.maybe out of insecurity -. each from their own particular professional point of view. after the experience of one session. she had decided to raise the entry level.. but several of them are being written for the English-language market. say...

then the director naturally wants to make that film him or herself. They have taken the outlines or the draft scripts and gone to the various development funds. and they are receiving financial backing.. we want to make it possible for them to do so. I must admit I was surprised when they wanted to stay on. around 90% of those completing our first session have elected to stay on for another semester. Some participants -.” . We are investigating the possibility of introducing a stipendary system because most of the candidates are too old to get the standard scholarships for university. Actually it is twenty-eight hours a day. There is even a secrecy clause in the contract which prevents people from talking about ideas and projects in the outside world. I have children” and so on. It meant that they could accept ideas from other people without being afraid of rival claims. They want to continue to develop their projects through second.. They are not necessarily attached to that script after the course finishes. She replied: “ Five months was the shortest period we could set. raise development money by using the scripts. We are an official school of post graduate education. Jeanne Wikler replied: “To our surprise. third or fourth drafts. That makes for a safe environment.96 she left. but the cost of living that is difficult. With older students. If a director brings in the idea. Now. the director who is working during our five months is attached only for that period. which is not expensive. But having such a contract made everybody relax.were a little uneasy at signing a fat contract full of legal language when they arrived. Jeanne Wikler was asked whether. When we tested the idea. That of course means that we can take fewer new people into the next intake. Any other arrangements the participants made amongst themselves had to be agreed on paper.. with so many students wanting to stay on.” I have a business. If the script belongs to a writer.especially the writers -. given that so many of the first intake chose to stay on. The course is full time. It is only for the educational process of developing a script. the five month semester was too short a period for adequate development of script ideas. Now I think that many of those who stay on. The writers who come with a script leave us with that script.. Asked what happened to students after they finished their time at the Institute. We had not expected that. We fall under the rules of the Ministry of Education.. many potential candidates said it would be difficult to take five months off work to attend. and pay the fees that way. because we expected to have a new selection process every half year. It is theirs and theirs alone. It is not the price of the training. many have families to support while they are with us.

input from the industry and. For the last six or seven years.had the idea that their system of financing and distribution would collapse within a very short time. and financiers. and ten films as a director which I wrote wholly or partly myself. because conditions are changing so rapidly. at the same time. Janos Zsombolyai told delegates that the first wave of panic had still not passed. He began by describing his own career and experience. a conference was organised in 1993 in Prague.” Rolf Orthel asked the Hungarian delegate to describe how his school accommodated the new ways of thinking about production. That was because the times were changing. people who produced films there -. Introducing the presentation. co-producers. I have made more than 30 feature films as a DOP. “There was clearly an urgent need to teach students about western ways of film production. The Institute does not pitch for the teams. we will have a special Binger evening.97 At the present time we are funnelling the projects into the market. and the teams will pitch their projects to sales people. At the International Film Festival of Rotterdam. I have produced my movies as well. to share what is worthwhile for our schools and how to translate this in a useful form within our curricula. from the Academy of Drama.” The seond model came from Eastern Europe. Perhaps the conference was not as successful as it might have been. Film and Television of Budapest. It was presented by Janos Zsombolyai. I have been . We also invite financiers. producers and television people to the Institute to meet the participants. It was difficult and complex to translate these messages into worthwhile practical processes to be taught in schools. Here we have tried to offer both sides -. Rolf Orthel said that when the state systems of Eastern Europe collapsed at the end of the eighties. for example. We will present the Binger projects. there is the CineMart film market.in a totally different way from the Western European and American models -. That experience helped us to design this Triangle Conference. “I am originally a cinematographer. Many people who were present had never had to deal with western systems of producing films and television work before. We provide the possibility for the teams to do it for themselves. In order to confront this problem. distributors. producers.

That process is underway right now. Working together they had to write the script. In this year. The Opera Prima feature production company of Centro de Capacitación Cinematográfica in Mexico. They have only their diploma films to complete.two of them private channels. By the time the best of these go into the final two years. At the moment around 36 students each time.98 teaching at the Film Academy for the last thirty years. These will be made as half-hour co-productions with Hungarian Television. around central themes like “Millennium”. Two years ago we changed the teaching system at our school. So this system gives us the best chance of concentrating on only the best students. for the first two years. director and cinematographer. The new system is a three years plus two years model. After they found their story. production manager. . how are we trying to go with the times at the film school? We are teaching directing. Then the producer students had to chose a director. is Hungary’s millennium. next year there will be three new television channels in Hungary -. students learn all the skills of film making. For example. they had to chose a writer to prepare a story outline or a first draft. producing. Classes are big. but the three are working together developing the ideas. Three years ago I became the head of the film and television department. there will only be six or eight in a class. editing. This year. The first three years is a diploma course.both from the other side of the Atlantic: The Peter Stark Producers’ Program at the University of Southern California. being producer. five producers are finished their training. The producers had to find an half hour story on this subject. Therefore. The next step is for the scripts to be considered by the teachers and representatives of the drama department of Hungarian Television. cinematography. But we have to keep up with the changes. 1996. so the three together really formed a triangle. sound and script writing. editor and sound.” Delegates were introduced to two other contrasting models of curricula which integrate producer training at graduate level -. So. production management. That means they need a lot of new talents. Those who are really talented can go on further for two years. Of course the writer is actually writing it. The third year has specialist courses for television directors and cinematographers. script and dramaturgy together.

We teach the essentials of management -. The producer is at the bottom. although there are some individual. many directors -. Now it is beginning to be eroded and thus diminished because of the rise of international stars and thus international directors. and I believe in the triangle system. So I see our influence in this regard. Indeed. initiated and spearheaded film projects in a way that has only occasionally be done in Europe. in thinking about it over these days. passionate auteurs who deliver some amazing films. “ I have been thinking about this concept of “triangle. That kind of person will create the triangle. and I think it can and will succeed to the extent that you already have producers like Ed Guiney from Ireland. though they would benefit from hearing ideas. initiating and carrying the writer and the director. how to be knowledgeable and sophisticated in judging and assessing a budget. I work in a Hollywood system that traditionally has worked that way. how to prepare a budget. but not in micromanagement -. I believe that the producer must forge the triangle. So there are two points: Number one.the ability to know each piece of equipment and all it can do and how much it costs. or being questioned about some creative choices. It is a triangle. for many years. From my own experience and observation. like to retain the control and the authority. He seemed focused. I myself have worked that way. I have worked as part of a triangle. in my brain the image of the triangle has appeared inverted like a reverse pyramid. I have designed the Peter Stark Producing Program to implement that specific philosophy as best I can.99 Lawrence Turman presented an outline of the activity at the Peter Stark Producers’ Programme at U. Because I believe in that system.meaning how to do a schedule. but the producer is the linchpin. Many. What can be learned from the American model? I personally view this conference as a result of American influence. I personally believe the triangle can only work if there are creative. like control and authority. .C. I think it is a positive influence.S. intelligent and ambitious and creative.” In my own career as a producer. passionate producers. I. We do not teach production management. It nearly always produces the best work. So the entire course is not for production management. myself. However. In my experience. The American producer has.maybe most directors who say they want a producer often really want a production manager. This is not limited to directors.

as can actors and other crew members. In Hollywood. But the emphasis was on business..’ This is really a production manager who has the power to get the title of “line producer. The only producers that are employed are those that are production managers. the studio will say: ‘Let us employ a line producer. they can attract the greatest captain of them all to steer their battleship in the best possible way. but it would be foolish to look in Switzerland. Writer can also be hired and employed.. I recall Hark Boem’s description of a film as being like a battleship. but it describes the situation that exists. While I kept that. This goes back to my statement that the producer should be the instigator. I was reflecting on that. In my mind. I have my students study various battleships. The analogy of the battleship works for me.100 This may sound cavalier or patronising. but it is an observation of what pertains. and most importantly. directors can be hired employees. or can help create and build the battleship. I hope that they will have ideas that will contribute to the building of a better battleship. The way to attract that best person is to give him or her the most interesting or unique battleship. I thought that it describes the situation. They should know what they like in a battleship and how important it is to get the best person to steer the battleship. Sometimes of course.the director -. I took over the program five years ago.. That leads me to describe how I designed the Peter Stark Program. I diminished it in favour of an orientation towards the creative and entrepreneurial side of producing. where to find battleships. They are at the top of their profession.” People like myself are never offered a job. It was a well respected program.a battleship that he has never had a chance to steer before. If a film costs $80 million. to involve the captain early on. It does not serve my teaching needs as to what I believe my students should know. The producer owns the battleship.. I say that to make it exist. The writer built the battleship and the director steers the battleship. Then he can add his special preferences to the battleship. Producers are virtually never employed. I teach them what goes into the building of the battleship. Sometimes it is good to give the captain -. but I want my students when they graduate to be in a position to employ a production manager rather than they themselves to be employed. what makes a good battleship. to try to figure out what kind of battleships they like. If they already own the battleship. it is very desirable. . Obviously one could look in Britain or the United States.. So I tell them to learn their own taste. if possible. We have to create the situation.

101 Designing a film programme is no different from working on a screenplay, whether you are a writer, a director or a producer. You have to begin with a clear, strong concept or else you cannot expect a clear, strong result. Many years ago, I was at a Picasso exhibition at the museum in New York. As you all know, he had many “periods” of work -- the blue period, the pink period. And in the section dealing with his abstract, Cubist work, there were comments and quotes from Picasso about what he felt about his work. In that particular section, his quote was: “If I begin with a clear, strong concept, the painting will be effective for the viewer, no matter how abstract it is.” I feel that about a particular film, and I feel that about creating a curriculum for producer students. My particular programme is a graduate programme. All the students must already have a university degree. So I repeat: my design is not for production managers. I am sorry if that sounds snobbish, but it seems appropriate for the goals of these students, my personal goals, and the great deal of money the students must pay to my university. The brochure for the course begins with my credo. It says: ‘The Peter Stark Producing Program believes that a producer is a creative originator of films, an entrepreneurial self-starter who is the first to recognise ideas that have merit creatively and/or commercially. We believe this criteria also applies, or should apply to the studio executive, and that together, the two must have the passion, the know-how and the managerial skills to collaboratively bring those ideas to fruition. And further, to effectively market and distribute the film. The Peter Stark Program goal is to give our students the practical skills and knowledge by which they can accomplish their personal goals as film makers with integrity to their own values and artistic dreams.’ That really is the fundamental basis of our programme. So I try to instil passion and caring, as I am sure you all do. Actually, passion cannot be instilled. Usually, if we are lucky, we get students who have that already. But we give them the knowledge and the skills and the technique to realise themselves. I am a great believer in satisfying oneself, so long as it is not too esoteric or arcane. I think that we should listen to all that is said at this conference, but in the end we should adopt or adapt only those elements that pertain to our particular needs. It is very important to tailor your own programmes to your own needs. Your goals for your students could be very different from my goals. You also have a very different marketplace. The Hollywood market place, which is both ugly and fascinating, is so dominant in the Los Angeles environment, that a lot of what I do is designed to give students the opportunity to

102 work in that big machine. That big machine offers them quick access to money and to talent. Also, there are so many people working in the industry there that the contacts, the relationships they form at school are very valuable. There is a saying in Hollywood: ‘Its not what you know, its who you know.’ I don’t believe in that. It is really all about the work. But who you know can be very helpful and valuable. I always encourage my students to actually work at meeting many classmates in different fields. In three or four years all those students will be rising in the industry and indeed taking over and running the industry.” Lawrence Turman was asked how his producing students were given practical training if there were no film teams -- no directors and writers specifically -- in the programme. He said that although it is programme designed for producers, they have to know how a battleship is built. “Within my producing programme the students not only study various scripts, script analysis and script development. Each student is required to write the first third or half of a screenplay. He or she must also detail in an outline where the rest of the story and the characters are going. So they are forced to work as a writer. Indeed, although it is a producing programme. several of the students have written scripts that the major studios have purchased while they are still in school. Several students have decided they wanted to be writers rather than producers. Although I train them as producers, it is not a narrow focus. Hopefully it is a very wide focus. There is an American philosopher named Joseph Campbell who has a quote that I quite like. “Follow your bliss.” I encourage the students to recognise their bliss -- their passion. If it is to write, they should write. They have some instruction in that, and have the opportunity to develop their ideas into screenplays. Also, they all make films as directors. It is a two-year programme. In the first half of the first year, they all make 8mm short films -- two minutes, four minutes, five minutes long -- by themselves. They explore their creative ideas. They get to direct if they choose actors. They learn how to use the camera. In the second half of the first year, they make 16mm films, not sync sound, but with post production sound tracks -- music, effects and so on. They make them in teams of four students performing five functions. A producer, a director, a writer, camera person and editor. So it is a producing programme, but these students edit films, photograph films, and direct films.

103 But it is a producing programme, so before they make these films, I will bring in a professional director to do a seminar with the class about how he, as a director, works with actors. I will bring in a casting director to not only emphasise the importance of the actors, but also to demonstrate how actors can be interviewed, chosen and worked with. Further, my philosophy is to get the very best possible teachers. To get the best teachers, I will bend the rules. My university is located in an unattractive, and some would say possibly dangerous, part of the city. It is certainly very inconvenient, because the film professionals are on the west side of Los Angeles, and the school is on the east side. When there are riots that you have all read about -- and burning -- and great social unrest, it often happens near the university. So to get a good instructor who may be busy with a career, I will ask if he or she has a conference room, and will send all the students there. If the conference room is not large enough I will offer to rent a hotel ballroom. So to get a good instructor, I will send to students to that person. I will bend any way necessary to get the best possible instructors. I have a preponderance of working professionals who teach, as opposed to pure academics. Hollywood changes so fast I need people who are in the midst of the game -- the war -- the art -- to impart the most relevant information to my students. I also use working professionals to be mentors to the students as they finish their schooling and for the first year afterwards. So each student has a working professional to whom he or she can talk, communicate and receive help. It has been very valuable.” Asked how his students were taught how to identify a good script or idea, Lawrence Turman said the reality was that this vital element cannot be taught. No magic bell rings to say ‘this is a good script.’ That is why I am a great believer in being in touch with one’s inner self. One has to know what one likes and what one believes in. I believe passion is infectious. Passion can almost carry the day. So I encourage my students to be passionate without being foolish. Any subject they feel passionate about, they should do. But they should test that passion and the story idea against what is happening in the marketplace. Although I live and work in Hollywood, and the students are, in general, mainstream Hollywood orientated, I encourage them to follow their bliss if they are interested in something very small or seemingly uncommercial. I offer a course that shows them how they can raise money, or how they can form a business plan or practical approach to achieving their goal. But the idea of a successful story? If I knew that answer to that, I, myself, would only make successful films.

104 Because I believe that is unknowable. the students learn how to break down a script. If they are resourceful. When I began my job. They were not allowed to write them. I am quite fortunate that my programme is a rich programme. successful producer who donated money. I can only encourage this “know what you like -. They had to hire a writer from the writing programme. nor direct them. the Directors’ Guild has a programme for production managers. Lawrence Turman said that in Hollywood. It really reinforces my belief that the triangle concept. they succeed. although they were happy. He looked at lots of films. They did not go to school.know who you are -. and the programme continues all the year round. The first films made had production managers. So many occupations in life are based on common sense. That . really wanted my producing students to be production managers. So I had this grand idea which turned out to be very frustrating. So I had the money to give to my students to enable them to create films as producers. They have many applicants. if they are ambitious and work very hard. Even though I am emphasising what we call producing. the producer who knows all about production managing is better than the producer who does not know that. On the constant question of the balance between training producers and their often-perceived role as production managers.. Finally. although it is for producers. I should add that I have been able to create a triangle at USC. So many production managers come from the sort of people who start as third assistant director on a film. Only the directors’ department was making films. John Furia’s department for writers and a separate department for directors. “In my progrmme. And the directing programme was very excited and very happy that I did this. must always start with the producer.’ So I created a liaison where the Peter Stark students would produce the films made in the directing division. They gradually work up from there. rather than production managing. Truffaut did not go to directing school. There is my department for producers. They did not want them to give opinions about the script or casting about the dailies or the work in progress. and a director from the directing programme. I said to my students: ‘You should be producing those films. to work. and for critical studies. intelligence and clear purpose. so they can do production management at a rudimentry level. to do a schedule and an entire budget and they have to know the rates of the personnel and the equipment.know what your values are” approach so that the students can follow their individual dream. The name Stark is from a very prominent. It is a three or four month programme. USC is a large university. And it became very clear that the individual directing students.

the function of a producer. begins the process and has some control over the material. That makes the producing student more equal than before. Wolfgang Langsfeld said that at the Munich Scool they learned a lesson from Denmark and London -. a producer can often convince. And they produce it with almost full responsibility. conviction and quality of presentation. once I was able to have my students initiate a film idea and develop a script. in essence. and enthusiastic about directing those films. and as an editor to the people who market and advertise the film. Stanley Kubrick once said: “You can make people treat you the way that you want to be treated. It created the triangle. That is what I meant when I said I believe in the triangle.meaning his or her control. as an editor to the director. and the nature of collaboration. as an editor to the composer. suddenly the directors were interested.’ So. It was not merely a question of training producers. with the editor up to the mix. They have control up to the last print. That is. I am very talented. It made them at least equal in the process.105 meant that my students already owned the battleship. but it will only work if the producer begins the idea. They have to have the responsibility for the product they are working on with the writer and director and later. Directors have to be taught to adjust their attitudes to roles. “So the production students at our school in Munich have their own budgets.that a producing student is more effective when he or she has some power. An editor will work with a writer. because they own the idea or the project in the first place and therefore they really are the boss.” Referring to the difficulties of a student producer asserting authority in a team of peers. to help him or her clarify his or her intentions. Even if a producer does not have power by contract. they can be made to accept one reality.” There was consensus among delegates that student directors needed to be taught to collaborate with student producers. Then my students were able to select the best captain of their battleship. ‘Look. They do not stop on the last day of shooting.” Lawrence Turman suggested that even if student directors are not taught. because they had the money to make the films. if it is non-threatening. And that means they can decide whose film they will produce. All the students throughout the film school want to make films in order to have something to show to the studios and other executives that says. or resist collaboration. as an editor to the film editor. Power means money. I feel that the best producer serves as an editor to the writer. I sometimes liken the producer’s task to that of an editor in a publishing house. he said that depended on the power of the producer -. If the producer . or do not absorb the learning. by the force of his or her intelligence.

with the writer and the director. but no more or no less than in a marriage between a husband and wife. oddly enough. and about commitment. hopefully. The enemy could be the elements. If that person is also very talented. then the result is very good. you control everything. “ Battleship is the word I thought I heard. It would be good to believe that student directors can be taught this collaboration.. it lessens the chances of the director or the actors not understanding the producer and writer’s intentions. shared vision of what film they want to make and how to get there. the script. Someone once said there are no perfect marriages -only good ones. there are internal battles. or take an option? If you control it. The analogy would apply to any ship of course. the script..106 originates the idea.. the story. Sometimes of course.. It makes you an equal. That means I have created a triangle that really works. and I talk all the time about “art.” about passion. The producer should not be more. Sometimes if one honestly expresses an opinion about the work. .comrades with a clear. Hopefully the triangle is alive. we are all defensive. The status of the collaborators needs to be defined clearly. and legally owns it. stories? How do you get control. the studio or financing organisation putting up the money. It is like a script. Lawrence Turman was asked why he chose to interpret it as a battleship. conflict is about the work. “battleship” can be appropriate because. But since we are making a play on words. If a script is very clear and very specific. As great.” The analogy of the ship originally proposed by Hark Boem of Hamburg. at least. but it is complicated because it has to do with fundamental human nature. it is a collective battle against the forces working in opposition to the film. true collaboration is absolute honesty. he or she controls it. I am a great believer in the idea and the process. That means asking: ‘Where do you find material. the performance. became a recurring metaphor for the triangle relationship throughout the conference. The enemy might be. We are all human. For that reason. Anything else is a disservice to the project -. He said the essence of worthwhile. although my programme is a graduate programme. But one can be in a good marriage and still have some conflict. That lessens the need for teaching. So. I also teach it like a trade school. and necessary as collaboration is. There are couples that battle and couples that don’t battle. I was struck some years ago by a quote from Crick. the discoverer of DNA. scripts. but I work to make them an equal partner. the person responsible for that work might feel defensive. Here. hopefully. we are all fallible. someone has to have the most power.the work in hand.

107 There was a great producer named Sam Speigel. the production teams start to develop their production projects. There is a three-step procedure.). has more than twenty years of experience.C. Opera Prima is an extension of the graduate work of the Centro de Capacitación Cinematográfica (C. “Lawrence of Arabia”.C.with other forms of artistic expression. The Opera Prima project had been created to provide an opportunity for young film makers that had graduated from the school to make their professional debut.C.” The next model of creative collaboration presented to the conference came from Mexico. The work of Opera Prima was described by Andrea Lucia Gentile. It enables talented students to make full-length feature films at the conclusion of their studies -. “The C.C.C. the ability of the teams to find extra financial resources is very important. the C. When the selected screenplays and the production design for each is defined.C. is to create excellent film makers at the artistic and technical level. is a film school in the whole meaning of the word.the moving image -. who did many wonderful films -. In this period. That . a competition is open for graduating students.a profound aesthetic proposal that became a film style far away from modes of rigid thinking and expression. Essentially. It means a centre of academic activity and cultural promotion that links films in general -. This is like an oyster which needs some abrasion to produce a pearl. Today the C. by. The project takes the following steps: Each year.C. Andrea Lucia Gentile said that the main goal of the C. The first is a scriptwriting workshop. analyses and decides which projects will pass to the final selection committee of Opera Prima itself. He said that he felt creative abrasiveness was almost necessary for the furtherance of a good film.C.C. teaching young film makers through the general curriculum of film studies that we offer over a five year. continuous course.C. Since its foundation in 1975.C.C. Then with the scripts selected. Opera Prima provides professional assistance for film students in order to develop practical training. has sought to follow a particular philosophy -.“On The Waterfront”. a special committee composed of members of the academic council of the C. amongst others Luis Bunuel.thereby creating a bridge between film school and the professional world.

so with the student production team. We only pay the professionals. Asked what happened to the films in the marketplace.C.” . camera and lighting.C. The graduated and non-graduated students work without payment. others less so.C.C. when it is needed. we have around 30-40% of the necessary budget. With the fourth film made by Opera Prima. The selected production project is made possible by the model of an association where the C. The technical staff for the production is supplied by the film maker’s union. over the years. production managers. and the Mexican Film Institute and the film studio. The graduating students take responsibility for the main roles in the production team -producer. proved that we do not need more than $400. a fully professional experience of the reality of the triangle’s creative partnership. in effect. In that way. The first two selection stages depend totally on decisions taken by the School’s teaching staff. We also coproduced a film with a graduating student from Uruguay who studied at the school in Cuba. and see them working in a team. but who want to re-apply. director. a delegate from C. This gives us a chance to get to know them. and a representative of the Council for the Arts.000 for the project. We have. The actors are professionals and we hire them according to union agreements. José Luis Agraz. the Head of our film studio. “You try to do your best. the School retains the rights to the film. The third decision is taken by the external committee already described. That is how the decision is reached. work as Associated Producer. It was exactly like film production in general. The advantage it offered students was.108 jury is composed of representatives of the Mexican Film Institute. said the Opera Prima project could be described as the main goal of the C. we worked with La FEMIS in Paris. We also have the School’s representative who discusses the voting decision. they are paid a per diem. We have in our school budget approximately $100. Current students are incorporated as first and second assistants. There is no guaranteed outlet for the film. This applies mainly to postproduction work. is the Associative Producer.C.000-$150. designer. sound and editor. and in other support roles. he said that some films have enjoyed considerable success. which offers technical services and labs. apart from the distribution network of the Film Institute. but you never know what is going to happen with a film.C. We also invite other people who had not been successful as applicants to the School.000 to make a good feature film in Mexico. Sometimes..

more producers have applied to the school than any other group. ever since the school began. In the last five years. we have developed training for them which would be described as creative producers.109 To prepare students to meet the exacting standards and the production goals of Opera Primo at the end of their training period. In this period.In spite of this broad-based approach. the School places a strong emphasis on the spirit of collaboration. José Luis Agraz said that the curriculum of the Mexican school is based on a course structure in which every student learns and experiences the general skills of film making. there have been students who entered with their main goal of becoming a producer. Their numbers have increased year by year. .

Of course. This makes it difficult for them to begin the process of collaboration. Rolf Orthel. and teaching methodology.110 Chapter Seven Conclusions: Group Reports Each afternoon.as a way of being together. Not many students come into film schools being really confident.. I liked that very much. each group reported a summary of their findings to the delegates. They seemed to enjoy the process. “First there were the Italians who demonstrated that getting to ideas did not have to be a heavy matter. as moderator of the session. There seemed little claim to “my idea” or authorship. and is required to produce ideas. and to the professional film makers who contributed to the formal presentations. He is probably also a little afraid. and understands little of the concept of collaboration. curricula development. Rather than being possessive. Generosity is something that comes with self confidence. the delegates divided into specialist groups in order to discuss ideas raised by the morning presentations. summed up some of his personal responses to the Conference. the ideas are usually very close to the life and experience of the student himself. The student has come to the school lone. Before the final session. when a young person is at film school. they seemed to be very free about their creative contributions to developing ideas. These sessions concentrated on concepts of collaboration within the three disciplines.. I realised that when a person has this passion. there is also a power that lies behind passion. So the young people all feel anguish to tell their stories. . often hiding their truths with shame. Gianni Amelio fascinated us all with his fantastic passion for film making.. They spoke of ‘throwing ideas on the table’ with a sort of lightness.

That includes making mistakes together. strikes resonance everywhere. their films. answered : “It is all so evident. quarrelling together. they should rehearse the first steps they have to take in the outside world. Sometimes the things we base our decisions on are not wholly rational. We trust our instincts. When Mark Shivas was asked whether he would ever consider working with students from our schools. I was reminded that we tend to be so preoccupied with the students on a daily basis.” The British contribution the next day brought two interesting points. he replied: “First I would want to see what they have made already.the importance of members of the triangle really getting to know each other well. Then I would want to see what sort of person he or she was. the good and the bad sides of collaboration.the three-way partnership -. We cannot say to our students : “That is evident. The observation that often it is easier to say what one does not want.has produced some recurring observations -.. it is hard to remember that we have to prepare the students for a world that lies beyond the school. even flashes of anger.. We can prepare them.111 Quoting Amelio again. was the reminder that we should teach our students the various realities of our national production and its place in the international market. to know to whom you can tell your story. We can go further. It is all so logical.” I realised that only a person who has had a tremendous amount of experience can say that. It is like beginning with a block of stone. We deal with young people who have done hardly anything in film making before they come to our schools. rather than to describe precisely the idea for a film. We have to learn to do that. It was interesting how many times Stephen Frears.” On the day we examined the world of distribution and marketing. All this. We should let them have this portfolio of ideas and work that they want to make when they are . are as good as they can be. for me. They stressed how important it is to have an idea and an image of the public “out there. by making sure their work. was their constant search for ways to reach an ever-changing public. and gradually chipping away until the sculpture reveals itself. The central theme of the conference -. When the students approach the time when they leave the school. to take with them.. Rolf Orthel reminded delegates of the director’s need to have a writer and a producer able to help him to understand what he wants to say with his film. The other useful contribution from the Italians. from his guts. when asked questions.” So much of his decision making came from his belly. That is logical.. can contribute to the project in hand. The value of that day. This hovers over so many of the decisions we have to make.....

. the writers’ course was added only around eight years ago.not vice versa. there was general agreement that story-telling and script writing were the central points of a film. For example. this is also reflected in the training of screen writers. the teaching of those skills was not given enough attention in most schools. not recognised enough. In some schools.not many -. The screenwriter generally feels that his role is not. Rolf Orthel concluded his list of impressions. as they presumed. Only some schools -.the development of the project and the realisation of the project.” WRITING GROUP report by Caterina d’Amico. In some other schools. not only with a portfolio. In some way. writers have a slight feeling of being marginalised. But two quotes stand out : “It is the teachers who sometimes create the barriers to collaboration. That is probably because writers make stories. We need to hear from former students about their immediate post-school experience. In the case of Mexico. but also with a first feature film already completed. Inevitably. screenwriting is taught only as a part of the Directing course.” he observed. We need to learn from current students about how their needs can be reflected in developing our curricula. many of their students leave school. In spite of this. In the Rome school. We can also learn from the Opera Prima model.take care to prepare their students in that way. after all. For example. strong enough. This failure of the teaching process can be seen in two vital areas -. in some schools the programme for the writer-students is shorter than for other specialisations. but the outcome is not very structured. training for writers is a very recent innovation. There were lots of ideas put forward and many problems were identified. by observing that the points he mentioned were only a sample of the week’s ideas.” “ Our aim should be to find the model that fits the students -. they don’t make structures. not the students. the course at the Royal College of Art has only just been put in place this year. That is one aspect of our curriculum that should be considered at the next Triangle Conference.112 out of school. our group of writing teachers felt that if. It is not easy to present a structured resume of the writers’ group discussion. Certainly one of the unifying elements of this group was the clear notion of the story as being of central importance for any kind of film. “Each of you might well have a different list.

And we feel that it is not helping the students to let them go into production with something that you. sound people. We discussed practical exercises. that screenwriters should have a fuller experience of the film-making process. it simply doesn’t get made. There was a shared view. as a teacher. has the feeling that he or she is delaying the editors. We traced this problem to the old conflict between the writers and the directors in schools. DOPs. but no student in the school wants to make it.often feels responsible for holding back all the other students. The students affected by this decision take an already prepared script -. Therefore they should learn how to be . The case of a script that is good. We heard of one or two schools for instance. We all know the battle with directors who refuse to shoot a script they have not written themselves. We all recognise the defence they put forward: “I don’t like it. struggling to polish the script. the director. tutors often remark: “ Well. which is the material from which the film is made. It is a double faced problem. and give them to students in other departments to develop further.. I’m not interested. It is a question of time. schools exist to perfect skills. This feeling of time pressure means that ultimately. This happens in the industry. I don’t want to do it. We heard how some schools cope with such issues. Students in other disciplines cannot work without a script. with a strict ruling that if the script is not ready. are not convinced has merit. The student -. expressed often in this conference. But we looked beyond problems of status and relationships. you shoot.and they use it as an exercise drama. We heard and recognised another problem.113 The great problem arises when the story.probably one that has been made before -.. The writer. When this happens. even for the most rudimentary exercises. When you need to start shooting. even if the script is not ready. We were told of other schools that take scripts from the writers.and maybe his/her teacher-. is not ready to be filmed. These were some of the major problems we identified. some scripts that are not ready for production get made. not to perpetuate bad habits.. So why not in schools?” But of course. it happens also in real life.” So the screenwriting department can have a pile of good scripts that are sitting there and nobody uses them.

Therefore. The actors are required first to perform the scene as they have been directed. This version teaches the writer that many interpretations are possible inside any dialogue. .. writers who follow the entire process of film making achieve an enhanced awareness of timing. He or she learns that the written word can be seen and transformed simply by delivering the lines in different ways. Each writer writes a whole scene. Each writes a character.. we agreed: “ Send them out. for students to be encouraged as much as possible to deal with reality. send them into the streets. Another exercise involved only one actor. Another member of the group said that in his school they use a different exercise. They should spend a week there and come back with characters. often for the first time. the students learn to use the potential characteristics they perceive in the actor. but also how much time it will occupy in the film. to develop skills working on script continuity. and then directs the actors in a performance of the scene. Each is therefore the voice of a character.” Students should be told to go to a specific place with their eyes wide open. This already happens in many schools. contact with the spoken word instead of the written word. There were several other types of exercises. All the screenwriters were required to write a scene for him or her. Then they stage the scene and use it to teach the students the flaws in their writing. For instance. In this way. Therefore the writer stages what he or she has written. The need was stressed time and again. Everyone in the writers’ discussion group agreed that screenwriter students should be employed in other production roles as part of their curriculum. We all felt that this exercise which would give every student at least a starting point for a story. We approved of one exercise in which two writers work on a dialogue scene together. It was agreed that writers should be given the possibility to work with actors. When they have written the dialogue. That exercise gives the students. This concept of an enhanced curriculum was taken further. ideas and observations. but then to perform it in different ways. Give them specific tasks that require them to go there and report back. so we were able to share some of the different exercises that are used.114 assistant directors or even better. They learn not only how much time is needed to set up a certain scene that he/she has written. actors from outside the school take this dialogue and rehearse it themselves.

negotiate some form of copyright arrangements in order to have access to these scripts earlier. And therefore the student learns to develop the habit of the critical eye with his/her own material.if a comprehensive collection could be compiled. In too many schools. Too frequently. Apart from identifying problems and discussing teaching methodology. These were samples of the type of exercises we shared. Actually nobody spoke about the potential of writing in groups. We suggest it would be better for them to follow the whole process. They think they have to wait for the finished script before their work begins.who are usually regarded as production managers -. . when everything is ready for pre-production. then the scripts are discussed by the group together. It would be extremely valuable to analyse the finished film. the writers’ group shared some complaints as well. This experience not only gives the individual writer a first reaction from a potential audience ( and therefore some early feed-back to help improve the script ) but it is also an educational process for every student taking part. Each develops his/her own script. It would be more relevant to know the script that gave birth to the movie. as a group.and therefore students -. We considered that in many schools there was often little involvement in the writing process by the other departments. we heard reports of working methods that included groups of up to six screenwriters. This exercise teaches students to become more aware of what they write. We recommend that schools. in order to compare it at first viewing. very late stage. We all agreed there would be great benefit for teachers -. producers -. It is easier to spot mistakes in other people’s work. However. One case study we noted came from the National Film and Television School at Beaconsfield in Britain. especially producers. we noted the almost universal difficulty of obtaining current scripts. To work in a group in this context does not mean to write in groups.115 Several people considered that working in groups was a good experience. working in parallel with the writers to advise on potential problems of realisation. Each student offers opinions and ideas. However.only come in at a very. We also discussed the need for more attention to be paid to script analysis. The lack of a proper producer role had an adverse impact in many cases. students can read a script only some time after a film is finished. and therefore participates in the development of a project written by somebody else.

and then its ultimate destination. report by Rolf Orthel. Therefore both feel less rigidly attached to it. the NFTS model places a new responsibility on the producer who. It allowed each project to attract a specific group in such a way that no one student an assume a proprietary role.. in a professional manner. then only the writer and the director continue to develop the idea. It was pointed out that our creative triangle is. When they come back with this story idea. The producer takes a less active role in the actual writing process. First the writer and the producer are asked to work together to identify an idea for a story. The project is led by the story. If the idea is considered worthy. Finally. alone. of the initiator of the story feeling he/she is the owner of it. for a plot line. bigger triangle. Or to put it another way -.116 It outlined how a project is developed.there is the money which is the origin of the movie. the idea is reviewed by a production board. the audience. the unrealistic attitude of many students who feel that any intervention is violating something that is already perfect in itself. has to present the script and convince the School that it is a good project. leaving the writer and the director to develop the story together. And I am very glad. They serve that aim and not their personal egos. So I see that this picture that we have offered to the discussion is multiplying endlessly inside and outside. This was felt by the group to be a very good model. there is the movie. It is the outcome of the work of three people fulfilling three discrete roles. So it is already modified. DIRECTING GROUP. So the ownership is even more vague. Inevitably the final version of the script will have already lost some elements of the original and gained others. the finance that the movie attracts and the audience. one of the original duo steps aside. when a third partner ( the director) joins the equation. the writer and producer are told to find a director. a reflection on the title of our conference. Then. Another delegate suggested that inside our creative triangle there are other triangles. This process helps to overcome the problem familiar to most schools. It confronts. . in itself. which represents the movie. Finally. I like that very much. the individual attachment to the story is divided. one of the three edges of another. When they acquire a director they think is right for the project. In this way. shared story development tends to suggest that the story already belongs to two people. Put simply.

were not to be trusted. and have been established and refined over many years. the film a better film. 3. thus stimulating each other to make the project a better project. but not only with the aim of revealing the students’ characters and capabilities. This is a simple play designed to make students accustomed to communicating with each other. Then the student would come to realise that colleagues do not condemn “holes” in his or her talent. often in conjunction with screenwriting classes. and to discover unimagined qualities and skills they could contribute. Therefore it can help overcome initial angst -especially for younger students. Therefore. but to contribute to filling the gaps. A non-verbal exercise in which one protagonist has to use action to attract the attention of another character. It was pointed out that some schools have students only 18 or 19 years of age. One colleague summed up this view. Co-operation is not a method of working which diminishes the participants. These reflections led the group to a discussion of ways to overcome an initial lack of communication between the three disciplines within schools. lessons in storytelling were presented. Psychodrama was used in a similar manner. He thought such a profound change would ultimately lead to middle-of-the-road films made only for profit.117 Courses for directors. After the exercise was completed. These views led to an observation about “ age and angst. the growing trend to develop a new programme for the training of producers must be perceived as an intrusion by many students. 2.” Student directors needed to learn that co-operation leads to a better understanding of his or her own qualities -. Producers. they thought. This became an important issue in the dialogue. This process has been the subject of at least one special study. Students had to be helped to get to know each other. In the old system of film education. Various methods and exercises were described: 1. the director and the writer/director student ruled like young kings. . with the attributes one might too readily think to be the key to success.or lack of them. He simply could not grasp why so many schools today were prepared to give such importance to the training of producers-to-be. A similar psychodrama was used in one school. are central components in virtually every school curriculum. and elements from the psychodrama experience were used to inspire proposals for some (very) short films. but at a higher level. but is a strong force directed towards a common goal.

and assigned specific roles. Another exercise has been designed to illustrate practical ways to avoid chaos in film making. We know how often students want to carry out all the jobs on a film set. Even in such cases. but also relevant knowledge about each other. They transgress the accepted boundaries of their respective roles.repetition and observation. In the discussing these exercises. This can be especially true when the aim of the exercise is more than a mere technical subject. Students learn to add “why” to “who” and “where. “CHAOS” is primarily a creative exercise. the group realised the importance of two specific techniques of learning -. The situation and the dialogue seems to centre on a sense of chaos. Then the roles are changed and the script is filmed again and again. moves further towards a precise story-telling goal. It stresses an understanding of the various roles in the collaborative process. until every student has experienced all the jobs required to realise a film. in which the students learn to use logic collectively to solve a particular narrative problem. When used for research. Often repetition produces a steady evolution towards refinement. cinematographer.” In other words. There are still the dirty glasses lying around. repetition is helpful to some students. they find meaning through collaboration. the exercise is called “CHAOS. 6. Students interview each other. Knowledge is lost if too much time elapses between the exercises and the time when it is put into practice. The script is filmed in a day. 5.for example. and full ashtrays. such as those outlined above. Students are given a familiar situation -. The students are given a simple three-minute script. the students test the strength of their own determination and commitment towards the project.118 4. The students are given one or two lines of dialogue to get them started. assistant director. Another exercise.” The students learn that by reasoning and the use of imagination. Interviewing as a learning tool also has other merits. In fact. The group agreed that the most effective learning and teaching methodology involved many short exercises. In many schools. interview techniques are being taught. like rigging lights. a) Repetition: To carry out an exercise only once can be almost a waste of time. But should the exercise be more complex. production manager or the assistant producer and so on. also designed to stress the importance of communication. dramatic order and some logic can be created from the lines and the situation in which they find themselves. the morning after a party. Thus the students learn each other’s ideas. each repetition is slightly different. But such repeated exercises should be carried out as a continuous experience. thereby acquiring not only a useful skill. rather than “major” productions. be it director. Often the pressure of producing the annual . attitudes and interests that can be the basis for future projects. cameraperson.

The opportunity to repeat an exercise as argued above means the student learns to do better. As you give. so shall you receive. The key question? What elements of the directors’ programme should be experienced by the writing students and/or the producing students? And vice versa. The group questioned whether doing it yourself was always the best method. Does a producer student really need to direct a short film? Opinion was divided. There. consideration needs to be given to the pre-occupation with the “hands-on” experience. the faculty are considering reducing the number of films made by students from 3 to 2 in order to enable teaching to be more effective. to make less mistakes than before. professional level course for producers for cinema and . particularly if the student involved may never need to demonstrate such skills again in his career. b) Observation: Even with enhanced concentration on exercises. Special mention was made of discussions currently under way at the NFTS at Beaconsfield. Finally. But the realworld relevance of the experience might be better achieved by allowing the student to observe a number of short films being made. the group listed a number of other issues they recognised. but did not have time to discuss.119 “real” films in a student’s 2nd or 3rd year or final year obstructs the process of learning. PRODUCING GROUP report by Dick Ross It is a truism well known to those of us who have attended teachers’ conferences in the past that delegates are stimulated and enlightened in direct proportion to the amount of effort and commitment they contribute themselves to the group exchanges. The delegates who formed the group discussing current trends in the education of would-be producers were fortunate. from which he or she reports on specific elements directly related to their chosen discipline. Amongst us were representatives of a number of schools who came with a specific and well-focused purpose -.to take away a whole range of ideas and attitudes to the establishment of a full.

There are those who know they are just at the beginning. It mattered to some of us more than others. and want to expand their courses in line with current practice. and how producer training fitted into the over-all scheme.the concept of the producer as businessman. Perhaps we should worry less about teaching how to learn. it is still defining -and refining itself.the negative as well as the positive. Inevitably when we began. . a film maker. We exchanged information about the in-house conflicts that come when a school tries to complete the triangle by adding producer training to the core disciplines of writing and directing. The writer/director courses have been in place. Training the trainers is.120 television. is a discipline only ten years old. an enabler. There are even those with some experience who want to share it. ever since the huge explosion in the number of film schools in the 1960s. This brings me to the first of the concerns we identified. It stems from the numerous references to the “auteur” approach. As if to claim some credit for the content of films for which they were responsible. There are those who have decided that they already have a superior programme in place and do not need to refine it. Therefore.or at least realign -. Finland and Singapore are all in the process of establishing new course structures that will include the training of producers. than learning how to teach. Producer training. Every attitude represents a contribution. with very few exceptions in North America. There are those who are content with what they have already in place in the curriculum. As with other groups. after all. There appears to be a need to downplay -.. our discussions revealed a wide range of attitudes to teaching. we clearly felt the whole topic was too wide. a businessman. The role of the producer as a creative contributor. This was the problem of definition.and will continue to reflect on: 1. We felt the problem lies in the popular misconceptions of the role and function of the producer. We looked at -. They kept us concentrated on core concerns. Our colleagues from Ghana. a current buzz phrase. a creative entrepreneur.. We spent our first session explaining what we taught in our respective academies. in most cases. producers seem to need the appendage of “creative” as a symbol of validation.

We discovered that the selection process can range from an application form and an interview. to the idea of training for the cinema. we know that we need to give a lot more thought to the smooth integration of this need “breed” into the corral. in the main.at least at first. We considered that the failure of so many films made nationally could be laid at a number of root causes: . We acknowledged and began to examine the nature of collaboration and cooperation between all three sides of the triangle. Our reflections in this area then turned to practical considerations of the nature of exercises which placed the student producer in an alliance with directing and writing students. or an imposition on top of a perfectly happy partnership of writer and director. It is clear that some of us still see the introduction of producers’ courses as something of an interruption. others rely on gut reaction. We agreed that the relationship in most schools does not merely happen naturally. Then there is the balance within the curriculum of training for film making versus television. We would like to compile a compendium of exercises not necessarily to represent the “perfect” teaching model but rather to enliven our production practice. Some schools use a points or grading system. We cling. Our colleague from INPUT reminded us of the need to enhance the broadest possible training in depth (if that’s not a contradiction) in television in all its forms. This was particularly true for European cinema. Yet television and video is where most of our graduates will go -. to a six month-long process. To this end he felt that enhanced study of genre in television would be crucial. One useful phrase used during the week is relevant.121 2. We believe that the integration of the Producers Course will ultimately signal a policy for change in the industry. We felt that HOW we chose students is perhaps less of a question than WHY we chose students -.” 3. We identified a serious malaise common to many European countries. 5. This brought us to some consideration of the selection process.or any particular student. or even of writer/director. We acknowledged that all of us have many marvellous ideas for demonstrating skills and gaining experience but we also have some which could do with refurbishment. 4. This is certainly true of schools with newly introduced courses. 6. Either way. This is fertile ground for further study. “The collective thought of the story-teller.

contracts with distributors. at the expense of the development stage. The student producer needs to be taught a sense of responsibility possibly above. We noted the need for schools and academies to foster moral and ethical attitudes as well as trust within the institution in relation to actual productions. e). d).122 a.and often many headaches. The need to spend production subsidies and other finance within a given period. and various models of internal production companies through which schools currently launder sales and profits. We regretted the growing preoccupation with “success. Major finance committed to film design and the production period. c). Two final points - . publicity and exhibition.” and reflected that the student often learns more from a magnificent failure than a mediocre success. That led us to another area which needs further elaboration. That is the erecting of safeguards between our individual institutions and student film production in general. that required in the industry. points systems for student films. b) The failure of a producer to have an input into the development process. Many schools appear weary of allowing student producers to take full command of productions for fear of repercussions associated with failure. Rushing into production after too short a pre-production period. Failure as a teaching tool was also considered. insurance guarantees and so on. This requires enhanced teaching of legal matters. We think there is a need for clarification of a range of internal relationships regarding the division of profit from student films distributed and sold. Success however brings it own rewards . or even than greater than. It could be said that one role of the student producer is to safeguard the reputation of the institution. The failure of the producer to be heavily committed in the post-production period particularly in relation to marketing.

A week is not long in show business.. but we have made a start. In the debate of the last few days I think we came to realise that. Somebody observed early on in the conference that we seemed to have many answers but no questions.” . We had a wonderful idea. We were impressed by and grateful for the grace and generosity of our American colleagues who conferred upon so many of our efforts praise for the quality of our films.123 1. 2. We propose to explore some mechanism by which those of us capable of inspiration can continue our work begun here. We all know that in a screenplay to offer answers but leave the audience with no questions is a recipe for failure.. Perhaps we should make the films and they should sell them.

And finally. we would very much like to develop interest groups on one subject in film education. very often. exactly what CILECT should be all about. I would suggest that this conference be viewed as an on-going event. You can write to that in any language. I hope. We think that we have to reach out to more people like teachers. There were key questions: How should the producers’ course be affected by the course for directors or writers? How should the writing course be affected by the other two? How should the directing course be influenced by the existence of courses for producers and writers? What should the composition of these courses be? How do they inter-relate? Are there core subject areas where learning and teaching can be shared across disciplines? There is also the need to consider the relationship of the triangle to the training of editors and sound designers. We can link this group via e-mail. You can post your comments through that. . In the past. sharing experience and confrontation of experience. directors of schools only. The second medium is our website. because this will have a bigger impact in the education of film makers.” Pursuing the idea of the CILECT interest groups. and the mind of everybody here. There is a CILECT newsletter. said that the meeting should be both an on-going. This can happen through two immediately useable media or vehicles.124 Chapter Eight Triangle : The Future The final sessions of the conference were to point the way to the structure of the second Triangle meeting. to my mind. rather than vague philosophies about the need for teaching collaboration in better ways. the General Secretry of CILECT. I hope you can have access to a copy. “This is. and we will try to provide for you a vehicle for continuing this experience of sharing. Henry Verhasselt. CILECT should be a vehicle for sharing these experiences. Rolf Orthel said it would be helpful if the groups addressed specific questions. we have had meetings of administrators. That newsletter is sent to the directors of the schools.

How that is achieved. We came to the same conclusion that started this conference. It should be integrated in our thinking as much as in our teaching. The general concensus seems to be that if a pool of scripts existed somewhere “on the side” that could be used by students who faced difficulties with their own material. That led to a discussion about how ideas are developed. In fact. that may be a way for them to understand what we are talking about. So in trying to establish a course. Stories can be developed originally from one-page ideas and these can be easily rejected if they are proving not to be worth developing further. there are no producers existing in their industry. historically or because of the way their economics are working at the moment. by even trying to write. but if it starts with an attitude coming from the tutors and an attitude built into the course. Then they reported back to the final session. We talked about shared ownership of ideas. Then there is no question of sole ownership from the beginning.125 Again. the delegates divided into groups to discuss proposals for the way the Triangle concept could be advanced. One way of achieving this is for a number of people to bring ideas to a table. We talked about how one gets rid of scripts that one discovers are not working very well as they are being developed. and the selection is made there. the problem in many countries is that. but there are not the finances nor structures to make it happen. Ian Sellar of the National Film and Television School said that his group concentrated on the development of ideas. What we should be teaching students is an attitude coming from us that somehow forces the thinking in them that they should collborate. Any process that reduced that was a good idea. invariably the need is really there. Another point of discussion: We perhaps do not need to be teaching groups together to do each other’s job. Perhaps teaching students to experience other specialisations can be inefficient and confusing. It seems a good idea if nobody actually owns a script. Most people were accepting the idea that directors. and in particular. On the teaching of producers. how to take the weight of that away from directors which still seems to be a problem in many places. The question was how usefully writers can work with directors and producers. There does not seem to be an in-built need for this particular specialist. one is working against the natural run of the local business pattern. It is something that everyone involved in the project is working on. rejection of ideas would become less critical. The need is there and . are taking on far too much anyway.

. Perhaps teachers from three of four schools meeting together would be enough. not only the directors. There must be many possibilities for exciting classes using material generated by students. We need to develop a mechanism whereby teachers like ourselves can meet more often to compare notes and ideas. Script reading and drama should be taught to the whole crew. What is important is to have the possibility of thinking beyond the walls of our own institutions. for example.126 it must be answered in some way. We see that as an important process -. reported that her group found they had remarkably similar curricula. That might mean that the cinematographers. and therefore the same problems. of the Netherlands Film and Television Academy. not only for directors. “Maybe next year we will find out if all these dreams really work out. gives pause for thought. One final recommendation for the next conference. In that way. It does not have to be big assembly. It has another important element -.examples we think will work. would not think of production merely in terms of cranes and other hardware. all the students from a year group gather together to tell stories. We want to learn how we can use actors within the school. students learn to share their ideas with an audience and also learn to develop stories from their own experience. We looked at models where such students were taught to write treatments and opening scenes. and all the usual financial problems every school has.that the influence Triangle makes in the education of young film makers. When we return to our schools we have to work with other teachers. We were particularly impressed with the scheme used at the National Film and Television School.. .students learn about each other. We also considered a writers’ course for producing sudents. We discussed some cases -. we can work together to realise the dreams that we have had during this week. This helps the collaborative process develop. The sound engineers are also forgotten in the creative development phase. In that way. but also for the other disciplines. One point of agreement -. They all have to learn to think in terms of drama. The schools can create the forms that will answer that need. where one day a week.learning to talk to other people. Desirée te Nuijl.

So. If we encourage the attitude that “it is not my responsibility. two teachers of theory and criticism and two tutors who were teaching in a more general capacity. and it is not my job” to do whatever is necessary on a film set or in the development of a film. So how can they demonstrate the fact that they have any creativity? We need to devise exercises where the producer can demonstrate the skill and ability to contribute to script development and to the development process for the director as well. We felt that the producer student has to prove that he or she is creative. the other practical. Quite often he is the only person who actually has the time to make the coffee. although the objective is to make sure that each student develops his or her own skills. but that is going to help get the film made on time. I think that it is a matter of attitude. then we are making a mistake. Our first and main concern was the label “creative producer. We also talked about the role of the producer as a coffee maker. two producing tutors.” There was no disagreement amongst us. I do not think that there is anything wrong with a producer making coffee. director and producer. We felt it was a dangerous label because it could go to the other extreme -. we should not eliminate the possibility of a director being able to write. They have to demonstrate that talent.127 Sandy Leiberson of the National Film and Television School spoke for a group of two writing tutors. rather than just being given the label and having it automatically accepted. Jaan Fleischer suggested one specific exercise in which the triangle students rotate roles as a team. The combination of writer and producer. The director would have to demonstrate that ability to the satisfaction of the tutors. We are creating a false attitude. . Why should we automatically deprive somebody of being able to do something if they really have the talent? So we were concerned with these two issues -.one philosophical.from the auteur theory to the creative producer. we should be ready to accept that as part of our responsibility. This could be demonstrated by requiring the director to write an exercise script for another director. not specifically for one specialisation. director and writer would give opportunities for each to demonstrate their skills and understanding of the creative process. It is not that the producer’s job should be to make the coffee. So the auteur theory could still live on if the young film makers have the skill and the ability to perform well in the dual roles of writer and director. We also agreed that the automatic elimination of a person being able to carry out two jobs was probably not fair.

To balance the mood of optimism in the closing sessions. Perhaps that was because such a gathering of working teachers was almost unique. So I assumed quite conveniently for myself the position of an observer. one voice -.suggested that the conference had failed to identify clear goals. It had lacked an essential structure. This is particularly important in terms of being able to raise finance. deep in my heart basically being pleased to be offered a chance to go to Rome. We recommend that this situation is reviewed at any future meeting. and a shy person. Jan Fleischer of the National Film and Television School of Beaconsfield. The general response to the week-long discussions was positive. the voice was from a teacher of screen-writing.128 We also talked about the fact that in almost every case. They preferred to deal with the issue of collaboration and th rining of producers in a more general way. . the school assumes part of the responsibility of the producer. and what type of training should be provided within the course and overall curriculum. told delegates: “I did not come here to make a speech. because I do not think that everything I am doing is wrong. co-production deals. Nor did I come here to be told what to do. I am quite proud of my course. I came out of curiosity.” That was relevant in any discussion about what a student producer should know. Or that I did not contribute or help to get the event to the stage when I would feel satisfied.a self-confessed outsider -. and being a writer. to identify the various strands and kinds of films that each buyer is looking for. to be inspired. We had in our group representatives of schools which had no plans to introducing a specific triangle within their curriculum. So why do I speak now. We should consider how that rsponsibility can be devolved down to the producer student but still with the school retaining some degree of control over their actions and decisions. Appropriately perhaps. I do not think I have the right to tell anybody what to do. Their approach will have to be taken into acount at future meetings. There was some discussion about the specificity of the title “producer. as we are getting to the end of this get-together? I am terrified that I will leave with a bad feeling that I was just waiting for something to happen and that nothing would happen. I did not prepare anything. This deprives the producerstudent of having the authority they would normally have in a real situation.

We are waiting for that miracle where everybody would feel happy. Everybody dealt with it according to their nature. The triangle. But since nobody mentioned the word drama -. Nobody knows what we are supposed to do here. There was no clear goal -something we would try to reach..and a drama is that drama takes place in given time.. So the conference has a structure -. then we were invited. this is an ensemble piece.there must be some truth in it. And we are going to leave the day after tomorrow.any story -. Yes. or that they contributed to something. or that they had learned something from it. I am fond of structuring. If we are talking about a basic dramatic structure. It has a clear beginning and a clear end. I did not hear once the word “drama. but we still do not know what it is. Now we know that we are supposed to come up with something. Some of us questioned the meeting itself and the very function of education -. We started with exposition. We were told about the conference. One small obsrvation: We are talking about film making.the purpose of having schools. So in that dramatic structure. We made clear who we are.a classical dramatic structure. structuring the facts. So we dealt with it in our respective ways. We are talking about story-telling and stories. As an outsider -.either waiting or talking about what they had prepared in advance. We are party to a drama. Slowly it became clearer through the contribution of these speakers that we are dealng with this triangle. People came with different ideas about what this meeting is about. but we didn’t get anywhere. After crisis comes catastrophe.my favourite word in the Aristotelian vocabulary -..catastrophe. This is what we are waiting for. So there are very different attitudes... But they are structuring the script. Every member of this get-together would feel they gained something from it. I believe that screenwriting is about structuring the story. and this triangle is involved with these various departments or professions involved in film making. We started and then the conflict was revealed. crisis reaches the climax -. The difference between story -. we dealt with it.129 So I have decided to speak. Let me outline for you what is happening here.I have to start from a position no one else has used.a position I have assumed for myself -. We slowly agreed that this was worth talking about. The last point in dramatic structure is catharsis. . It is true that we arrived here on a particular day. the material we are dealing with.” It was stated that writers are story tellers. and a theme was given to our encounter. I take it almost as a personal offence.

Otherwise. where. who is not so concerned about the smooth running of their school. And somebody said :’What is it all about?’ The nature of those who wanted to speak or wanted to listen.130 Catharsis for me is the moment when the writer learns something about their own writing -when they are surprising themselves. That is the miracle of creation.. and being pleased with it. This made me realise that there is always some triangle as much as in this writer. I feel that I was part of something. in the end. when the material takes on a life of its own and the writer is surprised by what he has created. It is simply somebody who is not so concerned about their personal input... Somebody represents the outside view to help the other two parties to see themselves in a certain light. rather than because we want to have it for the smooth running of our schoos. I tried to analyse who was involved and what is it all about. it is a principle that we are trying to ignore. As here.but it is a third point of view.. was to exclude those who are now questioning the very purpose of the process. it is the voice of the outside world. So. and I did not do anything. It is a sort of triangle. What is the function of the third party? Well. It is an interaction of conflicting interests.. something wonderful happens exactly because people have different interests. Somebody is concerned about their own voice. You may call it ideology or representation of a public. or outside world in general -. Somebody is listening just because they are concerned about their school. in which everybody has their function. somebody wanted to speak. It exists regardless of whether we want it or not. which we have tried to ignore in our conversations. They are probably doing some good job in that drama. And probably. The process of making films is a conflicting situation. and somebody wanted to listen. I am waiting for this catharsis. in this conference. Those are three points of view. What is also part of the nature of this triangle is that it is a conflicting situation. I said there must be a dramatic function for those people as well. So I was frustrated. The triangle is something that is rooted in life. As soon as we started.. Drama. it would be just talking to oneself. to understand as I have understood that I have to contribute. . how to get a better curriculum. I realised: Yes.. It is somebody who is looking for a greater purpose for our activity. producer and director activity. is conflict developed in time.

according to where they came from. us as tutors. They would say that their power of money. A producer may say it has to be a producer who initiates it.. If I am a writer. we need to prepare them for every possible situation within that triangle.. There are very few schools which have a . where a number of schools felt the need to review the idea of producing and producers in general terms. “The idea started in Prague. If I am a director I will have a different view.. looking at the other two corners and understanding that they have a conflict amongst themselves.131 So there is a function for a third point of view. all the time about the conflict. It is a very important function. This conflict has to be present for the institution to deliver the goods. they either disagree or finally reach an agreement and do not question what they are doing anymore. and then to be stuck not knowing what to do further. It is useful not to be satisfied with the smooth running of the school. then what everybody else wants..all the time about the dramatic outcome of interaction. and the school as a place where we work and we want to make work. If you want to prepare students for the outside world and not only want them to make a graduation film. I think we need to devise workshops where students will be prepared to assess what they want. I can use it or misuse it. There have been various propositions here. in a professional life. I can benefit from it as well. Rolf Orthel said he regretted that for even one delegate. but I played a part. Everybody is important in the triangle. A third person can kick them and make them question again what they agreed about. if two people are having dialogue. In concrete terms. I am talking all the time about these triangles. I have the right to misuse it or effect it. the aim and function of the conference was not clear.” In reply to Jan Fleischer’s statement. There is a function in this basic triangle which we are discussing. And everybody has to define their own function. If we think about another triangle. and who is just serving. It is really not about who has the power. ‘Well writers should initiate the projects and that is their way to control it.. and then to understand what they have to give in order to get what they want. For our colloquium. there is also an outside world which questions whether or not we are doing a good job and whether the school serves its function. I would say.

“helping schools with knowledge” -. What has been added now is the outside world coming through the production course.within the schools. It was summed up by one spokesman: “We won’t find one solution..132 production course.” . in the end. It is as simple as that.either as one person or two -. it is one of the rare times when teachers from many countries can meet together to talk. I can understand that as you come from a school that one of the farthest ahead in this field. for helping other schools with knowledge you have already. I think that was the main aim of our being here. But this is a forum for cooperation. Also.. The attitudes and the philosophies had been heard. There was already the writer and the director -. than for other delegates who are coming from schools that are just making a start along this path. So this conference has been mainly from the producers’ point of view. pragmatism should rule. or plan to introduce them in the near future. Next time. Hardly ever the teachers.was. Many more schools are developing them. but many approaches. This pragmatism is brought in much more by the producer than by the director or by the writer. to become the aspiration of the delegates for the next Conference. That is inevitable. We hope that this “collision” will lead to ideas for better curricula.They have prompted us to invent better ways of working together with their ideas of producing films. there maybe a little bit less to learn. and have brought a different attitude to the audience and the outer world. It is usually the Directors of the schools who meet. Practical application of teaching practice should be shared..” This final statement -..

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