Toronto has been buzzing since our chief of police revealed the infamous ‘Rob Ford Crack Video’ had been discovered. And why not? It’s not every day that the largest city in Canada learns its mayor is a frigging crack head- this’ll take some getting used to, guys, because apparently he ain’t leavin’.
In the meantime, lets chill, take a deep breath, and reflect on what we can learn from Mayor McCheese about being a better filmmaker. Remember: a great way to learn is by making mistakes; a better way is letting someone else make them first.
1. Fail spectacularly- and learn from it
Don’t let your downfall be dumb. Rob Ford got caught- ON VIDEO- smoking crack. The mayor of the largest city in Canada was sucking up cavvy. Even when the infamous ‘crack starter’ Indiegogo campaign was launched, the accusation seemed so ridiculous many brushed it off with a chuckle- until Chief Blair made the announcement on Halloween that the video had been found, and um, yeah the mayor was totally a closet baser.
As a filmmaker, you will fail. You’ll go over budget, piss off the talent, and maybe have a tantrum on set- but when you do, make sure it’s for a damn good reason. Ford managed to get away with dozens of seriously heinous crimes and misdemeanours during his career (like soliciting donations for his personal charity using city resources and denying 1.5 million dollars for AIDS relief) but it’s the crack that’s gunna stick him to the wall. Dumb. Be sure that if you fail, you fail with grace- you’ll learn from it, and your crew will respect you for owning up.
You meet someone at a networking event, maybe a Raindance Booze ‘n’ Schmooze, and the two of you exchange cards.
Wow! you think to yourself on the TTC ride home; this guy has a lot of pull and LOVES my idea. I hope he reaches out!
Ping! Your iPhone beeps. A Facebook friend request from the Head-of-Development/Producer/Distributor you were JUST thinking about. Of course you add him without pause- what a great opportunity to connect!
But wait: is your profile picture still that stupid baby giraffe? Oh shit. That Spring Break 2007 album you keep meaning to set to private. High school year book pictures. That time you lost a bet and dressed up like a giant banana (your friends REFUSE to stop tagging you).
For better or for worse, social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter are breaking down the barriers between our personal and professional lives. Employers, coworkers and potential collaborators can all access pictures you may be comfortable sharing with your pals, but probably wouldn’t want paper-clipped to your CV. Keep this in mind not just when you’re uploading photos or updating your status, but in your general day-to-day conduct: you’re never private in public, so don’t piss on the side of the damn road.
3. Develop a good network
Have friends, will travel. Be kind, be considerate, and be respectful. If you treat people like, erm, people you’ll make pals who’ll spread the good word about your awesomeness and professionalism. Also, if you ever do find yourself in a spot of trouble and get bucked into the rumour mill, the good karma you’ve racked up by being a decent human being will result in your pals coming to you for clarification rather than presuming the worst. Be the neighbour who shocks his block when the severed heads are recovered from his root cellar, not the one who inspires the reply “Yeah, I’m not surprised- that guy was friggin weird.”When this whole Is-The-Mayor-Of-Toronto-A-Crackhead thing exploded a few months back, Ford’s entourage began dropping off like sweat from a jazzerciser. Recently, the Toronto City Council voted 41 to 2 in requesting that Ford take a leave of absence and stop embarrassing our emotionally exhausted city. The two who nay-ed? Ford himself and his homophobic, gay bashing, bigoted buddy. Clearly the big man doesn’t have too many friends if you don’t count his dealer and owner of his local KFC franchise.
Figuratively speaking, of course.
4. Don’t do crack
This should be a no brainer, but seriously: don’t do drugs. Pretty soon the D.A.R.E program is going to launch their own ‘Don’t Be That Guy’ campaign; they’ll make kids watch every painful press conference and incoherent rant video chronicling the descent of our dear mayor- a surefire way to convince them to JUST SAY NO.
The popular opinion that narcotics are ubiquitous in the film industry is total bullshit. Sure, maybe there’s a handful of leading men and ladies doing lines in their trailers while the studios bend over backwards to accommodate their shambling cash cows- but the film business is still a business and you’re not about to top up your bong at the water cooler. Keep your senses straight and your mind clear and your co-workers and crew will respect you. There’s a good reason no one wants to work with Gary Busey and it’s not because he looks like this ugly bear.
5. Know when to let go
Rob Ford has admitted to basically all of the insane things he’s been accused of doing which clearly effect his ability to govern us (if he ever could in the first place). He’s broken the law in at least half a dozen ways for sure and admits to being a big fat, embarrassing, red-faced blotch on our city and yet: he likes his job so he’s not going anywhere. We’d best just zip it and sit it out till 2014. Really?
Rob Ford isn’t leaving despite 75% of Torontonians, the city council, and his previous executive all begging him to GTFO. As a filmmaker, there will be countless times when you’ll just need to let go.
That shot you wanted with the $20,000 crane you don’t have the budget for; that absolutely PERFECT song you can’t secure the rights to; that amazing location in Dubai that will cost 6 months salary and a kidney to afford. You can’t always have what you want. Listen to your producer, listen to your crew, but most of all listen to reason.
Thanks Mr. Ford for giving filmmakers the opportunity to learn how not to be laughing stock of the whole planet. Lay off the sauce, would ya?