CAREER WATCH: What It's Really Like To Work In The Movie Business

Over at action site 30ninjas, blockbuster film director Doug Liman (Bourne, et al) is explaining what it’s really like to work in the movie business.

Doug complains about not sleeping enough.  But other than that, it sounds like job-seekers could do worse.

A hilarious thing about the movie business is that you can get away with anything as long as you call it “process.” Literally, anything.

I mean, [one famous director I know is always sound asleep during the filming of climactic scenes]! The director is literally sound asleep on set — what the hell’s going on here? Well, he’s slept through his last three movies, and they were huge hits. It’s how he works; that’s his “process.” He’ll wake up at some point and give notes, but for now, let him catch a few Zs. I haven’t been in the business that long, but at this point I can’t think of a single outrageous behaviour that I haven’t seen occur on set and then heard excused as someone’s process.

I have a friend who was directing his first feature film, and the actor who’s starring in it came up to the director, my friend, and said: “Just to let you know from the beginning, I’m going to be stoned in my trailer every morning and all day long. But before anyone panics, I’ve been stoned in every movie I’ve been in, and I was stoned when I auditioned for you. You’ve basically never seen me when I’m not stoned. The guy that you’ve cast is basically stoned, so don’t be alarmed that I’m in my trailer getting stoned.”

Then there’s the director who was known for fondling P.A.’s in the video village. Explicitly fondling them — putting his hands down the pants of P.A.s in the video village in front of everybody. And what did the studio do? They built a tent so no one could see. They created a private little video village for him so they wouldn’t get sued for sexual harassment by the rest of the crew.

So there it is. You know, I feel a little lame that my unusual behaviours aren’t that extreme, but I have started to like it when people say I turn up on set and I’m so disorganized that it’s just my “process.” They’re like, “Where’s your shot list?” Well, I didn’t have a shot list on Swingers, and I didn’t have a shot list on Bourne, so that must be my process. So I’ve started to use that to justify certain things, to get certain people off my back. Then again, I’m now meticulously going through Moon shot by shot for special effects. So much for my “process.”

More Doug Liman tales of the real-life movie business:

  • Doug Liman Blog: Science Fact — On the Moon, You’re Superman
  • Doug Liman Blog: Moon Crash Party at Dawn — Descent Into Darkness With a Roomful of Astrophysicists
  • Doug Liman Blog: Mountains, Cliffs, and CGI — Envisioning the Moon
  • Doug Liman Blog: Previsualizing a VFX Moon Rover Chase
  • Doug Liman Blog: Moon VFX Shot by Shot, and When the “I’m an Artiste” Argument Gets Jettisoned
  • Warren Ellis Does Untitled Arthurian Project: Excalibur

NOW WATCH: Tech Insider videos

Want to read a more in-depth view on the trends influencing Australian business and the global economy? BI / Research is designed to help executives and industry leaders understand the major challenges and opportunities for industry, technology, strategy and the economy in the future. Sign up for free at

Tagged In

media movies sai-us