Friday, May 10, 2013

First World Problems

Sometimes I deal with the rudest, most egotistical people on earth in my day-to-day professional life.  It makes perfect sense seeing as I’m a model and aspiring actress and constantly deal with an assortment of odd characters ranging from photographers to casting directors to agents to models and directors.  Most people are decent enough but for every seemingly “normal” person I come across, 3 crazed individuals cross my path.

Case in point number 1:

A headshot photographer contacted me about shooting with him for free so he can build his portfolio.  I was already hesitant as shooting headshots do not benefit my portfolio one bit but I decided to check out his work anyways.  What I found was a web site full of poorly edited photos of amateur models wearing bad makeup.  I didn’t really understand why he thought I would work with him for free so I wrote him a polite email expressing that I would not be able to work with him.  He responded “k let me know if things change.”  K?  What am I dealing with a 17 year old here?  Obviously I did not respond further but an appropriate response might have gone something like “By ‘things change’ you must be referring to your photography skills, in which case I will certainly let you know when they are at a level where I would consider shooting with you for free.”  But that would make me a bitch…

Case in point number 2:

A photographer wrote me a detailed and enthusiastic message full of typos and bad grammar.  I gave him the benefit of the doubt that he might have been typing on a smart phone, but as I kept reading I swear I could hear the hoodrat seeping out.  His message was full of “like”s and “sumthin”s with an overall trashy theme where I’d be wearing “like sumthin sexy” or “see thru” and other skankified hoochiness.  I was definitely amused and HAD to look at his portfolio.  What I found was an album full of god-awful photos of god-awful models.  Logic told me to just ignore his message altogether but I felt given his enthusiastic message that I should at least respond.  So I sent him a polite email expressing, yet again, that I would not be able to work with him.  His response?  “kLATES”.  Again with the K’s!  And the “LATES”?  It sort of felt a bit “talk to the hand”-ish which made me all the more amused.  His message basically reminded me of those douchebag guys who upon being rejected by me retort, “That’s okay, you look like a man anyways.”  Well if I look like a man and you’re hitting on me that makes you kind of gay.   I get it though, I bruised his fragile ego and for that, I deserved to be dismissed.

Case in point number 3:

I received a cryptic message from a photographer that read, “Dark……edgy……artistic…….soul……interested?  Available?  Serious responses only”.  I mean REALLY?!  You want a serious response from me yet what I get from you are a series of adjectives separated by several dots?  His portfolio included portraits of several A-list actors whom I admire very much and naturally, they looked amazing.  I then searched for his work with “normal” people and found it to be an utter disappointment.  He had no concept of lighting, editing, framing, or styling.  Everything was in black and white, and while that should have made everything better, it just looked terribly weak and amateur.  But I couldn’t help but feel seduced by those four images of the A-list actors in all their dramatic glory.  Then I realized that it wasn’t his skills as a photographer that made those photos great, it was the actors themselves and the fact that they don’t take bad pictures!  But his regular portfolio work lacked any emotion or skill.  I didn’t want to write him back for fear of receiving another dismissive message so I remained quiet.  He wrote again asking if I was still interested so I politely declined but complimented his photo of one particular beautiful actress whose work I really admire.  I did not hear from him again and breathed a sigh of relief.

Now not every rude character I meet is connected to the entertainment industry.  I also have to deal with the crazies in my “real life”. 

Case in point number 4:

Like most models and actors, I need to supplement my income with non-artistic work.  In addition to commercial and print modeling professionally, I teach children’s dance classes.  But I’m always looking for other jobs that might be of interest.  My sister connected me with a restaurant owner to inquire about working as a hostess in his upscale Asian cuisine restaurant.  I felt like this was something I could handle with the hours I mainly need:  evenings and weekends.  The restaurant owner texted me to meet him and his business partner at an upscale restaurant one evening to discuss details; what I thought was going to be a casual job interview turned into an exercise of defending my own integrity against a drunken fool. 

I arrived to the restaurant at the time he told me to and was immediately received by two drunken older men looking me up and down passing winks back and forth.  I wasn’t terribly surprised and kept a polite smile on my face while trying to introduce myself and my work background.  Upon learning that I’m also a model and actor, he was quite dismissive and disrespectful towards me whilst simultaneously trying to impress me with his wealth and connections.  At some point it became clear that he wasn’t going to hire me to work in his restaurant but kept name dropping other upscale LA restaurants whose owners he knows and could connect me with.  Except that my life’s goal is not to work in a restaurant and I definitely do not appreciate getting pimped out to various restaurant owners.  I do not need that perception.  And frankly, I get enough of that as a model and actress that I don’t really want to deal with it for work that doesn’t interest me nor is worth my time.  He told me about a super exclusive Italian restaurant in West LA that I’d be “perfect” for because a lot of big actors and directors go there and pick up on female staff.  Really?  According to him, the only way I can hope to advance my career is to work in a fancy restaurant and become the concubine to some rich, old guy full of big promises.  Please.  I wasn’t born yesterday.  What he also didn’t know is that I’ve been told by several directors, agents, and photographers that working in a restaurant full of big industry types isn’t necessarily the best way to advance one’s career (if you’re a woman) in the entertainment industry.  Sure, you might get to fuck some big name producer but chances are you won’t get much further and you’ll always be seen as their “waitress”.  The same people also told me that men working in restaurants have better luck.  Whether this is all true or not is yet to be seen, but I’ll take the words of people who’ve been around for a while over those of a drunken buffoon looking at me like nothing more than a conquest to be had.  After an hour of uncomfortable rambling, I excused myself from the restaurant but was suddenly introduced to one more “well connected” woman in LA.  She introduced me to several “important” people and encouraged me to stay and talk with them because they own restaurants and might be able to help me with work.  Fuck that.  I left.

Much later that night-after midnight in fact- I received a drunken text message from the older restaurant owner apologizing for his “less than stellar” behavior.  He blamed it on a stressful day but expressed that he wants to help “such a beauty” in any way he can and to his fullest abilities.  I didn’t dignify him with a response but felt somewhat relieved that I at least made it clear that I was not impressed by him.

I’d really just like to get to a place where I don’t have to deal with this bullshit on a daily basis but at the end of the day (or week), I just have a hearty laugh.  And then write a blog about it.