I always knew it was going to be tough as a writer. By tough I mean in a very nebulous sense as compared to the straighter – but equally tough in a different way – path to becoming a doctor or a lawyer. In more conventional, prestigious positions, I think that if you follow a certain set of guidelines, you’ll eventually achieve your career goal.
Becoming a professional creative writer is difficult, because your value is at the mercy of personal taste and marketability. It’s like becoming a professional actor except harder, because while not everyone thinks they have the chops to perform in front of people, everyone thinks they have what it takes to be a writer. As long they can cobble together a few sentences, people believe that what they have to write is interesting to other people. What this leaves us with is a market saturated with literary garbage, making it that much tougher to shine in the rough, like the diamond you are. At least, that’s the way it seems to work out for me.
In the meantime, I take jobs that are in less creative writing fields like, say, a job as a retail and B2B copywriter. By comparison to other jobs I could have, I’d say that I like being a copywriter. Sure, it’s not as thrilling as being a professional screenwriter, but it sure as hell beats customer service. Also, since I am naturally a creative person, I nurture my artistic side by trying to find innovative ways to describe something I’ve already written about in 100 different ways before. It’s also nice to demonstrate to prospective producers that I’m not just some guy off the street. Someone else – in this case, a company – has taken a chance on me because my writing was persuasive, effective or just plain readable. At least, I hope this is helping my case, because the kind of suffering I have to endure at my current job definitely begs for the realization of my dream job.
In other news…
It appears that some audio of Christian Bale going off in an ill-advised tirade on the set of Terminator Salvation. was leaked this week. Apparently, the director of photography, Shane Hurlbut, walked on set to check on a light, not realizing that the camera was rolling. Bale, upset that the scene was spoiled, proceeded to hurl profanities and condemnations that lasted approximately four minutes.
I don’t know what the context of this year-old outburst was, but if I extrapolate from the audio that they were shooting a difficult scene that takes significant mental preparation on the actor’s part, then I can understand why Bale would be upset. I hate having to redo work, especially when it isn’t my fault. For all I know, Bale’s process could be one of emotional instability so that he can truly be the character when the cameras start rolling. If my guesses are correct, I’d say that Bale was justified in having a tantrum.
I fault Bale, however, in how far he took his attack. Simply put, it became unprofessional and it was obvious that his monumental ego took over. In a fair world, for every mistake Bale committed that affected his films, I’d like to see the director or executive producer come down and humiliate him the same way.
On the way to work, I caught a bit of the Kevin and Bean radio show on 106.7 KROQ, an alternative rock radio station based out of the Los Angeles area. Apparently, Christian Bale was a phone-guest and spent the majority of his time behaving adequately contrite. Here’s the audio from today’s broadcast:
I’m not sure what to make of it for a couple of reasons.
It’s common practice in Hollywood to create controversy surrounding a film – especially during the months approaching a film’s release – in order to drum up some buzz. In my younger years, trying to make it as an industry actor, one of the bits of advice I received was “if you’re career is starting to fade, punch a cop in the face to make headlines and you won’t have problems getting booked.” In this case, Bale may be relying on the old adage that there’s no such thing as bad press.
Bale has a history of anger flare-ups. In the past year, his estranged mother and sister filed a complaint against him for assault. So his apology on Kevin and Bean might be disingenuous. On the other hand, this incident happened right before the European premiere of The Dark Knight so it might have been another ploy to get theaters packed.
For my money, I’d rather believe that Christian Bale is a fine actor that’s just a difficult person to work with, rather than a manipulator of the public. In any event, provided Terminator Salvation does well, I don’t think Bale is going to suffer any real career fallout from this. If it does poorly, however, his colleagues may fall back on the other old adage: I don’t want to work with prima donnas.