Thursday, February 10, 2011

An agoraphobe's take on today's world. And movies. Inchoate.

I love Joe Wright's "Pride and Prejudice". Although I didn't grow up in rural 19th (?) century England, I did grow up in a small town, verdant and venomous in its own ways. As I have aged and moved towards that blank field known as "middle-age", I wonder what would be made of me back then? Did the term "confirmed bachelor" exist? Did it have the connotation that it carried until the recent mass de-closeting of most people? Possibly for some of the more intellectual set, who have always had a unstable relationship with the concept of Inversion.

I think this is another one of my examinations of social media and the need for small communities. I work in an incredibly insular business, one that guards itself so obsessively that even breaking into it on the administrative/"business" side of it remains absolutely opaque until you are actually in it. Making it in on the studio level without a family connection or attending one of the Los Angeles schools is a feat unto itself. Navigating that system has been lampooned for generations now, most famously in Altman's "The Player" and it's indie counterpart "Living in Oblivion", a movie I still cannot watch because it gives me Vietnam-style flashbacks to my own experience in no-budget filmmaking in NYC during the 90s. Bringing it back to topic: the film business really is a very small business, in terms of how many people actually work in it on a full-time basis. There are many, many more industries with much larger numbers of bodies involved. And then even in that small community there are sub-communities that divide along lines of success, length of relationship, or even just (heaven forbid) who gets along with who.

So, in some ways I have moved from a small town to another small town, in which everyone is separated by barely two degrees.  The comparisons to high school is an endless thing; as the cliques are duplicated in Hollywood - although I have never come across the dumb straight-boy jock clique, I'm going to assume it's alive and well at the agencies since that's where most straight guys in the business work, i.e. sales. Writers remain the quiet art-kids, and directors remain the megalomaniacs who intern for politicians in the summer. Producers are the kids no one was friends with, and could possibly go a little spooky at any given moment.

And everyone talks. Talks, talks, talks. Like, all the time. This business is really about the manufacture of conversation, and the end result is a movie. Sometimes. It's truly shocking and interesting how many movies that are NOT made, but developed for years, and are the subject of intense conversations amongst the parties involved. It almost feels like prom committee, except 9 times out of 10 the prom never happens.

I need to think about this more.


Anonymous special.needs said...

I am intrigued by your musings and would like to hear more. In the madcap studio world where a roomful of people decided to unleash a sequel of the remake of "clash of the titans" yet indefinitely shelves myriad original ideas your voice is wildly appreciated.

9:36 PM  

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