A few years ago, I had the opportunity to spend a couple of hours with director Kat Candler. I’ll blog more about this later in the year, but Alana Massey‘s recent LitHub article (linked below) reminded me of my biggest takeaway from meeting Kat Candler.
Kat has a giant work-ethic, with a talentbag sized to match. She requires a lot from the people she chooses to work with her. Kat’s Number One requirement? Niceness.
Working on a film requires one to spend months filled with sixteen hour days in mental and physical close-proximity to others. The last thing you want to do is spend thousands of hours on set with a dick. When Kat is contemplating hiring an actor with whom she’s never before worked, she calls around to people who have previously worked with the potential collaborator. She doesn’t need to know if the person is talented (she can see that from the person’s work), she needs to know if the person is nice. Kat talked about doing just that when considering Breaking Bad‘s Aaron Paul for the role of Hollis Wilson in 2014’s Hellion. I know he’s good, but is he nice? (He was.)
As I mentioned at the top, all of this was top-of-mind for me earlier today, when I read Massey’s “Unbearable Niceness Of Being”, which was itself a response to Emily Gould’s BuzzFeed essay/complaint “Most Women In Publishing Don’t Have The Luxury Of Being Unlikable.”
Our reputations precede us. Candler and Paul are genuinely authentic nice people. However, not everyone in our industry is. (Not naming any names, ahem, TLJ.) Massey and Gould are addressing the publishing world, but we have work to do in our world too.