Sunday, January 17, 2010

A Douchebag Move

Okay, kids. Rule #1 of the Entertainment business:

Never, I repeat NEVER, make someone an enemy unless it's absolutely necessary.

If the person has stolen from you, flaked out multiple times or done something else completely unprofessional, go right ahead.

Rule #2: It's not only your prerogative but your DUTY to tell everyone you know in the business about that person's crappy treatment of you.

Just like in other industries, we can & will tell people when you behave like a douchebag or do something so outside business norms that it deserves to be called out. It will affect your career. Remember, you don't know who is friends with who or who is someone else's relative, classmate, etc.

Go STARTING trouble & bad mouthing people, though & pretty soon you'll be branded as a liar/moron + petty instigator. Most of us call people out on that shit too; only an idiot wouldn't.

An entertainment lawyer who contacted me with interest in participating in the TV network's attorney reality show said during my conference call with him that if we "needed an attorney to help us out, I'll be happy to help." This guy KNOWS that this is a network that is getting ready to launch & doesn't have buckets of money to shower on people. Sounds an awful LOT like volunteering, right?

So b/c I've only done film contracts & have been asked to do a lot of the in-house legal documents since I can write them simply & not make them overly burdensome to our beginning actors + other creative people who hate dealing w/this stuff, I have a feeling I'll be the one doing talent contracts. Like any rational, responsible person I've been trying to do my homework & not assume that film contract=TV contract.

Since this lawyer so generously makes this offer, I figure I can ask about the nuances of these contracts since no one's given me an answer yet & it's harder to research this stuff.

Now, there are MANY lawyers in this profession who will gladly pass along a sample document if you need it & help you if you ask for advice w/out demanding $. These are the people who are forward thinking & realize that they have a duty to help people coming up in the profession since they're going to need to know how to do things once the experts retire/die/go insane.

This douchebag asks to be co-counsel & wants a fee. Even though I'M being paid a very low amount since this is pre-launch & DOING the actual work. He also put a smiley at the end; now as I understand 'net speak, that means "I'm kidding" or might be "joking" w/you. I wrote back that I hoped it was a joke since I'm not making much & I'm doing the work. NO ONE is going to steal MY show, thanks. I'M also the one people are trusting here, NOT YOU.

Apparently, despite what was said, he wasn't. That warranted me mentioning that I've got the memory of an elephant. You mess w/me, especially when I'm starting out, I'll make damn sure you don't get my help on anything. I'll actually go & tell people NOT to work w/you b/c you're a money grubbing douche who spits on up & comers (with a retelling of the story so people come to that conclusion all by themselves). Believe me, word travels & can go anywhere. My contacts AREN'T small time, let's just leave it at that.

I'm still appalled by this considering that in this business, there's more "pay it forward" than you might think. I've told actors I know about auditions w/the TV company & told lawyers who wanted to get into the business about opportunities. I don't expect anything in return, their success will make me happy. I know what it's like to be miserable & upset b/c things aren't happening for you + I feel like it's my duty to help the dedicated & true talents if I can. I'm definitely NOT the only person in this business who'll do it. You just have to convince people that you have something, are 100% dedicated to what you're doing & that nothing will stop you; I wouldn't help someone who didn't believe in themselves, take opportunities that could help them or do a damn thing to get closer to what they claim to want.

In my book, professionals in any field have the SAME duty to up & comers. Eventually, those people will be gone & if you don't teach the up & comers how to do things, how do you expect your industry to continue once you die or retire? The up & comers could also surpass you & will remember who helped vs. who didn't. This is very true in entertainment & a HUGE reason why I think most interns aren't treated like crap; most higher-ups know better. Maybe some lawyers should get THAT memo.

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