For those who have never caught an episode of Discovery Channel’s flagship show Deadliest Catch, it’s a reality series set deep within the world of Alaskan crab fishing.
For every 100,000 people that set out to do the job, about 300 never return mostly due to drowning or hypothermia. That’s a high-risk job, but not only is the danger very real, the physicality of the job is intense. The fishermen are often sloughed through 17 hour days of hauling bait, heavy “pots,” and operating complex machinery.
To live life as a crab fisherman is to live life on the edge and that’s not for everyone, which is evidenced by the shows high turnover of rookie fishermen referred to as “greenhorns.” The burnout rate among these greenhorns is inexplicably high. Many of them watch the show and believe they have the gusto to make it, but never do.
And here’s the real kicker: none of the seasoned crew really expect them to make it either.
Yet for as long as I’ve been watching the show, I will always remember one greenhorn in particular, Jason “Moi” Moilanen of the F/V Wizard.
Every new episode seemed like it highlighted, in some way, Moi complaining about the job — he was tired, he was out of shape, his muscles hurt, they yelled at him too much, etc.
And in those same new episodes, the other crew would complain about Moi complaining. They didn’t like his attitude, found him lazy, and essentially didn’t like that he thought he deserved to be pampered.
Their outlook was everyone is in the same boat — literally.
Are You a Moi?
Looking back on it, the situation with Moi reminds me a lot of similar encounters I’ve had on film sets (minus the fatality rate). My article about ways to get fired on set was probably inspired by Moi in some way.
I can definitely remember a few crew I’ve worked with that I could peg as a “Moi” — a complainer who couldn’t hack it and who brought down the morale of the whole crew.
There are a lot of things you don’t want to be on set: slow, stupid, annoying. But you have to avoid becoming a Moi at all costs.
So, how do you know? Well, with a little self-reflection you can find out. Just read these three Moi-like tendencies and see if you share any similarities.
1. You’re constantly arguing with other crew
Everyday it seems like nobody is on your side. They’re out to get you and want you to fail miserably. You’re not gonna let them push you around like that so you push back.
The mistake here is to believe that they want you to fail in some way or make your life hard. The truth is everyone wants to make a good movie – some more than others — but you’re all in it for the same reason.
On Deadliest Catch, every crew member wanted to catch crab. It didn’t matter who they were or why they were there, their only goal was to fill the pots with live crab.
In reality, arguments happen all the time on a film set. Throw a variety of personalities into the long hours of that work environment and you’d be lucky not to have a few scuffles.
But if everyone is always arguing with only you, then something is wrong — most likely on your end.
2. You hate the job you’re doing
You hate the long hours. You hate the unpredictable nature of the industry. You hate the idea that you’re filming someone else’s vision. You just plain hate your job.
If that’s the case, you’re not starting out on the right foot. And if you can’t put your best foot forward on day 1, you’re going to have an awful attitude by day 30.
Moi complained on the show over and over. It was obvious he hated the job. It’s not like the other guys on the boat loved the job — at least not everyday — but they respected it, they understood it.
You aren’t expected to love every shot, every gig, and every moment you’re on set, but you should have an appreciation for the job that makes you want to keep doing it.
3. You’re in it only for the money
“Another day, another dollar,” you think as you trudge towards crafty for some 6 AM breakfast. It’s a feeling we’ve all had from time to time. And there’s no doubt that some jobs you’ll take because you need the money.
But doing it for money on a case by case basis is way different than doing it for the money all the damn time. If the film industry is your idea of a “get rich quick” scheme, you’ve been sorely mislead.
Everybody on Deadliest Catch, including Moi, steps on those boats because of the money and the payouts (they refer to some of the crab as Alaskan Gold), but the difference between those veteran crew and Moi was the crew had other reasons. It could be they didn’t have skills to do anything else. Maybe they liked the sea. Or some were bred to be fisherman from birth.
To be able to step on set or step on deck, you need some passion for the craft otherwise you’ll never survive.
Don’t Be a Moi — Continue to Persevere
So what happened to our friend Moi?
Eventually he got on the wrong side of the captain and was kicked off the boat. Just as soon as his opportunity presented itself, it was taken away no more than a few weeks later.
What Moi failed to understand was that, like anything in life worth doing, it takes an incredible amount of persistence. Establishing a career in the film industry is no different: it requires a similar level of perseverance while combating severely low expectations.
Sure, Moi walked away with a fishing season’s worth of money, but he was never invited back on the same boat nor was he ever on the TV show again.
Don’t be a Moi — rise above the expectations, stay quietly cool, and keep working hard.