A small story:

One of the most dangerous sayings among artists is "Jump and the net will appear." The idea that if you risk the universe will automatically protect you from the worst possible consequences is very seductive and is not actually true.
(In my twenties, a friend of a good friend of mine had a habit of announcing a change in career or life's longing monthly, each time blithely announcing that "The universe will provide." My friend once grimly noted "The universe" looked a lot like the woman's husband)
When you produce an indie, money is gathered slowly, painfully; I'd say you chip away at the amount you need like a sculptor working some marble, but imagine if while the sculptor delineated a leg, a bunch of marble sometimes grew back. Money gets promised, not always delivered.
At some point, you have to start moving forward as if the project is going to go, at least in part to get people you want to work with to block out the time you'll need them on your schedule. Every day, you get closer to shooting. Every day, money waffles.
Making a movie outside of a studio system is objectively terrifying.

(Making a movie within the system is no pastoral idyll either, but that's another Small Story)

Everything is on the line. Sometimes, literally; I personally know people who mortgaged houses to make a movie.
Not all of them kept their house.
"Alec Baldwin stood for the unions, how did he hire scabs?"

By the time the production company had hired scabs, they were already three weeks behind in paying the union crew, who is on record for not feeling safe with regards to, among other things, COVID oversight.
No one becomes a rank hypocrite overnight. I suspect the production began because there were people available exactly then and if they didn't shoot they'd lose what little money was actually in the bank. Every day, they filmed and cut another corner, to make it another day.
Every night, the producers - which included the star - were probably dialing for dollars from prospective backers.

Imagine building a plane.

Now, imagine building it while flying over the Himalayas.

This was never going to work.

It never does.

They had to try.
If you had asked Baldwin six months ago if he would let #IATSE members be at COVID risk, live so far from the set that they'd be adding two hours of commute to a 12-hour workday, if he'd have fucked them on salary I really don't think he'd have said, "Hell, yes."
When this first happened, Kid texted me about it and called it a "Freak accident."

"A freak accident," I texted back, "Is when a bird drops a stone on your head and you die. 'Gun Death On Set' has happened three times in forty years; all of them avoidable."
Producers are, at heart, magicians or, to put it less romantically, con artists, constantly building something from nothing; I don't know a single one who hasn't said Person A was attached to get Person B and then, vice versa.

Often, it works.

Sometimes, it's gross.
A cable series about Joan Rivers just cratered because the producers hadn't gotten the rights to Rivers' life and oh, would I have enjoyed hearing the recording of that call with the network.
Scott Rudin was - probably still is - garbage, an objectively terrible human who rolled over doubts and nearly every living person with screaming and threats.

Bullying is its own form of con artistry.

Speaking of bullying, Weinstein.

"Isn't he a rapist?"

Oh, yes.
But what allowed him to rape was a combination of the power he wielded and his sheer bullying energy, an energy that - when not raping women - made Academy Award-winning movies.

For the time you are a producer, the thing you are producing is your baby.
Ask any parent what they would do to keep their baby alive, they'll probably say some variation of, "Anything." And yes, I am well aware that filmmaking is not parenting but filming takes up every second of your day, every cell of your brain, you aren't sleeping or eating well.
Alec Baldwin and the rest of the producers probably didn't see themselves as bad people, bad bosses, union-busters; they saw themselves as movie-makers briefly having to do hard things so the net had a chance to weave itself under their feet.
Today I walked into Nordstrom to drop off my @RenttheRunway dresses and noticed a sign printed on the glass door telling the shoppers we couldn't carry guns into the store.

We're the kind of country who has to be reminded not to pack heat while trying on boat shoes.
There is no way we aren't going to reward movies with firepower.

There is no way independent filmmakers aren't going to try to work on the cheap.

People will continue to jump, net be damned.

I am sickened to say I suspect #HalynaHutchins will not be the last victim.
And now, THE AD! If you like these Small Stories, can I coax you into helping to support them? I promise to always remind you to act as if the net is not going to arrive.

And now, the other ad!

I have a deal for you on

My membership benefits @vromans! Yours could benefit your local indie bookstore! Here are some audiobooks about delusions!


• • •

Missing some Tweet in this thread? You can try to force a refresh

Keep Current with Quinn Cummings

Quinn Cummings Profile picture

Stay in touch and get notified when new unrolls are available from this author!

Read all threads

This Thread may be Removed Anytime!


Twitter may remove this content at anytime! Save it as PDF for later use!

Try unrolling a thread yourself!

how to unroll video
  1. Follow @ThreadReaderApp to mention us!

  2. From a Twitter thread mention us with a keyword "unroll"
@threadreaderapp unroll

Practice here first or read more on our help page!

More from @quinncy

25 Oct
I have about another week of this @RenttheRunway dress business and, so far, it was an excellent experiment, worth the cost.

That's right; they did not pay me for this or even give me the dresses for free. I am paying out of pocket to do their work for them.

My life has taught me that I can either be comfortable or I can write but also, I can be irrationally terrified or I can write. There's a sweet spot of unease where the writing flows.

A sour spot, if you will.

Wearing a dress puts me right in that spot.
Read 33 tweets
22 Oct
A small story:

"Why read good writing?"

Because good writing, writing scrubbed of everything but the essential truth, will strengthen and improve you.

This is not to say I'm squinting at SILAS MARNER in a candlelit room while the rest of you marvel at NeNe Leakes.
Anyone who has been around Twitter at Met Gala night knows I'm a shallow little thing.

But even as I wait impatiently for Rihanna to finally FINALLY arrive, I know this is an unsustainable diet, a steady fois-gras feeding tube of words making me linguistically malnourished.
Good writing isn't the same as tricky writing; in fact, good writing is the opposite of tricky writing. Tricky writing - with its great lashing of weasel-words and logic based on the model of the double-helix - isn't meant to illuminate you. It's meant to cow you.
Read 23 tweets
21 Oct
A small story:

For a couple of years, Kid swam/water polo’ed/dove. She was never completely dry and the back seat of my car was a shade lighter than the front seat thanks to chlorine.
While all three pool sports shared a venue, the participants were easily categorized. The swim-team kids were the ones shaped like inverted triangles, the water-polo players were covered in bruises and the divers had destroyed hair.

“Didn’t they all?”

Swim team wore caps, water-polo wore caps- at least in part so an opponent didn’t tear off their ears- but divers, did not. The pattern of diving/waiting to dive created greater porosity in the hair, leading to greater damage.
Read 15 tweets
20 Oct
For those who asked, here is the book (feat: Non-janky highlighter)
Here is the first page. I will give you no more but lie to me and tell me you don’t want @ElieNYC’s book.

Pre-order it.
You have no idea how mad I am at you, @ElieNYC.

Read 20 tweets
20 Oct
A small story:

I loved ballet.

I loved the precision, the quiet, the discipline, the chasing after a Platonic ideal of a line, a movement, the feeling of flight, of speed. I loved the wardrobe and oh, did I love pointe shoes.

Ballet tolerated me.
At its heart dance is a sport * and, like all sports, there are certain people more physically-suited to the sport than other. I wasn't designed for ballet.

* At its heart, ballet began as a way for French aristocrats to look at lady-legs and pick out their new mistress.
Even though I was small, I was the wrong kind of small; the perfect ballet dancer should have a smaller head, very long limbs and very bendy feet.

If spiders could pirouette, Balanchine would have married three of them.
Read 26 tweets
19 Oct
A small story:

If pressed, I think the most baffling thing to explain to anyone younger than 25 is how rarely anyone over 45 took a picture.

Well, that and rotary phones.

I imagine myself pulling down a photo album and then stopping to explain a photo album.
Having broken down the idea of "We printed them and then put them in a book and never looked at them unlike now, where they are in your phone and you never look at them," I'd show them an average page.

Birthday or two.



"That's a year," I would say.
They'd possibly push the pictures a few times, thinking that maybe it would open a file of the rest of the 16,000 images of pets, meals and bomb-light pouting which is now how we measure a year.

"Nope," I'd say cheerfully, "The picture were printed, picked up, put in here."
Read 18 tweets

Did Thread Reader help you today?

Support us! We are indie developers!

This site is made by just two indie developers on a laptop doing marketing, support and development! Read more about the story.

Become a Premium Member ($3/month or $30/year) and get exclusive features!

Become Premium

Too expensive? Make a small donation by buying us coffee ($5) or help with server cost ($10)

Donate via Paypal Become our Patreon

Thank you for your support!

Follow Us on Twitter!