Saturday, September 01, 2007

Directors You Didn't Know You Hated

Been meaning to link to The Onion's excellent article on "Directors You Didn't Know You Hated." There were only five listed in the print edition, but the online list is composed of a more generous ten. So much critical attention is spent on great directors (of course), but in some ways it seems just as important to be made aware of the worst "auteurs" working in Hollywood. I avoid these movies like the plague for the most part (though I thought Hairspray was pretty entertaining, though directed by one of this ten), but it's fascinating to see that there are long successful careers to be had in (allaged) mediocrity (or worse), while Hollywood gives so little employment to some of its best and brightest. On the other hand, I wonder if this article could be accused of snobbery.

And I came across this quote on the writing process from David Leavitt in an interesting blog interview:
TEV: Your lengthy acknowledgements testify to a considerable research period. Can you talk about those efforts, about where in the writing they came – for example, was it primarily conducted up front, or did continuing research inform the actual writing process and even necessitate change?

DL: Early on I realized that if I tried to do all the research before I started writing, I'd never start writing. There was simply too much to learn. As Hardy himself might have put it, research can become an "infinite regress." So I made what seems to me, in retrospect, to have been the audacious decision to write and research simultaneously. This was scary at first, in that it involved throwing prose down on the page when in many instances I didn't yet know what I was talking about or what I was describing. Later, as I got deeper into the book, both processes became easier.

Needless to say this approach involved a lot of backpedaling, as, time after time, the discovery of some new and irresistible nugget of historical information required me to revisit a chapter I thought I was done with. But this is not really all that different from the way that I usually write.



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