Exit Interview #4: The Rookie
'The train's racing off the cliff, let's have fun while it does'
In the last week of every year, we say goodbye to the 12 months past by talking with some of the smartest folks we know in this business, hoping they can help us make sense of what the hell that was all about. I talk to them anonymously so they can express the full extent of their thoughts and feelings about this business.
Reminder these thoughts are not necessarily our own but hopefully offer a range of perspectives and opinions
Today, I’m closing out my annual Exit Interviews with a glimpse into our future: a sharp young person working in the production world in Hollywood, ready to rise through the ranks, who has her own take on the movie industry (“we need to bring back FOMO”) and doesn’t actually begrudge the town leaders for their lack of TLC: “If you're running a company, whether it's a production company or a studio or a mega-conglomerate, you are so busy worried about just the general future of the industry and your own job and not getting fired yourself.”
But she’s also concerned about advancement, and who will actually tough it out: “A lot of people are just realizing I can do the best I can at my job, but it's kind of out of my hands.” Still, “if they really love it, you can't keep someone away.”
It’s great insight into what the youngest, best, and brightest are thinking.
RUSHFIELD: So 2023, how about it? Was it great?
What was this year like for young folks working in Hollywood?
I think it was really difficult because of the double strike situation. It was hard on everyone, but I think it particularly impacted people who are early in their careers, because there were just like a lot fewer opportunities available in the first place just for entry-level jobs. A lot of management companies furloughed their assistants entirely. So not only did they not have new grads coming in as assistants, the assistants they already had didn't even have a job, much less a chance at promotion. There were a lot of furloughs across smaller production companies, both at the assistant and also more junior executive level.
And the places where people didn't get furloughed or laid off, still there was not a lot of movement and obviously nothing was getting made. And your whole job working in this town is trying to get projects made and that was not possible.
The rhetoric got really, really negative during the strikes, both online and out on the picket lines. When I would drive by them, people would have these really nasty signs. My friends who work at studios, I'd hear stories about people just pounding on their cars.
How did the folks you know deal with that? Young people don't typically have a year in savings socked away. How did people get through this period?