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Bill Megalos “Do not start working in the movie industry if you do not adore it”

25 March 2010 / 10:03:34  GRReporter
9264 reads
  • - What is your advise for the young film directors who are just starting their career?
  • - My advise for the young people who wish to start working in this business is “Do not do it!” I know it sounds terrible, but it is true. This business has changed a lot. I was lucky to start very early to work in this field when there were budgets, which were giving the opportunity to make good movies. I had made many films for BBC, which had such big budgets that everything was done right. The producer and the director could go in the Near East to see with his eyes what is happening there, to come back and to know how to make the movie. Now in advance you talk on the phone, you set up the things, however you practically don’t know what exactly you will cover with the film. I work with non governmental organizations and the only way to make films for them is to do it all alone. I am a good cameraman and a good director. I am also a very good producer. However I cannot do it all equally well. The quality of the film drops. I spent many years as a cameraman, behind the camera. As a boy for everything in my movies, I shoot better than somebody else who is doing everything by himself as well. However I do not reach the quality which we have when we work in a team and everybody participates in his area of knowledge. From the point of view of today’s budgets it is very hard to perform you work in a way to be satisfied by it. That is why my advise to the young people is: “Unless you adore this profession do not start working in this field. Find something else to do. Because if you start working in this business at this time you will be exploit. Everybody will exploit you. And if under these circumstances you do not find the pleasure in your work, find something else to do. However it also has to be something you enjoy”.

 

  • - I think this is true for every profession nowadays.
  • - Yes, we live in a cruel world. We live in a humiliating time. I started my career in the 70s. At that time the people know that if you are a freelancer, this is a certain status. You know the joke that we don’t pay the prostitute for the sex, but to leave afterwards, don’t you. I don’t mean that being a freelancer is like being a prostitute. However at that time we knew that in order to be a freelancer you have to be very good in what you are doing and people hire you and pay you a high fee, however they have no further engagements with you. They do not pay you health insurance, they do not wonder what to do with you when they have no job for you anymore. However they pay you enough money for you to be able to support yourself. Now the money paid to the freelancers is very little. I know many people who cannot afford to have a health insurance. Me personally I work since the 70s and in all this time I only had two years during which my employer was paying me health insurance. As a freelance professional I pay this insurance on my own every year since 1972 until present. In the beginning when I was young I even didn’t have a health insurance. However after I got married and the things at my work started picking up, since the end of the 70s, for 30 years now I pay this by myself. The freelance professional has to earn this money somehow. I have to admit that my worst client in the 70s and 80s was paying more that my best client today is. Our business is very cruel right now and if you don’t love it with no reserves it is better to start looking for other ways to survive.
Tags: interview Bill Megalos documentary cinema
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