Tuesday 29 March 2011

Your Big Break In The Industry

"There's people around who tell you that they know
The places where they send you, and it's easy to go
They'll zip you up and dress you down
Stand you in a row
But you know you don't have to
You can just say no"
-Big Star

The minute you have talent, they tell you what to do with it, where to go. They say "you could make a living directing commercials," they tell you "you should get your breasts out on screen, that's how you make it", they tell you "you have to give us your script because we're the only people who will make it."

But you get to choose. When you're starting out, you're at your strongest, because you're you. You're doing your thing. And the minute you have something they can strip down and turn into profit, they'll be onto you. And they'll call it your big break.

The big break isn't what you think it is. You shouldn't try to skip the journey you're on. It's like blogging. You guys come here because you like what I do. But the minute I have a sponsored article saying that I love 7-Up, you'll know I've lost that one thing I have going for me. Right now, this blog could end up being anything. Five years from now it could be the best film blog out there, or it could be a specialist blog focusing only on The Apartment, who knows! It's exciting. But if I did a deal with Suite101.com to post their content in exchange for $0.06 per word, you'd all see me differently. And I'd lose the unique thing this blog has, just like yours does. We have ourselves, and who we are, and it's the strongest thing we own. But when you give it away, it's gone.

I'm not talking about taking jobs for the pay cheque. I'm realistic enough to realise that none of us have any money and we need to get paid. But I'm saying, don't give up your dreams, don't sell your babies, just because you're worried about dying. Some idiot producer who wants to give you $50 to buy your screenplay because "it'll get you recognized" is not your journey, neither is starring in some softcore porn film because the director says he has "contacts." You all know this, it's obvious, but I think sometimes we need to remind each other. Commit to doing the work that you're proud of; the work that made you want to do this in the first place. It's hard -- and fifteen years after starting acting you're still playing to tiny theaters in front of nobody and you're still getting rejection letters from production companies. But that's the price your pay for staying true to yourself. A 'big break' lasts for fifteen minutes and a sex tape, but if you create art, it'll live forever.

"We don't know what it can be, we don't know what it will be, we just know that it is cool."
-Mark Zuckerberg in 'The Social Network'

Care to share?


  1. Yep. I'm straying over that other bullshit-infested industry, the music biz, where the same crap gets dumped on us every day.

    However ... it's important to recognize those breaks that might just help us out (and put some cash in the account) when they turn up, and some of them might be ones we don't think of as 'breaks'. It's easier for me to work on commercial work (ads, TV doc music, etc) because as a 'composer' (a description for what I do I still find ludicrous, putting my idiot efforts in the same apparent bag as Mozart or Beethoven) I can still remain relatively anonymous, compared to you guys- if you're 'acting' in an ad, you're visible to all... but for the guys and gals on the other side of the camera, don't pass up commercial work just because it's commercial.

    You can learn a lot, and there's a whole bunch of very well known filmmakers who cut their teeth on work that certainly isn't art.

    Personally, while I do love working with filmmakers who are making good stuff, and accept that a lot of the time I won't get paid for it ... I grab every opportunity I can find to get my music on ads and Tv shows. It's all good practice, and it puts money in the bank.