I received a question on my blog from a filmmaker and reader of my book. I’d like to answer his question in this post. For those who don’t know, in my book, I refer to the things I Wish I Knew before I moved to Hollywood as “WIKs”. The question is as follows:
I just had a quick WIK question and I would be grateful if you could take a sec to answer it. The political climate of Hollywood is far-left to left. When I move there, will I be blacklisted or in any way discriminated against if I have a believe [sic] in or espouse in a different political ideology than from what currently dominates?
Excellent question, Charles. My answer is no. Here’s my thinking and belief. This business is really all about the dollars. If your idea has an audience and can make money, it really doesn’t matter what you believe.
Consider this for a minute: Hollywood can be understood to be anything that concerns the media. When you talk about celebrities of any ilk, they are represented by agents here in Hollywood. That means Glen Beck, Rush Limbaugh, Bill Oreilly–they all have Hollywood agents. They are all TV/Radio celebrities and you can’t get much more right wing than they. But not just them, nearly everyone you see anywhere representing any view (including many politicians) have agents in Hollywood. It’s how they get their shows negotiated and their book deals, etc. If money is coming, Hollywood doesn’t care what side of the fence it comes from.
Second, consider this: Hollywood tends to make far more conservative movies than liberal ones. That might sound a bit crazy to you, but think about it. Do you see more movies about war, fighting, and getting rich or about saving the forest, everyone getting along and sharing? Liberal stuff is simply not as dramatic. That’s just a fact. Far more movies are about national pride and willingness to die or kill for country, family, or honor. You could probably pitch an idea called, “Sarah Palin Saves the World” where you have the former Alaska governor flying around in a Huey sniping terrorist and clubbing baby seals. If you can show there’s a big enough audience to make a profit doing so, someone in Hollywood would be willing to make it. Okay, maybe not with clubbing baby seals, but clubbing terrorist, sure–especially if the female lead shows a little skin. For the right price you might even get the genuine article herself—check with her agent. Remember Hollywood was torturing terror suspects long before Gitmo.
I just saw a report on TV that talked about how militarism is still so much alive in Hollywood. It’s very true. Militarism sells tickets.
Finally, I don’t think Hollywood is really, down inside, as liberal as it’s made out to be. As I said, it’s all about the dollars. Hollywood is notorious for typecasting, stereotyping and pigeonholing anything they can’t immediately see a big market for. They make vampire and sex films, not because they believe in vampires and sex, but because there’s a huge market for it right now. If the market disappears, Hollywood will dump vampire production faster than you can vote down universal healthcare. Tyler Perry has proven there is a market for African-American films, but judging from production, Hollywood still seems to be hesitant to trust anyone to make one except him.
So to answer your question, no I don’t think you’ll be discriminated against for espousing a different political view—namely because I’m not sure your view is different. Remember the current governor of California is an actor—and a republican (Schwarzenegger). So was Regan before him.
I will say this though; you will have trouble getting any actual political movie made. Political movies don’t do well in general unless they are a few generations removed. But Hollywood might be happy to put your ideas on radio, TV and books, because in those media, politics sell like hotcakes.
Hope that helps.