one-man band

i know it’s been a long time since i’ve posted. been a lot going on and leprechauns & lies starts its Hollywood Fringe Festival run very soon, but a few recent developments have inspired me to contemplate some infuriating little truism about life.

for a variety of reasons, i can’t mention names in this post. i actually have to be pretty vague in fact and i hope you’ll be patient with me. suffice it to say that this Forbes post here seems very pertinent to me right now. so is that always hilarious 24 slash b post about a guy wanting him to work for free – and who can forget this classic video?

i honestly believe there are plenty of things worth doing even if there’s no money to do them. i do tons of free work – work for friends, i barter a fair amount, i do an OBSCENE amount of work for We Make Movies. and most of the time i do it feeling fulfilled in other ways. either i feel the gratitude of a friend or family member or i know that if our positions were switched the person i was working for would do the same for me. i often do work knowing that it’s purely a karmic thing – because it’s the right thing to do and that i’ll feel better about myself if i did, but every now and then i find myself in a situation where the person i’m working for thinks of himself or herself as a kind of superior being to others.

in these situations, it’s clear that the person for whom i’m working thinks that i should be happy to have had the honor of working for them. in other words, they don’t see me as a human being at all, but as a cog in a machine that they’re driving. people like this are definitely the minority, but it’s fascinating how often you find them in leadership positions. just fascinating.

i guess it’s because they feel like that’s where they belong and then they’re somehow able to convince enough other people that that IS where they belong. the fact that it happens at all is actually not surprising when you look at it from a distance, but it’s always infuriating when you find yourself there.

of course whenever i’ve roped people into working on one of my own projects, i’m constantly in fear of doing things that might make them feel like i’m taking them for granted. nobody’s perfect though, and out of the desire for efficiency i’ve more than once found myself taking short cuts that may have chapped somebody or cut them short, made them feel unappreciated or worse – like i think i could do their job better than they. this is never the case, but it’s sometimes so much easier to just do a job than to tell somebody exactly how you want it done. the point is that i struggle with this all the time. i’m constantly checking myself and the way i communicate with people that i’m working with to make sure i’m not being a dick or ungrateful or insensitive. that never-ending quest to make people feel worthwhile and wanted and appreciated seems like such a no-brainer to me.

Psychopaths make great executives?so why then do people constantly get put into leadership positions who DON’T do that? who don’t care about other peoples’ feelings or making them feel appreciated?

i mean i’m just gonna say it: actors are not slugs. they’re NOT a dime a dozen. most of the actors i know are devoted, diligent and extremely hard-working – willing to get up at the crack of dawn to help you shoot some silly half-thought-out sketch or do some crazy performance art piece they don’t even fully understand! they’re one of the most giving and honest groups of people i’ve ever had the honor of working with and yet so many filmmakers automatically remove the actors pay from a budget before anything else! why?!

and if you’re not the kind of director who can even pull a decent performance from an actor in the first place, the actors’ pay is the LAST thing you should be reducing in a budget. that’s by no means the only expression of this kind of sociopathic refusal to see other people as valuable – particularly when it’s exactly this value one plans to benefit from in a particular job or project.

designers get screwed by this same kind of behavior all the time. as do DPs and producers and even directors, but can’t we just decide as a society to stop promoting and helping the jack-holes who treat us like crap? can’t we just stop working for them and working with them and helping them finish some project just to take all the credit for it when it’s over. i mean this is the crazy part: they honestly believe they DID all the work because in a very real way they don’t even think you exist!

seriously: to hell with these guys. let’s just agree to let them play in their one-man band act all by their lonesomes.

so there. i’ve said it. and i mean it.

have a great weekend.

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