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Just as Most Writers Are Writers, most film producers are producers, most actors are actors, and so on, so the entertainment industry is a popular setting for works of fiction.

In plots set in the entertainment industry, action takes place on the back side of three-wall sets and in the trendy bars and eateries of Hollywood California, the Big Applesauce, or other artistic havens. This provides a good setting for explaining, lampooning, or critiquing the industry.

Prima Donna Directors, White Dwarf Starlets trying to make a comeback, difficult Former Child Stars trying to get their life together, struggling screenwriters/directors Doing It for the Art, innocent farmgirls trying to become stars, pompous and dramatic stage actors, unscrupulous money-grubbing executives, and imperious or selfish established actresses all populate these settings. It's quite a place.

Usually, these stories are behind the scenes of a Show Within a Show. Occasionally, screwy Metafictional works may Break the Fourth Wall by showing the production of the work itself.

Troubled Production and The Show Must Go Wrong are common sources of drama in these settings. Note that this only covers professional productions. For works about amateur performances, see School Play or Amateur Filmmaking Plot.

This is a supertrope to The Musical Musical and Making the Masterpiece. See also Work Com.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Animation Runner Kuromi focuses on a small animation studio, and the titular heroine's attempts to get the animators to finish their work on time for production.
  • Bakuman。: a manga in Shonen Jump about making a manga for Shonen Jump in hopes to get an anime, that got an anime.
  • Behind The Scenes by Bisco Hatori is a seven volume manga about the Art Squad, a group of university students who provide all kinds of behind the scenes work - sets, costumes, special effects makeup, even logistics or pinch-hitting for crew and cast - for a group of on-campus film clubs. Notably, Hatori-sensei got the idea for the manga while on the set for the live tv adaptation of her breakout manga, Ouran High School Host Club, and being impressed by some custom props and the person who made it.
  • Black Butler: The third episode of the Season 2 OVA takes a left turn and shows what goes into an episode of the series like it's a Live-Action series with the characters being actors.
  • Gimmick! is about a genius special effects artist and his stuntman partner, who together run a company called Studio Gimmick! Occasionally, they fight crime using their skills. Features a fictionalized version of the special effects artist who served as a consultant as a recurring character (with his permission).
  • Glass Mask: long running manga and two different anime productions about two rivals in an acting troupe.
  • Keep Your Hands Off Eizouken!: a love letter to the creation of animation, both the artistic endeavour and the very real compromiuses necessary for a commercial product. We follow a trio of animator, animator / director, and producer.
  • Life Lessons with Uramichi-Oniisan: A Work Com starring the cast of Together With Maman, a direct Fictional Counterpart of Okaasan to Issho.
  • Shirobako: We watch everything behind the scenes of anime production.
  • Skip Beat! follows the life of naive everygirl Kyoko Mogami as she decides to become a superstar to get revenge on the boy who broke her heart. She doesn't start out with the goal of becoming an actor, but she ends up stumbling into the job anyways. Much of the story takes place on the set/ between takes of whatever project she's working on... or at the location shoot of the film her love interest is working on... or the set of the tv series her best friend is in... or the set of the promotional video her mortal enemy is shooting.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Hail, Caesar! is about a 1950's Hollywood fixer who has to juggle the eclectic personalities and antics of numerous actors and directors on the sets of various films.
  • Kiss Me, Kate is a movie (and stage play) about the production of a musical version of Shakespeare's The Taming of the Shrew.
  • I Know That Voice is a documentary that explains the work Voice Actors go through, with much of the film being interviews with well-known voice actors.
  • Singin' in the Rain is a Rom Com musical that portrays a time when The Jazz Singer was released and a film studio's response, changing from silent films to "talking pictures". Shows the the tools of the trade, sets viewed from off-stage, etc. Moses Supposes for example, is a dance number about actors undergoing speech training from a dialect coach.
  • Mulholland Dr. takes place in Hollywood, and the heroine is a young woman who moved to LA to be an actress. A subplot involves a director struggling to get his movie funded, and later on some scenes take place on the set of his movie, a 1950's romantic Period Piece.
  • La La Land in part follows Mia, an actress trying to make it in Hollywood.
  • Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) is about a washed-out action star trying to make an artistic Broadway play, and almost entirely takes place backstage of the theater.
  • The original The Producers, which wasn't a musical, is about two Broadway producers deliberately trying to make a flop. The film was then adapted into a musical, an example of The Musical Musical.
  • Late Night (2019) takes place mostly in the writers' room of a fictional late night Talk Show.
  • The Spanish movie La niña de tus ojos (The Girl of your Dreams) revolves around a group of Spanish movie actors in the late 1930s'. As the fascist are winning the Spanish Civil War, they are then invited to Nazi Germany to film a localized version of their movie, and they have to deal with the fact that some of their cast and crew are Jewish, and the star of the movie is being pursued by Joeseph Goebles.
    • It's sequel, La reina de españa (The Queen of Spain) takes place just over twenty years after the first film, and show the actors coming together to rescue their old director, who was locked up in a concentration camp at the end of the first film, from a labor camp. The star of the film tells Franco what she really thinks of him at the end of the film.
  • Hasta la lluvia (Even the Rain) centers around a Spanish film crew that travels to Bolivia to film a movie about Christopher Columbus. Had they decided to make it in English, the crew would be given as much money as they needed by an American film studio and filmed on location in the Caribbean, but since they wanted to film it in Spanish, they had to find somewhere cheap. Unfortunately, they arrived during the Cochabumba water war, and production had to shut down due to the massive protests.
  • Dolemite Is My Name is largely about the making of the Dolemite movies. The first half is about Rudy Ray Moore's career trying to make it in show biz (as a musician, then comedian), and the second half focuses specifically on the process of making the movie itself.
  • Parts of Miś, because the protagonist needs an Identical Stranger for The Con and happens to know a casting director.

  • The Discworld novel Moving Pictures is about the rise of the Disc's film industry.
  • Girlish Number is a very cynical look at anime production as a money grab.

    Live-Action TV 
  • The Chair (2014) was a Reality Show take on this, giving two filmmakers of differing creative backgrounds — Shane Dawson and Anna Martemucci (now known professionally as A.M. Lukas) — a pre-existing script, a budget of $600,000 each, and near-total creative control to make a movie, with the show documenting the process. The results were Dawson's Not Cool and Martemucci's Hollidaysburg; while the former ended up winning the popular vote (a Foregone Conclusion given Dawson's popularity at the time), the latter was better-received and ultimately ended up Vindicated by History.
  • Classic Albums: This documentary series about the creation of classic music albums shows the viewer a glimpse how the sessions, production and personal history of the songs and the album itself came about.
  • Dani's House is mainly a Dom Com but when Dani gets a job working on a fictional soap opera, there are several episodes that take place on its set.
  • Drop the Dead Donkey is set in the offices of "GlobeLink News", a fictional TV news company. This includes the TV studio, with many episodes featuring the hijinks of the anchors Henry and Sally as they prepare to go to air.
  • The Numbers is about the hassles of producing a live variety show each week, inspired by the actual weekly live variety show the creator did.
  • The HBO series Entourage concerns an overnight Hollywood sensation and the inexperienced friends he chooses as his manager, advisors, etc., who end up making his professional agent's job much harder than it has to be, especially in the earlier seasons.
  • Made in Canada is set in the meeting rooms of Pyramid Productions, a Canadian film and television production company, and on the sets of the various films and television series they produce. It uses this premise to satirise the corner-cutting, compromising, and executive cynicism that goes on at television production companies.
  • Aaron Sorkin seems to be a fan of this trope.
    • Sports Night follows the production of a sports news show and the quirks of its cast and crew.
    • Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip is about the production of a late night variety show in the vein of Saturday Night Live and how hard it is to write comedy.
    • The Newsroom follows a cable news show and uses the setting to commentate on news, politics, and the purpose of television news in contrast to entertainment media.
  • The Morning Show is set behind the scenes of, well, a network morning news program, and shows the company culture and personal dramas that affect how the news is told. Its tagline is "The news is only half the story."
  • The Muppet Show was as much about the backstage antics as the on-stage performances.
  • NewsRadio is a comedy set at (fictional) news radio station WNYX set in the 1990s, in New York City, initially focusing on it's director and later other characters as an ensemble.
  • Remember WENN is set at the ficitional Pittsburgh radio station WENN in the 1930s-1940s.
  • Sonny with a Chance is a Disney Channel show, although instead of trendy bars and eateries a lot of the action takes place in the studio commissary, complete with Mystery Meat and a school lunch lady clone.
  • UnREAL (2015) is about the production of a The Bachelor-type show called Everlasting.
  • The Dick Van Dyke Show was partly this (Rob worked for a variety show) and partly a domestic sitcom.
  • Toast of London follows the everyday life of London actor Steven Toast, so many of the show's vignette's involve Toast's various acting jobs, including a universally-reviled play we see him preparing for and various voice acting parts.
  • One episode of Ellery Queen has Ellery and his father on the set of a Hollywood adaptation of one of his novels, when the star is murdered during a filmed murder attempt, and later the star's stunt double. Most of the episode takes place behind the scenes of the movie, and a major clue is that not everyone receives the same script updates.
  • Mimpi Metropolitan is mainly a Roommate Com that features various attempts by Bambang, Alan and Prima to earn money. Since Prima primarily works as an extra (and later extras coordinator) and most of the other main characters work in television too, at least a third of the show is set on production of TV show(s).
  • Chespirito, while not making a proper series set in movies or shows, has made some episodes for his series with such settings:
    • A skit from El Doctor Chapatín involves him interrupting the filming of a movie multiple times in order to light his cigarette.
    • The El Chapulín Colorado episode "Un Chapulín en Acapulco" involves a film crew trying to make a film about El Chapulín Colorado, but the actor playing the eponymous character quit. The director ends up summoning the titular character and asks him to take part in the film As Himself.
    • WKRP in Cincinnati is set in the office of a fictional radio station and involves such behind the scenes topics as off-site promotions, interoffice rivalries, the selling of advertisement spots, etc.

  • Curtains shows the out-of-town tryout of the new musical Robbin' Hood, a Western version of Robin Hood, getting investigated when the star, a movie actress everyone despised, gets murdered on opening night. The detective, Lt. Frank Cioffi, is an amateur actor and theater lover who gets caught up in the creative process, helping the writing team revamp the Eleven O'Clock Number and stepping in as Robbin' Hood when the star gets injured.
  • Kiss Me, Kate is a stage play (and a movie) about the production of a musical version of Shakespeare's The Taming of the Shrew.
  • Noises Off shows three different points in the sex farce Nothing On - the final rehearsal before opening night, backstage partway through the run, and when the wheels come completely off toward the end of the run.

    Visual Novels 
  • Naturally the case in Melody, given that the title character is a musician who goes professional, and that the protagonist is her eventual manager.

    Western Animation 
  • Bojack Horseman, with its actor protagonist, has several arcs about the making of media. Most of Season 2 is about production of the Secretariat movie, and a number of flashbacks take place on the set of Horsin' Around, the sitcom that made Bojack famous.
  • A few closing host segments of the Quick Draw McGraw show took place on a studio set with cameras a klieg lights about as Quick Draw would see what his co-stars were doing.
  • Rocko's Modern Life: The two-parter episode "Wacky Delly" has the main trio making a cartoon, showing them going through the process of designing the characters, boarding the episode and animating it.
  • The Simpsons: The episodes The 138th Episode Spectacular and Behind the Laughter play with this trope. It depicts The Simpsons as a show and does this in a Mockumentary style.