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Friday, January 30, 2004  

In Responce...
...To Iason's comment on my earlier post about how screwed up the bottom rungs on the ladder to a career in film production are. Iason asks what can be done when there are SO MANY skilled and qualified entry-level people vying for so few jobs. I have to say, I don't think anything can be done. The system is basically fucked.

That said, I want to make it clear that I don't have a problem with competition for jobs. I don't have any issues with working for free to learn the ropes and build a network. My problem is that the producers, the people who are getting these shoe-string budget films started, are just using free labor to advance their own careers. They get $$$ together for a film and go, "well we will just crew up with a bunch of noobs that we don't have to pay to cut costs. And we will shoot it in 1/2 the time we should take to shoot it to save even more!" This "sweat-shop filmmaking" is one issue. Another is the exodus of major film production from Hollywood and the glut of low-overhead reality TV programming. This causes a lot of professional crew to take jobs "below" them for way less $$, filling all the jobs one or two "steps up" the ladder from freebie work which makes it tough to climb the ladder. This makes for bitter and cranky Gaffers and Key Grips who have no interest in "baby sitting" wet-eared film school grads (and really who can blame them.)

What can be done? Short of miraculously bringing back productions that have gone to Vancoover, New Zealand, or Austraila and the eventual death of Reality TV, not much. Hopeful filmmakers have, as I see it, 3 ways to "break in" all of which involve a lot of luck. First you can work your butt off and hope that someone, somewhere calls you for that gig that leads to the gig that gets you the gig.... Second you can sink 20-100K of SOMEBODY'S money on the next Swingers or Blair Witch or Clerks and become the next goldenboy of indie film. And third: ...well, I'm still working on that. So unless I suddenly find "investors" willing to fund the aforementioned "next indie gem" (which hasn't been written yet,) I'll be working my butt off and waiting for the call. And thats cool. It is, after all, why I am IN Hollywood. And at least I'm not trying to become an actor. Those fools have it BAD!

The real key to success in Hollywood is to do what EVERYONE in town is doing, but do it better than everyone else: write. A GOOD screenplay is the quickest way out of the ghetto of wannabes. And on that note I'm off to put the finishing touches on the step-outline to my ticket outta here....

posted by JMV | 1/30/2004 12:26:00 PM
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