Producers on Stress

I recently read a great article in Filmmaker Magazine about Producing and Coping with Stress. The entire article resonated with me. The struggle to maintain balance between work and family life is something I feel acutely. It’s good to hear that I’m not alone. If you have fifteen minutes you should check it out. You should also check out my post On Creative Fulfillment too.

Article quotes of note:

  • Producing is about support — being everyone’s advocate, from the director to the actor to the crew. … Producing is the effort in the cracks and corners, the tossing in the mornings and nights. Producing is sweating in the dark and smiling in the light.
  • “The happier you are and the more healthy you are,” Robinson says, “the harder it is to sustain the dysfunction of film.”
  • “There’s this inherent narcissism of ‘serving the movie,’” Reardon says. “It’s like the movie is the patriarch.” Various forms of abusive behavior can be justified because there’s the sense that sacrifices must be made for the sake of the film.

Is Post Production the First World’s Foxconn?

Two great posts about life in post production these days.

First is Katie Hinsen’s The Professional Identity Crisis of the Film & Television Editor, which basically describes the psychological state of most people working in television these days:

The role of the editor has been both deprofessionalized and at the same time made more complex. Editors are now asked and expected to have a solid grasp on a wider variety of skills and disciplines than ever before. In a new, unstable work environment, they are also expected to incorporate a wider range of tasks into their job, for which they are not additionally compensated.

Psychologist Jocelyn Handy tries to explain film industry freelancers’ willingness to give so much for so little, to the behavior of addicts. Sociologists David Hesmondhalgh and Sarah Baker noted a “hedonism” in workers from creative industries. While analysts warn that by accepting these declining conditions, people are harming themselves and others, editors will tell you that they love their job, and that this is just the way it is these days.

Then we have John “Pliny” Eremic who explains the economic reason for the our collective identity crisis in The Film Industry and the Smiling Curve, which is anything but happy.

Following the dynamics described above, the “manufacturing” aspect of filmmaking—that is, shooting, editing, VFX, and finishing—are all modularized and outsourced. Kinda like Foxconn. There’s a reason Apple doesn’t insource this work. Just like there’s a reason studios don’t have DPs or writers on their payroll. They don’t need to.

So if you work in production or post, and have ever wondered why economic life feels like a never-ending race to the bottom, here is why:

you-live-here-03

Both of these posts present different aspects of the same global problem of growing inequality; productions are being squeezed, just like most businesses these days, with few ‘winners’ and more economic losers.