Life in Hollywood, below-the-line

Life in Hollywood, below-the-line
Work gloves at the end of the 2006/2007 television season (photo by Richard Blair)

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Cinematic Immunity

                                                  It's a good thing

A brief google search turned up the following post, an excerpt from which offers as good a definition of the term "Cinematic Immunity" as you're likely to find.

“Cinematic Immunity is something I learned about from working on big movies.  Us film types impose quite a bit on the general population.  We ask a great deal from them, and usually offer very little in return.  Occasionally, individuals within the general population rebel, realizing he one-sidedness of the arrangement.  In such cases, we very politely explain that we are making a movie, and therefore our imposition is requested.  We apologize for the inconvenience and if necessary beg for permission. We almost always get our way.  This is called Cinematic Immunity.”

Truth be told, I've never heard of "Cinematic Immunity" being used as anything but a wry joke on set, but the concept is universally recognized throughout the film and television industry.
The entity represented by that lovely escaped-and-flying camera logo above, however, is something very different.  A link to that site has been over there on my list of "Essential Listening" for several weeks now, and for good reason -- Cinematic Immunity has been conducting and posting interviews with a wide variety of industry professionals long enough to have compiled an impressive roster, all of which are available on podcasts.  People like Haskell Wexler, Mike Uva, Bruce Logan, and many more.   
Be forewarned that these podcasts aren't the sort of thing you'll want to plug into if you only have five minutes to spare -- they go long enough for the interviewees to tell their story in a relaxed, unhurried manner.  Listening to them is like sitting in on a good, interesting conversation with lots of laughter.  I'm not sure if the current generation of young cellphone/tablet/texting addicts have the patience for  interviews like this, but I hope so, because there's a lot to learn on this website.  These interviews are worth it, so the next time you're doing the laundry, stuck in an endless line at the DMV, or sitting with the rest of the hapless inductees in your local city desperately hoping NOT to be called to serve on a jury -- in other words, when you have a stretch of time to burn -- tap into Cinematic Immunity's archives.

You'll be glad you did.

For all the challenges young people face in getting started in this business these days -- and it's hard, no doubt about it -- they enjoy the benefit of fantastic resources like Cinematic Immunity and Crew Call, which offer The Truth about the biz straight from the horse's mouth of some very experienced industry professionals.  That's an advantage my generation didn't have. Instead, we had to learn everything the hard way, one brick at at a time, and that takes forever.  Kids today still have to learn for themselves, but the road ahead is well-lit thanks to podcasts like these. Once you know what to expect, you can make much better decisions when the time comes.

That's huge. Only a fool of a newbie would refuse to take advantage of the effort these people are making to illuminate the reality of the film and television industry.  All it takes to tap into all this collected experience and wisdom is a little time… which is something most wannabe/newbies fresh out of film school have in abundance.

So don't be a fool -- check these sites out.  You just might learn something.


Emilio Mejia said...

Thanks for that link. My favorite part of the digital age is the democracy with which we can share our experiences. As a young filmmaker, your site and others like it are fantastic resources. Despite the fast pace of online content, I feel like podcasts are getting people to pay attention a little longer. It's great content that we can take in on our own schedules.

In addition to Crew Call and Cinematic Immunity, popular podcasts like Nerdist and Scripnotes - while serving a particular audience - often cross over into topics that teach a lot about the way the entertainment industry works.

Peter McLennan said...

Continually entertaining, informative and literate. Michael, you are a writing engine

Michael Taylor said...

Emilio --

You're right -- there's a lot out there for anyone willing to look for it these days -- and I hope you're right about podcasts getting people to slow down a bit and pay attention. Thanks for those links -- I'll check 'em out.

And as always, thanks for tuning in…

Peter --

Thanks for the kind words -- it's always nice to hear from a fellow industry veteran who finds some resonance here. Striking a balance between material that will be useful and interesting to the newbies out there and veterans alike remains an eternal problem, but such is life.

Hope all is well.