Friday, June 28, 2013

Why is everybody always pickin' on me?

People are astonished when they find out I left the world of professional modeling and film acting behind voluntarily.

The response is always the same - 1. What would I have seen you in? and 2. WHY!?!?!

I suppose it's because we're brought up to see these jobs as glamorous. After all, it's what the beautiful people do. And it makes them rich.

To this I would reply "Yes, and yes. But does it make them happy?"

"I know I'd be happy if I had that kind of money, that spouse, that ass," is what I usually get in return.

But I'm telling you people, no you wouldn't. Because it's not what you see on red carpets and in the theatres.

And that, dear masses, is why I left.

I left because no amount of being on set with famous people (many of whom are vapid. Or shallow. Or batshit crazy. So, you know, they're people just like you and me), receiving that SAG paycheck, or boasting to my friends that they should TiVo X,Y,Z at such-and-such time because I was gonna be on it was enough to make me continue to endure the following:

1. Actors. There are people who act, who have a craft, who are there for the love of the story. And then there are actors. People too obsessed with their hair, their makeup, and who's watching to care if their character has more than one dimension. These are the people more invested in being in the promo than being on time. These are the folks more worried about the number of credits on their IMDB page than the quality of the work they're putting out. These are the people who want to be famous. And mark my words, ladies and gentlemen, there is a decided difference between people who want to be famous and people who want to act. Film is choc-full of the first category. And I couldn't stand it.

2. Kiss-asses. You know the type. Cast or crew, doesn't matter. Those folks who are far more concerned with getting the card of the right person/people on set than they are about adequately doing their job. And woebetide you if you happen to be one of the people they think they need to impress. They'll follow you around. They'll "like" everything that you like. They'll make every attempt to be your best friend by the end of the day, all without recognizing that you're actually there because you have a job to do. And they're impeding it. (Talking to you there movie extra; you know who you are. The one who wants to chat me up and get my card when I'm trying to get the cameras rolling so we come in on time and on budget).

3. The time. Set time is slow time. It's arduous time. It's let's-do-it-again-for-the-15th-time-in-a-row time. It's "Okay, let's film that exact same scene again from another angle; We're gonna be late to lunch, Can I get grace?" time. It's touchups and bounceboards and soundchecks and roomtemps time. Some folks genuinely have fun with it. It exhausts me.

4. Inconsistency. When it comes to work, I thrive on having a plan. I guess that's why I am happiest when in the role of AD or Producer. But, as film is such a collaborative experience, I am constantly plagued by the lack of consistency. Even if your director is prepared and knows exactly what he/she wants (This seldom happens. For those directors who have come to set prepared, knowing what they want - I solute you. A million and two times.), the lead actor will be late, thus throwing off the whole schedule. Or props will be missing a towel, and therefore have to go to the store - and Walmart is 10 miles away. Hair will be out of bobbypins or camera will have forgotten to charge the batteries. Lighting will be short on...lights. Generally speaking, it's a rule of thumb that something, somewhere is going to go wrong. You just have to roll with the punches. I? Do not excel at rolling with the punches.

5. Body image issues. While this one applies to modeling directly, it also applies to a solid 75% of actresses with whom I've worked. The insecurities come out. The I-wish-I-were-this and if-only-I-were-that comes out. It's a very poisonous way of thinking. Very detrimental. Here I am, on modeling sets with some of the prettiest girls in Atlanta, and all we can talk about is what we have too much or not enough of. What we wish we had. And thinking that way is nothing short of mind pollution and soul poison. I had to get out.

6. Lack of control. A considerable while back, I opted to switch from in front of the camera stuff to behind the camera stuff - mostly to have more control. But no matter what position I held, control was eventually passed to the next person, who, for better or for worse, put their stamp on the project. Type A people (talking to you, Tyler Perry) have a very hard time with this. And I am, admittedly, a Type A. It's gonna kill me. Likely in my 40s. I've come to peace with it.

Some of you have gotten this far and done so fuming with offense. To those of you I say, "I'm ending this relationship," which I quickly follow with, "It's not you; it's me."

Because it is.

Even if you fit into one or more of the categories above, if you love what you're doin,' then by all means, keep doin' what you do.

What I'm trying to say here is that I didn't love it. I don't. Which is why I can walk away without looking back.

2 comments:

  1. always like reading your posts on here, this one included. definitely have a love/hate relationship with my job @ real people...and these are all the things I HATE. Well...almost all the things. You forgot to mention the worst part--stage moms

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  2. Stage moms/dads, paired with management/administration is why I quit teaching acting.
    Chelsea, you and I need to have a tet-a-tete for sure!

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