Friday, July 15, 2011


This post reminded me of a conversation I had with a co-worker over breakfast one morning:

Juicer: "So I heard that on one lot, nepotism is so rampant that they don't allow you to hire family members anymore."
Me: "Really? None at all?"
Juicer: "Yup."
Me: "Huh... I can see why they'd implement a rule like that, but what if the family member is actually good at what they do? I mean, they could totally deserve the job but get shafted instead just because of a last name? That kind of sucks and doesn't sound very fair."
Juicer: "Yeah. I guess. But when was the last time you worked with a guy who's related to your boss that was actually worth their weight?"
Me: (Slight pause.) "Good point."

*I'll admit, I do know of some family names who have deep roots in this industry and for good reason, but they're also people who are good enough to get work on their own without their Daddy/Brother/Uncle bringing them onto jobs. The ones who depend on their relatives to get hired suck 99.99% of the time.


Michael Taylor said...

That would be Warner Brothers. I haven't worked there for years -- back then the set lighting department was run by Jesus freaks and Amway devotees - and don't know what prompted the new (as of four or five years ago) no-relatives policy. There have been all kinds of problems at Warners over the years, and maybe the nepotism thing reached a toxic level.

I came from outside the Industry, with no family in the biz, but this no-family-ever policy seems a bit harsh to me. I've run across many family crews over the years --some bad in a dysfunctional way, but most were really good. In a business that works people so hard and so long, those family units allowed fathers, sons, and brothers (sisters too, on occasion) to spend time together they'd never otherwise have had. As long as the work gets done right, I don't have a big problem with that kind of nepotism.

Those of us who came from elsewhere with no Industy connections have to understand that this has been a family buisness right from the beginning. And how ironic that a studio founded and brought to greatness under a family structure -- after all, it's called Warner BROTHERS -- was the first to impliment such a draconian policy.

So it goes...

Nathan said...

I actually usually don't have a big problem with nepotism. I've been on shows where there were only 4 last names* in the entire Grip, Electric, Props, and Set Dec departments. Those guys were just fine.

*And then they only seemed to add new last names when the daughters started coming into the business -- and used their married names. :)

A.J. said...

Michael - Ah... From what I understand, WB is in a category of their own when it comes to running a lot, which makes sense that they'd be the one implementing such a policy. Although now that you brought it up, it is a bit ironic that Warner Brothers is banning family members.

Nathan - Geeze, talk about crew members being like family!

D said...

One thing I love about new York crews is the last names that are everywhere. Canfield, gamiello, deblau, Ive worked with a few of these guys and I love em all. I don't know why but there's something comforting to me about a father passing his trade on to a son or daughter. I still have a vision of my son some day going through my old tool pouch full of wrenches and old tape rolls and knowing that I used them every day when he was a baby. My daughter wants to be an actress (she's actually very talented) so she's a lost cause.

A.J. said...

D - I have no problem with fathers passing their trade on to their children as long as they want to learn it. But there's been more than a few times when I've worked with someone's kid who didn't want to be there to begin with. They'd rather be working on "their music" or they're there because the dad thought it'd help keep the kid out of trouble. In those cases, I'd rather the job be given to someone who actually wants to be there whether they're a family member or not.

That's a very sweet vision you have about your son and hope it comes true one day. And I think it's rather cool that your daughter wants to be an actress. She'll get to see first hand what her dad did every day, and I'm sure she'll have more respect for the crew than most actors.

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