Thursday, April 22, 2010

The Asia Argento Syndrome

When you move to Hollywood and try your hand at writing, directing or acting, one of the first things you'll find is that there is a truly strange barometer when it comes to what is and who are viewed as successful. The first movie that Jace and I ever were paid to write was CROCODILE, directed by Tobe Hooper. We weren't paid very much, and it was a rewrite -- but still, it was Tobe Hooper! We're talking the guy who directed TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE, POLTERGEIST, FUNHOUSE, etc etc etc! I mean, who wouldn't view that as a great first gig?

The answer is, well, us. We were as proud as hell to be working with Tobe. We even thought the movie might turn out to be pretty good (it didn't, and that's partially our fault). But because of the low amount we were paid, we didn't feel like it was a "real" job. If you think this is one of the most mind-blowingly stupid things you've ever heard, you're right. And the lesson is, do not let Hollywood, what you read in websites and magazines, and what your friends think determine what you feel "success" means. Asia Argento didn't.

I think we can all agree on one thing: Asia Argento is hot. Those of us who watched her in her early Italian horror films all thought she was a goddess. Now, I don't know Asia. I don't know what she wanted her career path to be or if she's satisfied with where she is now. I only met her once, and that was briefly on the set of MOTHER OF TEARS. But it's very clear to me that when Asia was offered the keys to the kingdom, she said "no." After XXX, she was on the cover of Rolling Stone as the new "it" girl. She could've had it all: fame, lots of money, avoiding paparazzi, and all that other stuff that comes with being a rich and famous movie star. But it seems very clear that she didn't want that -- she had her own path and her own view of what success is.

I've known lots of people that I thought could've been huge in movies. A chick I went to college with, Carol Oldham, was a good actress and absolutely gorgeous, and I was pretty sure that if she were to move here and start auditioning she could have made it pretty big. However, Carol decided to do small theater projects and work for the Sierra Club -- that's where her priorities were, and she should be applauded for it. There's many more out there like her.

So please, if you're doing something creative and it makes you happy, enjoy that. Whether you're Cree Creepersin, who makes cool little ultra-low budget indies, or Neil Marshall, it is up to you to determine what you define as success. If you want more, go for it. If you're happy with where you are, or want to change directions altogether, it's up to you and nobody else.

1 comment:

  1. And not just in the arts, either. I recently attended an entrepreneur weekend with a bunch of MBAs (what was I thinking?), and I had along for my presentation a little data business I've been wanting to start. Just a small thing serving libraries -- not a huge market but one I know and have skills in. Immediately the folks there ramped it up to how can I serve everybody in the world and bring in millions a year. Um, guys? I just want a little low-pressure thing to bring in extra cash and maybe, eventually, be able to pay my current mortgage with.

    If you're doing what moves you, that's success.