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Be Careful Who You Talk About

It’s been said1 that everyone knows two businesses: their business, and show business. After all, who doesn’t love celebrity gossip, box office results, or debating Game of Thrones theories?

But when you work in Hollywood, celebrities aren’t just wealthy, good looking people. They’re also your co-workers. Celebrity gossip is office gossip.

It’s a weird experience working with a celebrity, since you know so much about them (the names of their children, the number of times they’ve been married, maybe even watched a sex tape or two), but they know nothing about you. That’s gotta be awkward. So don’t make it more awkward by saying, “Hey, I saw you on TMZ last night!”

You can probably still talk about movies, right? That, too, can be a minefield.

Sure, you recognize the stars of a given film. You may even know the director (or occasionally the writer). But it’s entirely likely you don’t know the 17 credited producers, or the cinematographer, editor, or production designer.

A film is the work of hundreds of people, most of whom toil in anonymity, just like you and I do. If you talk shit about the blockbuster that came out last weekend, it’s not impossible that someone you’re talking to had a hand in it. Granted, they may not take it personally.

But then again, they might.

My boss was telling an embarrassing story about a dinner party he went to a few weeks ago. He knew some of the people, but not everyone. His friends were giving him shit (in a friendly way) about a movie he had produced a few years ago that bombed.

Not really thinking, my boss goes, “Yeah, well, it did better than that piece of shit Jupiter Ascending,2 right?”

Everyone at the table froze. After an awkward moment, someone on the far side of the table, who my boss didn’t know, slammed his hands on the table, stood up, and stormed out.

“Um, What just happened?” my boss asked.

The host clarified: “He was one of the producers on that ‘piece of shit.'”3

Moral of the story, don’t talk about movies you hate. In fact, maybe you shouldn’t hate movies at all, anyway.

Just talk about sports, instead.

Footnotes    (↩ returns to text)

  1. Citation needed.
  2. He actually said a different movie, but I’m protecting his identity as well as mine.
  3. For the record, I kinda enjoyed Jupiter Ascending. Not my favorite story, but it looked amazing, especially on the big screen.
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