No, they’re more important than writers, and the fact that they’re making that decision makes it even more important.
But that was never a thing that mattered much to filmmakers back in the 70s because it was always the audience. The audience was the most important thing to them.
As a performer, I didn’t really care who saw my work or what that money amounted to for me. And I wasn’t a writer that cared who saw my work or who got the money. I was always focused on my job. And the job wasn’t working. The audience never stopped. They always followed to know what happened next. Sometimes that would be with great success. If the business was right, we could make a lot of money. Sometimes that would be not so great because we would have to sacrifice our art. But that would never make money so it would not matter. There’s always something more important to me than money. And that’s true of everybody in business.
And, for my part, I don’t really care what anyone thinks.
I have a different definition for myself than a lot of the younger folks that are starting to run their own companies. I don’t really want to take money from anybody just to make a film and go ahead. And it’s my definition for myself. It’s my definition for everyone that’s making business decisions. If a studio wants me, I don’t ask them to trust me like they trust others.
I don’t want to work with them and I don’t want to do their film. If I work with them I say, ‘Please trust me.’ But don’t trust them and trust me.
And I look at all of you and I say to you, please trust me before you trust them. If a studio wants you, please trust me before you trust them. And then I have no fear of them.
I don’t always feel that the audience or the studio will be there to judge. In fact, they’re going to judge. That will happen. But let your audience decide if they want to see it and decide if that’s something they’ll do.
Can you talk about some of the directors and how those kind of friendships and relationships change over the years? There’s always a period for a filmmaker like myself when there’s a period of time between films and then there’s another period of time when I know that, oh, I’m gonna have a job and I love that job.