Friday, 19 March 2010

'But what's my motivation?'

Pink Floyd album cover for Atom Heart Mother, from Virgin's 20 best album covers ever.

Here is a dainty detest post on an expression I've encountered more then once or twice in the film industry and when it is used it is like the person saying it has a mouth full of Styrofoam (TM The Dow Chemical Company). I'm sure it isn't exclusive to the film industry but it is here that I have heard it so often that upon recently encountering it I decided instead of just going out into the back garden and pulling weeds I'd vent it in a Blog post. I wonder if you have heard it said?

This phrase often is a precursor to some form of complaint or irritation, and the phrase is "I've been working in this industry for [insert double digit number] years". It is sometimes said without the number of years to give it an ambiguous scope of time. Usually the person saying it will follow it up with some form of inane negative comment, supposed advice or all-knowing perspective on what it is they are feeling upset about.

The reason I detest the phrase is for several reasons. On occasion I've heard it from people who claim to be professionals but at a ripe old age are still chasing amateur production work, this makes me think of that remark made by an author I forget now who said "I wish that practicing and preaching were the same thing". It also makes me blatantly aware of why they, after so many years are still struggling to make ends meet from their extensive skill set ... hmmm ... wouldn't have anything to do with personality would it?

Another reason I detest this phrase is because it means absolutely nothing. Wisdom doesn't necessarily come from experience of years, knowledge or authority isn't a badge you get when you clock up enough years. If you were a knob then, you can just as easily be a knob twenty years later. Adversely, someone with little experience can be someone to look up to and admire for their fresh perspective. A different way of doing something, a willingness to take risks, make mistakes and do things unorthodoxly can provide just as much if not more value on a process then someone who has standardized their opinions through years of boorish behaviorism.

A fighter who shows you with pride their scars is not necessarily a good fighter, they are perhaps merely a fighter who got struck a lot. Anyway, my experience with this phrase rearing its tiresome head again was one person out of about fifty people who decided that a Costume Fitting in a house was inappropriate - as my friend said "She's nuts - what does she think it is a P Diddy Video". It wasn't the actual concern she had which was my irritation, as I said to her, a simple "I'm unavailable to do the shoot" would have been enough but no, she had to begin her obnoxious critique with that loathed phrase "I've been in the business for many years" - indeed the work she had covered over those many years going by her resume was pretty unimpressive, and I wondered if its brevity and poorness of quality had something to do with the way she approached her own phobias and fears in life.

I had no issue with her reasoning, all very well if you feel that way but without knowing what is on the other side of your opinion, don't presuppose the judgement. Easy and negotiable way to opt out of what you feel uncomfortable with is to politely decline. Dark streets are dangerous, houses are sinister, men with beards are trying to hide something, eccentricity is something to beware, and what you are used to is the proper and only way. Bollocks to that.

The nature of the music video requires a certain degree of semi-nudity, so I don't know why that person was applying for the gig in the first place, obviously they didn't think too hard about their comfort zones. And as for that loathed phrase "I've been in this industry for years", I quote Oscar Wilde "Experience is simply the name we give our mistakes."

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