These are my thoughts on sexual harassment in the film industry and why I think it will never stop unless changes are made in the film industry itself.
Anyone who has been trying to break into the movie business or film industry knows what a closed shop it is. An unknown person, regardless of their talent in writing or acting, has a very difficult and uphill climb to even get a chance to show what they can do or what they have written. And a lot of times it’s just plain luck.
The ‘Me Too’ movement came about because of sexual harassment in the film industry that has been going on for a long time. It’s pretty obvious the film industry does not police itself. I think the unfortunate fact is that sexual harassment will never stop until the film industry opens up and shares opportunities with everyone, including the common, ordinary person, many of whom truly have something worthwhile to say but never get the chance.
So as long as the closed shop remains, sexual harassment will just go deeper underground to be more hidden and discrete. It will focus more on new and untested talent (male and female) who know how difficult it is to even get a chance to break in. I wish it was not the case, but I can’t see it changing, other than just becoming more secretive.
Sexual harassment would stop completely if the film industry would be opened up so unknowns could get the opportunities to display their talents, both writers and actors, regardless of who they are. The film industry protects itself. It is such a desired occupation. Keeping it in the family (nepotism), or among those they already know, or who are already famous, is a strong driving force protecting their own. The fewer in the business, the less competition.
It should not matter if some established film industry professional says something negative against a person because that person wouldn’t do something he or she didn’t feel right about doing. Something outside the scope of professionalism. But with a closed shop, it does. And anyone trying to break in to the business still knows that. And it’s something no one should have to deal with. But because you have to work within the confines of the current established rules, I don’t think it will ever change.
It’s like congress. For the newly elected, sit back, follow the rules, don’t make waves, and do what you’re told, or you’re out, and you won’t get back in. That’s why campaign promises are seldom or never brought to fruition.
SAG told me it is against their policy to give out any agents or agency names when someone wants to contact a particular actor through their agency. Their suggestion was to send inquiries out to every agent and/or agency out there. Maybe it would get to the right person.
Mostly, agents and agencies just don’t respond, so you never know if they even get what you send them. You begin to feel like you don’t exist and anything you send out goes into a black hole and disappears. The most frustrating things in life are those that make you feel helpless. And when you deal with the movie industry, it makes you feel that way.
It truly reinforces the concept of a closed shop. So if you ever get the chance to enter the club, you may do just about anything to do that and to stay there, as long as it doesn’t hurt anyone, except maybe yourself. But it’s such a rare opportunity, it’s something you put up with. It’s unfortunate, but it’s a fact.
Actors, agents, and all industry professionals make their multi-millions from regular people who actually pay the salaries of the movie stars and everyone else in the business by going to their movies. To change this closed shop, they could establish a independent place where employees are paid just to look at, read, and evaluate material that has been sent to them by the public. I know agents and agencies are supposed to do that now, but they have become a large part of the problem that promotes the closed shop.
I truly hope someday the film industry will open up so average people will have the same chances as the famous people and their family members. Then maybe sexual harassment in the film industry will stop.
Michael G. Moore