Who’s a star?

In the Hollywood star system, actors and actresses were products, and films were the vehicle for them to sell themselves. This has important and complicated ethical implications for labor, and we must question the dangers of reducing a person to a product. Stars became a product onto which our deepest cultural fears and desires were […]

Risking It All In Hollywood: Intense Hope That Success Is Around The Corner

Put yourself is James Cameron’s shoes for a minute.  Third highest paid director in Hollywood, with a net worth of 700 million, nothing compared to the two ahead of him being Spielberg and Lucas with 3 Billion (with a B, no typo) and 3.25 Billion respectively.  I’ll come back to this idea in a bit, […]

Hollywood Sex

The Hollywood industry is very patriarchal.  It is made very clear in Hollywood, the Dream Factory by Hortense Powdermaker.  It is most evident when Powdermaker used examples of only men.  It is still true today with women in the Hollywood industry speaking out about their experiences. In history, women are discourage to have any power.  […]

People are People

In his book Hollywood the Dream Factory: An Anthropologist Looks at the Movie-makers, Hortense Powdermaker examines the relationship between the actors who make up Hollywood and the overarching idea of Hollywood itself. He describes this relationship as tumultuous to say the least in stating, “In Hollywood, actors are not regarded as ordinary people, either. But […]

No Appreciation for Art: Manipulation of Work in Hollywood

Growing up, the Hollywood movie scene seemed like a magical place. People could live off of making movies and playing music and writing funny pieces for television. It was a place I wanted to be. However, my younger self romanticized the movie industry. The older I got, the more I realized that it is a […]

The American Dream in Practice

The Hays code or the production code was a kind of censorship that film directors and producers began to follow in the 30’s. Some of the hard limits that were enforced included “pointed profanity, nudity, sex.” While suggestions of vulgarity were frowned upon, they were often let go. Because let’s be real, considering the extensive […]

Roses have thorns: or, how to fall from grace in Hollywood

Hortense Powdermaker knew herself to be an anthropologist. Her study of the film industry during her time provides a comprehensive image — capturing the zeitgeist of the Golden Age by providing details and examples of the people and places. According to Wikipedia (for which I suspend my disbelief), her Hollywood: the Dream Factory is “the only […]