Thursday, March 11, 2010

To Be an Entertainment Executive

I guess I'll eventually have to write a book on doing this type of stuff in small entertainment companies. I've certainly learned many things working at my day job & in the film company.

One of the biggest things I've learned from my day job is this: Being an executive means sometimes having to hurt people's feelings. It means not taking shit from anyone & acting in the best interests of the company and your team.

When one person is trying to bring things down, it corrodes a company from within. Especially if the person is a wannabe who is A) young, B) doesn't know beans about the industry & C) immature. If you can't hack it with a soon to be national television network, then you need to be out the door.

One of the actors (let's use that term loosely) is known for being difficult, having an attitude problem and being immature. She's also known for being a liar. A co-worker who is also one of the network's writers informed me of this wannabe actor's shenanigans, including:

* Massive insubordination in the form of ignoring this person's authority
* Whining about personal problems (if you're hungry, eat before you get to the reading)
* Defaming the company to new actors & a new employee; and
* To top it off, telling one of the writers that she "didn't have to listen to any
f-ing body" but my boss b/c my boss is the one who signs her checks.

NONE of the writers want to work w/her & she's ticked off nearly all of my co-workers. The writer/co-worker informed my boss yesterday that if this actor didn't get terminated, she'd be quitting. My boss said he'd think about it.

The wannabe hasn't been nasty to me since I openly called her out for it the first time she tried it (my boss & another co-worker thought I was going to curse at her but I didn't). I also try to tell her things as someone who knows how execs, directors, producers, etc. think & the impression they form of actors doing things I hear about her doing.

After hearing this little comment about not having to listen to anyone, I would have dialed her up right then & there to confront her if her number had been in my reach.

Instead, I decide to have my boss hear what this co-worker just told me. Then I say that if this person isn't terminated, I will leave & take the actors I know w/me. I mentioned that I will not damage my film company's reputation by working someplace where some wannabe gets to ride shotgun over industry professionals & by extension, me; people there already know I'm not taking shit from anyone. I also pointed out the exact provision of the contract she's violated & that she could be sued for defamation of character for her statements to new actors.

Now, I like my boss. Nice guy. But I don't think he's had to get rid of people so much since he's given far more chances to folks than I or some of my co-workers would have. Maybe people have been more amenable to him than they have to me or some of the writers (their stories would make you shudder). Maybe he sees some of himself in this person. I don't know.

What I DO know is that I'm not paid to be a "yes" woman. I'm paid to help get the network off the ground & ensure that no one's sneaking around on the higher ups while they're doing more important things.

Being a lawyer should clear up any confusion about my duties to be "nice", a "doormat" or to let anyone push me or my co-workers around. I don't have to suck up & wouldn't do it anyway; I'm supposed to be candid & direct. If you try to stop me from doing these things, there's no point in wasting my time or yours.

I also know that when one inexperienced, immature person has alienated so many other people w/more important jobs, you need to side w/the people who are harder to replace & who have more industry experience. For me, I have responsibilities to the writers, investors, sponsors and anyone else whose reputation is being put on the line by working w/the network. No one wants to be around that. I'm also far harder to replace than any wannabe actor.

I understand the struggle to make it in this business but part of that success also falls on YOU. If you can't treat it like you would a day job, you don't belong there. Stick to school plays & less restrictive places where they might put up w/that mess. Don't do it w/any production company if you want to work as a full time actor.

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