The Glamourous Film Industry (+ the People in it)
The first part of this post's title is completely ironic. This will be obvious to anyone who's worked in production, but most folks who haven't don't realize that making a movie or TV show is utterly unglamourous--in fact, it is grueling, exhausting, frustrating, demoralizing, dangerous in some cases, and totally insane in most cases. Try working 20 hours straight on 3 hours of sleep, dabbing coffee grounds on the bathroom wall of a Jersey City motel room, sopping up green food coloring from a stinky gutter, leaving Costco with 5 shopping carts full of craft services, losing your voice from shouting into a bullhorn all day, sitting around bored for 18 out of 20 hours while waiting for the director to call rehearsal, lugging cameras and stands up a muddy hill, stopping traffic by standing in front of it, or digging through public wastebaskets for photogenic garbage. Such is the enchanting life of production crews and casts.
What a lot of people don't know, is that past all the People Magazine covers, Entertainment Tonight shows, and red carpet premieres, showbiz is a manufacturing business. Crews work in soundstages and on location instead of in factories, but the point is, movie people MAKE STUFF. And that takes work--real manual and mental labor. That means hauling heavy equipment, writing and rewriting scripts, designing and constructing sets, emoting on command, driving trucks, tracking budgets, ordering supplies, sewing costumes, cooking, serving, cleaning, and many other labor-intensive duties.
Who performs this labor? PEOPLE--some of whom happen to be famous, some not. But when we talk about the "film industry," we often forget that it is made up of people, and it is not some greedy, glamourous monolithic behemoth. The bottom line is, film and TV productions employ people--lots of them--to do the heavy lifting (literally) required to make stuff (in this case, movies and TV shows). So when the "film industry" is being supported, what's really being supported is the livelihood of people--everyday workers who have families to feed and bills to pay, just like everyone else. Cases in point: When incentives tripled production in Illinois from $25 million in 2003 to $77 million in 2004, nearly 15,000 jobs were created. When New York incentives brought the state an additional $300 million in production, 6,000 more locals were employed.