The term “job creator” has been, perhaps, overused by our elected officials to convince the electorate that such alchemy exists and that these candidates for elected office know the secret formula to make it so. I say I am a job creator, therefore I am.
Let me say that with conviction. I am a job creator. Thousands and thousands of jobs are created by me and my screenwriting colleagues – every single year without fail. Thousands. And it does not require a vote of Congress, or a filibuster, or a threat of government shutdown, or actually living up to and delivering on a campaign promise made in the heat of passion in order to get votes.
I write about pirates and have been very successful at it. At the invitation of the Creative Rights Caucus, I’m on Capitol Hill this week to talk about how writing about pirates can lead to job creation – in contrast to pirate site operators, who profit from stolen creative works and eliminate jobs.
How the hell did I become a job creator? I am just a highly paid typist who is full of himself and can’t hold a coherent thought for more than ten seconds. Maybe I should run for office.
The late great Frank Pierson who wrote such brilliant screenplays as “Cool Hand Luke” and “Dog Day Afternoon” explained this alchemy to me over a couple of single malts at the Hole in the Wall bar at Sundance in 1994. I was in the process of having two of my scripts made by two of the most legendary directors of all time and I was not handling it well.
Frank said in that distinct shrill drill sergeant voice of his; “When you’re in the dumps at the end of your rope ready to throw yourself off a cliff because you’re convinced no one gives a shit about your stories, just remember that no director, including those two legends, no actor, no cinematographer, no set designer, costume designer, sound mixer, no SFX guys, no editor, no caterer, no driver, nobody, nobody has a job until you type “THE END”.
Now, that bit of wisdom has gotten me through some dark times and difficult projects. I thought Frank was just giving me a tool to raise my self-esteem. To make me feel good about my work. At the time, it did not hit me that he was telling the truth.
When a writer types THE END, it is the beginning of a process that involves hundreds of jobs and services before the script even reaches the actual production stage. Staff at the Producer’s office, Studio execs and Story execs and their staff who are employed to read, develop, finance and produce your script get to keep their jobs because of writers. Agents, Managers, Lawyers who negotiate the writer deals, all have jobs in part because of writers. Once the script goes into the production stage, the amount of jobs required to produce a film grows exponentially; crews of 100-400 and more become necessary; local vendors and merchants in the location where my script is being filmed benefit and are able to boost employment. Hotels, car rental agencies, airlines, local restaurants, stores, shops, all benefit enormously by my typing THE END.
My two screenplays of Hook and Bram Stoker’s Dracula, occupied every soundstage at Sony Studios and Culver Studios, employed hundreds of crew and crafts persons, hundreds of extras and lots of pirates, lost boys, vampires, and one faerie for two years non-stop. Over the past 20 years, both films have generated $500 million in revenues to the studio, which translates into a billion dollars in worldwide revenues. And it all started with this writer and a cursed imagination finding a way to type THE END.
And I have further proof; the proudest I have ever been of any credit I have ever received is the very last credit on the screen of my last film, Epic, for 20th Century Fox, which I first wrote in 1999 with noted children’s author, William Joyce.
The credit reads: “The making and authorized distribution of this film supported more than 12,000 jobs and involved over one million work hours.”
Fox is to be congratulated and praised for having the vision to include this end credit on each of their films.
I was overwhelmed seeing this credit for the first time. Frank Pierson was right. We are job creators. And we should be protected from piracy so we can keep creating these thousands of jobs by writing our stories.
Every pirated download steals royalties and residuals directly from me – and many others who make a living in creative industries. Just like having your bank account hacked, or your credit card stolen, or you pension plan co-opted, or your social security checks compromised.
These pirate sites are profitable because major advertisers and credit card companies pump millions of dollars into pirate coffers.
Like I said, I write about pirates and have been very successful at it. Pirates offered freedom to slaves 150 years before the emancipation proclamation. Pirates had a code of honor they followed diligently. We have no code, or laws, or protections among these new pirates that are supported by name brand companies.
At least the pirates in my stories were honorable thieves and gentlemen of fortune.
My name is James V. Hart. I am a screenwriter and job creator. And I am announcing my candidacy for President of the United States.
Hart is a noted screenwriter.