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1:50 pm - Sunday, Mar. 04, 2007
\"Positive Guy\" Versus \"Negative Guy\"

"Positive Guy" versus "Negative Guy" (For All The Marbles)

Thurs 3/1/07 (1:32 a.m.)

George and Yvette V., the apartment managers in my building, are moving (I believe to Texas, where you can apparently buy a home without having to be a multi-millionaire. At least that’s the rumor).

(They could actually be gone at this point. I haven’t seen them for the past few days, but I haven’t seen any new manager person-or persons–either. But anyway...)

I’m not sure how many apartment managers there have been since I moved into the building–I started with Francesca, then there were some people in the middle I don’t remember at all, and most recently George and Yvette–but I don’t like it.

I don’t like change in general, to be honest–It almost always feels like change for the worst–but I particularly don’t like this kind of change (i.e. “people change”).

But looks like I’m gonna have to get used to it. At Borders, we pretty much went through a “General Manager” each year, at ArcLight, I’ve lost track of how many managers have come and gone in the year-and-three-months I’ve been there, and of course, as an actor (at least as an actor at my level), when a “long-term” job is three or four days, it’s an ever-changing “cast of characters”.

On one level, my objection to this “revolving door” of people is a practical consideration–You want to have long-standing “relationships” with people in power over you. You want them to know you’re “a good guy”. Cause that “goodwill” will be “money in the bank” should you need it.

But I never really have any “goodwill” with people anymore, because by the time I want/need to “make a withdrawal” from the “goodwill” bank, the bank has changed management and they don’t know me from Adam.

And in a larger sense, it’s wanting/needing some quasi-solidity. Having the comfort of people around who “knew you when” (Even if “when” is only the last couple years). Having a “history”, as it were. Having people around you know you, who like you, and maybe even forgive you your faults (And hopefully, people for whom you provide that same service).

But I think I’m craving something I never really had, for the most part (I have no family, have never had many friends, and frankly, the people “who knew me when”, by and large, could give a rat’s ass about me now). And where I’m at, with the life I’ve chosen (Or the life that has chosen me), I don’t see much “solidity” in my future, in terms of people.

Or probably much else, for that matter.

So it goes.

Sun 3/4/07 (11:40 a.m.)

A lot of stuff to write about this morning...

I was something of a hero to my coworkers yesterday, when during the evening “rush”, I questioned the managers getting free meals in the café.

I’ll “add some context to that” (That’s “ArcLight-speak”, for the uninitiated): There’s been mention, in every “rush meeting” for the past week or so, about cracking down on people getting free food from concessions (We’re supposed to get a 50% off discount on concession items, but a lot of people give and get free food. We have also been told that the benefit of free soda and popcorn does not apply when we’re not working, and are seeing a movie on our own time).

Now, it’s hard to argue for theft, really–though I can mount a more convincing case for it at ArcLight than you might imagine–so I’m not prepared to say “We should be allowed to get free food whenever we want, dammit!” (Though I do think we should be able to get popcorn and soda when we come in to see a movie. Cause really, what other time do you actually want popcorn?). And I don’t plan to take any free stuff, because I want to leave ArcLight on my own time and on my own terms, not because I “stole” what amounts to 10-cents worth of popcorn or what-have-you.

But I was struck, both in terms of my own feelings and those of many coworkers, by the wave of resentment, and downright anger, this issue has aroused amongst the crew.

Why is that, you might wonder?

Well, here are some of my thoughts on the matter:

1. When you make emphatic announcements about something like this to a general group of workers, you inevitably are talking to a lot of people who are not taking things, but who nevertheless feel accused and belittled by the “tone of the discussion” (It reminds me of every group lecture I’ve ever heard about being late to rehearsals, which was usually delivered to the people who had actually shown up on time to rehearsal. Or the periodic rants JS, my commercial agent, has in the email newsletter about actors who are not behaving professionally, which if you’re thin-skinned–like I was initially--can make you feel under attack even if you know he’s not talking about you).

2. To me, if you have such an issue with theft that you have to make a week-long announcement at every “rush” meeting, threatening both the giver and receiver of free stuff with instant, automatic de-selection (ArcLight-speak for “You’re fired!”) I have to wonder:

A. Are you hiring thieves? If so, maybe you need to re-think your hiring process. Or...
B. Is the environment creating thieves? If so, maybe you need to think about morale (Do people who are happy with their jobs steal?). Or...
C. Is the low-pay and limited hours forcing people to get-by “by any means neccessary”? If so, maybe you need to think about what you pay people.

But somehow, I have a feeling none of that will be thought about or addressed at all. It’s just simple black-and-white: The crew are the bad people the real ArcLight has to defend itself against.

3. (And this is the thing that I think bothers me the most)

I find it extremely offensive to be lectured about “personal integrity” by people who are making a living wage, and getting free meals to boot, while crew people struggle to pay their bills, stay fed, and keep a roof over their heads (And there are/have been people on the crew who actually were homeless. God knows how they’d ever get set up in even the cheapest living situation available in L.A. on what they’ll make at ArcLight).

Don’t tell me it’s a question of “morality” to take a hotdog that’s going to go in the garbage at the end of the night through a mouthful of free food.

That’s all I’m saying.

(This reminds me–I’ve been meaning to write an entry about all the good stuff about ArcLight. You can look forward to that in an upcoming Diaryland...If I don’t get fired first for what I’m saying right now).

_________________________

I was almost on Jay Leno this past week.

Ruth M. emailed to tell me that she saw the Propel commercial while watching Leno. And it wasn’t during a commercial break–It was part of the opening monologue (They stuck footage of Kevin Eubanks in the spot for a laugh).

Unfortunately, my brief, blurry appearance in the spot was cut out altogether (A little disappointing, but it wasn’t like that was going to rocket me to stardom, or anything like that).

Happily, the spot is playing a lot (Though I haven’t seen it yet myself), it’s playing on the networks, and it’s playing in prime time. It’s everything I could want from a commercial spot.

Almost.

(You knew there’d be an “almost”, didn’t ya?)

I can’t help but wish the “Bahamavention” commercial was the spot getting all those network airings, showing up on “Leno” (Though I’m actually a “Letterman” man), etc.

But the nice thought? That scenario–where I book a funny/well-done commercial that gets a long network run and maybe even ends up being part of peoples’ “watercooler conversations”–is not “the impossible dream”. Not at all.

_________________________

A reader (Hi “sdf”!) asked about my “stats” so far this year (In particular, what I’ve booked so far this year versus last year).

Well, at this point, I have to say this year has gotten off to a very quick start: I’ve booked for Propel and Comcast, and we’re just into the first week of March.

And I’ve gotten five callbacks in thirteen commercial auditions.

This compares to all of last year, where I booked one commercial–the “Bahamavention” thing-- and think I had something like five callbacks in thirty-seven auditions.

On the theatrical side, I’ve had two auditions so far, for Criminal Minds and ER. They were both “straight-to-producer” (I didn’t get either).

This compares to last year, where I had seven auditions (Or was it nine?), and booked for Gilmore Girls and Nip/Tuck.

“Positive Guy” is very excited about 2007 so far, feeling like it’s his good thoughts about the year coming true. He thinks he’s almost guaranteed to book more things with this much of the year ahead, with a good commercial spot on the air, and with his first full year of a theatrical manager submitting him for things.

And he’s very excited about the money coming in. It’s downright thrilling to make some really decent money, when he’s never made “really decent money” doing anything before.

It’s nice to be able to pay bills and buy groceries without his stomach hurting. It’s nice to be able to pay more than the minimum on his credit cards bills, and even make contributions to his IRA.
It’s nice just to feel like he has something of value, something people are actually willing to pay for.

For “Positive Guy”, life is good.

“Negative Guy” wishes he felt better about things.

He worries that, just how he booked three things in the last half of last year, this year he’s going to book a couple things in the first half of the year, then get nothing.
He’s struggling with the uncertainty of not knowing how much money is going to come in, or when it’s going to stop, or how to make financial plans under those circumstances, and how to get over feeling guilty and anxious about buying things he doesn’t really “need” but would actually enjoy (Or in terms of cable, things he would both “enjoy” and kinda needs).

He’s wrestling with his appearance–just like he thought he would when he came out here–telling an actor friend recently, “I’m not getting paid because I can act. I’m just getting paid for being ugly”.

And he’s disappointed, and worried, to a degree, that his commercial opportunities are far outstripping his theatrical ones. He remembers first meeting his commercial agent, and being told that, far from his opportunities being “limited” commercially, he would likely have more success in commercials than in tv and movies.

And he misses acting, feeling–weirdly enough–that he’s lost “a bit of himself” because he came out to L.A. to be an actor and has basically stopped acting.

(I’m going to take a break here. I need to get groceries before it gets too much later, or else I’m going to miss out on nap-time before work tonite...)


 

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