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When Business Overtakes Art – Business Business vs. Show Business

I’ve been here in Los Angeles for the week and the town is awhirl with Golden Globe excitement.

Women in high heels beyond the height of any I’ve ever seen, parties filled with darting eyes to see who just walked in, limousines jamming the entrance to five star hotels and in general a lot of posing.

At parties and events, authenticity stands out like a patch of fertile soil in a barren desert of fear.

For me, it’s been a fortunate few days meeting with some extraordinary individuals — creatives of all kinds from producers to actors, managers to directors, rappers to writers…people who
entered the world of film, TV and stage because they loved the material, the art, and telling a great story…not the money, the awards, the flash.

One concern has continued to be raised by each artist in every conversation thus far — so much so that it has taken me aback. And it is this: that over the years the increasing focus has become more on money than on art…nothing we didn’t know but it is more intense now than ever: films shooting without finished scripts because they want to beat out another film on a similar subject; tens of millions of dollars being pumped into a film’s promotion in order to land an Oscar…in order to make more money; a “Green Light Committee” (deciding on whether or not a film gets made) being comprised of accountants, financiers, lawyers, studio executives and the marketing department. Not one person from the world of filmmaking itself is on the committee that decides which films get made.

One seasoned director made a comment at breakfast yesterday that I will never forget. “I don’t care if someone is arrogant and brilliant. But the problem these days is that those making the decisions are arrogant, ignorant…and powerful. And that’s a dangerous combination.”

No doubt we need business and art together. It’s called “Show Business” for a reason. But we’ll be in trouble if it gets to be “Business Business” masquerading as Art.

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