Thursday, September 25, 2008

Spike Lee Quote

Spike Lee is interviewed at While this quote does not relate directly to animation, it does relate to the larger film industry that animation operates in.
People try to pretend like they have the answers. They don't have the answers. Man, I still think William Goldman had the best quote ever: "Nobody knows nothing." When I sit across the table from these executives and they're telling me stuff, in my mind I'm saying, "You don't know what you're talking about. You don't have a crystal ball. You don't know what this thing can do. All you're thinking about is saving your neck and your job."

I understand that self-preservation is Rule No. 1, but I don't have a lot of respect for these people. I'd rather they said, "I'm doing this because I got to save my job." That I can respect. But when it comes to aesthetics, or film history, or what's happening, they don't know.


Mr. Semaj said...

As much as I disagree with Spike Lee's typical frame of thought, he's got a good point that the tail shouldn't wag the dog.

Jenny Lerew said...

With all due respect to Spike Lee, this has got to be the most unoriginal thought that an experienced and successful filmmaker could possibly express.

And to be the devil's advocate for a minute--he really, really would feel better if those execs whose job it is to wrangle film directors and film producers working on megamilliondollar studio projects(or indies for that matter)just "...said, "I'm doing this because I got to save my job.""? I don't buy it.
They know why they do it and so does Lee--so why should they have to abase themselves and say it out loud for him to feel better or "respect" them? I'm rolling my eyes into the ceiling here.
Spike Lee has made some great movies, he's probably a pretty fun guy to hang out with too--but I usually grind my teeth reading his self-aggrandizing interviews.

He should have left it at the re-quoting of the great Goldman. That's enough to make his point.

Steve Schnier said...

It's not just the film business. The same "nobody knows anything" holds true in all businesses.

The truth is, there are a million factors that determine if a movie will be a hit or a flop. You can't account for them all.

That said, it's the role of the filmmaker, executive, etc., to use their expertise and make their best educated guess.

Paul said...

His take on it is rather cynical - attributing the producers' motives to self preservation. But there is something to be said for his point.

A lot of otherwise good films are ruined by second guessing and pandering to focus groups. There is an element of luck in film. No producer or director can predict the future. Some films are surprise hits. Others are surprise flops. If you're going to sacrifice quality for ticket sales, you'd better be darn sure you know what you're doing. You could wind up losing both.