Opinion: Nollywood Director and the Burden of Master CU CU Action (MCCA)





By Chima Okereke

Recently there were disagreements of directors, editors and producers about final picture. Disagreement between a director and the producer about the final film is "normal", as the producer is more of a business man, while director is more on the creative interpretation.
And it happens even in Hollywood. The more funny is the Director verses Editor disagreement which has recently especially in what I call the organic Nollywood segment, pitched both professionals against each other.

This "friction" rubs off on the relationship of Director and Producer. That is a topic for another day. The director and editor draws a line of battle in ignorance when both do not have idea of shotlist. To avoid; "The Director is literally the Editor, while the Editor is literally the operator..." as opined by Sir Teco Benson, when the director loses his power of choosing what will eventually be the final picture. Hence, the use of tools to ensure a friction free relationship. 

One of the all-in-one tools is the shotlist, overheard and shotplan which collectively is key to strongly and rightly calling a film "a director's film". The storyboard is a product of the shotlist. It is in fact the grandson of the shotlist. The editor determines your "picture" when you do what I call "Master CU CU Action(MCCA). Master CU CU Action(MCCA) is take a wide/long shot referred to as "master", then get every actor to repeat the whole lines in a scene while taking a close Up (CU) of a particular actor.

When a director does MCCA, the editor picks his choice shots on the timeline. But with a shotlist, the editor has no shots to use than that which you visualized and took on location. The editor cannot manufacture shots. Shotlist is the secret of a director being as far as 2 kilometers away from the actual shoot venue and still watch or see his choice shots taken the way he outlined it on the shotlist. 

This is why you have second unit crew - who work and adhere to the principal direction or the directors image even when the director is in another county, country or continent. In certain movies Eg caves, risky locations many Directors stay at the surface far from area of photography but the Cinematographer (Director of Photography) goes with his camera men and other necessary crew members but the images are watched many meters away and at a surface near the cave. 

Use shotlist and it really becomes the Director's film. But ignore it and do Master CU CU, it becomes "our (editor and Director's) picture." 

Chima Okereke is a filmmaker and Writer.

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