The funding

When the money trickles down to the people at the bottom of the food chain, they get peanuts and jackshit. 

“How did it go?” I asked my soon-to-be writing partner after our new feature project meeting. She also teaches screenwriting at this well-off art school. Over the past week, she has been trying to get funding for her students’ short film projects.

“They gave me a flat-out no.”
“Based on what?”
“a) it’s the end of the year. There is zilch budget left; b) even if they do put in some fund, it has to go through competition so everyone gets a fair shot; c) they might reward the students once their short films won some serious awards.”

And one more thing, in the history of the school, students always fund their own projects. Why do they suddenly need the money now?

I was angry but least surprised. Here is a college that spends money on swans, willows, and moving two ancient buildings from another province to the campus. Now they admit they don’t have any budget?

I believe them. Now, you need to understand how things work here. If there is 100 dollars. The top dog snags 80 dollars as his income, and hands over 20 to his subordinates. The underlings copy their boss. So when the money trickles down to the people at the bottom of the food chain, they get peanuts and jackshit.

Just how driven are these students to get their movies made? I don’t know. Because it now comes down to on how much money their parents would invest/waste and how resourceful the students are.

No wonder when artists here finally get recognized, they thank their family, their loving and understanding parents, their mentors. But they may never mention the schools they graduated from, the system in which they were raised.

Why would we blow your horn when you are here just for yourself?

And to continue the Thanksgiving spirit:

I vow that I would not forget the wonderful people who have helped me along the way.

I vow that I would do so for the younger generations who are talented and dedicated but need the support because the system won’t.

 

Yours truly,
YZ

 

Author: Rock Bottom with YZ

YZ is a Shanghai-born LA-trained bilingual storyteller in various spheres.