Sunday, March 4, 2012

Introverts in Hollywood

America is a country the celebrates extroverts, and no American industry is more extroverted than the entertainment industry.  Pitches, deals, and production are driven by charisma, slick salesmanship, and monstrous egos.  In Hollywood, you are supposed to talk loud and fast with the kind of fiery-eyed passion you see modeled by Tony Robbins.  In Hollywood you celebrate the man of action.

This bias towards the extroverted can be daunting for those of us (often writers and editors, but also directors, actors and production designers) who are introverts.  We've been taught by our schools, our society, and our business, that our natural instincts towards inner life and solitary contemplation are flaws to be overcome.

This is unfortunate.  Some of our most creative individuals (think of filmmakers like Woody Allen, David Cronenberg, Todd Solond, Charlie Kaufman or Walter Murch) tend to be introverted.

Check out this TED talk by Susan Bain on "The Power of Introverts."


Lorraine said...

Hurray for the return of rationality and the power that comes from being your authentic self! Thanks for sharing this important information with the rest of us Sean!

Dennis Robert said...

wow....just think if there could be another aspect of life not just two. The people who write about binary oppositions as if they were true need to consider life on a stick. There .....geez black and white people make a big difference to bad it can't be more two.

Sean Hood said...

Dennis: I don't think of introvert/extrovert as a binary opposition. Many people display different tendencies in different contexts. Some people who consider themselves both have been called "ambiverts."

And most of us see ourselves, not as one or the other, not as black or white, but as somewhere in the middle, as vivid shade of gray.

Brian said...

Sean, this is a great post. I agree that it's in those moments of solitude where epiphanies and new ideas can come to fruition. However the daily pressure of being the loudest and more dynamic can be draining. Our culture's decibel level is seemingly rising (or I'm just getting older LOL). I'm often asked if I'm all right or sad when I'm quiet. My answer is usually "I'm just thinking," but it's regarded like it's a crime or something I should be ashamed of. Anyway, thanks again for being an oasis from all the nonsense online. *cough* Yahoo! News *cough, cough*

Sellino Films said...

I'm definitely introvert. Having to lie and pretend I'm extroverted to get films funded and made is quietly killing me. This is an extrovert's world, which is part of why it's so loud, crazed, and emotionally shallow. The world needs introverts, and Hollywood needs introverts.

Can you imagine had Stanley Kubrick been an extrovert? What his films would have as a result looked like?

I shudder to think of that. In fact, I need some more coffee.