Should Americans who’ve lost jobs feel resentment, even hatred towards Hollywood? This seems the agenda of those who have ripped into the bailout bill for helping Hollywood. While it’s easy to rail against the studio system in California for lavish excess, creating dreams on the silver screen isn’t exactly child’s play. Despite a childlike sense of wonder, Hollywood is a big serious business.
The movie and television industry employs thousands of people, who in turn funnel more money into a state and national economy. One only must look at the immediate good a movie filming on location can do for a community. Within the time frame that a film is completed, a production injects a good amount of capital into a town, while also providing a sense of excitement and goodwill.
If the flick is a hit, the town it was filmed in may benefit from extra tourism. Fans of movies love to visit where a particular scene or entire movie was made. In the romantic comedy When Harry Met Sally, Meg Ryan and Billy Crystal acted out the famous “I’ll have what she’s having” scene in a delicatessen. I’m betting when the movie became a hit, that business saw a big upswing in customers. For years, Jerry, Kramer, George and Elaine fought, laughed and flirted in a fictional diner in NYC. The Seinfeld sitcom’s interior diner was on a Hollywood soundstage in Los Angeles, California, but the exterior was filmed from a real restaurant in New York City. Patrons were not only proud, but told friends, while passerby no doubt went in because they wanted to eat in Jerry Seinfeld’s diner.
Then of course there’s merchandising. The upcoming Star Trek film opening in May from Paramount Pictures and director J.J. Abrams promises to be a huge hit. All the t-shirts, mementos and toys connected with this juggernaut will fill the pockets of Hollywood, but also those who work to produce and market that tie in merchandise.
While it’s important to look over a federal bill involving billions of dollars in assistance to the American people, it must be remembered Hollywood is a business. It employs a wide range of workers in many disciplines. Craft services alone, the professional food catering aspect of Hollywood, is a business that could suffer if movie and television production was to ebb away. Cooks and servers don’t make millions or ride in limos. They’re working class people like millions of other Americans. During the 1930’s depression, people flocked to the movie theaters because dreams kept them optimistic. Hollywood is a dream factory. It needs financial support like any other industry. Perhaps more so now when we need dreams more than ever.