Friday, August 3, 2012

The Tire Kicker of Fame

When I was in the multimedia business during the dot com boom, we had a saying about customer types that were only checking things out and were not really interested in committing to buying into your product, culturally or financially.  We called them "tire kickers."

Both men and women mostly arrive in show business DOA (Dumb on Arrival).  Little Snoozie (an indication of her state of cognition and also simultaneously designed to protect her identity) was no exception to this rule.

Snoozie and I met one sunny afternoon as I was out getting some road work in and she was walking her dog.  I am not in the habit of interrupting my workouts for lonely women (even if they are currently in a relationship) because I have a career requiring marathon caliber health condition. 

All entertainers should be as fit as they can be if possible.  It helps to avoid the people who trash themselves. 

Snoozie was nice, confident, divorced and a train wreck trying to get back on the tracks, which I respect having been divorced myself.  But it’s how well you do at it that really makes the difference.

She was cute, but not pretty, bright and fast but not intellectually formidable, and listened well like most women will and most men won't. 

I gave her some credit and some food for thought so she would entertain the notion that everything you hear about show business or think you know is less important than what you authentically discover within yourself with the intent of giving your best to your audience.

Read: the days of the ‘old standby’ are not worth standing by anymore in an authentic creator repertoire.  You wanna work the old folks circuit or the borscht belt, go ahead, but even Vegas is smart enough to reinvent itself periodically.  You’d think creators who wanted to become successful in the entertainment business would get this.  Most of the top people do it because it’s a required survival skill.

It’s not lonely at the top, it’s demanding.  And it’s the same way at the bottom too, so get used to it and get over it and get going.  You only live so long and there is a lot to do. 

Snoozie didn’t exactly go into denial about the LC’s authenticism in creativity pitch, which was a good sign for somebody who wanted to take it seriously.  But I didn’t exactly hear commitment in her tone either. 

I’ll take that any day, because it is a country mile past the denial you can hear from otherwise talented and intelligent individuals who think the system is still the ever and only way to go to into show business with. 

These are the people who get off the bus with little prep and only a dream in their pocket and are perfect for the more-meat-for-the-grinder mentality that is the money machine driving all the decisions about what is good and producible what is not.  Hooray!  Create a national holiday for Justin Bieber’s marriage and that sort of mentality.

It’s this curtain-hiding-the-true-face-of-The-Wizard-Of-Oz kind of contrivance that sucks the optimistic, star seeking youth in and spits out embittered, unsuccessful under manifested politically manipulative and angry pseudo-creators at the other end.   

These are the people you see faking it like they've made it, and trying to get their magic talent wand back for the rest of their lives, but they never get over the pain of the first rejection of their self perceived perfection, and cannot regain career traction.

This contrivance is designed to suck you in and use you for what you temporarily have, and after that you convince yourself you have to spend the rest of your life getting back to that magical moment where they got you to believe you had it, but they did it only long enough for you to be profitable and then the phone suddenly no longer rang. 

Sound familiar?  Tens of thousands of you have experienced this. 

That is the inauthentic entertainment machine, and the LC, well, half his job as the defender of entertainment is putting out of business the people who have the “I can make you a star!” machine managing mentality, and the other half is getting into authentic directions those who would believe that Mickey Mouse crap that so innocently steals people’s whole lives, dreams and contributions to culture away.  For a few dollars more.

A case in point is one of the housemates, an 82 year old chef who wasn’t selected for “America’s Got Talent” because his CD full of ancient crooner tunes frankly wasn’t appropriate, right or contemporary enough material to make it successfully past the judging criterion. 

Rather than admit he has to change his act, he chooses to remain in the ignorant belief and he should have to do nothing but straighten out the I-can-make-you-a-star machine that manages to convince most of milquetoast mediocre audiences their prodco method is the only way to succeed in show business.

So rather than build a real platform, develop and produce authentic material and become expert at delivering unique niche material to available channels he can control, the housemate decides all he has to do is remain his wonderful talented self the industry machine so wrongfully passed over.

His reaction to being passed over is to start a negativity campaign and complain his way to the top by writing angry letter to production companies, agents and send-up stars like Sharon Osbourne (send-up stars are the media machine cultivated personalities as opposed to authentic stars who made it on talent and material and niche control) as if by this method, a magic wand will be waved over his tape that never got sent upstairs and he will be back on the show track.

His talent will then get recognized and he will become famous and fortunate because that is all he really has to do is be his fantastic, wonderful self and change nothing within himself but move heaven and earth to change everything outside his control.

What a waste of time.  Waste for one reason because the industry, even the contrived, controlled corporation club machine that controls the media access to begin with (yes, and they are even trying to do this with the internet, so get busy my authentic creators) runs on love and not negativity, even if it is fake love.  

Whereas an authentic creator understands a painting does not have to be pretty to be good, and art is what it representationally is, not what I wanted to fulfill your expectations with.  Few things are more retrogressive, like self delusion for example.

But he would not listen to me when I told him he has not the time to fight a battle that he cannot win (especially at his age), and why not just produce work that makes you happy, live the rich life that is, and garner the authentic fan base of people who connect with the message and meaning of his original work and share in the genuine fame that kind of process provides.  The fame that the corporately controlled media machine can never hope to contrive, even on its best production value day.

That is not a possible outcome in an inauthentic process like the media machine, yet the owners of the machine will insist it is the only way to fame, through they, the gatekeepers.  This is their revenue strategy, simply put.  Nothing else matters to them.  And if you pay a painful price for the rest of your life, hey, it’s business, nothing personal, right?

That makes about a much sense as saying only through your religion, and not mine, will you enter the kingdom of heaven.  Can you smell the stench of political profiteering at the expense of your authentic consciousness in that kind of logic?

But spring after spring, like salmon swimming upstream, the starry eyed youth who have been programmed by media objectives (for the record, corporate media machine objectives are social control of consumers for profit, and little more) for two decades now get off the bus in Hollywood with the tears of their parents still wet on their James Dean style leather jackets and designer knock off purses to ignorantly wander into the blender and blitzkrieg cattle call machine funnels designed to chew them up mentally, physically and creatively only and ever simply to make more money, and more money, and have more market control by it.

Snoozie was heading for this precipice, and I was not sure she was going to listen to my sage counsel against it.

I only had a year to prep.   

You see, once we got off on the right foot on our first meeting each other out on the trail, I spent a year, yes, one entire calendar year – 365 days – encouraging her to make it to coffee across town at the semi-bohemian cafe in town next to the film center where it gets as counter-cultural as the status quo here locally will permit you to digress from cornflower blue shirts, khaki pants, pinot noir and lamb or duck.  Locally sourced, of course.

But prep I did.  I was going to give Snoozie the best show business career advice she was ever going to get.  She was going to hear it, get it and act on it, and in exchange, I would get a chance to observe somebody succeeding in authentic fame, instead of the movie lines so many believe are true.   

Every time I hear someone utter a line from Sunset Boulevard as if it were written in stone, I instantly understand and recognize I am speaking with a failure who will never understand either show business or creativity.  I then make all attempts to never have to speak to this idiot again.  I have varying degrees of success with that vigilance.

When she finally breezed into pseudo-bohemian au lait, aka failed writers hangout, she was all in her best; lost a lot of weight, dressed for impress, poised, cultured and confident.

I felt I had a chance.  She seemed ready for show business.

Why didn’t I know I was wrong?  I’d already been through that with the musician I’d tried the Authentic Creator’s process with before – the one you read about a couple posts back – you’d think I’d learn to recognize the signs by now.

But I didn’t.  Have I a rescuer’s complex?

Snoozie hadn’t responded but for a couple times in a year, always to put off meeting.  I offered chocolate; I offered to write for her (something I will rarely do for anyone anymore, as I recognize it is important for them to learn how and you will eventually come to know why if you keep tuned).  I offered dinner.  I offered wine. 

Nothing could get her to come to meet with me.  And even when she talked about it, it was with some sort of time constraint escape clause in the social contract.  When I publish the astrologer story, you will know much more poignantly why this is a big loser sign.   

But for now, let’s just say, if you are going to choose to spend time with someone, do it authentically.  If you are pressed for time, your life is poorly managed and you have reordering and re-prioritizing to do, and that is that.

Or, don’t you want to make it authentically?  Entertainment career or not?

I knew a Mill Valley resident once who the second the conversation turned authentic and creatively oriented got nervous and began looking at their watch.  They were deathly afraid of becoming more talented in their own right and couldn’t bear to hear how it worked.  They still sell suits.  And I fucking handed it to them.  Proof positive you can only lead a horse to water, as Snoozie will show us.

So, back to the story. 

I offered her everything except what propriety and society would not permit, and still she delayed.  An excuse here, and excuse there.

Finally, I nudged her on the authentic.  Its where the rubber meets the road in creative relationships.  I flat out asked her if she really intended to meet with me or not, as I was a busy entertainer, with only so many relationships and timelines to authentically handle, and if I was going to get something progressing with her, it would have to be soon.

Suddenly, her free time appeared and when she showed up, I had a lot of hope.  Boy, what a fool I was.  Just like banjo spaz.  Change is off the table.  But enabling, crutching and doing it for them (like that is authentically even possible), that’s welcome with open arms.  Welcome to California, babe.

Snoozie, who had the genuine look of someone pulling out of the bottom that divorce can send you crashing down to, was all blathering on about how she had all these creative projects she was interested in doing, but wasn’t committing to.

First bad sign.  Anyone who isn’t actually creatively risking is afraid of taking a stand on their material.  Stand up comics learn this instantly and brutally.  Novelists and below the line talents often never do.  It’s probably why culture suffers.

You have to make it right and best before you risk to put it out there, because what you turn in is who you are in this town. 

Second bad sign, and a big bad sign, “..I think I am going to go to Hollywood for the summer – you know, just to network.”

Big.  Bad.  Move.  How to tell her the only way to go there is if she is already participating in something professional (which does not imply financially compensated, and is only intended to imply material professionally produced, staged and delivered into a distribution channel to content consumers) or if one has individually or intellectual property rights control of collectively developed product and wants to attempt to get it produced.

Snoozie had neither.  But she subliminally licked her lips and the gleam of Tantalus himself was in her eyes as she kept coming back to the topic of going down to LA, even if it was only for the summer.

The secondary layer of sub-lingual language, and the additional body language slowly began to indicate to me that she was responding to what she wanted and what she felt would feel best to her, but only in highly particular ways do those things have anything to do with success in one’s entertainment career.

No matter what talent you have or what artistic discipline you practice, if you can’t distill the DNA of something, you’ve got no chance of having influence in entertainment, whether the corporately controlled, profit obsessed, human collateral damage ignoring media machine kind or authentic kind. 

She wasn’t quite listening to those points, though she was thoroughly attentive to my illustrations about how to develop successful material that would move your entertainment career forward. 

So when my counsel contained meaningful messaging designed to solve her problem, like women and politicians do, she would in-authentically respond by taking what I meant and interpreting it slightly out of context in order to steer it back in the direction of what she wanted because going to LA for the summer ‘just to network’ was what she wanted to believe was the most productive and useful time she could proactively spend on her entertainment career. 

Thus in Snoozie’s interpretation of my message, going to LA for the summer was the most important thing to do for her career.  Not develop the material product to set her apart from the competition making her commercially viable.  Or developing her technical skills so she could get some work then networking would be with professionals working there in the biz, instead of the hundreds of thousands who have no work there but are looking for it.  The un-industry employed ones that stampede to every rumor – to the great delight of the corporately controlled, profit obsessed, human collateral damage ignoring media machine.

Since she wasn’t really listening, and I did not want to crassly look at my watch (though I wanted to) I changed the subject to talk about something I was interested in for a change as we’d spent about an hour and a half getting nowhere with her consciousness change despite my best efforts. 

In particular, the motif of the new design of my new living space.  She then began to listen actively and offer advice about interior design because it was a subject she was expert in, ‘and has taken classes in’. 

She apparently failed to actively listen to me when I mentioned (twice) I had learned design for eight years from the protégé of Hal Pierera -  a man who had one Academy Award and 27 nominations for Set Design and Art Direction. 

Yeah, I’m pretty comfortable and skilled with design development; I don’t really need advice or suggestions.  You should hear the formidable feedback perspectives of the detail I go into from my graphic designers, except for one gem of a designer, who shall remain nameless, whom I will ever and always rely on for my graphics until he does not want to do them for me anymore.  Those smarmy Marin graphic designers who charged ten times more than the LA designer will never work for me again.  

Learn from the LC, peeps.

So after tolerating her technically and theoretically correct sophomoric design tips and thanking her, I ended up summarizing the things I’d wanted her to remember from the meeting, as she was obviously trained to her great disadvantage by the institutional education system and would have a lot of deprogramming to do if she ever wanted to create something significant – which was something I wasn’t going to help her with.  I was focusing on her entertainment career, and by this time, it was apparently to no avail.

You can lead a horse to water.

I polished off the summary in a way where she heard approval for listening to my long winded how-to-not-fail-in-show-business-which-you-are-headed-for-proactively-little-miss-trainwreck speech.  I played it like she got it all.  She left the meeting with her ego intact, and I am sure that she was soon making plans to go to LA for the summer because what she really needed to do was far too much work for her to consciously, meaningfully and authentically undertake to her own entertainment career advantage. 

I’d tacitly agreed to write a little something up for her but made sure she understood it was her job to flesh it out, because she had engaged in the despicable tactic all writers are infected with from the industry wanna-bees, the “Maybe you could type up something for me?” syndrome.

The sad fact is most writers are so pathetic they agree and drive down the value of the written word for those of us who keep the literary artistry business a profession.  

Anybody who believes studio moguls, directors and cameras built Hollywood and not the written word please stop reading this blog here-forth, you are terminally infected with inauthenticism and cannot be helped. 

They would have you believe that drivel just as wanna bees would have a writer believe they are doing the writer a favor by getting them to write something for free for them.  Most of those people will not be skilled enough to find the money deal anyway, even if they did have a decent script in hand. 

So that night I went home, had a creative insight and it blossomed into a twelve page treatment just twelve hours after we had hugged goodbye. 

I emailed her for days right after telling her I had something for her and would she meet me and read it and see if it would help her in case she did decide to go south and then at least she would look the part of a self producing talent even if she did not have the brains and business skill to become it.  I didn’t mention to her delicate temperament that last part.  At least she would save herself the embarrassment, if that thought of what was actually occurring to her ever dawned on her to begin with.

You just can’t tell with the deluded-by-design types.  But it’s a pretty good bet.  You see, dysfunction is consistent, and therefore the odds are on it. 

Oh, and what a beautiful design the corporately controlled, profit obsessed, human collateral damage ignoring media machine spins to the gullible.

I know; I believed it once too.

Ultimately, after months more of her not responding, not recognizing my contribution to her career, not following up on texts, calls, emails and the like, I let it go.  I never sent her the copy, I never do.  You want to read my material?  You show up and make the meeting like a professional does, and you sign my non-disclosure agreement like a trustworthy professional does.

This is so far beyond most wanna bees.  But it’s the way I do business, as do other successful entertainers.

I ended up offering the material to another actress who is considering it.  That other actress does not understand that when something that is right for you comes along, you jump on it with both feet and make the best of it, make it your own, and then nobody can take that away from you.  If it is that good, when they remember the story they remember the player, and that is how that works for your entertainment career. 

Story is king; never forget that.  Whatever is associated with story is also unforgettable. 

Friends embarrassed me by telling me I was losing my youthful edge by allowing myself to be trolled by a young female wanna be.  But I stayed in her corner, hoping she would wise up, like divorce can permit you to do when you have to reinvent yourself as a single person again.  I had her back professionally by creating for her material that would help her career three ways in one production.

Months went by.  Now, I get a text.  “Too long!  Let’s get coffee!!  Catch up!!!”  Yeah, two coffees in 18 months.  That’s a productive and progressive authentic relationship effort on her part.

So I cut her loose, out of Google circles, out of the production consideration, out of my network. 

I reevaluated the Authentic Creators Project entry criteria and decided to place a high vault right at the beginning of the project in order to separate the wheat from the chaff. 

This is so people who actually wanted to try to obtain fame authentically would put out the effort (not the lip service and tired old, standby schpeil song, or as they say in big country ‘the old saw has dull teeth’) to justify further help from my team.

The only person so far, ironically, who understands the effort it truly takes to become famous authentically, without the corporately controlled, profit obsessed, human collateral damage ignoring media machine in your bed, in your coffee and in the air you breath and the words you speak and believe, is a painter in Berkeley who used the transformative power of creativity in his life to paint his way through cancer survival.  He believes creative painting saved his life and I believe him.  I respect that man, and I will help him all he wants me to.

Let that be a lesson to all you authenticity directed creators seeking fame.  Recognize and accept what you must put on the line and put out in effort and commit to be a real deal in creator driven authentic cultural arts disciplines and not a faker or poser or puppet of the machine (or worse, a prophet or minister or advocate of the corporately controlled, profit obsessed, human collateral damage ignoring media machine).

Because faking it until you make it is the first lie to overcome if you want things to change in both entertainment and culture. 

Or, you can go see The Music Man until the end of time and forget what significance is in the twilight of your cultural years.  To not know significance is to not know culture, and culture is the important aspect of society, and society is the key to the change in civilization we all need.

So, in the hallowed tradition of entertainers, so long, little Snoozie, good luck.  We’ll call you.  Maybe.

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