Saturday, September 29, 2007

Lambchop in La La Land

Investigating what it might take to succeed as a scenariste, I came across the following analysis of the role of the artist and the producer in David Mamet's Bambi vs. Godzilla: On the Nature, Purpose and Practice of the Movie business

"The artist is, in effect, a sort of gangster. He hitches up his trousers and goes into the guarded bank of the unconscious in an attempt to steal the gold of inspiration. The producer is like the getaway driver who sells the getaway car and waits outside the bank grinning about the deal he's made."

Artists, craftspeople and directors

CV: Experience as a ne'er do well

Medical history: Preferably Asperger's Syndrome. Surprisingly, Mamet fails to mention the inherent potential of manic depressive, obsessive compulsive and insomniac diagnoses

Motivation: Pleasure in creating something, doing the job well. Like a terrier gnawing on a bone, it's fundamentally what you do, an expression of who you are; you wouldn't be happy doing anything else.

Mythological archetype: The Trickster -- "characters who express or intuit the propensity to upset and so reorder the world on a different level of abstraction"

Paid your dues: "i.e.been seduced and abandoned sufficiently to tire of it"


Education: "The American educational system prepares those with second-rate intellects to thrive in a bureaucratic environment...the bureaucratic rigors of the studio system probe the neophyte's threshold for boredom, repetition, sychophancy and nonsense."

Origin/Family Values: "So let us assume someone's brother-in-law showed up in the palmy presound days of Hollywood, and his brother-in-law, a power on the lot or on the set, hoping to avoid a "touch," said "People, this is Bob and he is a producer." Bob was then, entitled, under the family flag, to all the sex, drugs and fun he could wrangle and to whatever he could hypothecate. Time went by and Bob stayed on. He, or another of his ilk, caught, stole, or otherwise achieved power in some niche of the industry and, having learned a good trick, one day appointed footmen of his own."

Modus Operandi: "This power exists, and can exist, only in potential--for should the committee ever come to conclusions, its task and so its operation as a bureaucratic fiefdom, would cease."

Growing Savvy: learning that success comes not from pleasing the audience, but from placating one's superiors, until such time as it is expedient to betray them.

Pinnacle of Success: getting rid of the artists and craftspeople; achieving the "art of producing nothing at all."

Nostalgia..."It is not that the fox has taken over the henhouse but, if I may, that the doorman has taken over the bordello. In the golden days of the madam (Harry Cohn et al.), the lives of the girls may not have been better, but the lives of the customers were. Why? Because the owner-proprietor knew that her job was simply and finally to please the customer. "

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