John Faber is an Old-Fashined Director determined to make good films without being a tyrant to his cast and crew. However, he's brought down by profit-driven producers, uppity stars and self-confident crew members who are against director intervention.
Derek Bush looked at the set, then at John Faber, then at the set again.
"Y'know, maybe we should scrap the storyboard for this scene."
Faber smiled encouragingly at his director of photography. He always smiled encouragingly whenever someone, anyone, came up to him with a suggestion.
After all, Faber didn't want to be a tyrant. He never used the "a film by" credit. He never screamed at his crew for not doing everything exactly as he wanted. In fact, he didn't tell everyone on the set how to do their jobs. He'd never made Ed Harris cry.
James Cameron reportedly did all of these things. And he'd just made the most financially successful film in the world. And now he was so rich that if his hundred dollar bills were bullets, he could load all of them into a minigun and it'd take two centuries of continuous shooting to empty it.
But Faber was determined to get to the same position by different means. Faber was a very stubborn man. Also quite stupid.
Faber did his best to make the question sound genuinely curious and inviting, rather than challenging, even though the latter was his true intention.
Derek licked his upper lip, always a sign of incoming long-winded bullshit.
"Y'know, in this scene, Brad says somethin' important, yknow? Somethin' ominous, y'know? And the camera just stays there, y'know? It doesn't react at all. There's Brad deliverin' the movie's big twist, y'know, and the camera don't move an inch, y'know? Feels kinda hollow."
Faber forced himself to nod understandingly.
"The camera doesn't move, Derek, because it's an inanimate object. Not a character. Not a part of the story. Why should it react to Brad saying anything?"
"To mirror the audience's reaction, y'know?"
If James Cameron lost a hundred dollars every time Derek said "y'know", he'd probably be out of money in less time than if he'd used the minigun.
Faber nodded again.
"And assuming we did this, why should we scrap the storyboard?"
"I think it's too still, y'know? The storyboard. Not enough movement, y'know?"
"What, were you expecting the pictures on a piece of paper to move?"
"Nah, but y'know, maybe we should use preevees, instead?"
"I don't use Pre-Vis."
Faber was an Old-Fashioned Director. He'd sooner force a stunt double to throw himself off a building and dive through five hoops on fire into a pool filled with sharks than use CGI. He would, if the producers hadn't put all the stunt double budget on the CGI team, but hey, it was Faber's first film. Later in his career he'd be in a position to tell the producers to fuck off because he'd be the producer, and he'd be working with directors of photography such as Roger Deakins instead of Derek fucking Bush.
But the producers had let Faber work with a storyboard rather than Pre-Vis, and that was a victory no-one was going to take away from him.
Derek scratched his head.
"I still think there's too little movement."
"The camera doesn't need to react. There's enough information in the scene for the audience to react to, more would be overdoing it. Can we move on? Brad, Chris and Jennifer are gonna be back from lunch soon, and if we don't have the scene ready, they're not gonna be pleased. You know how touchy Chris tends to be with directors of photography."
"He's touchy with everythin', y'know?"
"He's a dedicated actor. You saw how much weight he lost for the role."
"His character is a fat slob."
"Yes, and when we told him that, he gained twice the weight he lost in only three days."
"And, y'know, spent two weeks in a hospital, a month on a wheelchair and delayed production."
"I appreciate his dedication anyway. Can we move on?"
"I still, y'know? I still think we should make the camera --"
Derek stared speechless at Faber. Then licked his upper lip and threw his PDA on the floor.
"Fuck you! I spent a decade studying the art of visual storytelling! I had to learn the twelve different meanings of every color, I had to learn how to compose a frame, I had to learn how to film Jessica Alba naked without showing her naked bits, hell, I had to learn how to film Jessica Alba and make it look like she knows how to act, I had to learn what rack focus, soft focus, and whatever focus means and now I have a wannabe Orson Welles whose previous job was assistant director to Paul W. S. Anderson telling me how to do my job?!"
He paused to catch his breath.
"You know how long it's been since I had sex?!"
He paused again.
"Forget that. I mean, y'know, the last part. But everything else, y'know, I mean it."
"What's all this about?"
It was Chris, worming his way through the crew, which had surrounded Faber and Derek to watch the show.
Derek grinned sarcastically, licking his upper lip.
"Oh, and look who's here! Mr. Method Actor! Mr. Crash Diet! Mr. I Abuse Directors Of Photography!"
Chris closed his eyes.
"Oh, shit, not this again. Look, that was a bad day I was having."
"Really? Had the doctor forced you to eat something that day?"
"Had someone told you your Batman throat-cancer voice sounds fucking stupid?"
"Hey, now that's --"
"Had someone reminded you you're Welsh?"
And at least a dozen members of the crew were Welsh.
Faber sat down on his director's chair and admired the set being destroyed by a massive brawl. He thought he saw Derek's head bouncing off the floor, which was a lucky fate in comparison to the last person who'd reminded Chris he was Welsh.