With only a few days until the return of the greatest adventure movie icon of all time, it seems only fitting I should discuss “Indiana Jones and Kingdom of the Crystal Skull”. If you’re expecting spoilers here, you might as well stop reading. or should you?
“Raiders of the Lost Ark” is my favorite film. It has something for everyone: adventure, action, comedy, romance, villains you hate and a hero that you can identify with. When I heard that they were making a new one I was both excited and worried. Could they do it? Would it be good? Is it going to be another “Phantom Menace”?
I made myself a promise: I would work on this movie. I get jobs by recommendations or friends who are already on a film. I don’t seek out projects and I don’t go to interviews. It’s not because I’m lazy. The film industry just doesn’t work like that. It doesn’t matter how good you are. If you haven’t worked with the crew before, they usually won’t hire you. For “Indiana Jones”, I decided that I would change my ways. I wrote letters to the production office. I asked everyone if they had any connections to the film and by a stroke of luck, a friend of a friend was an A.D. on the movie. I didn’t get an interview, a call, or even a rejection letter. My connection ended up not working on the film. I was crushed. As I continued day playing, I kept getting calls from a movie titled, “Genre”. I wasn’t told anything about it. It didn’t pay very well and I hoped I would get “the” call, so I passed. Turns out “Genre” was Indiana F*%#ing Jones!!!! I missed out on it again because the studio wanted to keep it secret!
And this brings me to my point. Hollywood is obsessed with keeping secrets and stopping spoilers. Movie spoiler sites are all over the Internet. It’s ridiculous. Spoilers ruin the experience. They raise your expectations too high, or they deter you from seeing it all together. Filmmakers look to the studios to protect their secrets. They do this by banning cameras on set, having people sign waivers, etc. I agree with this practice, but it is our nature to be curious and the immediacy for information that the Internet has created has made that curiosity a drug that we can’t get enough of. It’s so bad that on the set of Indy they had spies, SPIES!!! Crewmembers, whose sole job was to make sure the crew wasn’t stealing, taking pictures or discussing the film.
Studios have become so paranoid that some movies don’t give the actors the entire script. They’re only allowed to see their lines. How does an actor know how to react when he hasn’t read what he’s reacting to? Studios don’t even tell potential crewmembers what they’re being hired for! Here’s the deal. The film industry is terrified that you won’t like their film or more importantly, won’t pay to see it. Movies are expensive and producers want their return right way. If the movie isn’t an instant success, it’s doomed and they need to make sure they get your money before you can bootleg it off the Internet. That’s the thinking behind film releases today.
Studios want to blame everyone else for the “failure” of a film; saying it’s due to rumors and spoilers. At the same time they leak secrets too. They invite media crews to set. The film, “Cloverfield” did such a good job of keeping quiet that Paramount started leaking details just to get some press. So what does this rant have to do with you? The point is when you work in the industry you’re exposed to lot of industry secrets. You see and hear things that people may have to wait for years to experience. It’s exciting to be part of something that so many people are interested in. It’s also a big responsibility. It may sound silly, but it’s true. As an industry professional, you need to be able to keep a secret. It’s not just about protecting the film or the artists. It’s not even about the money. In the end it’s about letting people react to the movie on their own, whether positive or negative.
You may be asking yourself, how did I know about the spies on “Indiana Jones”? I made friends with a fellow P.A. and when they called him he wasn’t available. So guess who he recommended? It’s all about who you know. I got to work on Indy for one day and let me tell you it was so cool. I even got to hold the whip!!! There was a scene we shot where Indy had to — you know, I’ll let you see it for yourself.