Thursday, 19 July 2012

Even More Questions.... Even More Answers!

We get questions... we get questions... we get lots and lots of questions....
Blast Hardcheese asked... Hey D, I had a question that occurred to me regarding your last post (Depp pricing himself out of the market.) Why do stars keep going for more? Sure, they don't want to get screwed out of their 'fair share', but past a certain point what's the problem? Once you're pulling down a definite 10-20 mil per shoot, why keep going for more? Is it an ego thing? Are they scared they're never getting work again?
You do make a point about a couple of the major factors. While some motivations are specific to the performer in question we can break down the most common ones...

1. EGO: Back here in the wild Fjords of Canada we had an ex-politician who was being investigated for the bloated salary and perks he was collecting for his political appointment running the mint. He declared to the investigators, and the nation, that he was "entitled to his entitlements."

That attitude exists in Hollywood too. When someone joins the "A List" and is surrounded by ass-kissers telling them how great they are they can honestly believe that they deserve every penny they can get. Often this can go well beyond their actual market value as a ticket seller.

2. RESENTMENT: When you've seen the film you were paid pennies to star in break records at the box office, you don't see another nickel because it "failed" to turn a "profit."

You're going to resent that, and you're going to want to get back at them some way, and the best revenge in Hollywood is through their wallets.

3. OVERHEAD: Remember those ass-kissers who surround "A-List" actors that I mentioned in the "ego" section? Well they all cost money.

Even if you're a star who doesn't have a bunch of guys from the old neighborhood hanging around tell you that you still have "street cred," you still have people to pay.

Agents get 10% of your earnings for the jobs they get you. Many actors have multiple agents covering film, TV, theater, and endorsement deals.

Managers get between 10-15% of everything you earn.

Then there are the publicists, assistants, accountants, lawyers, ex-spouses, servants, minions, and toadies. All need to be paid, now sometimes it's by the studio, but other times they have to be paid by you.

4. TERROR: All the people an A-List star supports, added to the swanky lifestyle they're peer pressured into living, can create a terrible feeling of unease in the mind of the celebrity.
The author thinking up answers to your questions

This becomes especially keen if they've spent any part of their lives in relative poverty. Everything could go away with just one stinker.

Now a good way to avoid this unease is to bank away the bulk your income for a rainy day, but like I said, stars live in a culture where frugality is not only frowned upon, it is positively scorned.

So they go around trying to get as much as they can for as long as they can. 

Even when they do manage to save their money, it's a very hard mindset to beat. A classic example is Frank Sinatra. Even in his autumn years, when he had hundreds of millions of dollars in the bank, he still felt like he had to hit the road and perform at every opportunity, for fear he would lose everything.


Gary T. Burnaska asked...

    Turning a TV show into a film franchise is a tricky thing. You need to do this with a show that is HOT with the current movie going demo.

    One of the reasons of many of why Dark Shadows was a flop, because it was based on a TV show that went off the air 30 years ago, and its revival went off the air 15 years ago.

    Here is my question who of the 18-45 demo cares about the Lone Ranger? This film just reeks of Depp feeding his own self indulgence.

    FUN FACT: The Lone Ranger was created in 1933 on WXYZ radio in Detroit.
I don't really think anyone of the 18-45 platinum plated demographic really gives a rodent right buttock over The Lone Ranger.

However, I doubt the film is a product of Johnny Depp's self-indulgence. This project reeks of studio group-think that believes that if something worked in the past, no matter how long ago, it's bound to work again.

Now I'm not saying that it's impossible to revive a long moribund franchise. It is, but it requires a lot of work and imagination, not just throwing money at the problem.

First you have to get people thinking about the original again, and remind them why people enjoyed it when it first came out. Then, once you got people interested again, you have to come up with a story that fits the reasons why people liked the original, and how you can update those reasons to the present day.

The core to the Lone Ranger's story is his partnership with Tonto. It's classic buddy action-adventure story about two strongly loyal friends traveling around righting wrongs and fighting bad guys because they have a strong belief in basic decency.

That's the angle to go for.

Then you might have a chance. However it's still a very risky proposition so you should do the project on a reasonable budget, and not $215-$250 million dollars spent on a freaking western!

Of course that sort of thinking doesn't work in Hollywood. Their mode of thinking is to take a sort of familiar name and then toss huge money at it to make it into a special effects extravaganza.


  1. Every time I read about the new Lone Ranger movie the first thing that comes to my mind is the Wild Wild West movie.

    Will there be giant mechanical spiders again?

  2. From what I know Jon Peters is not involved in this movie, so no giant robot spiders.

    I have heard of "ghost coyotes" but they may have been cut during the budget fight.

  3. The Aurora shooting:
    -Some are saying WB should cancel theatre showings because of the shooting. What do you think?
    -What should happen to this guy: LINK

  4. OK, here's a question for the next "Answering Questions" post.


    I just tried to watch (turned it off about half-way through) the movie 'Journey2: The Mysterious Island'

    My question is as follows:

    How stupid does Hollywood think the movie going public is?

    I understand suspension of disbelief and I know the current educational system is turning out it's fair share of morons but, really.

    My Complaints:

    An island constantly surrounded by storm is semi-believable to 19th century readers. After all, you're relying on seamen to tell you what they saw six months after they saw it.

    Today? Hell, any time since the first weather sat's went up it's no longer a secret island.

    I might, maybe, have bought the premise of the secret island if they'd left out the never-ending hurricane visible from freaking space.

    Ok. I swallowed that load of crap to get them onto the island and everything's cool. Neat monsters, nice graphics.

    Now, I'm asked to believe that this island sinks beneath the waves every 140 years, for 140 years. (I think that's right. I know it was cyclical but I may have the time wrong)

    What happens to all those cool animals they just showed me? What happens to the cool ruins? What happens to that volcano?

    The ruins might survive a cycle or two. (No, they wouldn't. Not with the seismic activity the movie showed but I'll give them that for the sake of the story.)

    I'm sorry, but I just can't pretend to be that stupid. I tried, I really did, but this movie broke my ability to suspend disbelief.