Respect? Sorry, What’s That?

Respect for screenwritersI’m a real stickler for respect and courtesy. To me it costs nothing to treat others with respect and decency – at least up until the point they demonstrate that they don’t deserve it – but it’s becoming increasingly obvious to me that the idea of respect is somewhat alien to the film industry at large.

A brief conversation with a script supervisor recently resulted in my discovering that IMDb doesn’t even give the specialism its own category, despite its importance to the creation of a film.

It got me thinking and digging around.

It’s alarming how often cinematographers and screenwriters aren’t acknowledged in reviews. I gave up counting the number of times a tweet from someone involved in a film’s production talked about “#myfilm” like the poster was the only person responsible for it as opposed to an entire crew.

The film industry is a collaborative industry by default yet it’s rare for everyone to be acknowledged and treated equally.

How many writers have seen what they wrote change on its way to the screen because a director doesn’t truly collaborate with them, or the characters warped from what was on the page because an actor doesn’t respect the writer enough to discuss their character with the person that gave them life? How often is sound – an integral part of movies in this day and age – treated like an afterthought, despite how much it can add to a movie’s atmosphere?

Yes the directors are the faces of the film – they get to yell “Action” and “Cut” – and the actors get to flex their chops in front of the camera but what about looking beyond that and celebrating everyone else.

There are so many unsung heroes in the film industry that I keep coming to the same conclusion: yes the film industry is a collaborative industry, but the notion of collaboration has been warped by ego and respect is reserved for the visible few. If someone sees your job as beneath them there’s a good chance you’ll get no respect, and any potential collaborative process – no matter how useful it may be to the person who considers themselves more important than you – is likely to go unfulfilled.

So how about we start to celebrate each other? The unsung workhorses of the industry whose jobs may be less glamorous than those of the cast and crew who are most visible, but are equally as important, if not more so.

After all, were it not for a writer, actors would have nothing to say and directors would have no story to tell. Without cinematographers we’d be stuck in the realm of radio and without sound engineers we’d still be watching silent movies. And it’s no secret that makeup can work wonders on a leading lady.

So sound off below if you’re a part of the industry that so frequently gets left in the dark. Tell us your credits; point us in the direction of your work and showreels. Let’s do what we can to give one another more visibility and more respect.

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