Friday, November 22, 2013

Getting Fired in Hollywood Still Hurts - A Reflection on Frank Darabont

I was reminded the other day that none of us is immune from the pain of creative conflicts and no matter how successful or talented we are, there are those times when something you are doing, even loving, can backfire on us and leave us devastated.

I have had a few moments in my career when I brought incredible love and passion to a project only to have friction occur within our team, resulting in a complete breakdown of the team and project. I look back on those occurrences with great sorrow as I know everyone involved was a good person with good intentions.

In the heat of the friction, everyone is doing damage control, projects are faltering, tempers are flaring, feelings are being hurt, and friendships are crumbling. It absolutely sucks. And I'm pretty sure we have all experienced it. If you haven't, you're lucky.

I was reminded of these moments the other day when I was reading about uber-talented writer/director Frank Darabont being fired from the incredibly successful show he created, The Walking Dead. According to the article Darabont was upset over budget cuts to the critically acclaimed series and the network wasn't willing to bend. Eventually the network felt the need to fire Darabont rather than come to a compromise.

Now, I'm sure both sides felt they were in the right. Darabont wanted to protect the series and the cast and crew and the network wanted to protect the bottom-line.  However, no matter who was right or wrong the end result it still the same: someone was fired from a project that meant the world to him. That hurts.

What happened to Darabont is a reminder that we're all human and susceptible to being hurt, no matter how successful we are. In the article, Darabont was asked whether or not he watches The Walking Dead after he was fired from the show. His response: “Oh god no, why would I,” he says. “If the woman you loved with all your heart left you for the Pilates instructor and just sent you an invitation to the wedding, would you go?” He continued, “There’s a deep commitment and emotional investment that happens when you create something that is very near and dear to you, and when that is torn asunder by sociopaths who don’t give a shit about your feelings or the feelings of your cast and crew because they have their own reasons to screw everybody, that doesn’t feel good.”

No, it doesn't feel good. And I'm sorry it happened because Darabont has brought us all such great entertainment - The Shawshank Redemption is still one of my favorite films of all time. I'd rather believe that he's basking in the glory of all of his achievements and having a rocking good time at this point in his career. I know he has a new show on the horizon called Mob City and I can't wait to see it:



He deserves to be happy. We all do.

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