JJ’s Job — Part 1
“Do you want JJ’s job?”
“Do you know another JJ?”
“Technically, I don’t know JJ — “
“But I digress, I could have just as easily asked if you wanted Cameron’s Job or Jackson’s Job, Spielberg’s Job, Lassiter’s Job, Kinberg’s Job, Nolan’s Job, Whedon’s Job, Russo’s Job, Lord/Miller’s Job or even George’s job.”
This exchange is repeated on a daily basis, when some, unsuspecting writer sends a query or asks for help. Usually, I get either radio silence or a snarky reply about the need to find an Agent to help this (always) incredibly talented writer meet Mr. Abrams, thus launching her/his stellar career.
I’m busy but not so busy I can’t give back a little bit. That’s what it’s all about, right? Gaining knowledge through practice and skill in order to share it? My mentors are incredibly generous to me, offering both time and patience and it’s high time I start reciprocating.
High time. What does that even mean?
1. the appropriate time or past the appropriate time:
It’s high time he got out of bed.
Hmm. Now I know.
Anyway, back to JJ’s Job. JJ is, of course, JJ Abrams, an incredibly prolific writer/director/producer/creator/manager/showrunner. JJ can do it all. If he wanted to be an Agent, clients would sign with him. If he were in construction, people would have JJ build their house. This isn’t a blind love letter to JJ; this is a recognition that the entertainment business is changing. JJ is no longer the exception; he’s become the norm. I’ll go as far as to say, if you can’t do JJ’s job, they don’t need you.
If you can’t do what JJ can do, they need to move on, past you, and find someone who can.
Ok, that’s what I thought you said.
Yeah, it’s like that. See, it used to be different. There used to be like a stadium full of chairs and when the music stopped, not only did everybody get one, there were like, dozens left over. Hollywood musical chairs suddenly changed location. Did you get an evite? Did someone tweet the new spot? What? No?
That’s because it’s a tiny party with no chairs and no time for music. Now, it’s just a small room, filled with those multi-hyphenates who bring their crew to do a job nobody else can do.
Shit, that’s just The Fast and The Furious, you just pitched me Fast Five. Yes, yes I did. The only chairs left. Dom Toretto and his team or Tony Stark, dragged from the lab, teaming with The Avengers to save the world.
There was a time, not long ago when a writer could be okay. He/she could have a few good ideas, maybe execute a good spec script and voila, a career is born. Those days are changing, shifting, morphing into every writer becoming one of the X-Men and teaming up to solve billion dollar, ten year development and execution strategies.
Indie movies rock. I love them. I pay money, hard earned American dollars, to see them in theaters. I pay for them online too. This isn’t about making a career as an indie filmmaker. You wanna do that, it’s easy, make indie film after indie film till you win Sundance, Toronto or Cannes and they’ll line to call you the next JJ.
No. This is about mastery. Look, lets not debate whether George Lucas or JJ Abrams or Peter Jackson is a master. They all have one thing in common we don’t have. They’re masters of their own careers and we aren’t — so shut up.
Focus. Do you want JJ’s Job?
By Christopher Pratt — Hollywood chair folder/sometimes manager/sometimes @futurePratt.
Stay tuned for JJ’s Job — Part Two.