Empathetic directors

Following a train of thought, vis-a-vis the film industry (of course, and to generalise outrageously): producers and directors are (classically) Me people. (Just to be that in control of 20 or 200 or 2000 people, you’d have to be…) Screenwriters are (usually?) empathetic people. So the typical pre-production arrangement sees the screenwriter having his/her feelings trampled on, and the producer and director hardly noticing – especially when, as sometimes happens (Liability, for instance) it’s the screenwriter’s idea in the first place! Such is life… And the realistic screenwriters basically just go away, hope for the best – and write something else… (Which – if it’s ‘lucky’ enough – will in turn be shat on from a great height…)

Occasionally, a director may be empathetic (Stephen Frears, at least judging from his films). Occasionally, he/she will CLAIM to be that way, but still underneath be a Me person (Mike Leigh?). But mostly, they’re Me people and they just don’t care – or even KNOW – there’s an alternative (Alfred Hitchcock). Me people tend to wear out their ‘unique vision’ by 40 or – in exceptional circumstances – 60. Hitchcock was 64 when he released The Birds, his last good film. He went on directing for more than a decade afterwards, but just seemed less and less in touch.

Empathetic directors, few and far between, tend to be good for longer: witness Frears, who was 76 when he made A Very English Scandal…


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I had a stroke on July 26th, 2013. I was a screenwriter. Don’t do that anymore. But have found another way to write.

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