I’ve never understood why so many people put down janitors, hotel housekeepers, or any other cleaning occupation. It’s either that the workers are looked down upon, or the jobs are largely viewed as not that important. Yes, those jobs that many people feel they are “too good” to do are largely frowned at.
On top of that, how often do any of us go up to these workers and thank them for the jobs they do?
Now, let’s take any one of those jobs and remove the worker(s) from the equation. In other words, let’s say the hotel housekeeper doesn’t do his or her job one day. Let’s say that janitor doesn’t clean that rest area bathroom. Let’s walk through any office building and let’s say that building hasn’t been cleaned, either. The same people who normally do the job(s) we look down on decided for a day not to show up.
I’ll bet you would notice that then, huh?
The funny thing is that I’ve noticed the same people who speak the most negatively about occupations like these are the ones who would raise the most hell at the times those same jobs aren’t done. So basically, the lack of cleaning isn’t an issue until it becomes one. It’s “whatever” as long as it happens, but when it doesn’t happen…watch out.
In terms of writing and the other arts that exist, I feel it’s about the same way. I know there are a lot of different arts and I certainly don’t want to put one above another, because they are all important and special in their own ways. They each have something to contribute to the world. However, as an aspiring screenwriter, I will speak mostly about that and others who would be involved.
Just speaking for myself and what I’ve noticed from my fellow writers to include authors and poets (I’m those as well), we are largely viewed from society as “not that important.” When we say things like “I’m a writer,” or “I’m a poet,” or “I write books,” you get the glazing over of the eyes. Especially if you are someone who isn’t doing any of those jobs professionally. If you are simply working at it, which most of us in those areas are doing (as in, we are actively working to be discovered), there is such a lack of interest from society. Even our own friends and family, unless they are writers as well, don’t seem to care much about it.
I think about the times I post on social media about screenwriting or anything related to it. Those are times, hands down, that I receive the least amount of feedback. If something else is attached to it, it could be greater, such as, I recently mentioned that I will be hopefully attending a Writer’s Conference in Los Angeles in May. A lot did give me some attention on that, but I truly believe L.A. being in the equation is what grabbed their attention. Don’t get me wrong; I’m not ungrateful for that kind of support, but what I’m referring to is when I simply speak about screenwriting and my love for it. When it isn’t known as to what else goes with it or when the main topic is, well, me, then there’s not a lot there.
Speaking of L.A., let me talk a little bit about actors. Acting is an art as well. Many of us forget about that because of the stamp Hollywood has placed on it, but it still is. Again, I look at those working to get there more so than professionals, even though this could apply to them in many ways also. That person who is attending drama classes and is an aspiring actor or actress…we sort of look at them also as insignificant. After all, it’s such a tough occupation to get into and really…what are the odds they’d make it…right? So why give so much support to someone who “probably isn’t gonna make it anyway”? On top of that, they’re just playing pretend. Nothing “art” about that, right?
By the way, these are absolutely NOT my personal feelings on acting. These are some of the things I’ve heard people say. I can imagine if I talked a lot about wanting to become a professional actor, I would likely receive a lot of the same responses as I do now in wanting to become a professional writer.
As a professional screenwriter, I would be writing for movies and television, and my scripts would reach hopefully a good amount of professional actors and actresses. Now there are really people out there who believe that professional actors just shoot from the hip when they perform on television or for the theaters. They don’t know that scripts are written and that’s what they are performing. Some people also don’t realize that the half hour or hour on television, or the 90 minutes in the movies is NOT the amount of time actors spend working. It can take weeks and months in some cases to put together what we see. The commitment we put in when we sit down to watch something is believed to be the same amount of commitment that the actors put into that particular episode or feature as well. That couldn’t be further from the truth.
I’m certainly not going to say that writing is more important than acting or vice versa. They are equally important in my eyes, and I don’t believe one should be viewed as “better” than the other. While it’s true that nothing happens without a script, the professional actors and actresses also have the power to do what many cannot do, and that’s bring our words to life. In my opinion, that is a very big deal. And I’m not accidentally leaving out directors and producers. I’m aware they have a HUGE part in the process as well.
Anyway, if you are someone who doesn’t watch television or movies, then this does not apply to you at all. But there are a lot of people who do watch and at the same time, feel that actors are “not all that” and writing is just a “cute” hobby that some people have that really, isn’t very important. These are just “things” that people do. Actors and actresses get paid so much money and have a ton of fame much of the time, so the aspect of “art” as I stated above, isn’t really felt by a lot of people out there.
But just as in my cleaning profession example, let’s take all this away for a second. Let’s have a bunch of writers who write projects, but no real actors to bring the words to life. After the amazing actors and actresses who have come into our lives, let’s remove them from the equation. I’m certain that would be noticed. People would be wondering, “Where are the actors?! These guys/girls can’t do this!”
Then, let’s put all the professional actors together with no script. Let them be told a story and then be expected to just perform. No rehearsals; none of that. (Because, after all, that’s how many people think actors are anyway. They just show up, spend 30, 60, 0r 90 minutes working once a week and that’s it). That’s when the writing, or lack thereof, would be noticed.
Now, let’s them BOTH away. That’s right…let’s take television and movies away all together. Again, if you don’t watch, then this means nothing to you. But if movies and television were removed completely, wouldn’t you notice? Once more, the same ones who would feel that acting and writing are just “things” people that don’t deserve a ton of attention would be the quickest to notice.
I doubt I change anyone’s minds on how you feel about the different arts out there. It’s as my wife tells me, many times, “When you speak so profoundly about something, even if you exhibit the passion that you do, you’ll still lose a lot of people, because their minds just aren’t mature enough to go there.” I’m almost pretty sure that my Twitter and Facebook pages won’t blow up by people interested in reading about me and screenwriting after reading this blog post.
My reason for writing this, as with many of my other posts, is to simply express how I feel about how society views the different arts that are out there. I’ve also noticed that there’s a reluctance by many who want to partake in any art to share it with others, because for the most part, many of us realize this very easily. Let someone come up to you and say “I wanna be a rapper.” I can imagine the looks. Whether you like rap or not, it is a type of art as well. In case you haven’t noticed, it’s nothing more than poetry put to music and beats. Don’t jump on here and boast about how rap is “not real music” or “not real art” just because of what those in the hip hop business choose to rap about. Those are simply the topics they choose to address. We don’t have to agree with them; however, it is still a form of art.
It’s just as I said with Hollywood putting their stamp on writing, directing, producing and acting. It doesn’t matter what is being performed or how it’s being written. These are still art forms.
Art forms, which in my opinion, many don’t care about as far as the essence of what it truly means to those who engage in it. With actors and actresses, there is too much focus on the money and fame for people to continue to feel that it is still an art. Sure, many could be okay saying it about our favorites, but take someone you don’t care for, and many of us wouldn’t hesitate to try and say that what they’re doing “isn’t real.”
How about Justin Bieber? I know how much the world loves him. Well, I’ve heard a LOT of adults (WAY older than he is at age 22) say that what he does “isn’t real music.” Personally, I don’t listen to him, because as an adult, if I don’t care to listen to someone, I just won’t do it. Simple. I don’t have a need to put him down in every way possible to feel better about myself. Even if our kids were into him, I’ve learned to tune that out. I remember that I listened to and watch stuff that my mother wasn’t crazy about. So I keep my mouth shut about things like that. I’m too old and it’s kind of pathetic for me to spend all or most of my time badmouthing someone who really is NOT the first of his kind to do something I’m not crazy about.
I know, I know…but “he’s a bad influence.” Please. With all the bad influences your children are going to face, if Justin Bieber alone is what makes or breaks them, then turn in your parent cards or give your children to someone who knows how to do the job.
My point in bringing him up is that no matter how much you can’t stand him, he’s performing an art as well. You can dress it up however you want, but what he’s doing is still an art. You not liking it doesn’t make it less of what it is.
I think that’s where a lot of people get lost in all this. They figure that it means less based on your level of interest. It doesn’t. I know for certain that most people who hear me speak about screenwriting largely wouldn’t care much until that movie comes out and it says, “Screenplay by: Robert People” or I take pictures with actors and actresses I may get to write for one day.
However, where I’m sitting right now, many simply don’t see what I’m doing as very much. Again, I have a ton of love for those who genuinely support me. But I can imagine that once a movie or television show exists in which I am the writer, that would blow some people’s minds (including my own). Until then, this is viewed as nothing more than a hobby to much of society.
Does this bother me? No, it doesn’t. Like many who participate in different forms of art, I’ve loved this and have done it for way too many years for it to matter what others think. I just find it interesting how it’s very similar to cleaning occupations.
For the most part, it doesn’t matter to many…until it is no longer there. If you watch a lot of television, movies and/or listen to music, think about what your feelings are as far as those different arts are concerned, especially when talking about those who aren’t yet professionals and trying to get there. Think about those of us who are there. Then, imagine your absolute favorite shows, movies or songs being taken away, all because someone felt that it “wasn’t that important.”
How would you feel about that?
This is exactly what I’m feeling today.