John Webster was my creative director for 10 years.
He taught me most of what I know.
He told me I had one big flaw.
“Your commercials are as good as they’re ever going to get at script stage. You never leave any room for creative accidents.”
To illustrate the point he told me a story.
Stanley Kubrick was making the movie, ‘2001’.
He was shooting the apes.
He had a second unit shooting the space station.
Rotating in space: the docking sequence.
This was a model, but Kubrick wanted to be sure it didn’t look like one.
So he wanted to see the previous day’s rushes.
Kubrick said, “Let’s see them with sound.”
The producer said they hadn’t had time to do the sound yet.
“What’s the sound going to be?” said Kubrick.
“The usual sort of metallic space communications.” said the producer.
Kubrick said, “Well I don’t want to watch the rushes mute. So just put some sound over the pictures.”
The producer said, “We haven’t got any sound at all.”
“Just dig around and find something. Anything.” said Kubrick.
So the producer looked around the deserted studios, and all he could find was an old vinyl recording of ‘The Blue Danube Waltz’ by Strauss.
So he shrugged and put it on.
Then they watched the rushes.
The producer cringed at how inappropriate the music was.
A 19th century soundtrack with 21st century visuals.
Kubrick simply watched.
Then after a while he said. “Do you know what? They’re going to call me a fucking genius when I use this in the movie.”
Like John said: you have to leave room for creative accidents.