If you are serious about wanting to get your film actually made, you should avoid Hollywood altogether. Trust me. No one but The Majors make movies in Hollywood. The players you would think would be the most involved are precisely the individuals least interested in the activity. What? How can you say that? Well, because it’s true! People go to Hollywood to be in a continuous state of development. Why? BECAUSE THEY ARE LAZY. They do not want to work. They do not want to be productive. They want to stay in bed or lounge about the fucking pool sipping martinis.
No one in Hollywood will return your calls because there’s just no time! They will tell you they’re SO swamped. People in the movie business are SO busy. Try so busy scheduling their August holiday! Think you can call back in September? Guess again! From September to November people in the movie business can’t manage a conversation because all capable speaking skills are being sucked up by Toronto and the other fall film festivals. No one works in December, regardless of religion, and when they return after the New Year, all available time is spent obsessing over Sundance. And, of course, February is out of the question because everyone is obsessed with what happened or didn’t happen at Sundance.
April through May is lost to Cannes. This leaves only March and a slim chance to reach anyone by telephone during hiatus (June and July). Please note: no one in the industry seems to understand how to use e-mail. Unless you’ve got Spiderman 7 in the works, or the latest “special effect’s show,” the only real chance you’ve got is to make your film on your own. Think you want to involve the movie business? Heed this warning!
There’s nothing wrong with enjoying time off from time to time but must we remain “off” so much of the time? And what are people doing in their off time? Playing videogames, chatting with online strangers, playing golf, attempting yoga, gorging on wine and cheese. Whatever happened to productivity? Come to think of it, maybe Hollywood isn’t the only place contaminated with laziness.
There are 365 days in a calendar year. 104 of them are wasted by people not working on the weekends. That only leaves 261 days to get any work done.
Think it stops there? Guess again! We can’t forget the holidays! (FYI: The movie industry observes every holiday known to man, and not just the major ones. I used to think they did this to avoid offending any major cultural or religious group. But, it seems to me that most everyone in the U.S. does it as well—even people who are deliberately offensive on a daily basis and clearly cannot be attempting to avoid offending someone!)
We have Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, Lincoln’s Birthday, Washington’s Birthday, Good Friday, Memorial Day, Flag Day, Independence Day, Labor Day (by all means a special day to deliberately not work!), Columbus Day, Election Day, Veteran’s Day, Thanksgiving, Christmas…and those are just the Bank Holidays!
We can’t forget Chinese New Year, Groundhog Day, Valentine’s Day, Ash Wednesday, Purim, St. Patrick’s Day, April Fools, Passover, Easter, Tax Day, Cinco de Mayo, Nurses Day, Mother’s Day, Armed Forces Day, Father’s Day, Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, Halloween, All Saint’s Day, Eid al-Fitr, Hanukkah, Ramadan, and, of course, Kwanzaa!
I found the following on the website for the Pennsylvania Department of Banking: “When a fixed holiday falls on Sunday, it shall be observed on the following Monday; when it falls on a Saturday, it may be observed on the following Monday. Independence Day, July 4, 2004, will fall on a Sunday and, therefore, must be observed on Monday, July 5, 2004. Christmas Day, December 25, 2004, will fall on a Saturday and, therefore, may be observed on Monday, December 27, 2004.”
Are they kidding? No! We wouldn’t want to overlap a weekend with a holiday for a chance at yet another day off!
By the time New Year’s Eve rolls around, people take yet another two days off! Yes, two whole days. (No one should have to work with a hangover!) I’ve never understood why people celebrate the coming of a new year. Are they excited that yet another year has passed? Are they thrilled at the notion that in the coming year they only have 24 days to work? Or, are they thrilled at the idea that 341 days will be spent not doing ANY?
On my street, there isn’t a reason to take a vacation. We don’t need a break from our lives. We need no escape. We happen to enjoy what we’re doing. That’s a rare thing these days—actually having enjoyment at your place of work.
I used to get really frustrated. It seemed that every time I turned around people were finding any excuse possible to avoid doing any work. Now, I see it as a gift. While millions are sitting around by the pool, playing golf, taking a holiday, the rest of us can get the upper hand. My advice is to encourage other people to take even more time off from work. This way, you’ll be able to accomplish more while they’re gone. And if you’re as efficient as some, you might even get the desired results before they get back.
If, on the notion you dislike your life and don’t really want to do any work, I suggest moving to Los Angeles and getting a job in the movie industry. If the move seems daunting, taking any job seems to do the trick regardless of the location. Don’t worry. You’re sure to find a place where you don’t have to do anything!
(Originally published in Aftertaste Magazine, 2004)