For years Hollywood has been plagued with atrocities that continue to dismantle and disrupt the flow of harmony in a town that is driven by greed and egomaniacs rather than the balance of the dance between creativity and business acumen. In the golden days of Tinseltown – the industry was structured with a family orientation that permeated throughout the ranks of companies, studios, agencies and mini-majors alike, generating a camaraderie that regardless of being a competitor – the Universal goal remained in tact – “keep the movie industry machine flourishing.”
With the incubation of cutthroat mentalities and not-enough for everyone kind of fear, the Hollywood ship has taken a turn that has driven it into turbulent waters and the irony is that it is self-imposed – merely due to its lack of self-awareness. Inflated budgets to inflate people’s pockets has become a norm even if it means that there may not be a future because just relying on the common belief – “audiences will always want movies and entertainment to keep their heads above water in their own lives” – no longer remains a significant enough argument to literally cut its own nose off to spite its face. Investors are running for the hills…PERIOD. Fear is rampant. And decisions are slower than ever before as most grapple onto sure things that are no longer sure things anymore. Calculated risk is now a sink or sink slower mantra that currently is obvious to all who are in the know about the current state of the industry and leaks are increasing while the battles continue with their own inner demons controlling Hollywood entirely.
ISSUE #1: Egomaniacal studio execs, producers, directors, writers, you name it – who are absorbed by THE IT’S ALL ABOUT ME SYNDROME – clearly are more concerned about the house they own in the hills, is my Bentley the biggest and the brightest, do I have the hottest model or actress on the market is driving this industry into the ground. When the evidence is on the wall – “Either they don’t know, don’t show, or don’t care about what’s goin’ on in the hood.” Regardless, this industry needs an attitude adjustment…and FAST! OR their soon to be foreclosed house, ex-girlfriend and repossessed Bentley will not be the only things left in the wake of destruction by this type of behavior.
ISSUE #2: Quality projects have seem to fall by the way side only to lose out or be neglected by an industry once created to make solid, soulful and smart business decisions based on overall assessment. Time and time again we hear about projects getting greenlit because so and so went to college with so and so and they owe them for bailing them out of jail their freshman year. Or even one story I have personal first hand knowledge about – a friend from a south american country was given carte blanche into Hollywood, via the red carpet treatment, simply because he saved a group of top execs and agents from certain punishment after being pulled over and arrested by local police with an exuberant amount of drugs and high-priced call girls in tow. Their private yacht that they rented to rage it up, undoubtedly financed by unknowing investors of the studio, began to sink and he hopped into action to save everyone’s ass.
Only in Hollywood would they create a Hollywood blacklist for projects that should be made, but are not happening. A list where everyone enjoys a script or package, but because the harbor is just too crammed with vessels not worth sailing the seven seas with is overloaded by an already flooded market with drivel. Independent movies have literally become fossils of a dead age where breakthrough films, actors, below the line talent reached pinnacles they would usually never have access to. Over the decades, time and time again, fresh voices, cutting edge talent, off the charts skills have risen to the top simply because there was an opening to it and marquee names were irrelevant – it was about the product.
What good does a broken down Aston Martin do for anyone other than auction it off for spare parts? Most would take it and cut their losses which is exactly what they will be counting…their losses. Rather than their gains and successes from unique cars, well-built and running in top form even if it’s from a lesser known manufacturer that the audience could give a shit about either company – their focus is on the product itself and the benefits. Just ask the the professionals who name cache is relentlessly plummeting as their projects continue bomb worse than Hiroshima on a good day.
Is it just me or is this just the tip of the iceberg for what has become an industry run by over-aged children throwing tantrums, battling egos and credit mongrels – rather than like the old days grounded, savvy and well-rounded people who knew about longevity rather than fast and burn which is our current state of affairs. In what other industry would these behaviors be acceptable, especially when it means potential demise for the whole? It would be like a heart surgeon saying to himself, “today I will transplant an appendix in that place just because I need to open myself up to other opportunities regardless if the hospital crashes and burns, at least I will broaden my horizons and diversify my portfolio while I am the top.”
Hollywood has lost vision – in a town where vision is everything. It has closed its eyes to the obvious and turned its back on the very fabric and nature that it was founded on – defining, building and nurturing talent, projects and voices that have purpose and aspirations to imply and instigate greatness for audiences to be changed and feel fulfilled from their entertainment experiences.
Now, it is based on gimmicks, remakes and fear driven chop shops that only know one thing and live by it, breathe it and grasp on to it with all their might….”take it while I can get it.” We all know that the word “while” has nothing to do with forever. Even if it means nothing is left when it all goes down, it was fun while it lasted. For who? Definitely not everyone effected by your insanity and disregard and clearly not for those who you hand over a worn, beaten and decrepit baton that surely is doomed from its predecessor.
What would Hollywood do if investors just said, “screw it, why bother? It’s not worth it anymore.” Then, pulled out all together at once and took their money and toys to some other sandbox? What would Hollywood do if audiences bound together and boycotted the theaters or any other venue set up to milk their unassuming and unaware consciousness of what is really being fed to them as eaters? We would certainly have our hands full of a predicament that would cause fallout across the terrain of what would be called “torturetown.” Wake up and get a clue or the proverbial anvil will fall from the sky and slam down on this industry like giant molotov cocktail and while it burns to the ground in smoldering embers – we can all grab our marshmallows, graham crackers and chocolate while reminiscing about how great it was…
These are just some of the important issues facing Hollywood today and I encourage all those who read this and the articles to come – to round-up, put your fists in the air, connect and stand up for A FRICKIN’ CHANGE! This industry is worth it! Our lives are worth it! And we want to be here to see a better and brighter tomorrow for all of us. It is time!
Article by The Movie Messiah,
Jefferson Keith Langley