Occasionally, even the best directors find themselves saddled with films they know are destined to be black spots on their resumés. Sometimes battles with actors, producers, and studio executives and others result in the destruction of a director's vision. These and other filmmaking troubles can happen at any point during the shooting process and could spell disaster for a director's career. Fortunately, in such cases, the reliable Alan Smithee is around to save the day by taking credit for such ill-fated productions.
While it seems unfair that one filmmaker should bear the brunt of so many lousy films, let it be known that Alan Smithee is not a real person at all, but rather a perverse fiction designed for those refusing to own up to the results of their actions. It is not just directors who invoke his name. Producers and screenwriters, even actors, occasionally, hide behind Smithee.