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12:33 am - Wed 8/21/02
Taking a deep breath
(Not to bite the hand that gives me an Internet forum, but Diaryland has kinda sucked lately. The first part of this entry is something I tried to post earlier today...)

Taking A Deep Breath

Well, while I was still obsessing over it at work yesterday, to anyone who would listen, I think I've calmed down about the whole Corpus Christi thing.

In my "pocket journal", I wrote this--

1. It's not the end of the world if I don't end up doing this show.

2. It's not the end of the world if I end up doing this show, and it's not that good.

3. It's not the end of the world if I end up doing this show, and it's not the most enjoyable experience I've ever had.

Short of a major earthquake or terrorist attack in the middle of a show, anything that's likely to happen involving this show can be readily dealt with.

In my last Diaryland entry, I was doing exactly what I've said I often do--Making a "catastrophe" out of what's merely an "annoyance".

(I know...Someone reading this is thinking "How come you didn't list the more positive potential of this experience? Well, in answer to the question you maybe didn't ask, I was in a mindset where I had to tell myself "The worst that's likely to happen isn't really that bad". The fact that there are potential positives to this experience--making new connections, getting another LA credit on the resume, being seen, etc--Is something I'm already very aware of, and the reason I didn't quit at the first sign of incompetence and disorganization.)

Regarding the schedule; I've talked to the director (And when he didn't fax me anything Sunday, I called him yesterday afternoon, leaving a message, to ask again about the schedule. As of the past 90 minutes or so, he hadn't returned my call). So now that he knows what my deal is, it's up to him to give me some notice about rehearsals. I'm not going to call him again, or the theater, or anyone else. I don't think I should have to badger people to get basic information about what's going on here. And I'm not going to.

Regarding "membership"; No one from the theater has said anything to me about it, and I don't plan on bringing it up. If I end up doing the show, I'm hoping they'll just let me pass on it, or it'll brought up at such a late date in the rehearsal process that it would be a pain-in-the-ass to replace> me (If they'd rather have my "membership dues" than have me in the show, that would tell me quite a bit right there!).

Another source of frustration to me around this show, and not knowing what's going on, is that I haven't felt free to do anything else in terms of acting; I haven't checked Backstage or sent out any headshots so far this month, because I don't know my availability (What time are rehearsals, and how often? When does the show go up? How long does it run?). So I have felt like I'm in this limbo of not being able to check other opportunities out, but at the same time, not feeling like I'm really in this show.

So another decision I've made is, for now, to go back to looking through Backstage, and until I know differently, acting as if I am still looking for something to do (A related issue is how long I can ethically look for other things--I'm thinking in terms of paying gigs here--once I'm actually in rehearsal; My "moral compass" says that I can do a one or two day extra thing during the rehearsal process, it if comes up, and continue to look for a longer-term paying thing, that would cause me to have to quit the show, until maybe the midway point of rehearsals. Money trumps working for free, on the one hand--And I think that's a pretty commonly accepted rule--but at some point, you can't drop out of a show if it strands everyone involved (The last time I did a show at this theater, they doublecast all the roles, though that fell apart somewhat--Enough people dropped out during the show that some people were "doublecast" and some weren't--so hopefully, if they do that again, I won't have a big ethical quandry if "my big break" happens sooner than expected).

What all this boils down to? I'm just anxious for this show to get under way. And there's nothing wrong with that--It's the way you should approach your work--but by the same token, it's nothing to get myself too "riled-up about" either


A little thing occured to me while I was at work yesterday that I thought was kind of interesting...

At the register, when we ring someone up, we're supposed to ask if they want to sign up for the Borders newsletter.

By and large, people don't like to do it. But if you're unlucky enough to not do it during a "shop"--a "mystery shopper"-type deal--You can get in some trouble.

I do it most of the time at this point, but in addition to my unhappiness over being in an environment where I basically have to ask "Would you like fries with that?" (I'm not big on "suggestive selling". And more on that in a moment), I think another reason the question bothers me is that the answer to that question, the vast majority of the time, is "No", or better yet, "No, I get enough crap in my email".

Even though I could care less about whether they want the Borders newsletter or not, hearing "no" dozens of times a day can sort of wear on a person.

On the one hand, that realization made me think, "Jeez Jim, if you can't handle hearing 'no' when you don't even care about the answer, how are you going to deal with hearing it when it's really important to you?"

But on the other hand, I believe in the product of "Jim Hoffmaster" much more than I do the Borders Newsletter. And there's more to be gained from being a successful salesman of that product than I'll ever get from hawking the Borders Newsletter.

Another thing we're supposed to do--and this I rarely do--is suggest other books or products when we're helping someone.

I will do that if a customer asks, or if it seems like I really have something extra to offer them (Making them aware of a sale in an area they're interested in or what-have-you), but I am not going to try and sell every customer I deal with something more than what they came in for.

In short, I think that is very much part of what is wrong with America today.

And with that, I leave you.


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