Dear Auntie Em,
I am a film director, quite a well-known one at that, but have fallen into some bad habits when shooting my pictures. Firstly, over the years I’ve developed an inexplicable obsession with helicopters and slow-motion shots. My parents never did buy me the toy helicopter I wanted and now I feel some Freudian need to crowbar them into every film that I make. If I manage to combine a helicopter and a slow-motion shot in the same scene (that way the helicopter is on screen for a longer length of time) I consider it a good day. I also have become over-reliant on explosions. If I’m getting a bit bored with the way the plot is going I simply arrange to blow something up in the hope that it will resuscitate the narrative or, at the very least, the audience from the copter-coma I’ve undoubtedly put them in.
On top of all this I’ve become very reluctant to cut anything out of my finished films. A little voice keeps telling me that the editing room is full of clones. Murderous clones that want to steal my life, you know like in The 6th Day? I send things off to the studio knowing they’re at least an hour too long and they never say anything. In fact sometimes they tell me to add things on. On those days I have to lock myself in the cupboard and read the Emperor’s New Clothes over in over in the hope that it will give me the courage to admit how naked I truly am when it comes to making moving pictures. Somebody will surely see through me soon. People will stop buying tickets to see my films. My DVDs will end up in the bargain bin at K-Mart. Or ASDA as the Brits call it. I just don’t think I could take that kind of rejection.
Help me Auntie Em. I don’t think I’m in Kansas anymore and if I am there is no helicopter of hope in sight.
Coping with things we were denied as children is incredibly difficult but it is important to be able to control our regressive urges if we want to be successful in adulthood. It sounds to me as though you need a change of genre. Have you contemplated directing a film where it would be completely impossible to introduce a helicopter or in which slow-motion would look even more unnatural than it does in the films you currently direct? I know that on the face of it this might seem a frightening proposition but it could also be your release from trite action convention. Directing in a new genre will give you a fresh challenge enabling you to break old and destructive habits. When you think of it, it’s the lay person’s equivalent of a weekend away at the seaside.
When it comes to your fears of editing, my poor dear, I’m afraid you’re going to have to get a grip, or an assistant. If you can’t bring yourself to go into the editing room yourself you need to find somebody who can do it for you. A good film is as much about what the audience are not shown as what they are and if you don’t edit your work someone else inevitably will and post it on Youtube. There are few embarrassments worse in this world and given the tone of your letter I don’t think that such a nasty shock would be good for you. Act now and you can prevent the worst from happening. Nobody needs another Titanic.
If you have a film-related quandry that you don’t know how to solve write to Auntie Em at NewEmpressMagazine@gmail.com. The best letter we receive will be printed in our magazine.