One from the Heart
The author used an anecdote to prove her point. A guy starts his first job assisting a big shot director, someone he dreamed of working with. It turns out that this hot-shot film student’s tasks extend to getting coffee and getting more coffee for the guy. He finally hides behind the set and calls his girlfriend, and tells her that he is this director’s “coffee bitch.” Too bad an assistant makeup artist is listening, and he is fired faster than the speed of gossip.
First, prospective writers, Hollywood is not Orwell’s 1984, and you are entitled to your opinion. In fact, I suggest you hold onto it. I worry that writers read this stuff and think that the only way to “make it” here is not to open your mouth. You have to open your mouth. It’s actually kind of important.
People often wonder why so many writers and directors don’t come from Hollywood. Look at a schedule of upcoming films–most of their directors didn’t “grow up” in the system. It’s tough to get a foothold. Often you have to start from somewhere else and then wait for Hollywood to call. John Waters: Baltimore. Gus van Sant: Portland. Christopher Nolan: London. Pedro Almodóvar: Madrid. These are writers and directors I respect because they did speak up. They “flipped the script” and wrote and directed screenplays that no one else would have touched. And through their independent vision and strength, they got noticed. Sure, they all sold out, but wouldn’t you if offered a million-plus dollars?
You can get into a rut in Hollywood because you are afraid of speaking up. You can end up doing something you don’t want to do, because it pays the bills, because it makes your family happy, because you don’t really know what else you could do. Refocus. Remember why you are here. You’re not here to get people coffee. Sure, everybody pays their dues, I know that. It helps not to be a jerk, and that goes for any industry. But I’ll say it again, you didn’t come here to get people coffee. You’ll begin to hate Hollywood, you’ll begin to resent your direction in life, and you will burn out.