Thursday, March 15, 2007

Who Can Speak On Shoots

Minor bust-up over at the always-interesting Northern Planner.

He remembers:

as a young account exec (with hair!) I was told that my job was to keep the client away from the director at all costs. Any queries absolutely had to go through the producer. It said a fair bit about highly strung directors as far as I was concerned

My reply:
Here are some of the people you will typically find on a shoot:

production company producer, agency producer, copywriter, art director, client, account handler, sound man, lighting cameraman, actors, hair person, make-up person, wardrobe person, 1st AD, 2nd AD, 3rd AD, runner, another runner, gaffer, assistant gaffer, camera assistant, production designer, production designer's assistant, spark, assistant spark, carpenter, assistant carpenter, catering chief, catering assistant... there's more but you get the idea.

This is why not everyone can talk to the director.

It slightly annoys me that account handlers think it's laughable that they have to 'go through the producer'.

A lot of people on a shoot have to go through someone else to get to the director.

It's a numbers thing, that's all.

Who is right?

Well, obviously I am. But what do you think?

17 comments:

copyranter said...

If it's at all possible, the client should be told the shoot's on LA when it's actually in NYC, then you set up a fake shoot in LA, with no film in the cameras, but with a very nice catering table.

simon said...

In a previous life I was a director. Commercials, films and documentaries.

A shoot can ONLY work if the director is left alone to focus on the job in hand. It's a lot like trying to concentrate on something in an open plan office with phones ringing a people interrupting you all the time, you'll get the job done but it'll take longer and your constantly get pulled out of 'the zone'. Coupled with the fact the job in hand is actually several; working with actors, composing shots, considering lighting, considering set up and dealing a hundred limitations, looking at rushes, dealing with the next days problems before they arise etc

Shoots are expensive, partly because of all the people you have employed at that time. As such you are under extraordinary pressure to deliver and deliver quickly. People who don't fully understand what is happening on a set assume that the long periods between takes are when people just slouch around, when in truth this is when the real work happens.

NP said...

Hey, no fair (it wasn't a bust up was it?) you've worked all over the place, won stacks of awards, given useful advice to hordes of people and I....haven't. Guess who'll they'll side with? At least we'll all learn something.
On balance I'd largely agree too.
I'll go back to bribing housewives with digestives in a sec, but first I'll just add my original reply, in the interests of balance:
"Fair point as always, maybe I shouldn't have compared a shoot to casting. I wasn't sure about posting about this, but at least it gives you the chance to set us straight.
I just wanted to point out that it was useful being able to share some views, but I'm older and wider than I was back then - I'll only speak if it's going to be useful.
I was a bad account person anyway, probably because I found account people funnier than directors.
It didn't always seem just about numbers, occasionally it seemed an ego thing"

Scamp said...

Oops, sorry NP, I didn't mean to jump on your case or anything.

You are well known lovely bloke and not even a suit any more.

I am talking of course about account handlers (and clients) in general, not you specific

Marcus Brown said...

Scamp - you back off NP you hear. Back off. Otherwise I'll get the sausage posse on your case.

writer said...

Some directors here would tell anyone apart from the writer and art director to fuck off.

(Posted accidentally at NP first while I was still on the link.)

np said...

We've done it now, Marcus is angry;-)

Scamp, you're fine by me. I don't see the point of this blogging lark unless we get to share what we think.

Nick said...

I'm rather of the camp that the client - being the person who has commisioned the ad in the first place and the one paying for it - has every right to have direct access to the director.

Sure, you don't want them meddling for the sake of it. Or even making last minute "suggestions" or amends. The account person should be there to help filter these comments.

But to say the person holding the purse strings has no right to bother the auteur as they create their masterpiece is a rather egoisitic standpoint.

Eugen Suman said...

@nick

the guy holding the purse finished his job when he said: i like this idea, go do it. it's no longer his job anymore. what the hell is he doing on the set anyway? other than screw it all up, of course.

Marcus Brown said...

Not Angry me. Just keeping an eye on things.

Nick said...

"what the hell is he doing on the set anyway? other than screw it all up, of course."

Hmmm. I presume this is tongue in cheek. But it does rather insinuate that you beleive the client is an idiot.

I feel a blog post coming on... :-)

jonesy said...

Client: "Can I look through the camera?"

Director: "Oh, of course... it's a little known fact that some of the world's best cinematography is the result of input from arrogant, pin-headed business school grads like yourself..."

(Shamelessly ripped from 'The Reel Truth')

Eugen Suman said...

@nick

Of course the client isn't an idiot ( at least not all of them are). But they need to know when their job ends.

Anonymous said...

isn't the client the producer?

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