execution is everything

In a nice moment of synchronicity Scott Adams, over at the Dilbert Blog, has written a piece today about the humour formula. His post is in reference to cartoons, but it’s worth reading in regards to writing comedy.

One of his sentences leaped out at me: “Execution is everything.”

This is so true, and something I’ve noted on many occasions. It’s particularly the case in comedy, but can be applied to any type of drama (on screen or on paper).

The Machinist, written by Scott Kosar and directed by Brad Anderson, is a perfect example.

The concept and story isn’t very original (although it is well written), but the execution of the story elevates the film into a memorable experience.

This is why it’s so important to have everyone pulling together on a film. Everyone–the writer, the director, the production team, the cinematographer, the editor, the assorted crew members–can contribute to making a film better.

The execution of a film is everything. A great script will not translate into a great film without the right level of helpful and innovative collaboration.

It’s the frustration, and joy, of film-making.

I’d imagine that there is nothing as wonderful as creating a film in a supportive environment where everyone is trying to achieve the same thing: a fantastic story. Which is why the reverse situation is so horrendous.

The writer can only do so much. At some point s/he is at the mercy of the collaborative process. In the right environment it can benefit the film, and in the wrong circumstances it can be the death of a project.

So, yeah, execution is everything.