And now a guest editorial from one of my readers.
I move easily through the halls of the motion picture industry. I remain an unknown as I take lunch orders, copy scripts or make coffee runs. I freely walk in and out of presidents’ offices, access their files and witness their meetings. They don’t even know my name. I've graduated from College to Intern to Temp. I may not have a title or even a consistent function, but I spy’s-eye view of much that transpires deep inside and way up high in the industry. Here’s what I see...
Top studio executives are often insecure and usually one-dimensional. They approve projects to please a fellow executive or to do someone a favor. These favors are what make the industry go 'round. They create a never-ending cycle of bad movies and gawdawful TV shows. Studio and network executives have no magic bullet, crystal ball or even special skill to choose what they do. It’s all about favors. The currency in Hollywood. Maybe the studios will one day wake up and realize their wildly overpaid executives have absolutely no clue what viewers want to see. Probably not.
Those execs are insulated from their failures due to a mindset that it’s the viewers’ fault. Yup, it’s the viewers who failed to watch a show – bad, bad viewers. But executives don’t even watch their own shows. Quiz them on any episode and notice the blank stares. When would they have time to watch? They’re too busy doing favors – approving more shows and films that nearly always fail. In what other industry would someone who repeatedly failed be paid millions and be allowed to keep failing? Favors rule, competence is rare and it’s not what you know, or even who you know, but what you’re willing to do for them that counts.
The industry is a dinosaur in its last gasps. It follows trends rather than creates them. It's so far behind the curve that by the time it catches up or catches on, there’s yet another curve it’s missed altogether. It’s an inbred society. Those in charge have circulated in and out of so many jobs that in any other industry they would be deemed professionally unstable. These people are fondly known as players, forever giving and receiving favors.
So as the industry digs its own grave, we, the irrelevant fringe, are taking notes on what not to do and how not to do it. If we’re to have a fighting chance in the new media frontier, we’d better learn and avoid the pitfalls of those who came before us. We fringers may not drive the Ferraris or own McMansions, but what we've learned watching you may prove more valuable in the end. We prefer to keep clear consciences and open minds and look toward the future as an opportunity to innovate and enlighten. And make money, the old-fashioned way – through working smart and creating products that sell well and have quality and value. Like shows and films and content the public really wants. Silly us.
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