As In Life This Industry Is Not Fair

No one ever said that being in this business would be easy; but if you didn't already know this, let me be the first to tell you that as in life (in general), it isn't always fair either.

• It's not fair that some wonderfully brilliant scripts remain lost among stacks of screenplays lining the shelves, floors and hallways of agencies, production company development offices and studios while yet one more inarticulate, blow-em-up, car-chasing, body-slamming, overly graphic, foul-languaged, offensive, loud, violent picture is greenlit and produced for $80 million.

• It's not fair that a more qualified person loses out on a job to a less qualified individual.

• It's not fair that talent is often ignored or just isn't always enough.

• It's not fair that some people are expected to work 16 hours a day without benefits while others receive overtime, golden time, meal penalty, health insurance and a pension.

• It's not fair that the person who gets to make the big decisions and makes the big paycheck is not always the one most qualified for the job.

• It's not fair that some people make half as much as others doing the same job.

• It's not fair that you can work in this business for 30 years, but if you're not in a union, you'll retire without a pension or health benefits.

• It's not fair that one person is given a break when a more deserving one is ignored.

The answer as to why any one of these examples is unfair can be complicated and varied, depending on the exact circumstances, but suffice to say that not everyone in this business plays fairly. Politics play heavily in this game, as does nepotism, poor decisions and a certain acceptance of bad behavior that shouldn't be tolerated, but is. To make things worse, when these situations occur, there's little we can usually do about it.

I can't tell you how many times I've heard friends and co-workers exclaim, "It just isn't fair!" after losing out on an opportunity they deserved, nor how many times I had uttered those words myself. But I no longer expect an obvious or just outcome to every situation nor vehemently protest the injustice of a situation I have no control over. And while I value working with good people who are honest, unfairness rarely surprises me anymore. Cynical? A little. Realistic? Very. In this industry, you can't count on "fair."

"There's no business like show business, but there are several businesses like accounting."—David Letterman

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