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Troubled Production
"We were in the jungle, there were too many of us, we had access to too much money, too much equipment, and little by little we went insane."
Francis Ford Coppola, Hearts of Darkness (a documentary about the production of Apocalypse Now)

Sometimes, no matter the quality of the work itself, it just takes the creators so much effort and heartbreak to make it that at the end of it all, they can be forgiven for wondering to themselves "Was It Really Worth It?"

These sort of productions tend to range from complete disasters to the slightly more benign ones, but what they always have in common is frayed tempers, patience, screw-ups, delays and breakdowns. Reality Subtext may happen too. Both Protection from Editors and Executive Meddling can exacerbate this phenomenon. Epic Movies are particularly vulnerable to this. This trope always applies to small or start-up studios, due to how little experience the show runners or head businessmen have in running a new one.

Troubled Productions frequently will end up resulting in either:
  • Bloated, overindulgent disasters that become the laughingstock of public imagination
  • Something really, really awesome.

In the former case, the completely out-of-control production can serve as an explanation for why said work turned out like it is. And the latter just tends to make people admire the creators even more - hey, look, they went through all this bullshit that would make a normal dude probably give up and still created something great! In some cases, the insanity behind it might actually contribute to the quality of the finished product, in one way or another. It's exceedingly rare for a troubled production to result in a So Okay, It's Average product.

A few of those overlap with, and may often lead to, Development Hell and Vaporware, which is having trouble on starting the project. Others enter The Shelf of Movie Languishment after being finished. When concerning the music industry this can overlap with Music Is Politics, where the politics of the industry leads to this trope.

See also Movie Making Mess, the smaller-scale, amateur version of this.

As mentioned, a lot of the examples here tend to be famous for their quality, good or bad.



Release Date ChangeProduction ProcessWriter on Board
Production PosseCreator/John FrankenheimerWhat Could Have Been
Torch the Franchise and RunCreator Standpoint IndexValues Dissonance
Too SoonReal Life Writes the PlotWriters Strike
Traveling at the Speed of PlotCreator SpeakVillain-Based Franchise
Trope NamersTriviaType Casting

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