Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Note to a teenager

[Teenager's Name REDACTED],

Apart from referring to you as an idiot—without identifying you by name—I have not attacked you, your [Facebook] group or anyone else for that matter. I’ve reminded you about the [Utah Filmmakers and Actors] group’s policies. The reminders are prewritten and are identical to those sent to anyone else in the group. I’ve told you about the importance of compensating people for their time and talent, as have others. The memos and suggestions in the forum from myself and other members are intended to inform people like you who are new to the group and the film community so that you can improve your craft and have a better understanding of how things work in the industry.

If you don’t like the advice that you’re getting, or that the information that is shared with you doesn’t fit your preconceived notions, it does not mean that you are being attacked.

Just about every time I’ve seen people offer you sound advice, you’ve responded indignantly and made excuses for why you don’t have to listen and the excuses usually revolve around your age, which is no excuse at all.

I’m well aware that you’re 15. Everything that you say and do reminds me of that fact. It also reminds me of when I was 15. I was just as arrogant, condescending and dismissive, and I thought I had my bases covered too. When you get older, you’ll realize just how much you don’t know and how your behavior has been perceived by others. Everyone does. Frankly, the fact that you’re a 15-year-old kid is the only reason I haven’t booted you out of the group. If you were 30 and copping that attitude, I wouldn’t waste my time talking to you.

You have come up in conversations that I’ve had with other professional filmmakers and the general consensus [among] us is that we all admire your enthusiasm but we’re also put off by your arrogance. As one filmmaker put it to me, “He'll get in trouble, get rejected, fail a bunch and grow in the process. Maybe learn some humility along the way.”

I have no problem with you following your dreams because I have those same dreams. Everything that I do in with the [Utah Filmmakers Association] is about helping people turn that filmmaking dream into reality. What you need to understand is that if you want to follow your dreams into the real world, you have to accept the way the real world operates. There are rules that you cannot ignore, even as a 15-year-old, and those rules for conducting business in the film industry will not change to cater to the way you may have imagined it.

If you are serious about becoming a filmmaker in Utah and want access to literally thousands of years of collective experience in the industry*, the best possible group you can be a part of is Utah Filmmakers and Actors.

If you want to remain part of the group, you need to lose the arrogant attitude, you need to be respectful and you need to listen. At 15 years of age, it’s not unreasonable to think that you are capable of this.

I’m sorry I called you an idiot when you’re just being a teenager.



*Assuming that 1 in 10 members of the group works in the film industry full time with an average of ten years experience, the number is over 13,400 years of industry experience in our group.