Great television is about collaboration – that includes the director

by Peter D. Marshall



Last week, Mark Lawson wrote a blog titled Why television will never be a director’s medium. Here, Charles Sturridge, director of Brideshead Revisited and The No.1 Ladies’ Detective Agency, offers his response.

Great work needs vision which means exactly what it says: knowledge at the beginning of what the end will be like. This vision can exist in a single creative mind or be shared between several, but achieving it requires a unique mix of collaboration and leadership. The headline of Mark Lawson’s blog, ‘Why television will never be a director’s medium’, is both inaccurate and out of date. Inaccurate because its provocative use of the absolute denies many obvious exceptions, and out of date because it fails to acknowledge the revolution that is already underway in how we make and view programmes.

Any film (cinema or TV) is more than the sum of its parts. It’s not just money into light, as John Boorman memorably expressed it, but words, pictures, ideas, emotions, energy, inspiration and above all choices, stored within the sounds and images that we see on the screen. In a cinema film, and in some television programmes, there is only one director, and they are the only person who is common to every step of a complex process. Of course the film director is rarely alone as film-making is a series of intimate collaborations: director/producer, director/writer, director/actor, director/designer, director/sound mixer and so on; thousands of choices with one common denominator, which is why under UK law a director is considered an author, not of the script, not of the music, not of the design, but of the film.

Read the rest of this article from The Guardian.

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