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Richard Ragon

Notes to the crew, from Fincher

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The sound recordist ( you can't really call him a sound mixer) isn't doing anyone a favour by doing everything himself and before long this will become the norm.

Malcolm Davies A.m.p.s. CAS

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Personally not a fan of his films. They come off as soulless to me. Average performances at best. I only worked for him twice, (commercials), and he knows everything. Just ask him. Or wait a few and he will tell you.

CrewC

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Actually, even as someone with a strong work ethic, the attitude of: "a blu-ray is forever, therefore it doesn't matter if a crew member gets killed driving home after an eighteen hour work day" is not an attitude that favorably impresses me.

Plus, then add the fact that after twelve to fourteen hours or so, work performance diminishes, and the alleged perfectionist argument goes out the window. It becomes something other than a drive for perfection.

Lack of care for the people you work with speaks volumes about an individual.

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The only thing I fully agree with is that it is the crew's job to make the process as smooth and as helpful to the performers as possible. We've all been on sets where the actors are treated as merely meat puppets, and 3d objects that reflect and absorb light. Having said that, I don't agree with his attitude about treatment of the rest of the team. It should be a collaborative experience for all. I've been lucky to have worked on nice, calm sets where everybody's on the same page and we are finished at a reasonable time. not lately though.

Can't we all just get along? Better sign off before the Valium wears off.

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What an "A"hole---the writer of the article and the director----understand that the director may have a year off before his next project but the crew members have to go to the next job as soon as possible because they don't make the "big" money----please

 

                                                                   J.D.

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Nothing in there really struck me as unusual and I kind of welcomed his forthright statements.

Fincher may come across as arrogant but that's the demeanor of directors and it's their vision and project. It's part of getting what they need done and if every department needs to have a say on every nuanced change then they are in the wrong business. Most of those changes seem to get missed by folks on their phones between takes from where I sit. 

Yes, everyone gets tired and all but he doesn't stand out to me as a particularly over demanding taskmaster doing things that aren't potentially useful in order to exert his power or control. We can't presume to know what they are going for or what may work when the scene gets into the edit room or how it all fits together in the overall cadence of the project.. It's easy to second guess why we shoot things many times but i really try to avoid that territory as it will ruin my day with resentment and grumbling.

And I like and relate to the stance of us facilitating the performance rather than the other way around. Nowadays, for better or worse, we are having to deal with changes and differences from take to take. Buzzed shots, shadows and the like happen. We're all human. Lighten up. We're all out here trying our best and let's keep moving forward without throwing anyone under the bus.

 

I can't figure out why this got everyone's panties all bunched up.

 

Scott Harber

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Scott, the things you said, I agree with.

Choosing, "blu-ray is forever" over crew safety I don't agree with.

 

I also believe that fostering an atmosphere where everyone feels a worthwhile part of a project results in greater dedication and loyalty, and is a good business decision that coincides with positive Karma points.

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I read it again and I didn't see him saying that safety was something he was willing forgo.

Workplace safety is the job of production and the AD dept is paid to engage those concerns. If they don't reel that director in, then it's on them. The AD's are the point person for safety concerns both legally and in planning out the day. The director is going to do everything they can to achieve what he wants. Hopefully in a reasonable way. The AD's and production have to weigh cost, what's doable, safety and all that other crap they have to think about.

 

From all accounts I've heard, Fincher is an intense, focused and highly engaged director. His job shouldn't revolve around people being tired unless his returns are diminishing and he basically says as much. I don't see him saying anything about blue ray trumping safety concerns but folks seem to want to run with that statement that I don't see.

 

Scott

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There are different types of leadership in my experience. The one thing they all have in common is it always flows from the top down through the ranks. Finchers 1st  AD is a coke head who would stab himself in the back if he thought his boss wanted him to. He will certainly throw any and all under the bus is my experience with him away from Fincher.  I wouldn't count on him to lookout for my safety or well being. They say you can judge someone by the company they keep. I know, respect, and call  Fincher's Cameraman a friend. His choice for 1st AD is terrible at his job and not a good person IMO. So what does that say about Fincher?  Not sure it matters what we or his crew think about him. All I know is I don't like his films. He is overrated without the help of a good screenwriter like Aaron Sorkin. 

CrewC

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No surprise here, but I agree with my much older brother Crew: Fincher's AD will be responsible for someone dying before his career is over...which cannot come soon enough, in my opinion. I've known him for years, and I wouldn't for a minute put my safety in his trembling hands.

Moe

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I may speak for myself, but I started in the business because I like making movies. It's fun.

 

When people create a miserable working environment for whatever reason (lowball rate, obscene hours, dangerous sets), they are the ones who are robbing you of your longevity. They will burn you the hell out and they don't care because there are 7 other kids right out of AFI ready to do your job.

 

Those people are monsters, and it's hard to swallow when monsters become successful.

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I read it again and I didn't see him saying that safety was something he was willing forgo.

...

 

Re-read number 3, titled:

"3. Fincher Doesn’t Care that You’re Tired"

followed by:

"They asked if Fincher cared. He didn’t."

followed by:

"But Fincher raises a good point: the blu-ray is forever. Maybe you don’t care that there’s more coverage needed, but he has to go into the edit bay and squeeze out a scene that’s OK for people to watch over and over again.

So, which is a higher priority for the director: you getting sleep or the perpetuity of his art?

Yeah, you’re on the wrong end of that one."

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Totally agree with JB on this one. It also seems that the writer is insinuating that this is the only way good films are made, so if you don't like it you might as well expect to work on crap films for the set of your career. As Chris pointed out, that is definitely not the case. There are plenty of directors making amazing films, and shows without acting like dbags throughout the process. Same goes for DP's, and for sound mixers for that matter. There are talented ass holes and talented laid back, chill men and women. Being an inconsiderate prick is not inherent to the job. It's how you choose to do it.

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It's weird they spend a lot of time talking about shooting for iPads and phones. I'm guessing that's just him speaking off the cuff and not a production attitude. I think a lot of people watch Netflix streaming on a TV via one of the dozen or more methods.

I think Netflix through my AppleTV on a real tv is less compressed than broadcast tv is when it comes through my cable box. Also, I think a lot of tablets and even some phones have more pixels than most flat panel TVs out there.

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Do you have a crew rep that can put these issues to the producers?

 

This about team work guys and a crew that is not happy will not be doing their best.

 

I know it well am am a well seasoned crew rep!

 

mike

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I take this entire thing with a grain of salt.  However, I do understand that some of the best directors in history, are a$$holes in which the crew hates.  I took it for 'buck it up, and don't complain' side.. happiness aside.

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If Fincher requires 60 takes and 18 hours in which to shoot to make his schedule, then his schedules need to be longer. Studios want fewer days in order to reduce rental. If they want Fincher to direct their movie, then he should be given the time he requires. If they want a shorter schedule, they should pick a different director. If he isn't hired because he takes too long to shoot, perhaps he'll adjust his method.

I like his movies, in general. I get that he wants "perfection", but at some point you have to consider your "employees".

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I don't understand how 18 hour days would make it cheaper . Even if the rentals are cheaper with fewer days, that'd be eaten up by overtime right?

Fincher shot a movie in Sweden not too long ago. We're used to working 9 hour days and everything above is overtime. We also have a lot more transparency between departments, so it's expected for us to help each other out. That goes for actors too. Swedish sets are more open.

The whole electrical department quit the Fincher shoot.

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I have a lot of friends that work on HOC, I would be very careful thinking that simply by reading a bloggers cherry picked quotes from a second year old online article to support the bloggers already stated opinion ( sound like anyone we know here? ), that you understand the way this set runs.  DF is not the director on HOC, he did the pilot and the 2nd EP on season 1 only.  I have heard only pretty kind things about how things run on that set, given the normal level of set pressures that working on series TV always brings, it sounds like a nice place to spend time. Cheers to Lorenzo Millan and his crew who are doing some great work on this show. 

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