Sometimes, It Takes An Exhibition
Don’t Be A Sucker Fish!
by Belinda Judson
Executive Director, Mid-States NATO
My good friend and colleague, Carl
Goldman of Theatre Owners of New England, some time ago
sent me a piece called “The
Value of Organization” which was written in response
to an exhibitor who had called seeking information that
was readily available to theatre owners who were members
of their exhibitor association. This paper included a story
that was published in a bulletin of the Motion Picture
Association of Queensland entitled “A Fish Story
with a Moral.” This story was about a small sucker
fish that has a suction pad on the top of its skull and
uses it to attach itself to the underbelly of a larger
fish. There he lives a carefree existence being protected
by the larger fish and feeding off scraps from his benefactor.
The paper went on to explain the benefits derived from
having strong organizations in place to “better the
lot of all exhibitors” and cautioned us that this
could only be accomplished by not being a “sucker
This article made quite an impression
on me and I’ve
often wondered about what would happen to NATO and the
regional units if we were indeed all like the little
sucker fish and did nothing to contribute to the cause,
it up to others to bear the burden.
What if everyone stopped paying dues,
thinking someone else will support the organization?
What if no one volunteered
his or her time to serve on our boards or chair and
serve on our committees? What if no one heeded the call
asked to write letters to legislators, testify at legislative
committees or participate in campaigns to combat onerous
legislation? What if no one helped strengthen the association
by asking others to join it? What if everyone did as
little as they possibly could, thinking it is up to
to take up these responsibilities on behalf of exhibition
as a whole?
Fortunately we are blessed with members
who do work very hard for the betterment of NATO and
Many serve tirelessly on boards and committees to
that the best interests of all of exhibition are
protected. Many of you are right there on the front lines
we are fighting onerous legislation, both on the
federal and local levels. Many extol the benefits of
associations and encourage others to come along.
You also understand the need for strong organizations
financial support comes back to you in the many ways
that the associations serve your needs. For this
When I find myself in situations where it seems easier
to let someone else do it, I think back to that story
and tell myself, “Don’t be a sucker fish!” Hopefully
this little fish tale will also help you understand the
importance and value of the efforts that you put forth
for our organizations as well.