Please don't take this the wrong way. I'm sure you don't like being told what to do. But seeing you walk out of the theater the moment the credits start to roll, well, it really hurts my feelings. I may not have been the director or one of the stars of Changing Lanes, but I worked very hard in my capacity as assistant to Mr. Affleck.
Did you ever stop to think that behind every name on that movie screen is an actual human being? Did you think second-assistant "b" camera Allan Katz was a fictional character? Were you under the impression that key mod technician Fred Newburn is not a flesh-and-blood human with loved ones? I realize that in a major motion picture like Changing Lanes, the credits are pretty long. But is five extra minutes sitting in a comfortable movie theater too much to ask to make someone feel better about their work and their life?
I don't mean to come off like a martyr. I didn't have the hardest job in the world. As big stars go, Ben Affleck is a really easygoing, down-to-earth guy. But even the best of actors can have their moments. I won't get into any particulars, but it got pretty hairy during those final days of shooting. There were moments when I got pretty down on the whole Hollywood thing. But when I saw my name up on the big screen for the first time, a feeling of pride surged through me. I thought, "I guess it really is worth it. I mean, there's my name, up there on the screen. For a brief moment, millions of moviegoers across the country will see my name and think about my contributions to this film."
How wrong I was.
When I looked around the theater I was in, I noticed that no one stayed through the credits long enough to see my name, except for one guy sleeping in the back. Even my mom almost didn't see my name because of people walking in front of her. I thought, no one knows or cares about who I am. When you put yourself out there so much and no one stops to take notice, it really hurts.
Is it the end of the world if you don't know that it was Dan Palansky who assisted Mr. Michell in the super-8 segment? I'm not going to lie and say it is. But I will tell you that Dan did a wonderful job, and that his friends were so excited and proud that he was able to work on a big film after years of toiling on little films for bagels and coffee and no health insurance. I was excited for him, too.
As long as I'm getting things off my chest, let me tell you something else. We're all pretty sick of the joke, "Man, that best boy sure was awesome in this movie!" You probably don't even know what a best boy is. Not that you care, but a best boy is the assistant to the gaffer (the electrician in charge of lighting). The rigging best boy for Changing Lanes was Gene Hoeschen. And you know what? He did do a great job, and he really would have appreciated it if you'd paid him some respect instead of spoiling his big moment by cracking wise.
Maybe you could rent the Changing Lanes DVD and watch it at home. That way, you could freeze-frame on the credits and take the extra few minutes to read the names. It's not like you're in a rush to get out of there. You're already home.
And if you have a few more minutes to spare, go to the Internet Movie Database (imdb.com) to see what else the people in the Changing Lanes crew have worked on. That way, maybe you can learn a little bit about how films work, in addition to paying a small tribute to those behind the scenes.
Tell you what. Just read a movie's credits once, as a favor to me, and see if it doesn't deepen your appreciation of all the work that goes into making a film. I bet it will. Then, next time you see a movie, you can amaze your friends by explaining the various important jobs they miss out on learning about by skipping out on the credits. Go on. I dare you.