Monday, May 13, 2013


Will Smith. Jaden Smith.

Tom hanks. Colin Hanks.

Martin Sheen. Charlie Sheen.

Yes, nepotism is alive and well in the film business.

Is it any more or less than in other industries? Or does the film business just make it more visible?

One thing is clear. It's a tag no-one wants.

It follows you around. It's like an accusation.

"You didn't earn this! Your success is only due to your famous lineage."

To artists in particular, this is an insult that burns deep.

Artists are supposed to struggle for their passion, you see.

Like soldiers, we toil anonymously in the trenches for our art.

Earning our stripes.

And then, if we are lucky to survive the perils and the battles, we return home.

In honour and to glory.

The nepotism tag suggests that you have circumvented this process, somehow.

You are not "one of us".

In some cases, unfortunately, the critics probably have a point.

I'm sure Rumer Willis is a lovely girl, but I am also certain I would've never heard of her if not for Bruce and Demi.

For other artists, the charge of Nepotism seems to be used as a metaphorical demerit badge.

Tall poppy syndrome is also rife in the film business.

And so it is with Lena Dunham.

For the uninitiated, Lena Dunham is the current 'overnight' success, as writer, director and star of the hit TV show, 'Girls'.

With its unique portrayal of modern women and relationships, 'Girls' has become somewhat of a cultural phenomenon.

Before the success of 'Girls', Lena came to attention as the writer, director and star of the low budget feature film 'Tiny Furniture'. The film won the Best Narrative Feature Film prize at the prestigious South by Southwest Film Festival, and went on to be theatrically released in the Unites States.

From 'Tiny Furniture', Ms Dunham's talent was recognised and the 'Girls' phenomenon followed shortly after.

And then, the criticism began.

Now, from her achievements thus far, you might think that Ms Dunham has earned her success; albeit rather quickly.

Apparently, not everyone agrees.

The most common of all criticism levelled at Ms Dunham was that of, you guessed it, nepotism.

This despite neither of her parents being Hollywood power players.

Apparently, it is enough to be considered nepotism just because her parents are wealthy and this allowed her the freedom to create her art and find success.

NEPOTISM (def'n): favours granted to family members regardless of merit.

Pardon my language, but I call "bullsh*t".

There is not a single artist on this planet who hasn't received help from somewhere.

Family. Friends. Mentors. The government.

What is crowdfunding but not one great hat to throw coins into?

But does that mean that Lena Dunham's success is not her own?

Utterly ridiculous.

Did she receive support from her family? Of course!

Did she grow up in priviledge? Absolutely!

But, as you can tell from her achievements, Lena crafted her own success in the arts.

Could she be more humble?


But how would you respond when someone is inferring you haven't earned your success?

And this is where you can learn from Ms Dunham's experience.

When your success comes, and the criticism starts to rain down like pigeon excrement, know that this is another form of validation.

If you are not taking risks, if you are not challenging people in ways that make them uncomfortable and lash out, then you are not a successful artist.

You can't tear down a poppy, unless it is standing tall in the first place.

So just enjoy your success.

You've likely earned it.

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