In 1976, Francis Ford Coppola had nothing to demonstrate. The scriptwriter and North American director had achieved the favor of the Academy and the public with The Padrino and his sequel, after having convinced the independent side of the industry, thank you, among other tapes, to easy rider. in order to start the filming of Apocalypse now, _ coppola started with the advantage of being considered an author at a time – the new Hollywood – in which this type of figures had more power than ever. Precisely because of this, because it is an _creador capable of -art, the director felt that he had the right to press the team members until they cause them diseases derived from stress, to put aside their safety at a good take or, even, to Use threats of suicide as a manner of manipulation. Abuses committed in filming, which lengthened until 17 weeks, doubling the initial budget, is already part of the black legend that accompanies the film along with typhoons, political tensions and diseases that received the team in the Philippines. And, in a certain way, these harmful and toxic working conditions came to romantize-they continue romantizing – based on the final quality of the film. Following up with the product without looking at the enormous human cost.
In the origins of the American film industry, films were considered a collective work that was born from the joint work of directors, screenwriters, camera and sound technicians, actors, makeup managers, costume designers and the rest of professionals needed to maintain fluency in the set. Above all of them was the study, the body responsible not only to produce films from the economic point of view, but to guarantee the distribution and correct promotion of each of the tapes with the aim of taking benefits. Of course, this vertical relationship generated, and generates, a large number of labor abuses that were mixed, and continue to be mixed, with the structural inequality that permeates from society. In the classic Hollywood the professionals were forced to work long working days for irrisory salaries (how many extras and technicians of decorated were not but homeless people who huddled the entrances of the studies and who worked in exchange for food), to go through High security measures in order to complain costs or sign unfavorable contracts under pressure. The actresses were, in addition, forced to alter their appearance with hazardous methods or to commit not to become pregnant under the threat of dismissal as they systematically charged less than their male companions. The solution, at least one of them, went through the unions. As Michael Nielsen writes in Labor Power and Organization in the Early U.S. Motion Picture Industry «The training of the first theatrical unions in early 1890 was a revolution for artists and workers in the world of entertainment, which now stopped being interchangeable.” Applied to the cinema, these unions broke the hegemony of the studies and guaranteed better conditions for professionals. The relationship was not made horizontal but it developed a bit. At least, until the beginning of the new Hollywood.
The new Hollywood, such as indie explosion in videogames, is born from the perception that the study system, enclosed in deciduous formulas and economic performance, had generated an artistic vacuum that was not given in European productions. In this environment, and with the influence of the Nouvelle vague and Italian neorealism, directors like Mike Nichols, Brian de Palma or Martin Scorsese began to develop his work putting his vision at the center; Putting themselves as maximum responsible for what was still a collective creation. “In most of the films of the new Hollywood, the Director plays a central role in its elaboration. He is still responsible for the story and artistic point of view of the film, and has the final cut, that is, that the mounting of the tape decides to the end, “we read an article on the history of cinema published by The American Academy. The increase in the prestige of the director’s figure generated even more inequality in the productions, which remained deeply affected by the decisions of the studies, giving rise to an industry in which abuses could be labor, structural or “personal” according to Where they came. This same situation is the one we see nowadays today in the videogame industry, in which the great studies, from Activision to Ubisoft, passing through Naughty Dog or CD Projekt Red, anticipate the rights of their workers, for example, to Through the direct or indirect imposition of indiscriminate extra hours, while allowing an internal culture that introduces and maintains the sexist and racist behaviors that we find in society. The distinction of the author’s authority within the industry, far from solving any kind of problem, has generated a new model of abuse that, as the previous ones, feeds on passionate professionals and with a deep identification with their creative work.
Accusations of abuse, discrimination and harassment within Activision Blizzard made public through a series of demands that were filled last August surprised a lot on their scale and quite little by their content. If the fact that Bobby Kotick was highlighted more (supposedly) knowledgeable of the accusations ahead of inappropriate touches, public humiliations or aggressive opposition to different movements in favor of workers’ rights is because none of this sounds A new after knowing the discriminatory and abusive conditions in several of the Ubisoft studies, the culture of the crunch __ imposed by CD Projekt Network in the development of Cyberpunk 2077 or even by pulling here for home, the situation of MercurySteam workers. When commenting this type of situations is always encouraged that existe another way of doing things and that these problems, except for exceptional cases, are always locked at the borders of high profile developments. However, a recent research by Chris Bratt and the Canal People Make Games has taken out another type of abuse that, instead of being related to labor rights and discrimination, is born directly from the figure of the author.
“Ken Wong is a very cruel person in a position of power to which he likes to make people feel bad to feel better,” comments on the report one of Mountains workers, the Australian study responsible for Florence’s development. Other developers point out that Wong is a difficult person, whose way of expressing itself directly attacks the self-esteem of others. Far from presenting these problems as something cultural or structural within the study, the interviewees identify the abuse with the Founder, arriving to highlight the need to implement a rule so that any worker could reject a direct interview with Wong if they felt that “was happening ». The other two studies present in the report, Fullbright and Funomena, accuse the same type of situations with Steve Gaynor and Robin Hunicke respectively. Gaynor, who was forced to resign last year, has been charged by several workers, especially women, to apply a constant and heavy microgener to the work of the study and make derogatory and painful comments on the contributions of others. It is quite significant that one of the criticisms against Gaynor passes through the fact that the creative used to use the official studio profile on Twitter as a personal account, giving the feeling that Fullbright and he are an indifferable and indiffective entity. However, the surprise has come for many with the accusations against Robin Hunicke for both being a woman (and, therefore, less favored by authoring connotations) and by contrast with her public image.
Throughout the years, Hunickle has presented himself as a developer, a woman in a position of power and visibility, which openly bet on inclusion and diversity in the development and more human and empathic means of working. However, at the already serious accusations poured by their study peers – which include emotional manipulation and the use of personal secrets with the aim of humiliating other workers – those of their colleagues have been added at the UCSC (University of California In Santa Cruz) where he has been studying years: “It’s an emotional manipulator, it extends rumors, he tries to silence those who speak against him, he defined me as a” Creep “and a” Bully “and a” misogyne “. She has neglected her lessons and her students while she uses the stress and pain of others as an excuse, read in the thread of another teacher.
In the articles in which the accusations against Hunicke, Gaynor and Wong have also been criticized, the performance of Annapurna Interactive, publisher that has worked closely with the three creators and that supposedly was aware of most abusive situations within the studies. “When we have Annapurna the problems with Wong and our intention to ask for the departure of it they asked us to reconsider (…) they said that without big names do not come out big games,” comments one of the interviewees in the video of People Make Games. And although, undoubtedly, and on the margin of any doubt, the editor should have intervened to guarantee as much as possible the welfare of its business partners – that leaving aside that it is almost the only agent involved with real power over the defendants, Your position, the belief that great names are needed to develop a successful indie, part of a common idea is feedback with the press and the public. Having a project led by a recognized developer increases the visibility of a title, positioning it directly above thousands of competitors. In addition, this project leader can function as a claim within the study to attract better profiles in an ecosystem in which it is difficult to hire. Finally, and for the player, a known name can act as an argument for the purchase in a saturated market. An example of all this we have it at The Good Life, the last Swery game that, even with its disastrous demo and the failure in its microfinance campaign, managed to become a hole in the great websites and in the offer of Game Pass thanks to the Name of Japanese creator. Although now it may sound difficult, stop applying the author’s theory within the studies and when speaking of the development of collective games could result in more horizontal relationships and in a more creative process where all ideas have the same opportunities to be taken consider.
«For a long time, my biggest problem with the authors’ fetishization has been eliminated the collaborative contributions of many people and invisibilizes those whose contributions make the best movies than any individual could do alone,” writes Doug Dillaman at the Essay Kill theuteur. «Now I find another problem, one much more corrosive, I think it is killing the industry,” he clarifies. In the text the journalist reviews all those projects that, dragged by the ego, had to be arranged after the studies, the assembly managers or, even, secondary directors. But he also points out that the author’s theory only applies to those who enter a concrete mold, creative people but also with a certain charism, education and a certain presentation that confirm our biases of what a creative genius is. Thus, pointing to creators discriminates in the workspace in a double way: denying the power of contributing profiles and invisibilizing creatives that do not fit a certain image.