How to Handle Working for an Asshole

How to Handle Working for an Asshole

“Most people work just hard enough not to get fired and get paid just enough money not to quit.”
– George Carlin

Via The Black and Blue

Like any job, going to work in the film industry isn’t always fun. Stepping on set can become a chore when you’re stressed from a shootfeeling pressure from your department, and working extremely long hours.

So the last thing you need in a situation like that is someone treating you poorly: berating you, yelling at you, and generally being a damn asshole.

But it happens.

I wish I could tell you that everyone in the film industry is nice as cherry pie, but statistically that’s impossible and, from personal experience, I know it’s not true. At some point, probably early in your career, you’re going to encounter an asshole. How you deal with them will have a tremendous effect on the path your career takes — for better or worse.

Recently a reader (who wished to remain anonymous) told me a story about her experience with a director of photography (DP) who was treating her terribly:

I’m just wondering, however, if you have any advice on what to do if the guy you’re working for – the DP – is the asshole!? I got along well with the rest of the cast and crew, but the DP was arrogant, sexist, and condescending. Each time he directed his assholery my way, I just worked and tried harder… but I was pretty conflicted the whole time as to whether the anguish was worth it, considering it was a “deferred payment” low-budget film. Should I just have called it quits and walked away from the production? Was sticking at it and working even harder the right thing to do, or did it just affirm this DP’s douchebaggery, so that he’ll continue to be bad to people in future?

Working with anybody with a toxic attitude like that is tough. But it’s especially tough if they’re your department head because it puts you in an awkward position.

There are three ways you can handle a situation like the one encountered above:

  1. Do nothing and work quietly
  2. Try and talk with the person
  3. Walk away from the job

None of the options are ideal, I’ll admit. With Option 1, you potentially lose money, experience, and further networking. Option 2 may backfire and cause you to get fired or intensify the problem. Option 3 has you putting up with abuse without any vengeance.

So which one do you go with? What’s the right path to tread forward on?

It’s hard to say.

The best approach would be a combination of all the options in the order they’re listed. You put up with it hoping it’s a bad day, then if it continues, you approach the person professionally and talk with them about it. Finally, if it still continues, you leave the set.

But that raises another question: how do you know when to escalate things? What if it doesn’t work?

5 Factors to Help You Handle an Asshole

I’ve certainly had to deal with my fair share of filmmaking assholes, but mostly from the production department (no offense producers!) and rarely within my own department. What I’ve noticed is there are several factors that contribute towards when you should and shouldn’t escalate the situation. Seguir leyendo “How to Handle Working for an Asshole”

5 Important Factors for Calculating and Negotiating Your Day Rate | The Black and Blue

See on Scoop.itGabriel Catalano human being | #INperfeccion® a way to find new insight & perspectives

When you’re looking for your first job in the film industry, you’re rarely thinking about money. Early on, it’s all about getting your foot in the door and proving yourself as a crew member.
But after a few shoots, you may get offered the elusive “paying gig.”

(Yep, someone actually wants to give you money to do what you love!)
There’s a problem, though — you have absolutely no idea what to charge. You’re left stuck on your own to calculate your day rate. And that isn’t as easy as it sounds.

While you’re willing to work for whatever they can pay, you don’t want to leave money on the table. You don’t want to lose a potential job for asking too much, but you also don’t want to get ripped off.

No doubt it’s tricky territory to tread. And while I can’t give you a magic formula to find your day rate, I can help you figure out what should and shouldn’t contribute to its calculations.
So here’s five factors that play heavily into what gets printed on your paycheck.

1. Budget of the Production …  Seguir leyendo “5 Important Factors for Calculating and Negotiating Your Day Rate | The Black and Blue”

Avatar producer explains how to market to kids despite PG-13 rating

A PG-13 movie is the sweet spot for maximizing the revenue of a film. Movies that are rated “R” will by definition have a narrower audience, while any child with a parent can see a movie rated PG-13. “We were very conscious as we went through Avatar not to make an R-rated movie,” Landau explained. “There is a version that could have been R-rated, and if Jim [Cameron] had the opportunity to go back, he would change True Lies. True Lies is an R-rated movie, although you don’t think of it that way. We were very conscious about making [Avatar] accessible.”

3D needs to be planned for, not added later

Landau also had strong words about films that tried to quickly add 3D effects near the end of the process. In his world, 3D is inevitable, and he said that just as wearing sunglasses is a part of going to the beach, the same could be said for going to the movies. We asked about films with poorly done 3D turning the audience off the technology.

“I think that ultimately people shouldn’t have to think about 3D or not-3D, I think it should all be in 3D,” he said. “I think right now you’re doing a disservice to the consumer and the filmmaker by trying to convert movies hastily into 3D.” He brings up Clash of the Titans, where the conversion process was attempted in seven weeks, without any input from the film’s director.

“Converting a movie from 2D to 3D is not a technical process. It is a creative process,” Landau explained. “You have to involve the creators into the process. If you want a movie to be in color, would you ever shoot it in black-and-white and convert it?”

He sums up his feelings on 3D simply. “For us, 3D is a window into a world, not a world coming out of a window. We want the screen plane to disappear when you’re watching our movie, not for you to be ducking during every scene.”

Avatar producer explains how to market to kids despite PG-13 rating.

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What Keanu Reeves Can Teach us About Personal Branding

Shenee is a writer, designer, photographer and pop culture curator. She recently founded You’ll Look Great. She tweets. Mostly about writing, music and 90′s kids movies @sheneeh. She also blogs.

Keanu Reeves. The man. The myth. The subject of many drinking games. He’s known for his stoic gaze and monotone voice. For a lot of people this is considered a negative but I think there is value in what the man does. He’s solid. Don’t like Keanu? You wouldn’t be a movie ticket to one of his movies. He’s built a image based on reliability and consistency with the occasional pleasant surprise. Sound familiar? Starbucks or Apple, anyone? He’s built the perfect personal brand and we can learn something from his career highs and lows.

6 Lessons on Branding from Keanu Reeves

Fill a role

He plays variations of himself in every movie he stars in. So, a casting agent needs an A-list actor to play an out of touch, emotionally dead but likeable character? Keanu gets a call.

Lesson to learn: Fill a void. Be that person who is the go-to person for a very specific service. Maybe you have a knack for hand-drawn type or resume design. If an Art Director needs someone to create some original artwork for an editorial spread ( or a new resume) you become the person to call.

Do one thing really well

He has (knowingly or not) embraced the typecast he has been given. His detached acting style makes for a perfect cop, alien and confused “Chosen One.”

Lesson to learn:If you are a killer illustrator, immerse yourself in illustrative work. Develop a body of work that has a distinct style and point of view. Provide tutorials, design freebies and inspirations for people to look at. It goes hand in hand with filling a void. Seguir leyendo “What Keanu Reeves Can Teach us About Personal Branding”

Globally Networked Creativity, Coming Soon to a Theater Near You

by Navi Radjou, Jaideep Prabhu, Prasad Kaipa, Simone Ahuja

In our recent posts, we wrote about how corporations in sectors ranging from healthcare and energy to consumer goods and technology are learning to leverage the benefits of polycentric innovation by harnessing globally distributed talent to develop new products, services, processes, and even business models in a networked fashion. Now we see a similar collaborative phenomenon emerging in the creative sector and, in particular, the film industry.

Let us state at the outset that polycentric innovation in the creative sector is more than about cross-border financial integration, which has been taking place for several years and is now accelerating due to the lingering economic recession in the West. Indeed, big Hollywood studios such as 20th Century Fox and Warner Brothers are increasingly partnering with production companies overseas to finance and distribute regional films for local and global audiences. And lately, the production companies of Hollywood heavy hitters George Clooney and Brad Pitt have signed development and financing deals with India-based Reliance Big Entertainment, which also took a 50% stake in Steven Spielberg’s DreamWorks for $325 million.

As a global media company headquartered in the US with teams operating in emerging markets, Blood Orange Media has consistently experienced that team members who grew up in more resource constrained environments (primarily in emerging markets) often find creative and cost effective ways to solve problems — by, for example, building a makeshift but effective camera dolly when confronting limited time and supplies during a shoot in a remote rural area. In general, we have found that the organizational skills of the Western world complement the fluid and improvisational creativity in the East. This is not to say that there is no turbulence in this cross-regional flow of knowledge — but these “creative differences” enable teams on both sides of the globe to better learn from each other.

Thankfully, the rapidly dropping cost of global communication has made real-time collaboration among creative artists across borders seamless. For instance, a director sitting in Mumbai can simultaneously review and even modify a film clip with a production designer in Hollywood via a shared digital asset management system.

A larger-than-life example of this cross-border creativity and collaboration is Enthiran, the most expensive film to come out of Asia ever. Produced by Sun Pictures out of Chennai (South India) Enthiran is slated for worldwide release on October 1, with HBO handling its global distribution. The film is the collective output of a truly international crew. While this sci-fi thriller features Bollywood-style songs by Oscar-winner AR Rahman (Slumdog Millionaire) and kung-fu-style fight scenes choreographed by Hong Kong legend Yuen Woo-ping, it also boasts animation and special effects done by Stan Winston Studio (of Terminator and Jurassic Park fame) and costume design by Mary E. Vogt (who worked on The Matrix and Men in Black).


Enthiran is a creative embodiment of polycentric innovation, seamlessly blending Eastern talent with Western expertise to co-create a viewing experience that no single region could have conjured up on its own.

Enthiran lends evidence to the fact that the monocentric film industry of the 20th century where all the creative work (concept development, post production, 3D) was done in one region, usually in the West, is shifting to a polycentric world of the 21st century where new innovation hubs are emerging in India, Argentina, China and even New Zealand (remember The Lord of the Rings?). The creative workers in these emerging hubs augment the capabilities of their peers in established hubs in the US and European hubs by offering complementary skills, expertise, and mindsets as well as cost efficiencies and an international aesthetic. Seguir leyendo “Globally Networked Creativity, Coming Soon to a Theater Near You”

How to Crowdfund your Startup

In November 2009, my business partner and I successfully Crowdfunded a business designed to provide independent filmmakers with an alternative method of film distribution, OpenIndie. The result of our month-long campaign was over $12,400 to bootstrap our company, a good amount of press interest and a built-in audience and user base for our site.

What is Crowdfunding?

Before discussing the pros and cons of Crowdfunding I should explain a little about how the process actually works. The most important thing to considering when Crowdfunding your venture is that this isn’t like taking investment. The process can take many forms, and just like taking investment, won’t be right for everyone. That said, here’s the most common model being used by everyone from startups and non-profits to artists, musicians and filmmakers…

An individual or organisation states that they need X amount of money to fund their venture. This venture can be anything, from a cupcake shop to an independent feature film; and the amount of money can be a small part or all of the total cost of the venture. The individual or organisation then uses their existing networks to leverage the crowd, that’s you, to donate money to their venture in return for a reward.

Often this reward is directly related to the venture being funding, so it could be a batch of cupcakes or a credit at the end of someone’s film; but equally it could simply be a very small thank you for your contribution. I recently came across someone who successfully crowdfunded enough money to pay for the hull of her ship that she needed to circumnavigate the globe.

In return for a small contribution she promised a postcard from a random location on her travels delivered to your door. As you can see, this isn’t investment in the traditional sense, in fact rule number one of Crowdfunding is that you don’t offer a percentage of your venture as a reward. Rather this process is something akin to patronage by a different name. However, there is an important difference between Crowdfunding and patronage that I will explain using the example of my own experience.

Pre-Selling your Product to Fund your Business Seguir leyendo “How to Crowdfund your Startup”