Monday, 21 July 2008

Hollywood Babble On & On #131: On Actors & Money

A tip of the tam o'shanter to the always edifying Nikki Finke who posted this letter from character actor Peter Coyote to Hollywood's alleged "A-List" actors. In the letter he asks that the big names to kick back something for their brothers and sisters in what's both an act of solidarity and an economic help to those who have to actually work for a living.

He does make some salient points, like how the A-List's salaries have risen exponentially, that the incomes of working actors have gone down, and that anyone who can't live on $15 million earned in a couple of month must be either "a moron" or have "bad habits."

My guess is that the A-List is going to fight this. Tooth and nail, at least until they chip a nail, and crack one of their porcelain veneers, but by then they'd find something else to fight this with.


Because the majority of Hollywood's A-List stars couldn't sell tickets to a lifeboat on a sinking ship. They get their big salaries either because their faces and foibles are in the press almost constantly, thanks to scandal or publicists skilled in extortion, or their agents figured out how to get those hypno-coins you order from the back of old comic books to work.

It's only a matter of time before someone at the studios realize that they're pissing away hundreds of millions of dollars a year for little or no return.

And then the A-List will suffer.

Because most of the worst performers on the A-List, are also morons with a lot of bad habits, and I'm not just talking about drugs, because most big stars get their drugs for free as advertising for their dealers. I'm talking about that other addiction that cripples Hollywood's biggest and dimmest stars: extravagance.

A lot of them have multiple homes, with too much square footage to air condition for any amount less than the annual GDP of Burma, and some even have to pay Americans American wages to clean them, thanks to tighter immigration laws. Then there are their luxury cars, and private jets, all sucking down petroleum products like there's no tomorrow because they just have to make a day trip to Milan to get the latest designer shoes.

Now this whole mess wouldn't really be happening if Hollywood was a truly capitalist place. In a land of pure capitalism, everyone would be paid in accordance to what they bring in, no matter their stardom, because the point of capitalism is that everyone gets what they want, and leaves happy, and there'd be net profits raining down from heaven as unicorns frolic beneath shimmering rainbows, and Alyson...

You get the picture.

Hollywood isn't really capitalist when you get right down to the nitty gritty.

It's like a cross between a Ponzi scheme and high school.

You see a Ponzi scheme pays big dividends to the first investors in order to attract the suckers, who are then screwed into the financial ground.

In high school, a very strict hierarchy is formed and enforced, based on the most superficial, and in Hollywood, mostly artifical, reasons.

Do you see what I'm getting at?

In Ponzi High Hollywood, the "cool kids" are the ones getting the fat pay-days when everyone else, gets screwed into the ground.

Ironically, this piss poor treatment, leads to radicalized unions, and more strikes, which end up costing billions of dollars.

And it's not just the actors and other Hollywood peasants, equity investors, who should be raking in the big bucks, are also seeing their cut nibbled to death by overpaid and underperforming "stars."

My advice to Hollywood.

1. Pay actors on a system based on their actual box-office performance. And make them go through mandatory money management training.

2. Use some of the money saved to spread a little of the joy among the lesser peons. I'll bet dollars to donuts that it'll be cheaper than having at least one union go on strike every three years.

3. Use the cheaper production costs to earn more profits, real profits this time, and use that to convince investors that Hollywood isn't just a shell game full of pretty people.

It's just that simple.

No comments:

Post a Comment