Monday, July 23, 2007

writer or writer-director?

OK not blogged for a while - so a bit of a rambly one this one. There's been talk elsewhere about the need for scriptwriters to multi-task these days and consider being 'writer-directors' or 'writer-producers'.

Having come into writing more from the filmmaking end in the first place I'm inclined to agree that this is the way forward. In these digitally diverse times, there's a greater need for writers to extend their creative repertoire. Plus directing feeds writing and vice versa. 'Writer-producer' is a more difficult one (in my opinion - since writers and producers tend to exhibit diametrically opposed personality traits) But then again - being industry savvy, personable and business-like in approach can only enhance a career.

A bit of a tangent now: I started off making strange little art films with no recognisable beginning, middle or end - in which people wandered about and said and did odd things. There were (politely) called 'anti-narratives.' I was more interested in telling stories (but this was a bit of no-no then in art filmmaking). So in my early shorts, the stories fought to be recognised.
One day I attended a degree show 'installation' at some big Art College. At the front of the room was a large TV, placed with the screen facing the wall. The audience filed in. The TV was switched on and in the darkened room we were treated to a 20 minute viewing of the 'glow' projected on the wall from the monitor. After 4 minutes I ran to the door and demanded to be let out citing claustrophobia. I think it was actually an early manifestation of 'fear of storyless-ness' - ( if there is such a thing.)

Later - characters from my 'anti-narrative' shorts returned in more conventional stories.

(Some people say that we all only really have one story, which we tell over and over again in a different form. Sometimes it’s a circle and sometimes it’s a spiral. This is starting to sound like a topic for another post.)

Back on topic: There's this mystique about directing and I have no idea why since writing and re-writing is often harder than directing. Of course the two demand different skills. Writers can be self effacing, writer-directors can not. Writing is often solitary, directing is team work. The director involvement is also shorter. Writing can go on endlessly. Directing demands more social/ people skills. It is also stressful, requires meticulous planning and involves a massive amount of crisis management. However directing is also great fun - so long as there is a good, experienced producer and competent crew to back up a 'new' director.

So over to you. Writer only or writer-director (and why)?
Plus if anyone has any queries about writer-directors - then drop a comment. Ta


Lianne said...

Been thinking about this a lot lately FA and I'm still undecided but think I may be leaning more towards Writer-Producer...

far away said...

really Lianne? I've never been too keen on the administrative and organisational side of producing (not to mention getting on the phone!)

potdoll said...

I've been thinking about it a lot too. Writer-Producer has been good for Paul Abbott but from what I hear it has taken its toll, too.

I'm going for the writer-director as that dice seems to have been rolled for me (at the moment). I would love to produce but have problems answering the phone, never mind picking it up to call someone!

Pillock said...

I am crap at the actual photography. That's what scares me about writer-director.

far away said...

P - that's exactly why directors get good people round them

Lianne said...

I'm okay with the admin stuff and even though I'm a bit phone-phobic I can do it when I really want something. I'd love to work with the actors and do that aspect of directing but the technical stuff does frighten me a bit, so that's what puts me off. But you know, never say never!