Complicated Goodbye

RyanMcGuire_CC0.jpg

On the last haul of completing the 2nd edition of The Business of Film, with Steve Greenwald, our copyeditor posed this question:

“…so should we delete any mention to it in the book?”
“It” referring to The Weinstein Company.

Our first edition of the book years ago, had many references to the company and principles. Our updating of this edition took a great deal of time, well over a year.

So much can change in a year!

Everyone knows about the #me-too scandal and #timesup, the aftermath – all stemming from the initial stories around the Weinstein Company. Many brave victims spoke up afterward as a result of the first victims sharing their pain. Rose McGowan and Ashley Judd shared experiences that snowballed into a media industry-wide scandal with accusations and victims coming with complaints against many people. This is leading to recognition of how pervasive the problem is, going way beyond media, of course. My hope is that attitudes, behavior and awareness will change, respect will grow, and a greater realization of what is, and isn’t, appropriate behavior toward women will permeate our consciousness.

So back to updating this book. This movement all happened within the time I Steve and I have been updating and rewriting the book, and the minutiae of research, writing, and seeing the present movie industry – took up most of my attention in delivering the manuscript. One of the last people to handle your text before it turns into an actual book is a copy editor. Focal Press hooked us up with a great one, and when this question –

“…so should we delete any mention to it in the book?”

– was so much bigger. The question really is what do you want to do about the Weinstein Company, they’re going into bankruptcy, the company’s been destroyed, the principles are gone, it’s going hand-to-hand on the chopping block. It’s not really a vital part of the film business landscape anymore.

Should we get rid of it in the text? Entirely?

When the first edition of This Business of Film came out, it was a comprehensive overview of the movie industry; the players, technology, themes, business models and so forth. At that time, when we wrote about the Weinstein Company, it was with admiration for their movies, and the creative force behind their films. Fast forward – we’re updating the history of the movie business essentially, and how it works. I can’t shrug off the feeling of erasing the Weinstein Company from its relevance in film industry history. Does this mean I can’t ever watch Silver Linings Playbook again? Or shouldn’t?

And what about the suffering of talented performers, cast, crew, assistants, who did get harassed and who did appear in their movies but couldn’t speak out – and those that didn’t get the job…

And what about the creatives who did not appear in their projects due to harassment, belittlement, sexual abuse, coercion, mental abuse? To realize that the sordid, unethical behavior of one person could destroy a legacy of creativity brought about by other, innocent people. Talented people. Must the actions of one ruin the others?

I don’t know who coined the phrase “It started with a simple hello but ended with a complicated goodbye” but it seems appropriate.

Using the computer’s eraser, I deleted all mentions of the Weinstein Company – four in 400 pages. I decided to do it joyfully and that it is a happy statement, victory for some and sobering all the same time.

 

 

 

 

Thanks Ryan Mcguire – for the touching, strange farewell photo

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