The Business of Entertainment…

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For the past 30 years, I have been an active participant and recipient of the “Business of Entertainment.” It has afforded me a comfortable life. Now, do not be deceived; our family has sacrificed tremendously. I’ve said when you listen to the winner on any award show who thanks their families, they rightfully SHOULD, for it is THEIR sacrifice that allows for that winner to be excellent. I always joke around, saying that when my husband wins an award, I will walk up with him and stand by his side during his acceptance speech.

There are many pros and cons of being a “participant” and a “recipient.” The glitz and glamour are a figment of the imagination of a good publicist and public relations team. They convince the general public that these folks wake up looking that way, dress, and live that way. The reality is there is a machine behind the curtain making sure you do not see the loose threads.

In the past few days, weeks and months. This industry has been in a fight within its own house. Union members were unsettled by some “in-house” decisions (interim waivers), and Producers were annoyed with the Union’s demands. Everyone has a bone to pick in this fight. No one seems willing to let go of theirs. Greed fuels the argument. Why should “they” make more than “us”?

As someone who has studied the Entertainment Business (literally) – the Business of Entertainment is VERY different from the Passion of the Entertainers. And that is where the clash begins. Passion does not produce dollars; business-savvy producers produce dollars. And in the bigger picture of this inward fighting…everyone wants a slice of the pie…but to be served differently. It is not fair for a Producer to put a price on the passion of the entertainer/talent, but it is also not fair for the entertainer/talent to determine how much that should be! Why? Because it will NEVER be enough. You cannot put a price on passion. Most entertainers would do this job, even if they were not paid, and producers know that.

Entertainers need to learn to be savvy and request what is dutifully theirs, and producers should acknowledge that life’s issues are real and that talent is worth an equitable day rate. How much is too much? How much is fair? Well, that is an open-ended question; each talent has different needs, and unique circumstances, so to place a monetary value on it will never be enough.

Business is created to produce and create an equitable distribution of earnings. The web of the Entertainment Industry is not a linear business. Some tentacles far out-reach anyone’s limited understanding. To list the hundreds of “characters” that make up the “business” of entertainment would require an entire book. (which you can find). The business is set up to confuse, delay, and discourage talent that simply wants to do what they love to do…perform. Talent must become wiser and stay hungry but not famished. When you are famished, that is when producers/Agents/Managers/Attorneys/Publicists/Directors, etc., take advantage because they know that is when you are most defenseless!

Staying hungry gives the talent impetus; living famished leaves the talent vulnerable.

When you decide to step into the business of Entertainment, realize that the passion you bring may or may not have a dollar sign attached to it, and you must determine what that will be for you to be your best, even in the worst of times.

Stay hungry, but never famished!

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