Sunday, January 12, 2014



About a 100 years ago, a group of storytellers descended upon this region.
For years, outsiders said we live in a Town & not a City. They called us shallow, 
vague, an all surface industry, a total facade, a dream factory heavy on the 
nightmare. We were the butt of their jokes, yet somehow, somewhere within 
that criticism, judgement and scrutiny, we perserveered. We created a machine 
that tells stories, reflects on life, death, passion, love, hate, suppression and 
on liberation. Eventually, it really started to piss us off, so we dug down into 
it, we dug deeper, worked harder, smarter, better and faster than ever and we 
came out the other end of it : A City. This is not a town anymore. We are all 
touched by Los Angeles or Hollywood as they sometimes like to call us. Well, 
lets face it, we are like the girl at the party that everyone wants to go home with, 
but when it doesn't happen, those who didn't make the grade all start talking.

Hollywood is constantly criticized and we who live here, work here and grew up 
here, take a lot of flack. At the same time, we get to be a part of an industry 
that like any industry has it's ups and it's downs. The perks truly happen when 
we decide to be a part of it. When we demand that we have something to offer 
it, when we study, work and create something that can contribute to it and when 
we realize, that we were a part of it all along. Everyone has a story. Telling those 
stories, writing those stories, performing those stories, lighting those stories, 
photographing, narrating, recording, developing and editing those stories is 
what we do out here in Hollywood and from there it expands. France, Japan, 
England, India, China, Germany, Spain, Italy, Russia have all created incredible 
contributions to film making : Truffaut, Kurosawa, Hitchcock, Satyajit Ray, 
Fritz Lang, Bunuel, Fellini , Tarkovsky to only name a few examples. Did I leave 
someone out ? Of course I did. You know why ? Because film making has become 
an industry that has spread to everyplace and everyone & everybody has a story.

The native Americans and tribal Africans and Ancient Ancestors sat around a fire 
& discussed the visions of the fathers and grandfathers, mothers and grandmothers, 
people gathered to hear these stories, word got out and the best story tellers 
were honored. This is a tradition that has been with us as humans, since the very 
existence of language itself and quite possibly before we even spoke with words.
Today, various groups of people gather to do this with the contemporary tellers 
of stories. Writers, Film makers, Artists, Performers, Musicians, Technicians 
and a great deal of media that sometimes, somewhere, makes a whole lot of 
money. I personally, never stepped up to tell a story for the money. From the 
stream that I flowed from, the family I was raised in, the neighborhood I walked 
through, the tribes that I met along the way, the only reason to tell a story, the 
only purpose for the effort as I recall, was that you told a story for the glory. 
You told a story because it happened, you told a story because you survived it, 
you told a story because others did not. You told a story because it was the right 
thing to do and you did your best doing it. There were times in life that were so 
astounding, amazing or absurd that to tell the story to soon would only cheapen 
the beauty, the power, the stoic nature of it's participants. Yes, we tell stories out 
here in Hollywood or we help release those stories told else where. Sometimes 
these stories are historically significant, other times they are a relief from the 
grueling aspects of life, others times simply a way to relate to others and still 
at other times to make us laugh at how ridiculous life can be. " Make 'em laugh, 
Make 'em laugh … "  or make them cry as the old adage goes, " No tears in the 
writer, no tears in the reader." Award season is in full effect. The Golden Globes 
being part one of a long and often grueling and frankly difficult period for those 
wonderful and talented individuals who ALL DESERVE recognition from their peers.

Here at the BUREAU of Arts and Culture, we have decided to participate this year, 
creating lists of who will win, what the word on the street is and who we would like 
to win. Its a horse race of sorts and with the Golden Globes, we actually picked 
Sixteen Awards right on the money. We also garnered Four 'Word on the Street' 
decisions, One 'Deserves the Award', recognition and only missed five categories 
entirely. The problem with all of this is how extremely unfair it is to put some of 
our top performers through this some times embarrassing process. The excitement, 
the pressure, the wackiness is all part of the so called game. That said, you have to 
hand it to people like Leonardo DiCaprio, who knows how to thank every single actor 
in their category by name. With the Golden Globes, it is especially awkward & difficult 
to understand some of the categories, films & performers competing against one another. 
Film and Television are entirely different mediums and yet with cable, the two have 
much more in common than ever before. The future of our medium, that of film 
making, that of story telling, that of the spectacular situations we call entertainment 
is constantly evolving and sometimes it devolves a bit, a sort of expand and contract. 

Obviously, with living film makers such as Woody Allen, Martin Scorsese & Spielberg, 
for example, we have in our very lifetime, extremely important story tellers here and 
now. With history, we have the careers of endless actors, writers, directors & producers 
to draw inspiration from. Hollywood and the ever expanding industry of film making is 
an awesome piece of machinery. We need to honor our heroes, our storytellers, our 
musicians and performers and technicians, but more than that, we need to be sure 
that we protect, procure and provide for those up and coming. Lets turn to the great 
city of Detroit and the unstoppable automobile industry to understand what indeed 
can happen to any thriving industry. No less than a few decades ago, something was 
there and now it is gone. A hundred years ago, a group of people came out West to 
start an industry which we all love, in one way or another, everyone has a favorite 
film, a favorite writer, director, musician, etc …  Who receives the awards is always 
fun to see, sometimes frustrating, other times sad, sometimes exhilarating and 
often some what unfair. So, as we move deeper into awards season, lets consider 
what we sometimes in quantum theory call, 'The Other Universe', the place where 
an entirely other set of choices happens, all choices happen and understand that 
everyone up there is a winner too. Take it a step further and understand that many 
who are not up there at all are winners. There are films that you will never see that 
are indeed winners and so it goes, such is life, all is well, 'goodnight and have a 
pleasant tomorrow',  kind of thing, if you know what I mean.  In today's day and age, 
we never really know who will become a great story teller, performer or musician. 
Who would ever have thought that Robert Redford would grow into one of the best 
film directors in the United States, if not the world. I certainly never did. But then 
it happened: A River Runs through It, The Legend of Bagger Vance & Quiz Show. 
A perfect trio of films that are each equally American, important and entertaining. 
Careers in this industry can be amazingly surprising, they go up, they go down, 
and so it goes. What an incredible machine this is, you get to tell the story and 
quite possibly, it lasts forever. As long as whatever 'forever' actually means to us. 

So then, congratulations to the winners, congratulations to the nominees and a big 
congratulations to the people who were never nominated, the girl who almost got 
the part, the guy who ended up on the proverbial cutting room floor and the poor 
person who contributed a majority of ideas & may have never been credited, payed 
or thanked along the way. This is a big machine and in working with big machinery, 
people get hurt and sometimes they get retired and even worse, they sometimes 
leave us forever. Is there a way to humanize this process ? Is there a way to protect, 
procure and provide for important up & coming talent in this industry ?  Is there a 
way to keep this incredible city and industry we call Hollywood open to new talent. 
I wouldn't know. But for those on the inside, those with the money, those with the 
ability, those with the resources, those with the reputations, those with the track 
record, those with the nominations, those with the awards, look around you. Take 
a good look around you and remember that first time you got the part, that first 
time you received a check, that first time you were invited to collaborate, that first 
time you read a fabulous story, that first time you were attracted to this machine 
we call Hollywood, Film Making, Story Telling and ask yourself who is next ? Who 
deserves the kind of chances I received ? Who has a story that may not actually be 
sitting on my agents desk. Who is worthy of telling a story?  Who can I assist to 
get where I am now ? How can I recognize it when I see it ? For the individual who 
looks out for another while on top, is the individual who looks in the mirror every 
single day and recognizes the fact that THEY are a winner. With or without, 'The 
Envelope please … '.