Ethics in the entertainment business


HOLLYWOOD — Making it in Hollywood, even off the red carpet, is tough.

For BYU grads working in Hollywood, knowing their values and deciding what they will and won’t work on is something that happens before the first job.

“What BYU does so well is that they actually help provide that basis, that moral foundation,” said Lance Stubblefield, assistant video editor on NBC’s “Grimm.” “There is an environment there that fosters that kind of spirituality that you need.”

Stubblefield was offered his first position as a full-fledged editor. There was just one problem — the show’s content was well below his standards.

“I immediately get on and start watching the pilot, and my heart is sinking as I watch it,” Stubblefield said. “It was the hardest decision that I have ever had to make professionally, because here was my good friend calling me wanting to give me this opportunity, and I had to turn it down.”

People generally respect a person’s values, and Hollywood is no exception, especially for those who have established a standard of what kind of projects they will work on.

“I’ve found that the industry is full of really good people,” said Ben Shultz, executive producer of the hip children’s show “Yo Gabba Gabba.” “I went to work with friends or relatives that, if they weren’t members, they knew my values.”

Bryce Randle, an editor on Disney’s “Tron: Uprising,” takes a unique approach to addressing his religion in the workplace. Rather than making it about religion he treats his standards as a matter of professional preference.

“I treat (being a Mormon) more like a genre thing than a religious thing,” Randle said.

Randle has found that the hustle and bustle of the movie business sometime lends itself to odd hours, making it difficult for some to keep up with responsibilities outside of work.

“If I’m doing my calling and getting to church on Sunday, I’ve always had work.”

Two years later, Stubblefield said that he still wonders what would have happened if he had chosen to take the job.

“I look back at it sometimes with regret because I am still waiting to get bumped up to editor, and that was two-and-a-half years ago,” he said, adding that though he’s still waiting for his big break he knows he made the right decision ethically.

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