A story emerged this week that Quentin Tarantino was upset that his latest script was leaked from a close set of trusted confidantes, leading him to abandon the project. A friend asked me how I felt about it, saying it was the absolute antithesis of how we’ve approached ‘The Confusion of Tongues’.
Personally, I can understand Quentin’s frustration, because someone ‘leaking’ your script can have all kinds of consequences for a project further down the line, especially when negotiating deals. Producing films often requires this ‘watertight’ secrecy because there is often so much bullshit that can sink a project if it ever came to light. Budgets and contracts are often developed in secrecy and unleashed when everything is all firmed up, and then a narrative is put in place that means it all went smoothly. “I really wanted to work with X” says Y in the publicity, when in reality Y didn’t want to get out of bed for less than £1m, which contradicts the ‘really wanted to work’ statement. It’s bullshit.
I want to be transparent about the extent of our transparency. Whilst we won’t be paying anyone £1m to get out of bed and then pretend that we are best of friends, the fact remains that we have to work with various different parties and sponsors in order to make the project happen. People may do favours but don’t want to favour publicised in order to prevent the rest of the world expecting the same. There is secrecy in the 72 Project too I’m afraid.
Hollywood often considers the script to be the ASSET that brings in other ASSETS like cast and key crew. The film then becomes the ASSET and then it is sold to you, which is why they hate piracy. They build these ASSETS together in order to attract your eyeballs. And the only feedback method you have with Hollywood is your eyeballs and your feet. If you don’t go and watch it, they’ll try again with a different film. Incidentally, a filmmaker that gets headlines when a script is leaked or when he’s interviewed for television, arguably reinforces his own position as an ASSET too. Because it gets eyeballs.
Your eyeballs are therefore very powerful. The problem is, you’re only supposed to see what they want you to see, which is why ‘leaks’ are a problem. Obviously ‘transparency’ means you are supposed to see it all, but in reality, some things have to be held in the black box in order for it to work.
Paradoxically, I hope that our honesty about this is ‘transparent’. Quentin didn’t need his script leaked in order to promote his new film, hence his anger. We do need to share our script in order to engage and promote ours.