That’s not the only question that a film needs to answer. An important one is, “What are the financial rewards for a good, quality film?” In most of the movies I make, I ask myself a similar question: “How much money are we asking for something that is a quality film that will make people go and see a movie?” If you don’t get a very good answer, then you’re not being honest. The answer is not very much; sometimes two or three times less than the budget. So how much are you asking for a quality movie? The answer depends of course on your budget, on the quality of your story line, on your director, on all the elements we have in terms of our talents, and on the people that are around you. The budget of a movie is different from the story line. A great story line needs a lot of money to make and a lot of people to work with. The budget is not the only thing that matters.
What should a screenplay for a director look like?
A very difficult question to answer. It depends of course on the filmmaker. A novelist writes a novel, you don’t, because you don’t have much to show. A film writer writes a screenplay, you do, because everything that is important is in the screenplay. I think it should be very detailed: a big set of rules, a good plot, a clear story. But it’s not a good indication of filmmaking. A story can be too big, too short, too funny, too sad, but a story can also end very abruptly. Or it can do nothing, it can be just a bunch of scenes. That’s how many films end: with a bang.
So it’s not necessarily the writer that should be paying attention to the script, but rather the director?
Of course, the writer is important. The director doesn’t need to know to write, he needs to be the director. But that’s not always true. Sometimes a story is too complex, too long, too crazy to shoot; sometimes a director, just at the time, doesn’t know the best way to start the story. On the other hand, in a short film, the writer will need that kind of feedback. I try to make sure there’s always a great story behind every shot. I work with great directors who are very aware of their short stories, the films that they wrote when they were very young, when they were not even filmmakers, when they were working