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#NotAllDirectors

There’s still time to win box seats at the Staples Center, thanks to CAPS Payroll.

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Evan G decided to respond to a six-year-old post about an asshole director. I wasn’t around at the time, but as the current keeper of the TAPA flame (and no big fan of directors myself), I feel I ought to respond.

Evan writes:

To the anonymous production assistant who writes this: It’s obvious why you want to stay anonymous; this article is so incredibly juvenile and ignorantly misinformed in its writing that anyone who has a few brain cells would die if their name were found on it and they expected to be respected in the film industry afterwards.

Regardless of your assessment of the post, yes, the reason I’m The Anonymous PA is so I can write what I want without consequence. You haven’t stumbled on some big secret here.

Your absolutely stereotypical portrayals of what a “Writer” is or a “Director”, “Producer” etc. show an absurd lack of respect and perpetuate the rationale for why you are considered the lowest member of the crew.

I’m not sure what the scare quotes are for. These are real jobs that people do.

I assume Evan is referring specifically to the phrase, “Above the liners are messed up.  Writers are insecure, socially inept misanthropes; directors are raging ego-maniacal sociopaths; actors are just as egotistical, but without having gone to the trouble of accomplishing anything to justify their egos; and producers just wish they could be writers, directors, or actors, if only they had the talent.”

It shows a lack of respect because it was intended to. But that’s obviously1 exaggerating for comedic effect; a “joke” if you will. I don’t talk like this on set, nor do I advise my readers to.

Not really sure what that has to do with PAs being considered the lowest member of the crew. PAing is a low-skill job that requires little experience, with a large body of qualified applicants willing to do the work. That’s why it’s lower than specialized skills that require training and expertise.

There are a few people in every industry who ruin the image of that profession for the rest. But it does no one any good to further those false blanket statements by writing about it in a blog, especially in a blog that caters to new-comers in the industry.

They’re not false statements. The story told in that post is 100% true, as are this one, this one, this one, and this one.

If you’re talking about the obviously-exaggerated stereotypes, well, I didn’t make those up. Many, many people hold those views. The ones who disagree tend to be above-the-liners themselves, or wannabe above-the-liners.

Hell, I’ll come right out and say it– if those stereotypes don’t remind you of someone, then you’re either inexperienced or unobservant.

What kind of message do you want to send when you tell the next generation of excited kids coming to work in film that the people on top are the shittiest human beings alive? All of them.

I’d like to send two messages: 1) be prepared, the people at the top of a Hollywood production are often assholes; 2) if you reach that height, don’t be an asshole yourself.

I genuinely believe that the reason most above-the-liners are assholes is because they don’t remember what it was like to be below-the-line. Hopefully, they’ll read this blog and remember.

You’re writing that not a single Writer, Director, or Producer is a nice person.

I’m seriously not. It’s like you’re a robot in a bad sci-fi movie. Not everything is meant to be taken literally.

Or a passionate team leader who inspires his crew to do good work. There’s none like that. They’re all the shittiest human beings alive.

Sigh. No, not all all directors are shitty. Happy, now?

Let’s build an American film community again. Where we inspire artistry and togetherness for the good of the film. Let’s NOT make film a “clock in, clock out” job. Let’s have PASSION again. Let’s be excited for each other’s projects because we’re making American movies in America and showing them to the world. Let’s try and build and support relationships. Reach out to each other, help make their films, and learn new things, new skills, have goals, have an apprenticeship role in Hollywood, in all the filmmaking cities in America.

Here’s the community I see: the crew pulling together on 14th hour of a Fraturday shoot, pushing through the exhaustion to get one last shot; the old-timers telling stories about how the electric truck used to be two miles from set, up hill both ways; the younger crew rolling their eyes, but still listening raptly to ever word; the camera operator asking for a courtesy flag because the camera is directly in the sun and the grip hopping to it, because even though he’s just as hot, he knows the operator doesn’t have the option to move into the shade; crafty walking around with water bottles to make sure everybody is hydrated, cracking jokes the whole time, even though she got to set before everybody but the teamsters.

Here’s what’s not community: the show-runner who wants to have the wrap party on the last night of shooting; the director who didn’t make a shot list ahead of time because he prefers to be “inspired,” thus wasting everyone’s time on shots that won’t make it to the final cut; the producer who refers to the crew as lines on the budget, rather than actual human beings.

These are all things I witnessed last week. So don’t talk to me about passion and punch clocks and fucking community. I work with professionals who take pride in their work, who have fun while they do it.

Let’s not hate, like this article, let’s support, and forge a new American Golden Age of film.

I’m not going to bow at the feet of the director because some French asshole decided to promote him to auteur in 1957.

I like having a job, so I don’t talk like this on set, but on my anonymous blog, people above-the-line will get precisely as much respect as they deserve.

[…]

This is exactly what Evan had to say about the director who yelled at the OG TAPA for no reason whatsoever. What does that say about support and community?

Footnotes    (↩ returns to text)

  1. Obvious to anyone with a few brain cells, anyway.
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4 Responses

  1. Hmm, it sounds like Evan stumbled onto that really old post and took it personally; he/she decided to take time and vent for a while (without being cut-off in the way such a rant probably would be cut off if we were hearing it in person).

    Hopefully Evan feels all better now and can take some jokes! Otherwise that really puts some limits on which types of American film he/she can comfortably work.

    I mean, it says “anyone who has a few brain cells would die if their name were found on it…” which appears to be an exaggeration, maybe even in an attempt to make a joke. Good luck, Evan! You’ll get better soon 🙂

    1. I’m sure it’s exaggeration, but I’m pretty sure Evan thinks the former TAPA is stupid, too.

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