Thursday, November 20, 2008

Ethics in Production

Business schools have ethics classes.  Law schools have ethics classes.  Even some undergraduate colleges or universities mandate an ethics class-but for the most part; film schools have no ethics class.

Production, whether it is for television, Internet or film has no standard code of ethics.  Being in, and knowing a lot of people who rely on production work as their livelihood, it seems that there are more sleazy people trying to screw you to reach their glory and money, than there are people trying to make an honest living.  And I’m not just talking about small ventures-I’m talking about major television network shows and companies that have the money to pay.

Unions can help this problem.  So if an executive or producer is trying to screw you, the union has the power to screw the executive or producer.  However, the people in charge have gotten wise to the union rules and have found work arounds.  They create unique titles that aren’t union jobs-even though it is the same position.  The workers are then getting paid a grossly undervalued paycheck, and are barely scraping by, just so the producer or executive can get a $40,000 + bonus at the end of a season or project.  This is wrong, even though it’s legal.

And don’t even get me started on the producers that have a complete disregard for the law.  A colleague of mine was telling me about his “brilliant” producer friend, who actually dressed up like a boy scout, and asked a grocery store for a donation for his “troop’s camping trip”, when really he was getting free food for his craft service.  To me, that’s not brilliant-that’s illegal, stupid and predatory.   And maybe my view on this is why I’m still only one step above the secretary…

1 comment:

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