The Downside of Digital

Just had a kind of depressing conversation with one of my business parnters, and some of what was said rings very true… and follows some of the thinking I had earlier today.

Beyond the creative fulfillment of the career I chose, I also chose this business because it was one where you could become wealthy. Where you could create your own retirement funds based on residuals and whatnot, and fuck the 401K’s and company pensions (which may or may not be there anyway, as we see these days). This was the a large part of the dream I had.

And then, a funny thing happened. I saw some guy driving an insanely expensive car today, and it occured to me that I used to just be “biding the time” until I too could buy one of those. For I was certain it would come. But today… today the thought that flashed past my brain was the one that said…”you may never have things like that.” And it was ok. Instead, I wondered if I’d ever be able to afford one home (much less the 3 or 4 I thought I’d buy), AND health care and some investments. It’s the first time I’ve ever really felt like…. maybe I will never be wealthy. Maybe I’ll always be struggling and that’s what it is. And it’s… kind of depressing, but kind of… just ok. I hate to disappoint my friends who for years have shaken their heads and asked me how it is that I’m not a multi-millionaire or some studio mogul yet… and truth be told… sometimes I don’t get it either. But perhaps it’s not my destiny.

The point, and it’s relation to the title of this post, is that my partner and I were talking about “THE GAP” in our media business between the have’s and have not’s – and how much that reflects the overall status of our American society. He’s not wrong. On one hand, we have the $150 million dollar Michael Bay budgets, and on the other, the $1,100 “My Date With Drew” budgets. The micro-budget filmmaking days have only been made possible by the advent of digital… and maybe it’s not “the greatest thing ever” that I’ve always thought it was. As it seems to have helped create disparity than already existed in this world of “either you make it yourself for no money at all, or you make it for lots of money upfront and screw everything else” but making it for lots of money upfront means that you MUST have done something before that made lots of money. It means the middle ground vanishes.. . and becomes a harder and harder place to make a living. You either scrabble for nothing, or you make shitloads of money.

It’s a sad, and frustrating world sometimes.