Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Charm & How Important an Actor's Behavior Really Is

I don't make it a habit of doing this since this is a personal rant blog dealing with only my personal opinions but I have to praise my colleagues for this article posted on our blog today.

Oh, God how true this is!!! When I was doing extra work, do you know what many of the extras were doing??? They were bitching about things including examples here.

Now, I may be a ranter but I have never "bitched" about anyone; I have merely educated people (I seem to do that a lot since people always want to know about legal stuff) & warned them about bad eggs I've encountered so they don't fall victim to a scam or have their production ruined. I will state facts & be assertive about it, but that's it. I don't gossip about people or say anything I'd not say right to your face. That's probably because people did that to me growing up & even pretended to be my friends while trashing me behind my back.

I don't consider my selective screening of performance opportunities as "getting attitude" but being honest about my rather unusual circumstances. Being a lawyer carries responsibilities your average person doesn't have to deal with, be it in performance or in taking a regular job. I simply can't play hookers or do nude scenes unless you'd like to offer me enough money to where my revoked legal license, eroded professional reputation, the breakdown of my marriage & ostracism from family members won't matter. Since that's not likely to happen, it makes sense for me not to waste people's time thinking that's an option for me when it's not.

Anyhow, I saw the remarks of this article play out in real life today with an actor I had to de-friend.

One fact about me: I don't friend or follow strangers 99.9% of the time. If I think someone is a kindred spirit or someone who might value my presence, I will write a message first. I never follow famous people unless I've met them or am very likely to meet them in the near future. If you send me a friend request out of the blue without a message or me recognizing your name, I'm going to ask why I should friend you. Don't have an answer? Then I'm denying your request.

A while back, an actor decided to send me a friend request. Seeing there were mutual friends (though not of people I know well), I chose to friend.

Second fact about me: I have a very strict policy of not doing favors I don't want to do (especially for strangers). Don't bother me about scripts, ask to meet famous people, get meetings w/producers, none of it! I don't want to be liked just because of my job or used as a tool for you to get famous. If you don't like me for myself, then you can't be a Facebook friend.

That's not to say I wouldn't do that for someone but I make that choice of my own free will. You get NO say in it & harassing me doesn't work.

This is also because I wouldn't do that to someone I talk to. Why put on them what I'd hate having put on me? Nor do I need handouts or to harass anyone to do anything for me; I can take care of myself just fine. If someone wants to do something for me out of their own free will, that's fine but I'm not going to inflict myself or my talents onto people who don't want to deal with them.

Aside from legal reasons not to take unsolicited material, can you imagine how many wannabes would harass me for things if I didn't do that??? If you're a recognizable face, it has to be a million times worse.

So a few observations I got from this actor:

1. Some very negative status updates that were not kind about industry reps. I remember one status update where it seems this actor took it very personally that particular casting companies weren't interested. If I remember, it may have said "Fuck you!" or came very close to it.

For me, you have free will. No one has to work with me but be an ass & it will come back to haunt you if we cross paths in the future. I'll expect you to have a good explanation if you never followed up with me on something or you will be tainted in my mind as an ass & definitely not my first choice on things.

2. This person had invited me to events & I could see these status updates.

3. A general vibe that this person would be the sort to use people as a means to an end.

Yesterday, this person posted a status that led to questionable conduct among someone famous. Apparently, the actor asked out this celeb via Facebook & the celeb's response was to de-friend & block. Seems this person couldn't manage a simple "no thank you" BEFORE the de-friending or even asking about ulterior motives.

Hearing about this, it led me to conclude a lack of class on this celeb's part & question how this celeb treats PAs, crew members or anyone who's not a director, producer or attorney (big name people have even been nice to me when they've heard I'm a lawyer despite not being a 20 year vet or a Harvard grad). I think it's very uncool to be abusive to people who didn't do anything to you.

As someone doing more in the business & being a woman who got asked out a LOT in her single days, I pointed out that Facebook isn't the best forum to ask someone out on & that I'd be interested in knowing who it was since, again, such deeds do make me wonder about how this celeb would treat our crew, lesser known actors, etc.

I also pointed out the basic rule that we screen people's behavior carefully & face it, if you're me you have to. People will suck up to lawyers, producers, film companies, etc. You've got to be able to look below the surface & be aware of the trouble spots. Nobody wants to deal with star trips or divas.

After writing, this actor decides to violate my strict policy on unsolicited material then realized the mistake. Seemed a little bitchy about it & clueless as to why I'd not want to take it.

Then, the actor claimed not to have had contact with me before that message & seemed to misinterpret my point about polite rejection & basic kindness to others.

I pointed out the misinterpretation, the fact that HE contacted me first via a friend request & that Facebook is a space for my friends & colleagues to talk to me, not a forum to solicit me. I asked how he'd like it if people expected him to work for free all the time or strangers asked him for things b/c of his career.

I also pointed out that maybe this celeb felt there were ulterior motives involved & if that's the case, I don't blame this person for a second. I think if you were one, you'd have to give up being able to take any stranger at face value. I'm already suspicious without being a household name since I had the experience of stalkers & mini-celebrity.

Life lesson: if you're an actor, think of the world as your employer. Your deeds, good or bad, can get around to the people you want to impress & easily come back to haunt you. Oh, and I'm ALWAYS mindful of that sort of thing; if you want to trash someone, you'd better have the spine to stand by your comments & tell the person to their face.

If you think this is bad, read some of the attorney blogs on life in law firms. You want to talk about every little detail being scrutinized + being damned for life because of something, you'd definitely find it in the average big law firm.

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