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The working hours and first time directors
Michael Chapman Film-maker
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Slowly, I think, as those years went on, and as I got older – and this will happen to you too – I couldn't do the hours one after another anymore. I can't now. Now I don't even pretend I can. And, I keep... I mean, at my age, it's just... you know, the hours have gotten... I don't suppose the hours have really gotten worse. Supposedly in the old studio days, people used to sleep up in the permanents, because... and then just get the next morning and go to work because the hours were so long. But they... because I'm getting older, they seem longer and longer and longer to me; 14, 16 hours a day is... and it's... it's... I... I think it's because it's labor intensive in the sense that the money that you... the interest on the money borrowed to pay for the film is so much, that what you have to pay in overtime and everything to crew and people is nothing. So they simply try and get as... every day there must be hundreds of thousands of dollars interest on the money borrowed to make the movie, so they... it's just... and it's not a really good way to live, you know. And I find now that I can't... I can't do it as... as long or as many weeks per year as I once could.

But, fortunately, it's worked out, sort of, that I don't necessarily have to, and that I've done... over the last few years, I've tended to do shorter movies with first-time directors, or directors that were doing an American movie or a studio movie for the first time, and they would, sort of, give me... like Doc Hollywood. Michael Caton-Jones: that was his first American movie, and his first movie with a big studio and everything. And that... that was some years ago now, and I was younger then. But that sort of situation. In the last few years I've done two different movies. I did a movie with a writer who... you know, if they want a writer to do things, they'll say, ‘If you'll do this, I’ll... we'll get you a job to direct’, and every once in a while the writer will call them on it. And a New York comedy writer named Michael Clancy called them on it, and they... they got him to... they allowed him to direct a movie called Eulogy – a comedy that I shot. And... you know, I'd help to organize and things because... I... I don't mean that it's my movie – I don't mean that for a second – but that's a niche that I can full... fulfill quite well with younger directors, or... I just recently finished a movie written and directed [sic] by the actor David Duchovny, who turns out to be a very good writer... remarkable writer. And who would've known? But he really was quite remarkable. And, again, they had no pretence to know the mechanics of directing, although he directed a couple of episodes of his TV show, [The] X-Files. But I was able to help him out on that, and that's a very good niche for someone of my age. I'm very... quite happy doing that.

Michael Chapman, an American cinematographer, has had a huge influence on contemporary film-making, working on an impressive array of classic films including 'Taxi Driver', 'Raging Bull', 'The Lost Boys' and 'The Fugitive'.

Listeners: Glen Ade Brown

British Director of Photography and Camera Operator Glen Ade Brown settled in Los Angeles 10 years ago.

He has been working on features, commercials and reality TV. He played an instrumental role in the award-winning ABC Family series "Switched" and is also a recipient of the Telly and the Cine Golden Eagle awards for Best Cinematography. He was recently signed by the Judy Marks Agency and is now listed in her commercial roster.

Tags: Doc Hollywood, Eulogy, The X Files, Evolution, Michael Caton-Jones, Michael Clancy, David Duchovny

Duration: 2 minutes, 57 seconds

Date story recorded: May 2004

Date story went live: 29 September 2010