grad29 Posted July 20, 2015 Share Posted July 20, 2015 (edited) The following was a timed essay I took on one of the Princeton practice tests. A movie producer sent the following memo to the head of the movie studio. “We need to increase the funding for the movie Working Title by 10% in order to ensure a quality product. As you know, we are working with a first-time director, whose only previous experience has been shooting commercials for a shampoo company. Since the advertising business is notoriously wasteful, it stands to reason that our director will expect to be able to shoot take after take, without concern for how much time is being spent on any one scene. In addition, while we have saved money by hiring relatively inexperienced assistant producers and directors, this savings in salary will undoubtedly translate to greater expenditures in paying the actors and unionized crew overtime for the extra hours they will spend on the set waiting for the assistant directors and producers to arrange things. If we don’t get this extra money, the movie is virtually assured to be a failure.” Although it may be true that increasing the funding for the movie "Working Title" is imperative, the memo the movie producer constructed makes some assumptions and jumps to the this conclusion prematurely. Until certain issues are investigated further, it doesn't make sense to increase the funding for the movie. Firstly, just because the director lacks experience outside the realm of shooting commercials for a shampoo company, does not mean he lacks the knowledge or abilities necessary to produce a successful movie. Perhaps he is the greatest producer of all time. Perhaps he was just working for the shampoo company as a way for him temporarily meet financial obligations, but it is significantly below his level of expertise. Perhaps he was actually trained by some of the greatest movie producers in the country and is fully prepared and ready to take on the task of "Working Title". We just don't know. We don't know enough about the background of the producer to make the conclusion he's incapable. Additionally, the conclusion that because the advertising business is notoriously wasteful, the direct will shoot multiple takes without concern or the time and money being spent is unfounded. This is an example of stereotyping. It may not even be true that the advertising business is wasteful. We are just taking the movie producer's statement as fact. Without actual numbers presented, we don't know how legitimate this statement is. It would be the same as saying because West Virginia has the lowest scores on an education assessment, everyone from West Virginia is uneducated. Furthermore, the director may be the most astringently cheap director in the world! Simply because he comes from a certain group, does not mean he reflects that group. Although it could be the case that the producer's statement of the advertising business is true and the director has learned some bad habits about the way to film, it's premature to assume it is until a further investigation is had. Thirdly, the statement that the money saved from hiring inexperienced producers and directors will translate to greater expenditures in having to pay the crew and actors overtime from their inexperience is unwarranted. It could be the case that more experienced crews, although more efficient, require higher operating costs. Perhaps because they charge a higher wage, demand better actors, mandate more developed sets, etc...It could end up being much cheaper to pay overtime for the inexperienced crews inefficiency than it would be to pay for a more experienced crew. Adding on to that point, it may not even be the case they are inefficient.They could come together brilliantly as a team. Perhaps they have great leadership, Maybe there are a few people within that crew that have all the experience the world has to offer. We just don't know enough about them to conclude that they are going to fail. However, it isn't irrational for one to assume a crew with lesser experience is going to have higher operating costs than a more experienced crew in certain arenas, we just don't know enough about costs holistically to make the assumption they are altogether going to be more expensive. Lastly, the "10%" number the movie producer seems to be arbitrarily putting forth may not even have any effect. What if the crew, from their inexperience, aren't able to extract that much value from the increase in funding? What if 10% isn't enough, when it comes to a movie, to have that much of an effect? What if 10% isn't enough to take a movie from being poor or average into a "quality product". It may be true that 10% could go a long way in terms of providing the necessary resources and covering the costs to give the team exactly what it needs, but we just don't know. The cost specifics definitely need to be further investigated before we know how effective "10%" will be. Based on these reasons, the conclusion that the movie is "virtually assured to be a failure" is unjustified. Many more questions need to be answered before this conclusion is made. It would be wise for the movie producer to change his wording around and get permission to increase the funding, if that time comes. This would allow the possibility of saving money that may otherwise have no effect and giving the team a chance to display their true colors. Edited July 20, 2015 by westy3789 Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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