Alan Smithee

by Charles Miller on November 4, 2003

Alan Smithee is a director famous for his bad movies. Almost all of the movies he has made have been really, really bad. He's famous for it. And yet, now and then, he still gets work in Hollywood.

This is because he doesn't really exist. The Directors Guild don't allow a movie to be released without naming its director: to do so would undermine the work they've done in building the role of the director as the primary creative force behind a movie. Sometimes, though, a director can go to the Guild and complain that the movie was taken out of their control. The studio pressured them to stray from their vision. It was cut against their wishes.

Then, the Guild will have the movie credited to Alan Smithee, and he'll take the blame.

Sometimes, when I've had to write code very quickly to reach a deadline, or I've cut corners, or I've had to hide something necessary but ugly in a Ghetto, I'm sorely tempted to leave this Javadoc behind:

/** @author Alan Smithee <> */

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