The Musings Of An Opinionated Sod [Help Me Grow!]

Why Video Pirating Happens …
December 7, 2006, 9:22 am
Filed under: Comment

Nicole Kidman

From Reuters News Agency: Nicole Kidman was Hollywood’s highest-paid actress in 2006, nudging Julia Roberts from the top spot for the first time in five years. Kidman, an Oscar winner for her 2002 portrait of Virginia Woolf in “The Hours,” commands an estimated $16 million to $17 million (8.2 million to 8.7 million pounds) per movie, entertainment trade paper The Hollywood Reporter said on Wednesday.

In everyday business, you seem to get paid the really big cash for doing one of 3 things …

1. Founder [the originator of the idea]

2. Expertise [a specialist in a particular area]

3. Responsibility [the key decision maker or sharing the ‘risk’]

… however, if you fail in the area you have been charged with – you tend to end up being sacked, sued or ridiculed. 

Not in Hollywood however … oh no … there it seems that regardless of how a movie ‘performs’, there is always someone else to blame [script writers / marketing / director] … so with stars salaries continually escalating to ever-obscene levels and Hollywood believing in a policy of quantity rather than quality, is it really any surprise that Mr and Mrs Public are buying more and more pirate DVD’s?

If the industry really wants to get a grip on this issue, they need to take a long, hard look at the factors driving it because lets face it, their current ‘guilt trip’ strategy just isn’t working – especially as people are [rightly or wrongly] able to justify their ‘theft’ by comparing their level of income to the outrageous salaries paid to these ‘stars’.

Of course it’s a crappy excuse … but that’s not the point … it is how we can do something we know is wrong and not feel too bad about it. Infact, in some cases, we almost feel like we’re clever – as if we’re beating ‘The System’.

Hmmmmmn, anyone else notice a distinct similarity to the issues faced in the Ad industry?

Sure people in Adland aren’t as well paid as film stars … but in a lot of cases, they are paid more than the clients they deal with and how do you think that makes the client feel? 

Many clients [especially the junior ones] think all people in Advertising do, is sit in a room laughing and joking while ripping off scenes from famous movies which we then shove their logo on – all the time while they are working and toiling under immense pressures to achieve the business goals of their ‘real job’. 

Is it any surprise that they treat creativity with such distain?  Are we shocked that they are becoming more and more dictatorial as to what we do for them?

Sure, money isn’t the only issue here … but it is a big factor … because if people believe someone else is getting paid dramatically more money than them for a role they believe is far less demanding, then their level of loyalty and moral conscience will surely be open to compromise.

So what do we do? 

Well if I knew that, I’d be rich too … however I do feel that if movie stars and ad people were seen to share some of the upfront risk [either interms of upfront salary / costs] then people are less inclined to begrudge them if they then go on to reap massive rewards.  Infact, doing this may even earn respect and value from ‘outsiders’ because they’ll be able to truly recognise what the other party has ‘brought to the venture’. 

Will it work?

Probably not … because apart from people being massively risk-adverse, the film and advertising businesses are – as much as we pretend otherwise – ridiculous ventures where success is never possible to be guaranteed and where reasons-for-failure can always be attributed to someone else but this issue is going to grow and grow … not because the public are demanding the Wealth of the World to be spread [like Bono is claiming with his RED venture – see my ‘Champagne Socialism’ blog entry], but because the thing many people want most, is access to the lifestyle only afforded by the ‘rich and richest’.

Which leads me to my next point … The Rise Of The ‘FUCK YOU MONEY‘ Culture.

6 Comments so far
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If you look at actors who have tried to step up with more responsibility, they are the ones who end up writing great films (Matt Damon/Ben Affleck – Goodwill Hunting), or becoming great directors… who are then respected so much more.

Comment by Rob Mortimer

I would have agreed with you till you said Ben Affleck, hahaha

Comment by Rob

Yes, but my inclusion of Ben Affleck was about as much as this clip shows:

(It may not be in English, I cant tell as im at work with no sound)

Comment by Rob Mortimer

It’s not in English but I think it translates as this …

Matt: “You’re Crap”
Ben: [Fart noise – which IS on there] “Yes I Am”

Comment by Rob

The translation is something (very roughly) like:

“Are you going to put myname on that?”
‘But you havent done anything, go on, pitch me some dialogue’
“You wanna smoke some weed?”

Comment by Rob Mortimer

[…] I think I know the answer – because in America, it’ll make a ton of cash because over there, they still think Mr Bean is the funniest thing since Benny […]

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