When you see the glitz and glamour of the Academy Awards show or read of stars in magazines with their expensive clothes, jewelry, cars and hot looks you might be inclined to think what a great life that would be. What you don’t often see is the incredible amount of hard work, loss of privacy and just plain drudgery involved with making and starring in movies. Not to mention the cut throat world of getting hired on to star or work on a movie set which is hard enough to make most folks settle for a job at the nearest McDonalds.
Most movies these days are filmed on location or multiple locations throughout the world. Sometimes lasting for months at a time all those involved are away from home and families for the entire time. While on a shoot there is time for mostly one thing… making a movie. Twelve to fourteen hour days are not uncommon. That goes for the biggest star right down to the craft service people in charge of seeing that everyone gets fed. When you see a movie taking place in the rain, in the mud or on a frozen mountain side remember that’s where everyone was while making the movie. Working conditions are sometimes so bad it would make a longshoreman cry. There is always plenty of heavy lifting to go around as well as safety dangers lurking around every turn. There are always lights, cords, booms, lifts and all other sorts of heavy and sharp equipment to work around along with electrical hazards and people running around in all different directions.
What would inspire people to put themselves through these things for months at a time? Obviously the money is very lucrative for some but not all. Most crew members barely make minimum wage and those who make a little more than that earn every dime they make. Anyone involved in making movies will tell you they are there for the love of the medium. You have to really want to work in this business.
The expense of making a movie be it an indie film or a studio full length feature can be staggering. Millions of dollars can be spent in hopes of making the next blockbuster only to have it panned by critics and flop at the box office. There are definitely no guarantees in the movie business. Thousands of man hours, millions of dollars can all go for nothing.
So the next time you see an awards show or read that article about a star remember they probably went through nine kinds of hell before taking that walk down the red carpet. As you go to your regular job in an air conditioned building and draw your regular paycheck at the end of the week keep in mind making movies isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.