While reception to one of his recent films, Alien: Covenant, is debatable, there’s no doubt that Ridley Scott is one of the big, hardworking directors in the movie business right now. This year alone, he released Alien: Covenant and All the Money in the World, and in spite of his 80 years of age, he still seems busier (and more productive) than ever.
More than perhaps any other director I’ve seen, Scott places a huge emphasis on preparation. Many others, while they still prep, there is still a lot of emphasis on intuition, but that seems to go against Scott’s own personal philosophy. In fact, Scott believes that preparation should be so thorough that directors need not even sit in on editing or mixing sessions, as he told an audience of young filmmakers at BAFTA: A Life in Pictures.
“If you sit in the editing room with the editor every night you’ll drive each other crazy. I shoot. I see rushes. I leave it.”
This approach is one of the reasons why he’s able to make so many films at his ripe old age, but there are other perks to being well-prepared, as well. Some may argue that 2015’s The Martian was one of Scott’s best movies, and during a roundtable interview at the time, he was asked what his biggest challenge was for the film.
Scott’s answer was that there was absolutely nothing that went wrong. So prepared was he that the actual production went smooth as butter. Of course, we can’t all be Ridley Scott, but it’s certainly something to strive for, right?
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