Today’s big-budget fare tend to take around 11 to 13 months to make once production has officially begun. This doesn’t include any of the developmental or script work, and this is assuming that you have a workable script to begin with. It’s not a bad timetable, but when you have someone like Ridley Scott working, it’s hard not to feel like the industry is moving much slower than they should.
Case in point: All the Money in the World. This is a film that Scott had to make big changes to. On the heels of sexual misconduct allegations against actor Kevin Spacey, Scott opted to go in and replace him within a month’s time of the film’s release. In fact, he accomplished the reshoots in nine days — and even he admits that it should have taken 23 or 24 days, but gives credit to his amazing crew.
When asked how he did it, he responded:
“You plan, you know exactly what it will look like, and I think it helps me enormously that I still do something as basic as storyboard my own stuff. It forces me, on paper, to make decisions. My boards are now insured for $6 million! I literally draw “wide shot,” “medium cross,” “long shot,” in detail. I’ll get a great frame, snap my fingers, and move on to the next one. You’re filming on paper before you even begin, so when I walk on set, I know exactly what I’m going to do. That gives me a confidence with the actors, and the actors smell it.”
As stated above, this isn’t quite the M.O. of Hollywood, which takes a significant amount of time to get things done. Scott acknowledged that he thinks movies take too long to get made nowadays.
“They shouldn’t, that’s why I do two a year. We did Alien: Covenant, which is a very complicated film, in 73 days. That would normally be 130 days. What the f**k are you doing, you know?”
Given all his experience, Scott definitely has an advantage over 90 percent of filmmakers out there, and seems to churn out movies like a machine. With all the years he’s had to learn his process and craft, I do think he underestimates just how exceptional he is, and how much time is spent in learning things on the fly as a new filmmaker.
What do you think of Scott’s comments? Do you think movies take too long to make? Let us know your thoughts down below!
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