I’m a big fan of On The Media, especially their off-air podcast interviews. Last week, they had a fascinating conversation with Alec Baldwin:
I recommend listening to the whole thing, but the salient point for my readers is about nine and a half minutes in, regarding people who had been bad-mouthing the latest Schwarzenegger movie:
When Arnold goes to work, three hundred people in this business go to work on high-paying, skilled union jobs.
And when he’s made three hundred million dollars in profit for Warner Brothers, thirty million of that, ten percent, goes into a research and development budget that’s going to develop the next movie you’re in.
While I don’t have a high-paying job, his point is well taken. It really doesn’t matter if the movie is good or bad. It’s a job. And that’s a good thing.
This is why I have little patience for above-the-liners leaving a television series because they’re no longer feeling creatively fulfilled. I mean, if the show can continue without you, whatever. I’m talking about people who quit, which leads directly to the show’s cancellation.
Basically, what they’re saying is, “I’m bored, so I’m going to put 300 people out of work.”
I imagine it’s a tough decision; you got into the business to write or direct or act, but now you feel like you can’t do that to the best of your ability. For a lot of these people, the cost/benefit analysis is purely about the creative. They’ve made enough money that it’s no longer really a factor.
But that’s a shitty attitude to have when 300 co-workers and their families depend on you to put food on the table. I think you should have to walk onto the sound stage and look every crew member in the eye when you say, “I don’t really like this job anymore, even though my car1 costs more than your annual salary. Good luck finding another show!”
I think it’d be a lot harder to leave the show, then.
The next time you see a shitty movie or terrible show, sit through the credits. Think about the fact that, even though you didn’t enjoy the end product, at least all of these people had a decent job for a few weeks or months.
Unless the producer’s didn’t pay the crew, in which case, fuck those guys.
- Or, in my case, his suit.↩