People Who Work In Hollywood Share Their Wild Showbiz Stories

People Who Work In Hollywood Share Their Wild Showbiz Stories

On the surface, Hollywood is all bright lights, fame, and free food at movie shoots. It is all that, of course, but it's much more complicated once you're actually in it.

Getting to Hollywood is the dream of millions and more difficult to attain than a Harvard acceptance. Yet, the cutthroat culture doesn't end when you get there. We read about it in tabloids, we listened to interviews, and, well, Hollywood even makes movies about Hollywood. People who have actually worked behind the scenes of the "industry" have stories that are worse than you'd imagine. From bratty celebs to nightmare producers, this Hollywood isn't the La-La Land we all heard about.


50. Are You Sure It Wasn't Katherine Heigl?

I was playing a background doctor on an ER-type drama a couple of years ago.

While rehearsing a scene, one of the actresses said to the performer next to me, “Tell him he can’t stand there.” She was referring to me.

I adjusted my position and asked, “Is here okay?”

She said, again to the actor next to me, “Tell him I don’t care, just stay out of my way.”

I asked, “Is there some reason you’re not addressing me directly?” and she turned around and walked away. A few minutes late the scene was shot without further incident.

I have no idea who this actress is. She wasn’t one of the stars.

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49. Good Guy Bam

Bam Margera used to frequent a mall where I was managing a store. He was always cool and never seemed pretentious. One afternoon he came in with some friends, and they were all obviously messed up on something. They were in my store, making a scene, being obnoxious, and started throwing around merchandise.

Before I could say anything to them, Bam turned around and yelled for them to stop acting like fucking children and to put everything back where they got it. Like good little peons, they did what they were told. He just looked at me and with a long, and tired, look on his face told me he was sorry about them.

So, yeah, Bam seems to be a good guy.

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48. Explosion Man Bad

I was a Production Assistant (PA) back in the 2000s and I noticed mainly European actors were very humble and low maintenance and it was US talent that was the opposite (with exceptions of course).

On the films I worked on Scarlett Johansson was very high maintenance, it was her first tent pole film and I think it went to her head a little bit. She kept demanding extra things left and right and it was a miserable experience for most of the PAs on set.

Cool and low key actors on set: Ewan McGregor, Steve Buscemi, Sean Bean, Michael Clarke Duncan (RIP), Ice Cube, Samuel L. Jackson, William Dafoe, Danny DeVito, Tim Roth, Forest Whitaker, Kelsey Grammer.

For the most part, the actors were generally good. If you want to know the most entitled person I had to deal with it was hands down Michael Bay. He is a prima donna of the first order and anyone associated with him (his bodyguard/assistants), his two huge dogs, and some of his other staff are all straight entitled idiots.

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47. The Work Hours Are Insane

I once worked for a month as a PA on an independent film. I worked 12- to 18-hour days with as little as four hours of sleep sometimes. And I didn't get paid.



46. Poop Shoot

Well, I was on set one day and the location was at an actual house. We were filming a scene inside the living room and it was extremely crowded because it was so hot outside so no one wanted to be stuck in the sun. So anyway, I had to poop. Badly. Unfortunately, there were no porta-potties so we had to use the owner's restroom. I did the deed and about a minute later the smell filled the whole house.

The lead actress was a child and was making a huge deal out of it... I was mortified and was about to apologize until the AD asked everyone to check their shoes for dog poop because there was a dog on set that day. They blamed it on him and moved on. I was saved. However, I looked around and one guy on set was glaring at me... He knew...

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45. Catering To The Stars

I don't work in the industry anymore but I was a caterer once upon a time. Here are a couple of stories

I'm extremely tired and outside taking a smoke break. Middle-aged balding dude with glasses that's also smoking comes up to me and tries to start a convo. I'm extremely tired and just give kind of one-word answers and grunts. Find out from coworkers that it was the big boss man himself. Steven Soderbergh.

This woman from the camera department asks me if the donuts we had out for breakfast are fat-free. Thought she was joking at first. She was being completely serious. I ask the chef if its possible to even make fat free donuts. He tosses me a loaf of bread and tells me to screw off.

Mexican day. We have a taco station with a whole bunch of salsas/sauces. We named one "death sauce." I proceed to warn people that it's super spicy. Tanoai Reed (the Rock's cousin and stunt double) puts a bunch on his food. Sits down, takes a bite, immediately walks over to the water station and grabs an armful of water bottles.

I said hi to Marion Cotillard and she said hi back. A highlight of my life. She is the most beautiful woman I have ever laid eyes on. I never really thought that she was that good looking on-screen but holy moly... in real life, she is a goddess. 10/10 would say hi again.

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44. Danny Wants To Borrow Your Phone

My first day on my first show, I was waiting in the loading dock of the Kodak with a radio to let the producers know when Aretha Franklin arrived. As I'm waiting there, I get a poke in the back and turn around to see Danny Devito. He says, "Hey kid, let me use your cell phone."

"Uh, sure thing, Mr. Devito," I say.

I hear him make a call to someone who is either picking him up or dropping something off for him and then he gives me my phone back.

"Is your battery dead?" I ask.

"No, I just wanted to use yours," he says and walks away.

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43. A Nice Story About Chevy Chase?!

Worked on a couple of movies in the late 90s in Las Vegas that had Kurt Russell and Chevy Chase in them (in different movies). I never cared about either of them one way or the other before the movies, but both did things that I saw that impressed me.

Kurt Russell was in Breakdown, and he was the most down to earth person. The thing that I remember that really impressed me was that he would fly home every night to be with his family and that he helped with his kid's cub scout group.

Also around the same time, I worked on the set of Vegas Vacation. In one of the scenes, Chevy Chase demanded that one of the kids who was an extra be allowed to speak a line. Impressed me because there is a different wage scale for people who speak.

Never did like either of the movies, though.

255270653_9cfc3d7e6d_o-300x199.jpgAlan Light/Flickr

42. Lunch With The Bull

Benicio Del Toro.

He was having lunch at the table next to me and my friends. He must have seen us talking about him because he stood up, came over to our table, sat down, and ordered a bunch of food. He ended up spending a half-hour talking with us, then he paid the bill, tipped well, took some pictures with us, and left.

He's the only celebrity I've ever met, so technically he qualifies at the rudest.

8073587481_18be39f62c_o-300x200.jpgEva Rinaldi/Flickr

41. I'm A Celebrity!

About ten years ago I worked for at the LA airport and some flights were canceled, due to weather. I got a call and this lady said, "I can't believe this is happening to me. I'm a celebrity. My name is Tovah Feldshuh. I'm a celebrity."

She literally said this 20 times. I got a manager on the line while she begrudgingly went on hold and relayed the info and that this was a celebrity. I stayed on the line while the manager had to explain that the flight's cancellation was for everyone's safety and nothing could be done about this.

She was so rude. After we got off the phone with her we looked her up and she was in a couple of episodes of Law and Order, I think. She was recently on Walking Dead and I freaked out when I recognized her name in the opening credits.

Anytime she appeared on screen I had to say, "She's a celebrity!!!! I can't believe the zombie apocalypse is happening to her!!!! She's a celebrity!!!!"

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40. 3D Movies' Dirty Little Secret

Many may remember that, in the late 2000s and early 2010s, there was this surge in 3D movies. Suddenly it seemed like every other movie released was offered in 3D. Previously 3D had been mostly limited to kid's movies and horror for cheap thrills, but now nearly every genre was including it, with films like Avatar and Tron: Legacy using it to enhance overall visuals.

This was weird to a lot of people because, as plenty of you know, not everyone likes 3D. Many of us went through the entire period without ever jumping on the 3D bandwagon, even though Hollywood seemed to be touting it as the future of film.

Then, after several years, 3D seemed to die off suddenly. It's still around, but not nearly with the intensity of ~5 years ago. So why? Why a huge surge, even though a huge number of people dislike it, and then why the sudden disappearance?

Turns out 3D had nothing to do with selling tickets and everything to do with the film industry trying to force theaters to upgrade their movie projectors. See, traditional film comes on a reel, and reels are expensive ($1000+ each). The reels have to be provided by the film producer to theaters, meaning big blockbusters that are in 4000+ theaters on release day (like The Force Awakens was) are spending millions on reels, most of which will only be in use for a couple of weeks tops.

Modern digital projectors don't need these expensive reels, you just ship the theater a hard drive which can then be returned and overwritten for the next film. However, digital projectors themselves are expensive, around $50,000 for a basic model. As such, many theaters, especially older ones, had been slow to make the upgrade.

Enter 3D films. Modern 3D movies can't be shown on a traditional reel, they require a digital projector. By releasing a huge slew of 3D movies over a couple of years, film producers were effectively bullying movie theaters into upgrading their hardware so the producers could stop spending millions on movie reels. Nowadays these digital projectors are pretty much industry standard; a few years ago, the small "cultural landmark" theater from my hometown did a Kickstarter for a digital projector, basically saying, "If we don't get the money for this upgrade we have to close our doors."

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39. "Ineffective As Human Beings"

I could spend all day telling them, but most boil down to how "ineffective as human beings" a good number of movie stars really are. The hissy fits, the absolute no clue about what things cost, and how much verbal abuse an assistant is willing to take on set. It's really sad.

But the worst I've ever witnessed was a movie star (who was in their 20s at the time) letting their parent (not manager) scream at a director about how "unflattering" the costumes made their 'child' look. The director broke down into tears, apologized and promised to have wardrobe immediately make changes. I'm not naming any names and being vague because everyone involved is still working in Hollywood and these stories can end careers.

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38. The Glee Club

I used to be a background actor or extra and was on the set of a bunch of different shows, commercials, and movies. Everything from Community, Desperate Housewives, Argo, Super 8, Bones, The Middle, Big Love, etc.

It was really exciting at first getting to go to the studios, being on set, brief interactions with actors especially as a young twenty-something who wanted to be an actor. It was also incredibly easy to be a part of as well, just going to Central Casting and signing up for a call service that basically just sends you out to sets.

Well, I used to get called for Glee all the freaking time which was both a blessing and a curse. It was right during the height of its popularity so everything was taken really seriously (the regular extras thought they were the shit for some reason and extremely rude) and it definitely paid my rent but man if you got the call to be background for one of their musical numbers.

It was mind-numbing. Now looking back it was kind of a weird experience. It was kind of hard to feel bad for Cory Monteith when he would burp in your face and tell you it smelled like breakfast. Again innocent but I always thought he was kind of a dick. I also feel gross seeing Mark Salling interact with Lauren Potter, considering his child pornography charges. I know unrelated but for someone with that kind of browsing history, it just doesn't feel right that he got to spend so much time with her.

I also probably experienced what it was like to be a member of One Direction or The Beatles, at least the closest similar experience. I was dressed as a Dalton Academy Warbler (preppy, blazer wearing, private school extra) and was quickly ushered onto a bus off of set while a bunch of crazy Glee Fans came around the corner on location and took our pictures. Granted I wasn't hired to sing or dance, just as someone standing or walking in the background so it was hilarious to wave at them.

Glee_cast-300x200.jpgKeith McDuffee/Wikimedia

37. Can't Find The Bathroom

I did a stint in a smaller film studio and worked primarily in the office. I was taking care of some paperwork while they were doing a read-through for the next film being shot.

During a break, one of the actresses, a fairly well-known model, came into the office and asked where the restroom was. I told her, she smiled and thanked me, looking lost for a second. After a moment, she asked again and I gave the same reply. She paused to think for a moment and left the way she had come.

Shortly, she returned with her manager who asked again. I gave the directions to the manager because the model couldn't comprehend the complexity of "Go through that door (pointing at it) and it's on your left."


36. Hamming It Up

I grew up close enough to Burbank to sign up with Central Casting and do extra work when I was 19/20 years old in 2009 - 2010 to make a bit of extra cash. I did background on Desperate Housewives in a grocery store scene, Cold Case in a hospital scene and the setting for our story today... Mad Men.

I am not a conventionally attractive female (I've been told I look like Rachel Dratch and Heather Matarazzo) so it was difficult getting cast. With Central Casting, you come in, get a photo taken, are given a phone number and call every day to get a description of what the casting directors are looking for.

Most calls go like this "Pool party during murder investigation on CSI Miami- hot, sexy ladies needed to wear bikinis. The skimpier the better" and so on, and so forth. If you match the description, you call and the person on the other line pulls up your file on the computer, looks at your headshot and tells you if you're a match or not. If selected, you're given details for the shoot. If not, you're very politely told: "Not at this time, but thank you for your call."

One day there's a call for Mad Men. Now Mad Men is a job you want, because it qualifies as a SAG (Screen Actors Guild) job, even for extras. I'm not completely sure how SAG works because I was only interested in making extra cash and eating delicious set food (Best food ever btw) but the more SAG jobs you do the easier it is to join SAG later as an up and coming actor. This call for Mad Men they need ANY women with natural hair- meaning, not dyed. I call in, and even though I have natural hair I am initially told they think they've already reached their quota but they'll keep me in mind in case anything changes.

Two days later, I get a call asking if I'm available. Desperation was on my side!

There were several cool things about doing Mad Men. Because it was SAG we got paid more, additionally we got to go to the costume warehouse to get fitted in ACTUAL 1950's clothes (The episode I was on was a flashback to 5 years prior) and we got paid for our time that day as well. Something that was mentioned in the call was there was a chance our hair may be cut if it was considered too long. The person who called me told me I likely wouldn't need my hair cut, but to be prepared just in case.

Sure enough, after I try on my costumes the ladies in charge of hair and makeup inform me they need to cut my hair. There's already another girl in the trailer, and she is sobbing. She has beautiful, long curly hair and she is begging to somehow keep her long hair. Now the advantage to not being conventionally attractive is you're used to looking ugly anyways, so when the stylist told me I'd get an extra $100 I decided to go for it. Unfortunately, my hair was cut lopsided so one side was longer than the other, but what are you gonna do?

I am given the address for the shoot, told what day and time to arrive and am given a heads up that this may turn into a multi-day shoot. I go to bed, excited for the next few days. Unfortunately, I wake up the next morning sick as a dog. Hit me out of nowhere. Had this been a small job like Cold Case or Desperate Housewives I would have called the Central Casting line to let them know I couldn't make it... but this was a SAG job, I got a BAD haircut for this. I thought about how desperate the casting directors were and decided to suck it up and go.

So I arrive, go to hair and makeup and am actually feeling better. Maybe it's the Dayquil or the adrenaline rush but I feel proud of myself for making it... Until the woman working on my hair asks if I'm okay. She sounds far away, and I realize I have tunnel vision. I reply "Yes I'm fine" and even I sound weird to myself. The stylist informs me I had fainted, and the on-set medical is called to the trailer.

Turns out all of the hairspray made me pass out. The makeup/hair trailer is literally a trailer with no windows and 5 or 6 girls all getting their hair and makeup done. Medical and a Director's Assistant come to talk to me, ask how I'm feeling and bring me water.

They were all so nice. I admit, I started crying and apologizing. I told them I did not feel good that morning but didn't want to let the crew down or get blacklisted by Central Casting for canceling. The Director's Assistant assured me I did not have to continue, I would not get in trouble with Central Casting and I would still get paid for the day. He asked if I wanted to call someone to pick me up, or if I wanted to rest for a bit. Medical cleared me to keep working if I wanted. I asked if I could soldier on.

I can't emphasize how nice everyone was to me - the hairstylist said I was being so brave, all the other pretty extra's said they would do the exact same thing and the Director's Assistant kept asking if I wanted water or bananas. I got dressed, got on-set and did my first scene.

Then I started feeling faint again. The bright lights and heavy 1950's era accurate coat I was wearing ultimately made it impossible for me to continue on. Saddened and disappointed, I was placed in a chair and called my sister to come to pick me up.

Then, over by the cameras and Directors and Producers, I see him. John Hamm. He looks at me, asks the crew why I'm sitting and they tell him I'm not feeling well. I will never forget what he said next.

"Keep her away from me, I can't get sick."

I am ushered to John Slattery's trailer, and I nap on his couch until my sister arrives to pick me up. I ended up getting a retail job a couple of weeks later, and thus ended my acting career. But I'll always have John Hamm telling me to stay far away from him.

800px-Jon_Hamm_2010-300x225.jpgLuck the Lady/Wikimedia

35. People Are Passed Up Quicker Than They Think

I was a lowly intern for a big production company during film school. We were doing a pitch day where writers and other producer-wannabes came in to pitch their ideas. We (six of us) sat at a long table while the potential filmmakers told us their ideas hoping for funding. Before we started, the executive producer said, "If you hear me say the word 'pass' in any context, that's code for 'stop taking notes and have zero follow-up questions' so we can get the duds sorted out quickly."

People were coming in and pitching and a few minutes into their stories he would say, "Pass me a pen," or "Pass-trami for lunch okay with everyone?" He was having fun coming up with ways to interrupt the pitchers with his hidden code word. Well, the worst one was a guy from Minnesota who had this kids' movie idea that a lot of people back home loved. It got some attention and the right people agreed to set up this pitch meeting for him. The guy was written up in his town paper, local boy goes to Hollywood, they named a drink after him in this small town, the town got together to raise money for his trip out to big ol' Hollywood, hero worship to the hilt.

Anyhow, he walks in, sets up an easel and the executive producer immediately says, "Are you coming from Pass-adena?" Done, over. Pens down. All he'd said was his name and its a pleasure to be here and he got passed. I felt bad for everyone that day but I felt especially bad for him. He went on to pitch his entire story, his hometown hero personal story, and all the executive producer was doing was drawing geometric shapes on his notepad.



34. Everyone Has An Ego

Most people in the "business" are conceited jerks. I interned on a (bad, short-lived) reality show for MTV. The producers were the biggest jerks who thought they were great because they had been "handpicked" for this job (they had very short resumes) and treated everyone above them like gods and everyone below them like slaves. One spilled her entire drink on my personal laptop when I was out of the room. When I returned and saw it sitting in a puddle (she hadn't even attempted to clean it up) she said, "Yeah, that was me. You shouldn't leave your computer on the desk."


33. The Pay Isn't Great. Actually, It's Terrible

I had a producer call me specifically because he had many glowing recommendations for me and sang my praises. Then he asked my daily rate for a feature. Then after a big sigh from him and an awkward silence he asked if I could work for 10 days for $25 dollars a day. After another even longer awkward silence from me waiting to see if it was a joke, I asked him if he was serious. He said yes. I said I wouldn't work for that little because it's the equivalent of two bucks an hour for highly skilled labor. He told me I didn't know what I was missing and that he would give out terrible recommendations to others about me because I turned him down.


32. Standards Are High, To Say The Least

One time I had an audition and I had a zit on the side of my nose and the casting director just said, "Come back when you get a bar of soap."


31. People In Film Don't Understand Film

I had a producer who couldn't understand that if you want a shot sped up but kept the same length, you will need more footage. This was a man who had been working in this field for about twenty years. He was the best friend of the owner, which was probably the only reason he still had a job.


30. You Aren't Covered For Asbestos

The most messed up thing I've been a part of was filming at an abandoned mental hospital that was vacated in the 80s, which meant it was full of asbestos and lead paint dust. There were two respirator masks on the whole set and the rest of the people were expected to make do with a particle mask. No one wanted to be high maintenance (or if they did, they just quit the shoot) so we all just stupidly accepted the risk and spent a month being exposed to asbestos and extreme lead dust.


29. There Are Some Interesting Stress Relief Methods

I started in a big talent agency. People were encouraged to lie about their hours and work late. People threw office supplies at their assistant's head. I've seen several people get fired on the spot for relatively minor things. I had a buddy start at a new job as an assistant and his boss called him to his office. The boss ripped off his headset, crushed it in his hands and threw it across the room. When my buddy left his office, the coordinator who was previously this guy's assistant brought him over to a drawer where there were 20 more headsets. Apparently, this guy pulled this move so often they just had a drawer of headsets for the occasion.



28. Miranda Priestley Is Real

One rainy day he asked me to get him coffee across the street. I went out into the rain and picked up a coffee. When I brought it back he sipped it and goes, "what is this!?" To which I was terrified, wondering what I had done wrong. He then had me call a specific production company and see what his favorite other producer got for coffee because that's what he wanted to drink that day.


27. Laws Are Ignored

I was the guy who edits the footage to see if any equipment was in the shot (stage light, mic, etc). One of my coworkers in the editing department was terminated for "evading time at the workstation by spending a prolonged amount of time in a vehicle". This man was a paraplegic in a wheelchair; his legs were paralyzed and it took him about 25 minutes to get in and out of his car. He only worked there for six months.


26. If Something Bad Happens, You Keep It To Yourself

The industry is politics. People know people. If you're still climbing the ladder, the last thing you need is someone who is well connected talking bad about you. Imagine playing six degrees you're entire life. Yes, I could have reported it, but then I'm the person who got rid of that producer. Then other shows may be worried I could rat out them for something personal too. Or that the guy hiring me may know that producer and wants to maintain a good working relationship cause he has something they need, so I'll get passed up so he doesn't ruin that.

And "HR" doesn't exist unless you're in a union pretty much. I've never once seen or met HR. They're in a studio on the other side of the city. I called once for a lost check. That's it.


25. Everyone Is Making Themselves Sick

Thinness and appearance are all that matter. I regularly saw women who seemed like they might just pass out in front of us and no one batted an eye. Even "down to earth" industry people obsess over their weight, their skin, even the "visual age" of their hands. And it spreads. Even people who aren't on camera or even involved in the industry have these weird plastic appearances.


24. The Pay Is Bad And Sometimes, It Never Comes

A week and a half before Christmas, we're on the last day of shooting and everyone goes on strike because apparently no one has gotten paid—crew, vendors, locations, actors, NOBODY. Union reps show up, producers are flown in from LA. Somehow, the producers say, "Bros, we're so sorry. The money will be here tomorrow. Let's just finish up tonight and then we'll have all your money," at which the union replies, "Aw shucks fellas, you guys are the best."

Surprise! We finish up. Producers send us an email the next morning (which was like three hours after we wrapped because we were working nights) with their lawyers' contact info explaining there is no money and that we have to talk to their lawyer for more information. A WEEK BEFORE CHRISTMAS!! At that point, I was owed a full week of work, two extra days, and an adjusted paycheck when they tried to pay me PA rate. As of today, I still haven't gotten it all back.


23. Hollywood Is Still Very Racist

I work in development. The thing that continually surprises me is that it is almost impossible to cast any person of color as a lead unless it is directly and almost exclusively targeted towards a specific racial audience. So it's ok to cast a black man as the lead in a Tyler Perry movie, but not as the lead of a wide-release, all-audience film. The rationale behind this I've heard repeated by many producers, sales agents etc. is that these movies "don't sell well". Essentially, they are saying that a lot of people are casual racists and making say... a romantic comedy with a black guy and a white woman will keep these people out of the theatre and tank the prospects for your movie.

Although this is a harsh and unfortunately not particularly surprising truth, what's shocking to me is that everyone accepts it. I've had producers claim that we can't cast an Asian man as a romantic lead because women "buy the stereotype" about penis size and wouldn't find him attractive, while another script wouldn't cast a young black woman as a concert pianist because it "doesn't connect culturally". Movies and TV, like sports, are something that can truly bring people and the fact that people in the industry buy into this idea is pretty depressing.


22. Celebrity's Families Sell Them Out

A very well-known pop star's uncle offering information on said pop star for cash. Everything from baby pictures and videos, to her whereabouts. You name it. It all had a price.

This happens more than you realize.


21. There Are Tons Of Exploitative Side Gigs

I can't count the number of editors I know who shore up their income by teaching "advanced" editing techniques in a three-day weekend for $1,000. Those film classes are populated by movie fanatics, most of whom will never work in the industry. Have your script looked over by a professional script-reader. Get notes back on your script, like you would receive from a studio or executive. Polish your script, so it is a green-lightable script before you submit it. $150 for professional script reviewing. Voice acting class. $750 to learn to talk into a microphone. Good microphone technique is the "only" thing stopping you from a lucrative career in commercials and cartoons. Are you not getting the parts you know you should? You need better headshots ($$) than the ones you send out. A completely legitimate screenwriting contest, submit your script with a $40 entry fee. A prize (a couple bucks from each entry fee) is awarded to the best script. You should be an overnight success, for $1500 I can show you how to fix the one thing that is holding that up.


20. Safety Is No One's Concern

It is stunning how little regard for personal health and safety of the cast and crew actually exists on a lot of sets. On set, time really truly is money, so things get pushed way farther than they should way too often. This is especially true for Indie or "guerilla" filmmakers. Add in the fact that a lot of these folks have very little experience with staged combat and prop weapons, things of that nature, and you have a recipe for disaster.


19. Live Studio Audiences Are Curated

I used to seat audience for a late show with a live audience. I would have to seat people by attractiveness. That is, attractive people to the front closer to the cameras, and less attractive in the back where they can't be seen. This is done in all shows with an audience.


18. Artists Really Are Divas

Back in the '90s when MTV played Music video and top artists were spending millions on their music video, I got called late in the day to come to help out a shoot that was going long into the night.

I get to the set, it's a massive shoot at a harbor with a rented battleship as part of the location, military assistance, two helicopters, 200-man crew... The main talent showed up seven-hours late to call. (Because that's how artists roll.) I saw the Line Producer, he was ashen and looked like he was about to puke.


17. You Might Need To Pay People To Be Around You

A well-known actor we all love fell out with a director, who was a bit of a ham. To be honest, he didn't like the director much from the start. Toward the end of production, things had deteriorated so badly, the director had to pay the actor in petty cash to perform things he didn't want to do. If I recall correctly, the sum was $100 per ask.


16. The Kids Are Not Alright

The one thing I loathed more were auditions. You had to get there early and be in a room with hundreds of other kids and their stage parents. Most of the time, the kids were cool and just wanted to hang out and talk about video games and Pokémon. Stage parents, on the other hand, were complete jerks. They would say things like "Don't play with them. You're better than them," or "They're not star-material. Don't associate with them." I did meet quite a few kids who did act and think they were the next Brad Pitt.


15. Reality TV Ruins People

Producers encouraging a cast member who was a recovering alcoholic to drink so that they would make an idiot out of themselves on TV. The guy spoiled two years of sobriety.


14. If You Won't Risk Your Life, Someone Else Will

I was on a gig, hired as a grip, and brought to the Hollywood sign for some b-roll. Up on the hill, behind the thing.

It was me and some other crew members. Now, we get there and I'm thinking okay, so, shiny boards? Bounce? Simple camera courtesies? Light AC work even? Nope.

Without telling me what the job would entail, they had brought me on so I could essentially carry all of the camera stuff down the hill to the base of the sign. For those of you that haven't been up there, it is steep.

As the ranger was unlocking the gate so we could get down there, he started talking about how sometimes even on the flat ground by the base of the sign, the earth will just give way and send you tumbling. I asked one of the crew if he'd at least brought rope or something to use as a safety line, and he remarked, "No, you won't need it, why? What, are you scared?" At this point, I'd had enough. I asked why they booked me without telling me this is what the job was—why didn't we have access to bathrooms for all of the 12-hour day? Why didn't they even let me know to wear climbing shoes or bring a rope? They apologized, but when I said I didn't feel comfortable hauling lens cases and sticks down 50 feet of steeply graded sand/boulders they shrugged and asked someone else to do it.


13. There Are Lots Of Scam Artists

I had no connections in Hollywood so I began sending out specs through craigslist. I got a lead. A producer wanted to talk to me about my script. Imagine my excitement. I took a ninety-minute bus ride to the beach, where I spoke with one of the producer's underlings.

As we spoke, I realized that no one had even read my script. Then he told me that I needed to pay a professional to read my script. He could get me a deal. My heart sank. It was a scam. He represented himself as a movie producer looking for a hit, and he was actually selling a script reader service.


12. There Is A Lot Of Showboating

Some of the producers were tossing out the most useless ideas to the artists and they're all sitting there trying to figure out what the heck the guy really wants. What's worse is when you get external producers working with our internal producers and both are mostly useless. It made for a lot of frustration. We also had one guy buy a Porsche Boxer and have it delivered to the office where his assistant announced it over the PA system so we could all hear it. I don't know of anyone that was very pleased with that.


11. People Really Do Throw Phones

I was working as a secretary (one of three) for a semi-famous producer in Beverly Hills. He would have tantrums like a two-year-old when he got stressed out. One day, he couldn't find a script he was looking for in his office; he was screaming for someone to come help him look for it. I went in and he picked up his desk phone and threw it at me narrowly missing my head (glad I ducked) and it exploded on the wall behind me. I wasn't there long!


10. Total Perfection Means Lots Of Waste

I work at a printing company. Printed pieces for large DVD displays. One of the displays was printed and ready to ship. $100,000s+ worth of stuff ready to go. It was all thrown in the trash because the sister of a huge star (was his manager) didn't like the way his hand looked.


9. Evil Directors

I work at a post facility and we once worked with a well-known spoiled director. Every review would be a circus with him yelling and screaming, getting calls from his mother, and just being an all-around jerk. Once he actually brought his cardiologist to review our work because he thought it would be entertaining. Throughout that summer, he consistently harrassed our client service member, going as far as prank calling her as a different director to ask what she thought about him.


8. You Are Expected To Do It For Free

Generally, people just trying to get you to work for free, through manipulation and intimidation and acting like they're doing you a favor for it. There's a dangerous combination of idealism and predators in Hollywood, and it's everywhere, at every level in the business. Thank God for unions.


7. Tragedy Can Play Out On Television

I worked on a reality show where the star passed away. She performed a huge show in Mexico, and then she was on her way to a TV spot, and her plane crashed.

She was one of the most real, down to earth people in the whole world. She came from nothing and built herself an empire. She was often late to shoots because she stopped to visit a sick fan in the hospital, she donated so much time and money to charity, and she provided everything for the people around her.


6. Clooney Is My Wingman

I'm a filmmaker based in LA for the last few years. One of my favorite stories is about George Clooney. Clooney is really cool with the crew. On this particular shoot, the cast and crew are lodged at the same hotel. There was a long turn around the next day meaning, a lot of downtime and everyone goes out drinking.

So this crew guy, Dan, is at the hotel bar during this turn around night. Dans talking to these two girls giving them the "I'm here making a movie" shpiel. Clooney walks by recognizes Dan and walks up.

"Dan, hey man you're still coming up to my room later to hang out right?" That's all it took. Dan banged both those girls that night. Clooney knew what he was doing. They didn't have plans to hang out that night. George knew what he was doing. He knew his power.

Good dude.


5. If You Are Overweight, You Are A Stereotype

Anyways, a few years ago, I used to weigh about 340 pounds. I am over six feet tall, so I guess I gave off what people in the film industry might call a "big guy persona"—you know, the guy who only exists to provide some form of backup or comedic relief.

The roles involved exactly what you might think it would be: eating, eating, and more eating. Pretty much every single scene I was involved in, I was essentially supposed to be the butt of fat jokes. A slobbering mess of a man. When you're on set in that sort of situation, what you realize is that the difference between your life and a movie isn't too big, maybe other than the fact that people express their opinions out loud in a movie, and in real life, they might keep those opinions to themselves or talk behind your back.


4. The Shooting Schedules Can Be Deadly

I had a friend pass away after driving back to the hotel from being on set too late. Drove right off the interstate.


3. Celebrities Steal, Too

I worked on a movie set many years ago. Part of my job was to make sure the (very well-known) female star didn't steal wardrobe. Apparently, she would demand certain brands of clothing and shoes for costume fittings and then sneak them out of her trailer.

About an hour after the fitting, I'm getting ready to leave and as I walk to my car I see her and her assistant come out of the trailer with 10 boxes of shoes. TEN! We're talking Gucci, Manolo Blahnik, Jimmy Choo, Louboutin—easily $20,000 worth of shoes that she just decided to take home. Before I could say anything, she told me that the Director told her it was okay. I knew that was a lie but what could I do?


2. Not Everyone Likes Stunt Weapons

There was a scene with a line of "dead" soldiers lying on the ground. This line was made up of mannequins and enough real extras to make it look believable. A stunt guy playing a German then walked along the line "stabbing" the mannequins whilst being careful to miss the real guys. Well, he didn't. This guy gets a little ahead of himself and manages to stab his buddy in the chest.

The best part? He'd been offered a stunt bayonet before shooting and had turned it down because it "didn't look real enough".

So much for a "trained professional".

Incidentally, on this same shoot, another extra stormed offset after almost being run over by a tank whilst playing dead in the middle of a field.


1. Expensive Dogs Still Bite

I got bit by Jerry Bruckheimer's giant $35k German Shepard named Goodspeed at his house as a PA and all I got was a lousy new pair of jeans.