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Woodson
01-23-2005, 09:03 PM
This is a subject that I find interesting and would like to have discussion on.

What makes a director a "Auteur" of his film? Is it a director that is the primary creator of a film? but "creation" implies generating something new rather than working from something that already exists. So are Auteur directors the ones that write their screenplays by themselves only? or could it be with someone also as long as they have a screenwriting credit?

Is a Non - Auteur director, a director that doesn't write his screenplays and/or a director that teams up with writers and writes with them.

What are you thoughts about a possessory credit ("A Film by...") most directors will admit that unless they also wrote the script, they are not truly the author of the film, and again many directors will disagree with this.

"As a director, I am the author of my movies. I know that's not a popular view with writers, but I'm sorry. If the writer thinks he's an auteur, then let him thread up his screenplay in a projector and we'll take a look at it." - John Carpenter


One of the directors that is opposed to the possessory credit and stipulate in their contracts that the credit not be allowed on their movies or in the advertising and publicity for those movies is Sidney Lumet.

Some Auteur directors are Ingmar Bergman, Woody Allen, C. Chaplin, K. Kieslowski and F. Truffaut. ??

Non- Auteur Ridley Scott, Sidney Lumet?


What kind of director are you or plan to be? Are you a auteur a non- auteur? What do you think the meaning of this is?

What are some other auteur and non auteur directors ?

Some people say Scorsese and Hitchcock aren't auteur directors because most of their films were written by someone else and some people say that they are auteur. This is a bit confusing subject I think.


I also heard that directors that included recurring themes and motifs in each films they made were auteurs.

So maybe a auteur doesnt necessary mean the director is the writer of the screenplay but the films are his style and he makes movies with similiar themes?

10s
01-23-2005, 10:05 PM
Auteur means to me a distinct stlye. Tim Butron might be considered such while others might create films that vary so much no discernable style can be detected. It doesn't mean one is better than the other, it simple means one would leave a distinct trademark style in the presentation. I kind of like the idea of not having any style, but rather having each story be as strong and distinct as possible. Either way is fine...not worth thinking much about...for me.

Auteur is "French" for author, which I interpret (beyond the obvious) to basically mean that while film making is collaborative, too many cooks in the kitchen is trouble. It's better to have one cook with a strong idea on how to cook and interpret the recipe (script).

As for what kind of director...I don't think about that at all! to me I'm more interested in the story and if I can bring it across well. I think it's up to others who observe to define this, it's better for directors to focus and deliver the baby. That's my 2 cents.

GenJerDan
01-23-2005, 10:41 PM
"As a director, I am the author of my movies. I know that's not a popular view with writers, but I'm sorry. If the writer thinks he's an auteur, then let him thread up his screenplay in a projector and we'll take a look at it." - John Carpenter

Sorry, John, but that's nonsense.

If you go to Broadway to see Phantom, you're not going to see the new Harold Prince musical. You're going to see the new Andy Webber musical.

Why do you think films are any different?

Going to see the new Keith Lockhart symphony at the Boston Pops? Me, I prefer Beethoven.

"A Film By" should more accurately be "A Realization By", but it might confuse some people.

Dan

Double_IT
01-23-2005, 10:53 PM
Here are my notes on the Auteur Theory from a class a while back

Bazin Roud and Cameron make the same point about the auteur theory, and share a common fear of its abuses.

A director must exhibit recurrent characteristics of style serving as his signature. Especially prevalent in American cinema where a director must get his personal thoughts and feelings out visually.

Interior meaning. The tension between a directors personality and his material. Close to mise en scene, not exactly.

3 premises of auteur theory: Technique, personal style and interior meaning.
The theory examines the entire work of the director, not select master pieces. In general a good director makes good films and a bad makes bad.

Double_IT
01-23-2005, 10:55 PM
Oh and my all time favorite auteur would have to be Akira Kurosawa .

Was Kubrick an auteur? A lot of his films had similar themes and a similar look, but he did have some that didn't fit as well... I dont know...

David Jimerson
01-24-2005, 05:30 AM
"As a director, I am the author of my movies. I know that's not a popular view with writers, but I'm sorry. If the writer thinks he's an auteur, then let him thread up his screenplay in a projector and we'll take a look at it." - John Carpenter

Sorry, John, but that's nonsense.

If you go to Broadway to see Phantom, you're not going to see the new Harold Prince musical. *You're going to see the new Andy Webber musical.

Why do you think films are any different? *


How often are movies referred to by their writers?

Last time I saw, Jurassic Park was a Steven Spielberg film, not a David Koepp film. (Who?)

Directors DO re-author movies. They do it while storyboarding, shot listing, shooting, editing . . .

razerfish
01-24-2005, 07:11 AM
The auteur theory is about as relevant as the flat world theory, and should have been dismissed a long time ago. The people that cling the hardest to the theory are directors themselves. And because they have the power in the feature world, they can prolong this nonsense.

As someone that writes and directs, let me tell you that directing is absolutely simple compared to writing. Writing a decent script has a far longer learning curve than directing. I find directing to be mostly craft, only a little art. I think just about anyone could be a competent director if they learned the craft, yet the same isn't true with writing. No matter how well you master the craft, if you don't have the goods, you can't fake it.

Sorry if that bursts any bubbles, but I believe it. I do think a good director is important; I just don't think it's that hard to become a good director.

In order of importance, here is what I'm finding:

1) Material. Without it, the film will suck. It can have perfect direction, but if the material is bad, the story will be bad.

2) Actors. I didn't believe this until I started directing. My advise is to never hire a bad actor with the idea that you can pull a performance out of them. You can't. They won't be good after a little practice. If they're bad, they're bad and will stay that way. Don't waste your time and MATERIAL on bad actors.

3) Editor. Believe it or not, he can save, or at least improve your material. Likewise, he can sink it too. I didn't realize this until I edited a recent piece that wasn't so great as shot and scripted because of the performances, but with some creative editing, we raised it up a notch.

4) Director. If he gets the actors properly blocked and gets the shots he is supposed to, all is well.

10s
01-24-2005, 11:08 AM
Razorfish, while I appreciate your take on writers and I too write myself, film is very different than paper and those that author film are directors, in other words they are in French, auteurs.

Art is what the observer experiences, craft is the action that creates it.

Both are needed and both are difficult. Film is a different form of writing that uses a unique grammar of it's own.

Here are just a few elements used by directors that differ from writers.

Let's take film time. Film time can take a second and expand it to the point where the bullit stops short in mid air, and another story takes place a split second before it kills the guy, or it can be condensed, where years fly by, or centuries (see "The Time Machine" Montage).

Color: While writing the scene was a red atmosphere on paper, it's quite another thing to visualize it and depict it on film. See, The Last Emporer or just watch the DVD, Visons of Light. Writers can't even get close to depicting cinematography or staging, montage of shots, etc...

Music: The emotional glue that pulls the emotions out of the audience and help involve them in the story..paper can't do it. The director is responsible for that too.

Rhythm & Pacing: Paper can't do that very well...it's too cumbersome. An image communicates at hyper speed compared to written words. It takes a cinematic skill to communicate effectively...writers can't do this nearly as well.


Size: The impact of shot size: Paper isn't that convincing...even storyboards don't come close to moving images. How shots are created and juxtaposed makes a huge difference. The size and angle can be manipulated as words can to deliver an number of outcomes.

Theory of Montage: Scripts can't get close to this and this is where the real power of film is. This is where the film maker provides a few shots and the audience, using their assumptions and values fills in the blank spaces. See Lev Kuleshov experiments in the 1920s, Pudovkin & Eisenstien, Hitchcokck & Mamet.

While I love writers, they are the creators of the story that we read and can imagine. Film Directors take that imaginary visualization and oversee the physicalization of it into the 2 dimensional world. In other words, Directors are the writers (authors...or auteurs) of motion picture.

So while I'm not a big auteur fan myself at this time, if it helps the director do the job, it's valid and does make a difference in how the story will be written cinematically on to the silver screen.

GenJerDan
01-24-2005, 01:12 PM
How often are movies referred to by their writers?

I like watching Shane Black & Christopher McQuarrie flicks.

So...how often arethings referred by writer? Not very...probably because the directors take the credit.

But unless I specifically look for who directed it, I usually don't have a clue until the credits roll.

SadMax
01-24-2005, 03:27 PM
If the director loads, maintains and operates the camera, mics and records the sound, writes and edits and breaks down and schedules the script, finds and negotiates the locations, designs, builds, paints and dresses the sets, designs and makes the costumes, handles the casting, writes the schedules, cuts, polishes and conforms the final edit, mixes the sound and picks up the answer print from the lab...

...then I guess he's an auteur.

Otherwise, he's a director with a distinctive style. Filmmaking is a participatory team effort. Or at least, that's what the last fifteen years and the last forty-or-so TV and feature projects have taught me.

David Jimerson
01-24-2005, 04:55 PM
I like watching Shane Black & Christopher McQuarrie flicks.

So...how often arethings referred by writer? *Not very...probably because the directors take the credit.

But unless I specifically look for who directed it, I usually don't have a clue until the credits roll.


That's fine, Dan, and I respect that, but you compared films to Andrew Lloyd Webber musicals and asked what makes "you" (granted, you weren't addressing me specifically) think that movies are any different, and I'm just pointing out that while it's common coin to refer to stage productions by their composers and authors, it's NOT commonplace to do that with films.

Personally, I like James Horner films . . . ::)

razerfish
01-24-2005, 05:51 PM
I disagree with just about everything with what 10s has to say. At one point I figured that if the material was strong enough, it was director and actor proof. I no longer feel that way. I realize the actor is far too valuable. The director is also needed, but the DP is probably more important than him.

The writer, well, there is no substitute. I learned rhythm from writing -- mostly comedy. Most of what he couldn't be done in the script is there in the writing. The director merely need to capture it. What I'm finding most important as a director is actually blocking the actors and making sure we get what we want on film. It's far easier to do that than to actually sit down and create a complete story. Though production is actually pretty grueling, it's still harder to create a story than to direct it.

Not to burst any bubbles, but directing has come easier to me than any other part of equation. Writing is difficult, and of all the people that I know that write -- at least 40, I think only 2 of them actually have any talent. And I don't hold out much hope for the poor 38 that don't have it. You either have an ability to tell a story or you don't.

But as a director, I find it to be much more of a craft that can be learned. It's quite simple really.

Oh, and in television, the writer is God, not the director. In fact, if movies were written as they were filmed, then the power would shift over to the writers just like it has in television. The reason the director is God in film is because by the time filming starts, the writer's job has long since finished (usually). That's why it evolved into a director's medium. In TV, the director is nothing --well, not quite that, but he answers to the executive producers, er, writers.

And because I consider myself a writer first, I never take that BS vanity credit that directors lavish upon themselves. I hate the 'film by' nonsense. It's repulsive and just plain wrong. When a director sits down and dreams up the entire story, then he can get away with that. Until then, he's just interpreting someone else's material.

10s
01-24-2005, 06:36 PM
Razorfish, if you ever get the chance to watch the double DVD of Project Greenlight 2, there is an interesting section in which director contestants sent in their renditions to a rubbish dialogue piece written by Matt Damon & Ben Affleck, it's meant to be garbage. It's amazing to see how these directors interpreted the scene. They take garbage and make sense out of it, some of these guys are excellent.

As far as disagreeing with me on everything....that's perfectly fine, Good luck.

Woodson
01-24-2005, 10:33 PM
But as a director, I find it to be much more of a craft that can be learned. It's quite simple really.

Well I think directing is very hard, maybe once your a expert it gets easier, but boy it's hard, having all the crew and actors relying on you, looking at you, you gotta make the calls, and if you make the bad calls you make everyone look bad. Sometimes with the writer, you can switch things in the script that will look better and tell the story better on film and even some writers thank directors for switching or making suggestions for them to change.


Also working with the actors, which I am very interested with is very hard I think, there's so many ways out there, but directing actors in the right methods is not that easy to learn.

Now what about Alfred Hitchcock, look at his movies, and you know its a Hitchcock film, style, he creates that and most of his movies weren't written by him, would you give the writers more credit for Hitchcock success than the man himself.. I really doubt it. Maybe the same writer wrote all his films under different names :P but honestly I see this guy a true author of his films, dont you agree?

These Auteur theories spike a lot of debate.

10s
01-24-2005, 11:38 PM
Hitch was a cut in the camera-theory of montage type guy. He came to the set prepared with his shots. Shot lists and storyboards gave him the specifics... coverage is for wimps! I'm sure he did have coverage but for him the design of the movie before touching the set was where he did most of his directing. As he said, I could just give my shot list to someone to shoot and have them gather up the shots...it's still my movie, because I designed it. Rope is an excellent example of design.

SadMax
01-25-2005, 12:09 AM
I share razerfish's distaste for the 'film by' credit.

I always had this fantasy of ending a film with a credit roll titled "A Film By" followed by the names of the full cast and crew, in alphabetical order.

Yeah. Like that will ever fly...

Woodson
01-25-2005, 12:20 AM
I share razerfish's distaste for the 'film by' credit.

I always had this fanstasy of ending a film with a credit roll titled "A Film By" followed by the names of the full cast and crew, in alphabetical order.

Yeah. Like that will ever fly...


Damn.. that's a good idea.. can I steal it from ya... :P

razerfish
01-26-2005, 10:20 AM
I share razerfish's distaste for the 'film by' credit.

I always had this fantasy of ending a film with a credit roll titled "A Film By" followed by the names of the full cast and crew, in alphabetical order.

Yeah. Like that will ever fly...

I may use that on my next short. On the last one, I took mine and my partner's name off the credits completely, and I was the writer/director/editor and he was the executive producer, line producer, and helped edit. He normally shares a writing credit with me, too.

I prefer to spotlight the people who worked with us and keep the credits as few as possible to highlight them.

But on my next short, I may use that idea of yours. It's time that possessive credit was mocked for what it is -- pure vanity. If a few big writer/directors did that, it might embarrass the directors to end their vanity credits altogether. I like it. Hopefully when I arrive I can help.

razerfish
01-26-2005, 10:37 AM
Now what about Alfred Hitchcock, look at his movies, and you know its a Hitchcock film, style, he creates that and most of his movies weren't written by him, would you give the writers more credit for Hitchcock success than the man himself.. I really doubt it. Maybe the same writer wrote all his films under different names *:P but honestly I see this guy a true author of his films, dont you agree?

These Auteur theories spike a lot of debate.



I find that I can't really tell who directed a movie by its style, except for, perhaps, Tim Burton movies, or a few others. *If the material is different from what they normally do, then I probably couldn't even tell at all. * So, no, I don't think the director is the author just because he uses certain types of shots or lenses. *I find writers actually have a more telling style than directors, mostly because they actually dream up the story and dialogue, and you develop a style after awhile.

Coming from the point of view of a writer, I can't believe how much simpler all the technical jobs of production are -- editing, directing, sound, not because they are easy, but because they can be learned much quicker than writing. *It took me years to be able to write a decent script. *Most that try will never be able to, though with enough practice, just about anyone can direct, edit, do sound, probably light. *The learning curves just aren't that steep.

It always pisses people off that do these jobs when I say that, but it's the truth. *

What seems to improve my directing is actually editing. *You see what shots you need and what you better get next time. *I think the best training to be a director is probably an editor, not writer. *Though a good training ground for editing is actually writing. *You learn timing by writing, and you better have it when you edit.

Oh, well. I think that directing is a craft, and like all crafts, you have those that are good at it, and those that aren't. *But I find the auteur theory so silly that I dismiss it on its face.

SadMax
01-26-2005, 03:48 PM
I'm not pissed off by your perspective, but I don't find it accurate, either...

Sure, on the surface a set designer can learn to draft acceptably well in a very short period of time. But there's an awful lot of "invisible" knowledge behind what gets drawn, ie fields-of-regard, lighting and finishes, blocking, camera placement, construction techniques, rendering techniques, modelmaking, sfx/vfx requirements, materials costs - well, you get the idea. On the surface a DP can learn to meter for exposure and set focus in a matter of hours. But it's the hundreds or thousands of hours' practice in and deepening their knowledge of the craft that makes their work worth looking at.

I'll stop flogging the horse, now. You know what I mean.

David Jimerson
01-27-2005, 08:27 PM
Jeez, razerfish; way to take a personal experience and assume it's universal.

Personally, I've never found writing to be particularly difficult.

bLueButterfLy
01-29-2005, 05:11 PM
rezerfish, you can write me a script for a feature film and i'll direct/edit it no problem. but the question is...who's going to watch it? (probably just a bunch of friends and perhaps some people who can relate to the film) But, if it's going to be directed by Steven Spielberg, it's totally different story. you get the point? Directors have the X-factor. You can write a speech and if you made the speech yourself in front of a thousand audience, the impact wouldn't be the same as suppose to having Martin Luther King Jr. say it.
A good director also have the ability to motivate, inspire, and encourage the whole cast. of which writers doesn't necessarily have to have in order to write.
so...it's not just simply directing why they get the "a film by" title. it's the respect they have earned over the years of proving themselves.

Picasso have painted a line drawing of a square and it was sold for $40 million dollars. if that was just anyone else...i doubt it would be sold at all.

SadMax
01-30-2005, 07:36 PM
So auteur-status is achieved by box-office value...?

stationhouse
01-31-2005, 12:15 PM
this is why i find charlie kaufman amazing. for the first time in a long while i hear people say 'what's eternal sunshing...' 'oh it's the new film by the guy who did ' being john malchovich.' " His script are so unique that they define the film.

stationhouse
01-31-2005, 12:22 PM
I share razerfish's distaste for the 'film by' credit.

I always had this fanstasy of ending a film with a credit roll titled "A Film By" followed by the names of the full cast and crew, in alphabetical order.

Yeah. Like that will ever fly...

actually, Our Song did this. It made me laugh out loud. First slide of the film. REALLY good movie too.

To me, if a director says 'film by' and they did not write it...well that is a bit arrogant. It's their decision, but the writer does not get enough respect. It's been said a million times but a good director can make an average script great - but it is very tough to make a bad script good. I mean, really, written by and directed by are the perfect credits - fair and descriptive. Unless they write the film as well - then film by could be applicable i think.

Woodson
01-31-2005, 11:59 PM
I don't think the director needs to write the film for it to be an 'auteur' film, I just think that the director needs to be the main creative influence in the film. Hitchcock, Welles, and Kubrick are all great examples of "auters," and 2001, Citizen Kane and Vertigo are all "auteur" films. Casablanca is a great example of a classic film that is not an "auteur" film, since its greatness lies in the story and the acting moreso than Curtiz's directing.

SadMax
02-01-2005, 12:22 PM
So an auteur is someone whose films you can always look at, without seeing their name on it, and say, "Hey, I bet I know who directed that!"

?

Woodson
02-01-2005, 12:33 PM
So an auteur is someone whose films you can always look at, without seeing their name on it, and say, "Hey, I bet I know who directed that!"

?


Yes.

sarno
02-02-2005, 08:55 AM
The conflict between writing and directing is a phantom one. In writing and directing one faces the question first, "What do I want to say?" Then, "How do I want to say it?" Giving out credit is important for determining who gets paid what, but that's about all.

SadMax
02-02-2005, 01:38 PM
When the writer and director are two different people with entirely different ideas of what story - and what kind of story - they want to tell, the differences are a whole lot worse than "phantom..."

SadMax
02-02-2005, 01:39 PM
Yes.

That works.