Monday, 30 May 2016

Roger Corman (LSE): Personality Type Analysis

Roger William Corman is an independent American film-maker, mainly as director, producer, screenwriter, and studio head, active since the 1950s. Corman is mostly famous for the vast number of extremely low budget movies he made in a wide range of genres, mostly horror, science-fiction, adventure or comedy, and for having helped launch the career of many now very famous actors and directors, like Jack Nicholson (SLE), Robert de Niro, James Cameron, Ron Howard, Martin Scorcese and Francis Ford Coppola.

Originally Corman graduated as an engineer, but immediately decided to go into moviemaking instead, starting as a messenger in the 20th Century Fox studios, then quickly moving into independent film-making, Corman's consistent traits as a producer were a focus in maximising the efficiency in the use of scarce resources, re-using sets, wardrobes, and having actors and staff performing many roles and parts in the same movie. One extremely illustrative example of his approach is seen in how he came to make the movie "The Terror" in 1963: having completed one of his (relatively) higher-budget films, the horror comedy "The Raven", he realized that he still had three days to use that movie's elaborate sets before they were dismantled. Seeing an opportunity and disliking waste, he immediately asked an associate to prepare a script for another movie and asked two of "The Raven"'s actors, Boris Karloff and Corman's close associate Jack Nicholson, to shoot a few more scenes. The result was the movie "The Terror", mostly regarded as a low-quality effort with a plot that makes little sense, but which did make effective use of the sets before their demolition.

Likewise, Roger Corman shot the original "The Little Shop of Horrors" in 1960 in just two days, at very low cost, at the same time arguably creating the genre of horror/black comedy. Corman's 1990 memoir is titled "How I Made a Hundred Movies in Hollywood and Never Lost a Dime". He clearly sees himself primarily as a cost-effective producer and studio head rather than an innovative artist or film-maker; in interviews, he is extremely critical of the trend towards hugely expensive movies, starting in the late 1970s, which he found even immoral since there were better ways to spend or invest so much money. According to co-workers, he would keep the business side of making a movie all to himself, but gladly delegate to others creative control in writing or directing. He was famous for allowing, even encouraging, members of his team to assume different responsibilities and roles, often in the same movie.

The traits of high focus on maximising the efficient use of scarce resources, while believing in, and encouraging, creativity in others, already points very strongly to P and S in the Ego, and I in the Super-Id. As the above anecdotes show, Corman's ultimate goals were P+S, the efficient use of existing resources, with I a tool towards those goals. In his approach to relationships with individuals, Corman clearly preferred to work with the same team over several movies, asking them to change or expand their skills if necessary, rather than look for new people according to their skills. This extreme conservatism in relationships with individuals points to valued but weak R, likely in the Super-Id.

Another trait that points to Corman's valuing of I is in his having been very active in distributing high-quality foreign movies in the US, like Bergman's and Kurosawa's, when nobody else was interested. He did that despite the relatively low potential for financial profit, because he thought that was an interesting alternative to his standard production of low-budget movies aimed at entertainment. Early in his career the produced himself a more serious and meaningful movie, "The Intruder", which however was of disappointing financial returns, making him more careful about such experiments.

Finally, as a person, in interviews, Corman consistently comes across as low-emotion, blunt but polite and friendly, only occasionally showing amusement or irritation, which points to E role.

Everything in Roger Corman points to the Delta values of P, S, I and R, and more specifically to P1, S2, E3R5 and I6. Corman is clearly a LSE.

To learn more about LSE, click here.

If you are confused by our use of Socionics shorthand, click here.

Besides his memoirs listed above, interviews available online and the documentary "Corman's World".

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