The Oscars

There’s a saying in Hinduism about good work being its own reward – that you should work for the joy of working, and not because you’re expecting a little naked gold man for your efforts.  I believe that’s the exact wording.

And yet, as I watched the show as I do every year, mere miles away from the biggest party in my industry, I thought, which one of those people didn’t get into their field hoping to be the best of the best?  Would Meryl have still been as dedicated at her age to community theater?  Would Quentin have been as satisfied if his films just went up on YouTube?  Would they have been able to tell themselves, year after year, birthday after birthday, that good work is its own reward?

These are questions I keep coming back to again and again, and it’s surely a factor of being in this industry – it’s hard to call yourself a filmmaker if nobody ever sees your work.   You can be an unknown banker.  Nobody pities you because you didn’t make it to Secretary of the Treasury.  But in film, whether it’s acting, directing, or writing, unless your work has been Seen, capital S, you’re considered at best a struggling artist; at worst, a failure.  And perhaps rightly so, because films are made to be watched.  Movies need an engaged audience, or you might as well be shooting home videos.

Of course there’s a wide spectrum between toiling in obscurity and superstardom.  So, head down, nose to the grindstone, do your work.  I can’t stop my brain from shouting movie scenes, screenplay ideas, and bits of dialogue at me.  Therefore, I’ll keep writing and making films, and I’ll try to be satisfied when I know I’ve done my best.  I know what that saying is really saying: that you should do excellent work because excellence is its own reward.  That’s why we can be smug about Adam Sandler movies.

Luckily, I’m already a legend…in my own mind.  I’d like to thank the Academy.

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