I have worked with some real assholes.
This is going to be true of anyone in any profession. There is no screening process, and one person's asshole is another's best friend. Its just with all the inflated egos - justified or not - in my industry, there seem to be so many more of them. And the fact that we transition from film to film and you may or may not see any of these people ever again make it more likely that you can be a douche bag and 1) you will never see these people again or 2) by the time you do, you'll both be farther along in your careers and will pretend like it never happened.
A few years ago, I worked on a really really really big movie. Now, I've worked on movies of all sizes (hello, anyone see Southland Tales? I hope not, we made it for a quarter and it sucked), and when we made this one, I knew it was big, but I really didn't think it was going to be biggest-box-office-of-all-time kind of big. This movie was several years in the making, and while they continued to call me with a trickle of needs for almost 2 years, I was pretty much off this movie almost three years ago.
In the last three months, I have received at least a few emails from the producer of the BIG movie. If I never receive an email from a producer while we are shooting the movie, that is a good sign, you know? I am low-man lost on the totem pole, there is no reason a producer should be emailing me. But this producer has sent out a few emails to the entire crew of the BIG movie over the last few months, letting us know about its progress, even sending us a picture once when he and the director of the BIG movie took it to the troops in the Middle East. In all of his emails, he continually repeats this sentiment: "this film would not have been possible without you... with my sincerest appreciation... thank you."
This is not something that happens often in my industry, at least not at this level. You finish a movie, you move on, and maybe down the road you work with some of these crew members again, or even these producers again. Maybe they remember you and maybe they don't. You get a "thanks for a great show" and a handshake at the end and you go on to the next one or file for unemployement.
So it has been lovely and refreshing to receive these occasional emails from the BIG producer, even if I am only one of 4,000 people he has probably sent it to. It has been nice to think that in the journey to great film-dom that the BIG movie has made, maybe this one producer really remembers that his laboring crew of transient carnies is the back that the BIG movie is built on.
We received his last email today, on the eve of the Academy Awards, and it gave me a little hope, that maybe in the world of pretty, false pretenses we as a business create for the rest of the world, there still exists a little real magic.
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