Writers on set?
In a podcast from Creative Screenwriting on The Illusionist, the producers talk about becoming successful as screenwriters before they made The Illusionist. Brian Koppelman and David Levien got their big break with the script of Rounders, the Ed Norton poker movie. It was directed by John Dahl. He told them something interesting: “You can never take back something you’ve said to an actor” – if writers are to be allowed on set, they have to be very careful in talking to actors. Any insights you give them will haunt them until the film is finished. A tentative suggestion of a formative experience for a character may become the only possible way the actor will look at that person’s childhood.
Writers can go on set if they don’t spend their time defending what they wrote. They need to be there to collaborate to make the film better. They get the access they want by not wanting to be the centre of the film making. There’s more during the last five minutes of the podcast on iTunes.
There are some interesting recent podcasts there featuring the writers of The Dark Knight, Juno, Wanted, Choke and Synecdoche, NY.