To the Makers of DVD Commentaries
I wish this were not necessary, but after seeing so many directors and even some film scholars bungle DVD commentaries, I have to say a few words. When you do a DVD commentary, you can NOT merely describe the action onscreen. The audience has eyes. They can see for themselves what is happening. Nor can you tell the audience that something is going to happen later as a consequence of what is happening now. The audience has seen the film. They know what happens. They don’t need you to tell them the story again. When you’re doing a commentary, focus on themes, on inspirations, on the climate from which the film sprang, on the climate that it fostered, on various interpretations that people read into the film. Sure, you can give behind-the-scenes stories, or discussions of the techniques that were used to create a scene, where appropriate. But themes are best, and should be the bread and butter of the commentary. Mere plot summaries and descriptions of the onscreen action are unacceptable.