Head Leader

So here it is. I’m writing a blog, but who am I? Guy Ducker’s the name – writer, director, editor and general all-around filmmaker. And why are you interested in a word I have to say? Well, I’ll tell you.

I’ve been around the movie business for a decade or so, splitting my time between working to get my own projects funded so that I can write and direct movies (by which the world will remember me) and earning a crust working in feature film cutting rooms. This split existence, both aspiring filmmaker and world-weary crew, gives me a useful perspective. I run with the hare and hunt with the hounds.

Ever watched a movie and thought “how the hell did that hit the screen?” Course you did. Well, I can not only pinpoint why the movie’s bad – you probably have a few ideas about that yourself – but where it went wrong and often what could have been done to put it right.  I can also guess why it was picked up in the first place. Think of me as a filmic forensics officer. If it died, and it’s on my beat, I’ll tell you what killed it. And if you’re a filmmaker you’ll have the luxury of learning from other people’s mistakes without wasting a penny of your own hard-earned, or anyone else’s.

While I’ll write about issues related to directing and writing, much of this blog will be written from a film editor’s perspective. One of the key reasons to work with an editor (I’ll write more on this subject in future posts) is the detached perspective that we can offer. As a director I know how much blood sweat and tears went into the crafting of  the crane shot; as an editor I know that we no longer need it. I’ve worked in the cutting rooms of everything from big commercial hits like Calendar Girls and Harry Potter, and award-winners like The Warrior to utter dross like… well look here and judge for yourself.

When things go wrong in the cutting room

And the dross is important: it’s vital, taught me more than pretty much anything else. You learn ten times more from the ringside seat that you get in the cutting room of a real disaster movie than you ever do from working on a success story. Watch as the holes in the plot hidden by the writer gradually reveal themselves! Wince as day by day a poorly cast actor delivers the worst performance of their career like the severed fingers of a kidnapped heiress! Groan as the producers gradually lose faith in the project and insist that yards of voiceover is recorded in a vain attempt to explain the story to an audience who’ve been given no reason to care!

There’s much I’ve learned working in the cutting room and much I’m still to learn as I move forward towards directing my first feature. Join me on that journey.

So that’s what it’s going to be about, this blog: feature films, inside and out. How to make them and how to make them better.


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