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ISSUES OF AUTEURSHIP IN PRODUCTIONS: A COMPARATIVE ANALYSIS OF STAGE AND FILM PRODUCTIONS

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CHAPTER ONE

GENERAL INTRODUCTION

The dynamism of collaboration in production where all artistic elements are blended together into a unified whole with a director as the chief collaborator, who supervises, coordinates and controls these elements: script, performers, designers, and other production crew members cannot be over emphasized.

However, the emergence of auteurship in France proclaiming that the director should be the auteur (author) of a production by imposing and implementing his/her vision/concept in a production at the expense of other collaborators, has ignited serious arguments on whose vision/concept or point of view should reflect or dominate in a production where various individual experts contribute their expertise to the final effect of a production.

Before the origination of the word auteur in production with its acclaimed functions mostly, in film, some notable theatre directors in the likes of Sir William Davenant, David Garrick, George Anton Benda and Vsevelod Meyerhold have been performing such functions. They were imposing, projecting and implementing their own vision/concepts in their productions and not the vision of those dramatists. They used to completely tempering with the structure or rewriting a playwright’s script.

This supposition of auteurship phenomenon has held away for many decades leading to emergence of two schools of thoughts. These schools of thoughts are either in support or against the existence and relevance of auteurship in production. In view of these arguments, it seems none of these schools of thought have been able to establish reasonable prerequisites or criteria why a director should be seen or not to be seen as the auteur (author) of a production. Those who have attempted doing so either ends up over flogging or under flogging the issue of auteurship without a clear balance.

Issues associated with auteurship phenomenon could affect the future of stage and film productions as collaborative media if better ways of enhancing this collaboration are not put in place; by stating clearly and categorically the relevance, importance and limitations of each collaborator in any production.

It is against this background that this study enunciates and proffers solutions to those pertinent issues of auteurship which are considered detrimental to production collaborations.

  • Statement of Problem

The issue of auteurship in production is so peculiar that it has sparked off serious arguments among theatre and film scholars. These arguments are whether the auteurship concept should be discarded or retained.

Issues associated with auteurship in production are problematic due to the domineering influence of the director over other collaborative artistic experts as well as every aspects of a production. The auteurship theory allows or permits the director to impose and implement his or her sole vision, concept and point of view with little or no regards to the playwright or screen writer’s script. Rather, the director sees the script as a pretext for the activities of a production and the placement of emphasis on the spontaneous events that happen in front of the camera or before the audience and also undermining the contributions of other collaborators. This problem, however, could lead to poor quality of the final effect of a production.

  • Research Questions

The following are the research questions for this study:

  • Should stage and film productions be seen as collaborative medium for personal artistic expression of the director’s vision or concept as auteur?
  • Does the issue of auteurship in stage have the same dimension as film production?
  • Why is auteurship very strong in film than stage productions?
  • To what extent does auteurship phenomenon affect stage productions?
  • Does the issue of auteurship have any impact on the production process as a collaboration medium?

1.3      Objectives of the Study

By the end of this study, the following objectives would have been achieved:

  • Importance and limitations of each collaborator in stage and film productions would have been ascertained.
  • Effects of auteurship in productions would have been known.
  • Actual right and prerequisites of a director as the author of a production would have been ascertained.
  • Differences and similarities in stage and film productions would have been revealed.
  • Issues of auteurship in each phase of production: preproduction, production and post production would have been made manifest.
  • The distinctions and similarities in stage and film directing would have been known.
  • Differences and similarities of interpretative and creative director would have been ascertained.
    • Significance of the Study

The study on issues of auteurship in productions is relevant and unique due to the following reasons:

The study determines the effect of auteurship in productions and reveals what qualifies a director as author. This research highlights the strengths and weaknesses of auteurship in productions and proffers possible solutions to harmonious working relationship among production collaborators.

Finally, the study no doubt instigates researchers on the subject of auteurship and also being useful and meaningful to lovers of knowledge, students, practitioners, scholars and researchers.

  • Delimitation/Scope of the Study

The research is confined to auteurship in stage and film production processes from the three stages of production: preproduction, production and postproduction. The study however, deals with sequential manifestation of auteurship issues at each phase of a production as well as a comparative analysis of stage and film directing. Differences and similarities of auteurship phenomenon in stage and film production and the idea of interpretative and creative director in production were also treated.

  • Limitation of Study

The study was affected by some factors such as: difficulties in accessing available materials on the subject Issues of Auteurship in Topicion from individual, public and institution libraries. Especially materials on auteurship in stage production where not much even from the internet.

Poor transportation system and security network in the country hinders the study because the researcher finds it difficult when traveling long distance for data collection from primary and secondary sources.

Time and financial constraints for collection of data limited the research because the researcher could not travel to some of the places intended to interview stage and film practitioners as well as scholars. Despite the limited time for the study most interviewees kept rescheduling dates, times, and places for the interview due to their businesses and long-standing engagements. Inadequate finance to purchase books and journals relating to the subject of investigation affected the study also.

  • Research Methodology

The researcher adopts the Sociological and Literary methodologies for the collection of data for the study from primary and secondary sources.

The researcher relies on Sociological Methodology due to its relevance in the collection of data for the study. According to Sam Ukala, this method “involves a high degree of the researcher’s interaction with the society being studied’’ (13). Since part of data collection of the research is through interviews, this method was considered very useful because it availed the researcher the opportunity of face-to-face interaction with the interviewees which Ukala posits that interview is one of the “cardinal techniques of data collection in this methodology” (13).

In collecting data for the study through this method the researcher equally relies on the purposive sampling technique which is one of the non-probability sample techniques where “not every member of the population has a chance to be selected”. The researcher focuses on purposive sampling techniques where a sample of theatre and film practitioners and scholars were selected within Nigeria for interview based on the subject of investigation using basic tools in the field such as note book, durable audio tape recorder and accessories and making sure that the atmosphere for the interviews was conducive.

In order to draw logical conclusion from collected data through Sociological method, the researcher made use of the Univariate method of analysis to establish the number of times a particular answer on a particular research questions were repeated from the data gathered.

The researcher also used Literary Methodology for the research because of its accuracy in information gathering from secondary sources which scholars haves treated on various subjects relating to the topic of investigation. Ukala says that;

“The Literary Methodology is available to researchers of subjects about which or much has already been written and whom the researcher may be unable to personally observe or make physical contact with” (13).

In this case, the researcher made use of data from earlier scholarly views and opinions. In fact, the data collected for the study using this methodology were based on previous scholarly views and opinions from secondary sources such as books, journals, dissertations, newspapers, seminar, and conference papers, internet materials relating to the subject of investigation. Data collected from this method were “analyzed in relation to the research questions and objectives” (13).

The researcher utilized the comparative analysis approach through critical review, description, examination and evaluation of data collected from these materials to arrive at a logical conclusion.

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