Gibbon Spotting

If you love a good generalisation you can divide the people that work in the Film and Television Industry (1) into 4 main types: talent, deal-makers, gibbons and and hamsters.

Talent is just what it sounds like, these are writers, cinematographers, editors, actors, scene designers all those that make creative input(2) into the project. The level of talent is, of course, variable but what they contribute is self-evident.

Deal-Makers are people whose principle skill is making deals and this is vital to any production of anything. The best deal-makers are masters of organisation and while often not talented themselves are capable of recognising it in others. To put it in script writing terms when a deal-maker reads a script he/she can tell you whether its any good and how it might get made. What they contribute is the project itself.

Gibbons(3) are usually executives who are neither talented or able to spot talent. They might actually be quite good at making deals but since they can’t tell the difference between shit and sugar their product will only be any good by accident. Furthermore their principle concern is with their own status and thus they are perfectly happy to stay in the development spin cycle forever. Just so long as they can eat lunches, do meetings and work through their dominance issues.

Hamsters are essentially passive agressive gibbons who usually rise up through the ranks of a media company tucked away in a handy bodily cavity of a gibbon or a deal-maker with low self esteem.

In the next post we shall discuss the all important gibbon ratio.

(1) I suspect you can do this in most industries but I don’t have experience of them.
(2) And I don’t include giving your opinion at a meeting here.
(3) With apologies to the Hylobatidae family here.

About Paul Graham Raven

Science fiction, foresight, (post)humanities, infrastructure futures research. Guitarist, scruffy mountebank. Opinions mine, not my employer's. Velcro City · http://www.velcro-city.co.uk
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