Quotes: Protection from Editors

Rikk (impersonating Anakin): "I don't like sand, heh-heh. It's coarse and rough and irritating and it gets heh-heh evvverywhere. Here everything is soft and smooth, wink wink, nudge nudge, knowhuddimean, knowhuddimean?"
Rumy: Lucas makes me afraid. He's what happens when artists stop seeking criticism. Promise me you'll tell me when my own work is bad?
— T. Campbell's Fans!, on "Star Wars Episode II"

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    Web animation 

Sometimes I think the Metal Gear franchise is like Jim Carrey in The Truman Show: It’s this loud wacky dipshit in dire need of an editor who lives in the little world of his own surrounded by people reassuring him that “No, MGS4 was totally a touching emotional character drama, especially when the funny man did the big poo in his pants”. And every now and again someone tries to parachute in wearing a t-shirt saying "EVERYONE'S TAKING THE PISS" but get swiftly bundled out of sight by a dogwalker and a Sony executive.

    Web Original 

Released in the wake of the success of Star Wars, Star Trek The Motion Picture had proved a financial success for the studio. However, the popular consensus on the film was less than flattering. Paramount decided to move ahead with a sequel, but a sequel that would be produced on a much tighter budget..Paramount made a very conscious decision to side-line Gene Roddenberry, who had been one of the driving creative forces behind the transition from the small screen to the silver screen. Given that his plot ideas for the sequel included gems like “Spock shoots JFK”, perhaps shuffling Roddenberry as far from influence as humanly possible was a shrewd decision, as the studio pushed him into a generic (and neutered) “consultant” role.

Surround yourself with people who’re too afraid to question you, spend a few years having smoke piped up your ricker by studios who’ll let you get away with whatever you want, and believe in all of the magazine covers and hype about being ‘The New Spielberg,’ and the twentieth draft never comes. The second or third draft; that’s good enough. 'Monkey in a human suit, I’ve nailed it! M. Night does it again, yeah boiii!' And those terrible reviews and negative critics, well, it’s all persecution. 'Oh, they hate my movies because my name’s on them.'

Here’s the deal: This is a pretty good Tim Burton movie. It’s an awful Batman movie. It misunderstands basically every aspect of the character. It’s the product of, quite possibly, the most Hollywood-eccentric creative team of all time: Jon Peters, Tim Burton and PRINCE...I imagine this was largely because Tim Burton ended every conversation with 'F*** you, I’m Tim F***ing Burton and I can do whatever I want.'
Chris Sims and David Uzumeri on Batman

I would still like to see Jennifer Lynch direct a movie without that terrible screenwriter she always drags along also coincidentially named Jennifer Lynch.
Miles Antwiler on Surveillance (2008)

...after American Gods, Gaiman’s career kind of loses momentum, consisting mainly of things that feel safe and like what one would expect from Gaiman. It’s not that Gaiman is writing bad stuff in any meaningful sense, but it felt in many ways like he had become a predictable writer who was going to turn out subtle variations of the same basic thing. Eventually, for a variety of reasons, this changed and he entered a new and largely more interesting phase of his career, and while The Doctor’s Wife can’t reasonably be said to be singlehandedly responsible for that, it is nevertheless a significant transitional moment.

Much of this, one suspects, comes down to the fact that Neil Gaiman found himself with something he’d not really had to deal with since American Gods: someone who could edit him with real authority. This doesn’t happen to major writers late in their careers very often, but in this case Gaiman is working under someone who is every bit as good a writer as he is. There’s a palpable sense of Gaiman having to up his game here and push himself, and it pays off with an episode that’s not just one of the absolute best Doctor Who stories of all time, but a high point of Gaiman’s career.
Dr. Phil Sandifer on Doctor Who ("The Doctor's Wife")

The whole sequence with the Weevil makes me grind my teeth because it is so lacking in any refinement. It has nothing to do with the story itself (it is merely the excuse why Torchwood is visiting the hospital but it could have been any number of other, less ridiculous, reasons). Surely a highly trained police officer would recognise that even from a distance that this creature is not a person. Surely she wouldn’t go storming towards it. And the throat ripping nastiness that ensues is simply there to show how far that this show is willing to go in order to repulse its audience, and is completely unnecessary. This scene is symptomatic of all Torchwood’s problems — it is the series’ flaws in a microcosm. Not thought through well enough, and with no kind of censor... I remember being quite miffed after watching 90 minutes of generally badly judged television and wondering how Russell T Davies could have got it so wrong.

If you want to know what happens to a kid who never gets told 'No,' look at Seth MacFarlane's career. The resurrection of Family Guy was the worst thing to happen to his ego, because it was basically a way for him to tell himself 'Hey, I was right. All of the higher-ups who said the show was too weird, or that not enough people watched it, or that I was more obsessed with making obscure references than I was with telling stories and, occasionally, jokes — that was ALL HORSESHIT. I never should have doubted myself.'' And I never will again.

Here’s Yoji Shinkawa. It’s not widely known, but this is the guy pretty much responsible for making Metal Gear Solid so damn cool. His official title was Illustration Director, but this really doesn’t do him justice at all... Kojima wanted a much older, hard-boiled, and 'dandy' Snake, but Shinkawa insisted on him being younger. That’s why Snake is as agile, capable and strong as he is. If Kojima had his way, Solid Snake would have been over 40, slow, and… 'dandy'. I don’t know if you know what dandy means, but it refers to being fashionable and concerned with appearances. Would he have been the kind of guy who checks himself out in the mirror and combs his hair after a fight? Maybe he’d say stuff like 'Watch the shoes, kid' or “Now look, you got blood on my new suit'...In other words, we wouldn’t have gotten the epic blend of Wolverine and James Bond that we know and love; we probably would just have ended up with Harrison Ford.

What else did Shinkawa do to make the game so cool? It turns out he single-handedly spared Otacon from being a fat, stereotypical dummy. He wasn’t even supposed to be smart? Otacon has ended up being a major character in two more games since the first Metal Gear Solid! Can you imagine a fat, stupid Otacon eating a chocolate bar becoming so popular? ... when you really think about the amount of impact that Shinkawa had on the most popular aspects of the game, it makes you wonder whether it could have been half the success it was if Kojima had been left unchallenged.
Terry Wolf, "The Selfish Meme"

    Web Video 

At the screening of the movie for the first time, everyone in attendance looks just as baffled at the clusterfuck as we were. George admits to throwing too much out there; the editor then attempts to explain pacing, and why four scenes with totally different emotional tones don't work well together—but he kinda realizes he's wasting his time, so he stops; Rick McCallum is frozen in utter shock at how horrible the movie was. Internally he regrets not challenging Lucas on some of the things he was worried about... Later on, after everyone started drinking, Lucas attempts to explain his newly-minted bowel movement as 'bold', and 'extreme!', uhh, 'stylistic'!

Yahtzee: I guess Peter Molyneux's problem is that he didn't really belong in a world with no parameters.
Gabriel: Yes, the classic problem: If you have loads of energy and infinite dreams, you need parameters.
Yahtzee: Parameters promote creativity, and with the parameters he was given in 2-D, he could make stuff like... Theme Park and Dungeon Keeper!
Gabriel: Populous!
Yahtzee: But when was given no parameters—or near as no parameters as you can get when gaming technology developed—he was making Fable; and suddenly his role in gaming, which was to make the most of what we had, was obsolete.

I get the feeling that Vince Mcmahon should be eternally grateful to Vince Russo and Eric Bischoff, because it was their dumbfuckery which made the Monday Night War at all significant. If they just stood by and did nothing and just let Vince McMahon run his own show, it would be Hulk Hogan for Wrestlmania XVI main eventing against whoever, and nothing would change. You'd still have the same old people doing the same old schtick, and no one getting elevated.

    Real Life 

3) When I'm Famous, I Won't Have to Deal with Editors
This doesn't happen often. If you are lucky, it will never happen to you.

No one edits. I edit. I refuse to be edited.
Harold Bloom

This is my Metal Gear, and I can destroy it if I want to.

Totalitarian? The BBC? Seriously? The other day I had to BEG a meeting with [BBC1 controller] Jay Hunt, just so I could explain what we're spending all her money on in Doctor Who. She said it all sounded very nice and sent me off to play.

That's more than creative freedom, that's being turned loose in the wild. Frankly, I'm scared and want someone to tell me what to do. I might even have an epiphany.

It's my job to find potential in things that might not on the surface seem to have any, and it is their job to be skeptical and question all ideas to make sure they measure up.

I have a very good track record when it comes to Magic design. I have designed numerous very popular sets. I have designed a lot of successful cards and mechanics. I have probably been responsible for more innovations in Magic design than any other designer in history. You know one of the worst things R&D could probably do—just let me do whatever I want.

Before the public sees any syndicated cartoons, they're first screened by an editor or two for potential problems. And editors, I'm convinced, have saved my career many times by their decisions not to publish certain cartoons.

"Speaking as a freelancer, some of us have really boneheaded ideas that need to be challenged and changed. One writer, for instance, wanted there to be 3,000 Solars, 3,000 Lunars, 1,000 Sidereals and over a million [Dragon-Blooded], all destroyed in the Three Spheres Cataclysm at the end of the Primordial War. The remaining Celestials in Creation wandered around acting like, quote, "Billy Badass," oblivious to the fact that they'd be paste next to the Primordials."

"He needed to be reminded that the name of the game is Exalted, not You're a Useless Bitch Next to the Yozis."
Neall Raemonn Price

I discovered that editing is really another word for someone ruthlessly tearing apart your work with a big smile, all the while telling you that it will make the book so much better. And it did, though it felt like splinters of hot bamboo being driven into my tender eyeballs.
Christopher Paolini, on the editing of Eragon

He convinces them [WCW] that he's responsible for Vince McMahon's success. You know, Vince McMahon was a millionaire before he met Vince Russo. He had "Stone Cold" Steve Austin. He had The Rock. He had the best announcer. He had the best television studio. He had the best office staff. They got the smartest secretaries, for god's sake...Aw, and he was so underappreciated. He wasn't given the credit that he deserved, that he was responsible for. Nobody recognized him. You know what they're 'recognizing' now? What Vince Russo's shit looks like when he didn't have Vince McMahon standing over him saying, 'You know, those twenty-four ideas are real bullshit, but I'll take this good one.

It's telling that when a filmmaker succeeds in running his own studio, it's because he's learned to let his inner businessman veto his inner artiste. Coppola ran Zoetrope with his heart. It nearly destroyed him. Steven Spielberg runs DreamWorks with his brain, a decision that leads to much healthier returns on investment.

Bob just thought the Antichrist was trying to destroy his art. They were well-meaning people who wanted him to get what he deserved, which was a big commercial hit. But when it came down to the art or the money, he was with the art.
Robert Dornhelm, on Robert Altman's insistence on editing his own films

Matt Stone: You need people in your life, as somebody who does comedy—and even Star Wars. You need someone to say "No, that's not very good", someone who's gonna be honest with you. And probably George Lucas was in a big room of liars, with everyone sitting there, going "This is great, George!"
Trey Parker: Cause there's no way that anyone with half a brain could have read that script and thought it was good. Any one of them, I mean, they're awful.
Trey Parker and Matt Stone on George Lucas retroactively editing the Star Wars trilogy.