The Toll of the Creative Industry

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Yay perfect idyllic life!

The Emmy’s is the latest event to take over my social media feed today. In trying to avoid my work, I consumed my time instead with all the gorgeous outfits each celebrity was wearing. They look so perfect and happy, why? Well, because they’ve already made it big. They don’t have to worry about where their next cheque is coming in from and how to pay off their electricity bill for the month. They had the easy life, a secure future!

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#Unimpressed by a lack of job security.

But then it struck me, these actors and actresses are just like us! Okay, not actually. But they are invested in the creative industry too, and even though being involved in one blockbuster will probably support them for a while, that doesn’t mean they have amazing job security either.

Have you ever seen an actor or actress in a movie recently and thought to yourself ‘I haven’t seen them in a film for ages!’ Take Jennifer Grey (think Dirty Dancing), I haven’t seen her in anything prominent since the turn of the century. And I’m not completely sure why. It could have been a multitude of reasons but perhaps one of them being tired of the instability that surrounds the creative industry and the lack of creative freedom surrounding it.

Hesmondhalgh and Baker in their text Creative Labour: Media Work in Three Cultural Industries highlights the problem of self-estrangement, it “refers to effects of work that encourage the worker’s alienation from his own self, a kind of depersonalised detachment rather than an immediate involvement or engrossment in the job tasks” (29) This means the use of people as a means to an end. Instead of valuing them as individuals with creative ideas and thoughts. This works hand in hand with a feeling of insecurity and not belonging. People that were interviewed in this text described working in the creative field as being unworthy and under qualified for the industry.

The bigger problem with all of this is that the lack of job security and comfort in the creative industry is making people believe that keeping their job is more important than creative integrity. Making the fear of being unemployed more of a motivational tool than the pleasure of creating original work.

Perhaps the creative industry and all the ‘freedom’ it gives you, isn’t all its cut out to be unless you make it big. And what it’s causing is more of a mental and emotional toll on a person. So, maybe behind the perfect smiles of each celebrity is the fear of where the next big song or film will come from, and if there even is a next one.

Sources:

Hesmondhalgh, David, and Sarah Baker. Creative Labour: Media Work in Three Cultural Industries. London: Routledge, 2011. Print.

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