Why the film world doesn’t owe you a living.

writing, screenwriting, script, author, greenstreet, independent, sex, dolphin, It is, as many people who work in film and TV will be acutely aware, award season. Or to put it another way, the time of the year when backs are slapped (or stabbed in), careers forged (or destroyed) and fortunes made (or lost. Usually in a sea of creative accounting).

The BAFTA’s, Golden Globes and Oscars are the main ones of course, but the business is awash with them and long may it remain so.

There is however, another side to award season. For it’s the time of the year when the hard done by come out from their hovels and give vent to their offence. And by hard done by, I mean those who claim to have it tough.

The two groups currently whining loudest are female directors and black actors and actresses. Both on account of neither group being represented in the best director or best actor/actress categories at the Oscars. This apparently, is an indication of the sexism and racism which runs rife through the entire industry.

What a load of bollocks.

Here’s a newsflash for you. Working in film and TV is tough, really tough. Yes, there is an identikit stereotype who might well have it easier but the bottom line is that breaking into the industry is tough for everybody be they male, female, young, old, white, black, yellow, actor, actress, director or perish the thought, a 56 year old shaven headed writer.

And that leads onto another newsflash; no one makes you do it. You, as a free thinking individual, made the choice to move into the entertainment and creative industry so if it’s not working out for you, dig in, get better and start to create your own opportunities because that’s how you up your chances of things happening for you. That’s how it works, that’s how it’s always worked and to be honest, in an industry where talent and tenacity are kings, that’s how it has to work. If you don’t like that, get out and get out now.

Not just for the sake of your own sanity, but because if you haven’t got the balls to fight that fight or are dependent on either tokenism or a tax-payer funded scheme to get you a job, the industry probably doesn’t really need you anyway.


manchester united, david moyes, liverpool, british film, ryan giggs, old traffordSpeaking of awards, could I just remind everyone that Top Dog has been nominated in the Best Action Film category at the National Film Awards and that We Still Kill The Old Way is up for all kinds of awards, including Best Action Film, at The Action Elite Awards.

These awards are voted for by the public (that’s you) so if you’ve seen either movie and enjoyed them, please click on the links and do what needs doing!

I’m also not a little chuffed to tell you that Wings of a Sparrow has been optioned by Trebuchet Film Productions and moves are now underway to raise the finance to make it. All being well, that will happen sooner rather than later!

Finally, if all goes to plan I’ll have another film to announce within a couple of weeks. And it’s a real cracker!

oscar, bafta, emmy, film, independent, screenwriting, author, ebooks, kindle, green street, top dog, writing

17 thoughts on “Why the film world doesn’t owe you a living.”

  1. Dougie, I dig what you’re saying so keep on doing it. There is, however, one raging contradiction contained in your piece. You lecture precisely and not so nicely for blacks and women to stop their woe-is-me whining about not getting a fair shake in a tough business that – they – chose to be in while raising their ranting ante with your own self-piteous complaint, “Try being a 56 year old shaven headed heterosexual white bloke and see how many meetings you get at the BBC. Zero, that’s how many.” So, what’s it going to be, Dougie? A display of carelessly worded pyrotechnics or are you going to edit yourself to a level of clarity and intellectual reliability so that an ally can stay at the table and draw up the next battle plan? What screenwriting software do you use?

    1. There’s no contradiction there as far as I’m concerned as I’m most certainly not moaning about a lack of opportunity at the BBC for people like me. I’m merely using that as an example to make the point that it’s tough for everyone and as an individual, you can either spend your time blaming your sex or skin colour or you can knuckle down and put the time in to create opportunities for yourself. Opportunities based on your talent, not your DNA.

      However, since you raise that point, there is certainly a case to be made for that the notion that when it comes to opportunity in film or TV, the group most discriminated against are those aged over 40.

      Indeed, if you can find a link to our scheme at the BBC or details of our ‘quota’ I’d love to see them. As I’m sure, would many thousands of others.

      1. Fair enough, Dougie. Thank you for the thoughtful reply and your overall candor such as it is displayed on your blog. Best.

  2. Dougie, a word or two here and there tells me you’re a Brit. If so, me too.
    I like your blog, and you did say in your disclaimer not necessarily a firm opinion – meant to stir/start a discussion etc., but as far as age discrimination, I have heard that exists regarding writers. If so, at 82 I don’t have the problem since I am not a writer except kids stories for my own amusement (free on Internet “Abducted to OZ” “The Magic Sneakers, et., the first co-written with a friend). I also have them on Kindle for 99C downloads. I got into the industry 4 years ago doing background for something to keep me busy. No age discrimination as they are always looking for old people for nursing home/dying scenes, etc. I have from time to time done a little acting on low budget indie projects., as well as the usual student films, music videos, plus a few commercials. Have actually worked directly with Jerry Lewis, Ernest Borgnine and Arnold Palmer. (Stand-in type work). So, for 82 I am quite happy as always something different to look forward too. I am not ambitious as an actor – quite happy with a few lines. But wouldn’t mind seeing my stories turned into movies someday. Just too lazy to learn the art of screenwriting and pushing my work. Maybe my stories will be discovered one day after I’m gone 🙂

  3. Really no one working (or trying to) in any field is owed anything. It’s all about how much you are willing to bring to the table then how much of that you are willing to leave on the floor. Ask George Brett. Ask Dustin Hoffman. Ask Stephen king. Then ask the ones fighting against all odds clawing into a field while watching their peers drop by the wayside.

    Oh, it’s so much easier to blame and complain to get off the hook. That way you get to slink away. Really, what does it take? Blood, sweat and tears or maybe everything of who you are. I can’t create a photograph without spending hours in the digital darkroom crafting my vision. I won’t stop until I finally see on the computer screen what my mind saw when I snapped the pix. Years of training, being criticized, learning about psychology, visual construction in the brain etc. The science none of why seems to have anything to do with photography (per say) but life begs to be captured, recorded, processed all to shown what it’s reality all about.

    Web – http://Wooddickinson.com

  4. Dougie, totally agree with you re age discrimination, and it is even worse in the IT field. In my 30’s, between ’96 and 2003 I could quite literally walk out of one job on Friday and into another on a Monday – and that was as a permie, not a contractor. My CV would generate dozens of replies from agencies. The day after 40 – nada. But if I use the same CV, but change my birthday by fifteen years, the phone calls and emails pile in…. Anyway, I enjoy the blog, keep it up. You’re not a bad sort – for a pongo 😉

  5. I read the linked “unpacking the invisible rucksack” article. And then followed the link to the original document. Did anyone notice the publication date – 1988? The 2012 writer quoted a 27 year old document as gospel, with no supporting evidence that it is still relevant. If it was rewritten to reflect the ‘+5 invisible backpack of advantage’ that a 20-something inexperienced graduate enjoys over an experienced middle-aged white male, I wonder if it would achieve the same acceptance? I would argue that when it comes to discussions of discrimination, there is a rather large white elephant in the room…

    1. I saw that too. Interesting that they didn’t allow replies.

      Indeed, it’s interesting that much of the negative response to this blog comes from exactly the kind of people who bleat about discrimination whilst enjoying the success that the same discrimination has handed to them.

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