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Old October 13th 06, 14:49   #21
Joseph DeMartino
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Re: \"Changeling\" derailed or at least postponed

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We should have known better... it WAS in the LA Times, after all.
Note to self: Re-watch "The Illusion of Truth" tonight.



Joe
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Old October 14th 06, 20:06   #22
Recoil
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Re: Changling News

Thought some of you might like the excerpt from JMS's post last night in here, since it pertains to The Changling. This was taken from Hypatia's post in another thread:

Quote:
Fast follow-up....

*snip*
Blah, blah, B5:TLT news and other stuff referenced in another thread, blah, blah.
*snip*

Meanwhile, not only has the Universal feature deal noted in another
thread been finalized, so I'm writing that now, but the Paramount
feature deal has *also* been closed, so now there are two big-budget
feature screenplay assignments that I have to write, the first due by
late November/early December, the second one sometime to be delivered
shortly after the first of the year. A third assignment is kind of
nibbling around the edges which could be very cool, even though I
couldn't start writing it until I finish the other two, which means
it'd have to be spring 2007 to turn in the script if the assignment
comes in.


Finally, now that Ron has said it's okay to bring in other directors on
Changeling, there's been a small flood of a-list directors coming
around to try and pick up the assignment. Part of the attraction is
not just the script, but the acting talent involved...as noted in the
LA Times piece, Reece Witherspoon (and two other oscar-winning leading
female actors) are extremely interested in the lead role. I imagine
we'll start having meetings in the next few weeks to narrow down the
list of directors.


It's crazy-busy, but good.


jms

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Old October 14th 06, 21:04   #23
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Re: Changling News

Some of you folks know show busniss better than the rest of us, any educated guesses on which a-list director would come on to this?
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Old October 14th 06, 21:19   #24
Joseph DeMartino
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Re: Changling News

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Some of you folks know show busniss better than the rest of us, any educated guesses on which a-list director would come on to this?
None at all. I think anything at this point would be sheer guess-work since I doubt there is any publicly available information that would give anyone a clue. I really don't see the value of that kind of - well, it really isn't even speculation. I guess I could put together a list of any director who could be considered "A" list (which basically means "any director a member of the general public would recognize by name" plus a few obscure folks with cult-folllowings inside the industry) and say, "It will probably be one of these." But that would be the same as saying "A-list director". It would tell us exactly nothing about who is likely to do the film, or even who might be seriously considering it. Unless one of happens to be sitting at an "A-list" restuarant in L.A., or in first class on the red-eye to or from New York and actually see a director - one we recognize on sight - reading the script I'm not sure how we'd have anything useful to say on the subject. (And I don't think too many members of this board are likely to be in any of those places, or do any of those things )

I would say we can rule out Stephen Speilberg, because we know that he's already passed on the script once, being the one who sent it on to Ron Howard when he decided not to buy it for his own company.

Regards,

Joe
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Old October 14th 06, 21:58   #25
Mindwalker
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Re: Changling News

ok thanks Joe, I have a couple of questions if I may and since I have no idea of how to find this type of information...I'll ask on here.

Q#1: What kind of "Track Record" does This production company have?

Q#2: Somthing that popped into my head after hearing Tom Cruise was realeased from his contract, I am not sure on how to word it though so here goes, ask if you need more details or are unsure of what I am asking;

Do production companies/big movie companies (ie: WB or Universal) have long-term contracts with directors (ie: WB pays Speilberg $50 million but he has to direct 3 movies for the company) the way they do actors/actresses? or is it more along the lines of being on-call without being hired by the company?
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Old October 14th 06, 23:33   #26
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Re: Changling News

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Q#1: What kind of "Track Record" does This production company have?
Imagine Entertainment
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Old October 15th 06, 00:29   #27
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Re: Changling News

Oh, thanks Recoil. I didn't think to post it twice but it does have some good news about the Changling.
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Old October 15th 06, 01:08   #28
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Re: Changling News

Ah, Joe's just a wussy... I'll come right out and say I am absolutely certain that the director will be David Lynch!

Seriously, though, that's who I would like to direct it, and I think he should surely be considered A-list. But, it'll never happen. Oh, well...
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Old October 15th 06, 01:59   #29
Joseph DeMartino
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Re: Changling News

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Do production companies/big movie companies (ie: WB or Universal) have long-term contracts
Production companies (like Imagine and Babylonian Productions) and studios (Warner Bros., Paramount, Fox, Columbia) are different critters. Production companies started out life as accounting gimmicks and tax-avoidance mechanisms when the old studio system (where everyone was under contract and drew a salary whether they were shooting a picture or not) was breaking down. They were a way to give stars (later star directors) a way to have some degree of control over a project and to defer payments to themselves by having the company paid for services rendered on a given shoot in a lump sum, while collecting a salary as an "employee" of the company, thus spreading out the payments and reducing the tax burden. Later still production companies became "packagers", which would buy the script, line up the actors, attach a director and bring the whole thing to a studio all wrapped up in a neat bow and with a single price-tag attached. Agents became famous as packagers since it was to everybody's advantage (especially the agent's) to make sure the director, the stars and (sometimes) the writer were all clients of the same agency, because then they got to collect fees from everybody.

Among the many other differences, production companies usually do not have a physical plant the way a studio does. They don't have enormous sound stages, massive aircraft hangers full of props, furniture and costumes going back to the start of the 20th century or recording facilities, commissaries or fire departments and ambulance companies. (Seriously, if you ever have a chance to visit a major film studio in the U.S. or Europe, do it. I spent a half day each touring the Warner Bros. and Paramount lots and a full day as a guest of the VP of Home Entertainment at Fox and believe me, until you've actually been there you have no idea of the sheer scale of a studio operation. And all three are much reduced from what they were in the 1940s.)

That said - yes, studios have contracts with directors just as they do with stars. Typically neither is what you'd call "long term" and you're right, they are generally set forth in terms of "X number of pictures" rather than a period of time. Paramount (for instance) might sign a three picture deal with Alan Smithee. In addition to the fees they will actually pay Smithee for directing the pictures, this generally obligates the studio to pay Smithee some kind of stipend while he's considering properties, provide him with office space on the studio lot (usually assigned to his personal production company - see "tax dodges", above) and various support services. Some contracts aren't even exclusive. Smithee (or Cruise) may owe Paramount 3 films, but that doesn't mean they can't go off and work on a picture at Universal if an offer comes in.

But production companies don' t have such deals because they themselves are owned by the talent, (Imagine - Ron Howard, Malpasso - Clint Eastwood, Amblin' - Stephen Spielberg) and because they don't have the space or necessarily the cash flow to offer things like office space and logistics support. They're more likely to be have such space on the lot at Paramount or Universal than to provide such space to others under contract.

Basically since the studio system collapsed and the unions moved in in force, everybody's been a worker-for-hire and the whole economy of the town is built around that model. So an "X" picture deal is as close as anybody gets to a "long term" contract.

And none of this helps us narrow the list of directors down, because I'm not even sure if the project is still going to be done by Universal. Don't forget, Imagine itself bought the script. Now Howard may have a multi-film deal going at Universal, and that may be his first choice of studio if he were helming it (because it would count as one of the films he owes them), but if he selects someone who has a deal with Fox or Sony, the film could move there. Studios nowadays provide production facilities, sometimes financing and always distribution for major films, but they don't originate them as often as they used to, and with production companies and agents assembling packages projects that start out at one studio often end up at another, because the studio is often the most expendable part of the deal. (If you're building a home the location and the builder mean a hell of a lot more to you than the bank that's handling the mortgage. )

Regards,

Joe
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Old October 15th 06, 05:07   #30
Mindwalker
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Re: Changling News

Wow you must have been bored to type all that out. But seriously thanks for the info, got more than I was expecting and I learned somthing!

Do you work in the film industry Joe? or is it just a hobby?
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