AN EMPIRE OF ONE

If you don't think the world's weird, you're not paying attention.

Should Hollywood have Term Limits?

with one comment

Should Hollywood have term limits similar to the ones that limit how many times a politician, including the US President, can run for office? That is, should a director or screenwriter be limited, for example, to two films made in Hollywood? (Let’s say the films could be made at any time.) The same rule would apply to both below and above the line talent, equally to gaffers and superstar actors.

When there’s a popular ride at an amusement park, and the line stretches beyond the horizon, do they let the first people in line stay on the ride until they collapse from exhaustion? Of course, not. But why not? Because the ride operators make more money that way. The problem with Hollywood is that they make more money sticking with the same people for years and years.

STATS

Films made each year in USA

According to Theatrical Market Statistics 2010, page 14, the average number of feature films produced in the United States 2008-2010 was less than 1000 (749).

USA population

(ignore the fact that film talent also comes from other countries)

311,928,000

Let’s say a mere 1/3 of this population is physically capable of directing. We’ll round it down to 100,000,000.

Does anyone seriously believe that there are only 1000 (the rounded up number of films produced in the US each year) people in the United States out of a population of more than 100,000,000 who are capable of making a film worthy of joining the 1000 that are made? That’s a ratio of more than 100,000 – 1. People who believe this surely have a low estimate of the abilities of human beings.  Perhaps they think that this really is a planet of monkeys.  They would not agree when Hamlet says:

What a piece of work is a man! How noble in
Reason! how infinite in faculties! in form and moving
how express and admirable! In action how like an Angel!
in apprehension how like a god! the beauty of the
world! the paragon of animals!

They would be more included to agree with Hamlet when he says:

… and yet to me, what is
this quintessence of dust? Man delights not me; no,
nor Woman neither…

Suppose the entire film industry disappeared overnight? Like the Roger Corman film, Gas-s-s-s, but instead of everyone in the world over the age of 25 vanishing, everyone in the film industry would go missing. Would the industry collapse (similar to what Ayn Rand fantasized in Atlas Shrugged, with the world collapsing when the business elite go on “strike”), or would new people fill the vacancies so fast that there would still be many people left out in the cold? Thanks to film schools there are thousands upon thousands of people who have been trained to make films, yet unable to exercise their talents in the industry because there is no place for them. Many of them do find a place in the industry, but they never find themselves in a position where they are able to realize their full potential as a creative person.

This situation, of course, is not unique to Hollywood. It applies to every kind of dream job. Once a person gets that job, they do everything they can to hold onto it until they die. That’s good luck for them, but tough luck for everyone else. And hardly fair.

Term limits for Hollywood would bring a mite more fairness into the world.

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Written by David Kilmer

August 9, 2011 at 12:38 pm

One Response

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  1. What a really interesting thought! My natural instinct is to say ‘no’ because of the time it takes for talent to develop, but then no-one is being afforded the opportunity to really develop anyway, so you may have a point!

    jamesfair

    August 11, 2011 at 1:27 am


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