It’s awards season again in the film industry. The Golden Globes were presented this week – with 12 Years a Slave winning the ‘Best Motion Picture – Drama’ accolade. The Baftas will follow next month, and the prestigious Oscars, nominations for which were released yesterday, at the beginning of March.
Amidst the glitz and glamour, the parading of egos and the analysis of the designer dresses gracing those red carpets, many of the acceptance speeches will doubtless take a moment to thank all those behind-the-scenes people ‘without whom none of this would have been possible’.
Maybe somewhere within the industry there are awards ceremonies for ‘Best Dolly Grip’ and ‘Outstanding Contribution by a Stand-by Painter’, but they certainly never hit the headlines. While you might meet plenty of people who aspire to be actors, writers or directors, I’m not sure I’ve ever come across anyone whose stated goal in life is to be a ‘second assistant camera: “b” camera’ operator.
We know no great – or even small – achievement can happen without a team, but how often do you hear people express a desire to be one of the little guys? People aspire to be leaders, not followers, and – even within Christian circles, where we should know better – we train people in leadership much more readily than in followership, and esteem it much more highly.
In a recent article, Andy Tilsley wrote that, when asked once what is the hardest instrument to play, Leonard Bernstein replied:
The second fiddle. I can get plenty of first violinists, but to find someone who can play the second fiddle with enthusiasm – that’s a problem; and if we have no second fiddle, we have no harmony.
Hollywood nods to this in its awards for ‘Best Supporting Actor’ and ‘Best Supporting Actress’, acknowledging that even if the leads are doing their very best work, the film will flop if the rest of the cast give lacklustre performances.
How are we esteeming those playing the supporting roles in our lives? If you’re a leader of any kind, have you thanked those quiet servants who put their all into facilitating your vision recently? And if you’re more the ‘third grip, second unit’-type, well done, good and faithful servant. Aspire to serve well this year. It may go unnoticed here and now, but will not be in vain, and will not go unrewarded in eternity.