With No Power Comes No Responsibility

I’ve worked on some horrible shows. (One of the quaint anachronisms from the days when everyone in Hollywood was a former vaudvillian is the fact that everything, be it a movie, a TV series, or even a music video, is called a “show.”)

I worked on a horror movie about giant eels. I worked on a game show that required no more skill than picking a number and hoping for the best. I even worked on a Nick Nolte movie.

I’ve never worked on porn, per se, but I have PAed on movies with enough soft-core sex to make the program director for Cinemax blush.

After hearing of a recent trek into Mediocre Entertainmentland, a friend once asked, “How do you sleep at night?”

She had a point. I’ve dreamed my whole life of becoming a successful writer. I studied film and television for four years at one of the best film schools in the world. I spent the better part of my adult life working in the entertainment industry. All I have to show for it was a list of credits on films I can’t even show my mom. (“The Bloodening II? What’s that one about, dear?”)

So how do I sleep at night? Easy. I didn’t do it.

I recognize that, for the most part, a monkey could do my job. Not even a smart monkey, either. A surly, slightly retarded monkey could be a PA.

But more important still is knowing that, no matter how good or bad a job I do, it was no effect on the final product. None whatsoever.

I could be the best PA in the world, and the movie could still suck. (This has happened on more than one occasion.) The Wire may have shitty PAs, but you wouldn’t know it. Nothing any PA has ever done has ever wound up on any screen, big or small.

This all sounds depressing, I’m sure, but it’s really quite liberating. I can, and do, mock the shows I work on. Why not? I didn’t make it.

And here’s the best part– when you’re sitting at home, watching a terrible made-for-TV movie on cable, you might wonder what kind of idiot would make this garbage.

I know that idiot, and let me tell you, he’s even more dumb than you imagine.

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