Saturday, October 03, 2009

the turning of the phrase

I finally managed to get to The Reel Truth: Everything You Didn't Know You Need to Know About Making an Independent Film, which contains lots of information about the things you have to worry about when you are trying to make your movie. I jumped right to chapter 8, which is all about what you have to do just to use your favourite song or piece of music in your film. The nuggets of trivia, however, did not grab my attention in the chapter as much as a couple of phrases I don't remember seeing before and some unfortunate examples of lazy talk and English abuse.

A quote from Rosalind Lawton ended with "Of course, you can try to negotiate, but if it's after the fact, they have you completely over a barrel." Despite having understood what she was saying, I was curious about the phrase. It turns out to have its origins in America and means that they (she is referring to companies that hold rights to the music you want to use) have you at a disadvantage; you are helpless and in their power. Although the local flavour was welcome, I wish she had just chosen simple words instead.

Adam Fields, the producer of Johnny Be Good describes how Chuck Berry got paid $100,000 for the use of his song in the film. He starts with "We could never get in touch with him, and we were down to the wire on the movie." This is one of the numerous contributions from the world of sport and has evolved to describe a tense situation whose outcome is impossible to predict until the end.

Finally we get Jennifer Lane talking about the problems involved in getting rid of a song from the film prints. Her quote ends with a sentence that reeks of laziness: "It's a tremendous hassle financially, emotionally and timewise." Times like this make you wish "timeally" was a word (or would she have settled for "temporally"?)

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