Friday, November 13, 2009

Eat Your Pride and Keep Quiet if you want to Stay Employed

This may come as a shock to those fresh out of film and TV school, but it is what I've learned. The entertainment industry attracts two types of people: creative people and people with low self esteem. Creative people are great to work with. They are passionate, smart, fun, open minded and self assured. People with low self esteem (which most in the entertainment industry are) are nightmares to work with and work for.

I have never allowed myself to be insulted in the entertainment industry without speaking up. I have always talked straight down the barrel of arrogance. Sometimes, I've addressed bad and judgmental attitudes with polite, private meetings - stating my position in kind, but firm terms, and sometimes - depending on how flagrant the person is - I've told him or her to do to themselves what most people want to do to others in the bedroom.

I have no patience for arrogance and thick headed behavior. No one should. However, speaking up will lead to unemployment. Hands down. People in power (simply put, people who sign your paycheck) often cannot handle feedback from their employees. They usually love to dish it, but rarely like to hear it. The funny thing is they also enjoy pretending they have "thick skins", but end up finding ways to sabotage your reputation because they aren't brave enough to address it with the purpose of solving interpersonal issues.

I've seen interns become producers in what seems like months because they will never defend themselves and they will work for half the cost of what a seasoned producer has earned. Fathers would not be proud. It's a common tactic: the use of the inexperienced to avoid having to talk about the best approach to creative a project. Quality is lost, money is wasted, but check signers can feel better about themselves. They get to avoid constructive confrontation and relish in their illusionary power.

So, if you want to sleep at night, stand up for yourself and what you believe in. Just know, you may go to bed hungry. If you want to be able to pay your mortgage, keep quiet. At least there will be food in your fridge. It will make a nice side dish to the pride you'll be eating every day.

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