| Peter Klein |
A useful management tip from the great director:
Orson Welles: Did I ever tell you the story of [Franz Joseph’s] visit to the provinces? It’s a great movie story. You can use it on set almost any day with an assistant director.
Henry Jaglom: What is it?
OW: Franz Joseph is riding in his carriage through this tiny provincial town, plumes and all. The trembling mayor is sitting next to him. He says, “Your Imperial Highness, I have to apologize to you in the profoundest terms for the fact that the bells are not ringing in the steeple. There are three reasons. First, there are no bells in the steeple — ” And Franz Joesph interrupts him and says, “Please don’t’ tell me the other two reasons.” Now, that’s a good answer for every assistant director, everyone in the world that you’ve had working for you in any capacity.
HJ: Where you just want to get a straight answer. . . .
OW: I tell that story when I make a movie, always. When somebody starts with the excuses, I say, “Bells in the steeple.” It stops them every time.
Student: “I didn’t finish the assignment because, well, um. . . .” Professor: “Bells in the steeple!” I’m putting that one on my syllabus.