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08/07/2003 - Art Rules Hollywood

Brian A. Wilson


That line alone would get me an argument in most corners of Tinseltown. And it would precipitate an argument not because it's wrong, but precisely because it's right. It's just that those who hold the purse strings in town wish it weren't so.

I was at a meeting recently. Attorney/agent Paul Levine told a room ful of writers, "If you think art is the primary concern in Hollywood, you're kidding yourselves."

First, can you imagine a speaker coming into a room full of bankers and saying, "You're wasting your time being bankers." Or a math teacher opening the semester by saying, "As we all know, math and mathematicians are irrelevant. Now, let's get started."

Yet this very attitude is accepted as conventional "wisdom" in Hollywood.

I think it's a crock of crap.

Art and artists are all that do matter in Hollywood. Without artists-writers, actors, make-up people, scenic painters, but particularly writers-there's no movie business, there's no TV business, there's no Hollywood.

The business nerds are fond of saying, "Don't forget-it's show BUSINESS!" I'd like to remind them that yes, it's show business, but the SHOW comes first, and the show is art, and art comes from the artists.

That's you and me, folks.

All I'm saying is, as an artist, keep your head up. Bear in mind: if you had to, you could do what the business drones do. You could crunch numbers, you could learn to budget, you could run staff meetings. On the other hand, they cannot learn to do what you do: create something from thin air. They can't learn to be creative people. They weren't born that way, and they can't learn, because it's not inside them.

I think that's what makes them so bitter, and makes them so defensive about what they do. They're all frustrated artists. They all wish they could do what we do. They all wish they could get along without us.

But they can't. And Hollywood can't.

Enjoy your position as an artist in SHOWbusiness. And if you feel like it, spare a little bit of pity for the business folks who wish they had your talent.

Keep writing.



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