An outsider’s defense of the Hollywood biz

I am writing this because I am describing my encounters with people who have ventured into show biz and returned with sour grapes. I am not one of these people, nor do I think I ever will be. There are a handful of blogs and people I’ve met that denounce Hollywood for being “satanic” and exploitive akin to prostitution. I’m discovering that those “burnt” by Hollywood have a religious or personal grudge against some people in the business or the lifestyle itself, yet often times they consume and enjoy products of entertainment themselves. Such people tend to be very hypocritical and hate other people’s success deep down, if only because they were unwilling to do some of the things asked of them by “Big Hollywood”. I can understand some reticence, but I am quite certain that there is a good Hollywood out there and a “fake” Hollywood that is just a hardcore pornography business. Some unwitting aspiring venturers that trek to Los Angeles make the mistake of auditioning for a production that advertises itself to be some fashion or beauty competition that turns out to be a pornography or prostitution (not the same thing, but am putting them in the same sentence) ring. Now, pornography on consensual terms is one thing, but deceptive advertising is another. The problem I have with deceptive advertising of services or entertainment is that two-fold. It steals people’s time and money, but it also creates jaded rejects of Hollywood. Those rejects tend to return to 49 other states in the Union, and create an atmosphere that makes the rest of the United States feel like a sour grape place to be (save for NYC). I have never thought of the real Hollywood to be a sour place, only the surrounding area and those clients that were fooled by its glittery imposters up the road. There is a long tradition of imitation in Hollywood, but the real Hollywood uses theater as an tool, not as the bread and butter of back-alley transactions. If you find yourself in a motel claiming to be the address of an audition, you’re probably in the wrong place.

That said, lets accept what the real Hollywood does want, but does not necessarily require you to do.

The movie “The Knight of Cups,” starring Christian Bale, appears to be an accurate portrayal of the decadence of Hollywood. Trailer can be seen at that link.

Yes, there are sex parties. There is certainly drug use, but not everyone in show biz is required to, not at least my version of it. There are also wild drag races which are clearly dangerous. I don’t recommend purchasing a sports car, and I’ve never heard anyone forcing one to buy one.

Back to the original purpose of Hollywood, there are roles expected of a cast. Some of those roles are culturally insensitive (see Carmen Miranda), but some studios, such as independent films, allow more freedom. There are many film studios out there, and some offer more creative control than others. “It is my fault if you find a studio that asks you to play a role that you do not like.” I’ve never heard that, but maybe it is true…? Reading a screenplay should be the first thing one does before agreeing to sign up for a play. If you disagree with the portrayal of a minority group by “representing” said group, you have to be comfortable with said role or turn down the role. See the movie Crash (2004) for examples of this tension. An actor is responsible for their own decisions, and whether it’s to make money or to enjoy doing what one produces, it requires an adequate self-examination before embarking on a film or show. I have read and heard enough stories to believe that there is this darker side of Hollywood, but it takes much time to sort out the swindled stories from the those legitimate auditions where someone was merely not as talented, fit enough, or willing to play the part of a certain character. Both result in rejection and sour grapes, but it takes grace and forgiveness to move on in life and pursue a group or studio and a career that has a compatible lifestyle. Making sense of the horror stories begins with independent analysis. I’m not going to ignore these true horror stories, but I’m not going to accept it as the only truth. This is just my two cents.

I want to touch a little more on auditions. Auditions are plainly competitive. It’s similar to The Olympics. I wouldn’t expect someone to bend over backward to play a part, but if someone is very talented and is capable of entertaining millions, then there is a compatible match. Auditions are for people who don’t rebel at reading a script. Acting is also HARD WORK, contrary to popular belief. Controlling a script is for screenwriters, producers, and directors. You have to want to be a writer if you’re unhappy with your role. Accepting the the reality of show business requires a mature attitude. I’m happy to say I can appreciate the business as an appealing career prospect myself as a small gesture to its ability to capture my attention and make me want to be something I am just not yet. I am still just an outsider- a no-name blogger. I plan to work mainly in independent film and self-financed productions, and I am doing that because I aspire to be a director that seeks 100% creative control of my own work, work that I enjoy, the minimum needed to accurately portray my art as intended.

And about those “satanic” “rituals” on stage? It’s all fake. That’s why it’s Hollywood. Small-town folk to this day conflate Hollywood simulations with off-stage reality with the naivete` and sophistication of a 4-year old. There’s a conservative agenda that is anti-Hollywood, which is against portraying realism when it is unfavourable to real parties. Hollywood is, in many ways, the fourth estate. It simplifies the news in even more visible terms.


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