Saturday, March 29, 2014

The Art of Interaction With Famous Folks

In American culture there are several universal loves. We love sports. We love apple pie. We love fast cars. And we love famous people. Be it athletes, or television stars, or movie stars, or reality TV rejects, we Americans can’t get enough. You’d be lying if you said you’ve never done this: You’re checking out at your local grocery store and you spot an Us Magazine or People Magazine, or National Enquirer. See "Celeb X" is now dating or broke up with "Celeb Y". You know you at least picked it up and skimmed through it. Americans eat this shit up like Fiddo does kibble.

For whatever reason, we can’t seem to get over our fascination with the people that appear on our various “dummy boxes”. (Laptop, Smartphones, tablets, TVs etc.) Americans treat seeing a celebrity like discovering a 3 legged, purple polka dotted unicorn. Now working in Hollywood affords me the opportunity to “rub shoulders” with some of these people and here’s what I’ve learned.

A) They’re just people. Trust me they eat, drink, sleep, pee, and poop like everyone else on this giant blue floating ball of death we call Earth.

B) Most are actually really nice. Now, you do run into a few jerks, but that’s the case with most people in life. You had nice teachers and you had asshole teachers. You’ve met asshole cops and you’ve met nice cops. The same is true with celebs. Most people had to work really hard to get where they are.

While most are very humble and thankful for all they have, it’s the former child stars or second generation celebrities who are the real assholes. They’ve been “somebody” their whole life and think all they have is a “birthright”. They’ve always had someone kissing their ass and come to believe their behavior is “normal” or “expectable”.

Since I’ve interacted with more than few and since I have tons of friends in this business or who want to be in this business, I’ve created a list to show you guys how to interact with them. A la, how to take a picture or ask for an autograph.

1) Act NORMAL!!

I’m sure you’re excited to see “Joe Blo” or “Suzy Q” but remember they KNOW who they are and they get that “Oh my God it’s you!” reaction every time they leave the house. So when someone is just cool, calm, and collected it’s actually really refreshing. Be admiring but don’t kiss ass, and don’t make it seem like they’re the second coming. (Refer to “A” above.)

Remember we’re filmmakers, we interact with these people daily. We’re not civilians on the street. If you don’t make a living in the entertainment world, you sure lose your shit when you see George Lucas, or Brad Pitt, or Haley Barry. But remember, you, a filmmaker, acting like “that” is sort of like zookeeper getting “all hyped” at the sight of a lion. Trust me, you’ll be seeing them everyday.

2) Only ask for a picture if you’re sure you’ll never work with them again OR you won’t be working with them anytime soon.

There was a celebrity I worked with recently that I was pretty excited to meet. He’s a very funny comedian I won't say who it was. I actually wanted a picture, which is weird for me because I hardly do. But then I realized I’d more than likely be working with the dude again in a few weeks on another show. And wouldn’t you know it, I will be. If you’re on a one-day commercial with Denzel, sure you can ask for a picture. But if you’re on 3-month shoot with the guy don’t go asking for a photo op on the first day.

3) NEVER, NEVER, ask for a photo during the last day of production, on the way to set, OR right after they’ve wrapped.

These are easy ones. If you’ve been working all damn day, under hot ass lights, dressed in clothes you’d normally never wear, would you want to stick around any longer than you had to? Hell. No. They wanna get changed and they wanna go home. So never ever slow that process for them.

If they’re going to set, let them go to set. You stopping to take a “selfie” slows down the whole production. And if it’s a multiple day shoot, ask two days or one day before the last day. Everyone and they grandmother is going to ask on the last day. Don’t be that guy or girl.

4) Never take a photo with a celebrity too close to your own age or significantly younger than you.**

If you’re old enough to be their damn father or mother, don’t do it. How does a grown ass man/woman look take a picture with Selena Gomez or Justin Bieber. And the thing to remember about celebrities your own age or close, is you two are peers for God’s sake. I’d never ask Drake for a photo or any other celebrity that I could have went to high school with. This is especially true in your 20s because it just points out the fact that you’re the same age BUT for whatever reason they’re doing a lot better than you in life.

*Athletes from your favorite team is fine no matter the age gap.
* Now when you’re in your 40s and they in there 40s, fuck it. If you’re not “there” yet you’ll probably never get “there” so who cares right.

Monday, March 24, 2014

The Seven Simple Truths Lakers Fans NEED to Face

Who are these people?!

How long has it been since the Los Angeles Lakers have been THIS bad? It’s not just that the Lakers are bad, it’s that they’re genuinely not interesting. Back in 2004-05, the year after LA traded Shaq to Miami, the Lakers finished 34-48 and missed the playoffs. They sucked but we had YOUNG Kobe. We had hope because we had the best player in the league and even if the team sucked, Kobe was gunning for 35 points a night and that was at least interesting.

The Lakers are as hopeless and uninteresting as the damn Bobcats right now. There are too many things to talk about as far as fixing the team, but that is not what this article is about. This post is about Lakers fans. Now, I fancied myself a diehard until saw the things some fans were saying about this team. This season has really helped me understand why people hate the Lakers and it’s fans.

Lakers fans are as passionate as it gets and winning has spoiled some of us beyond reality. I’m not a fan of Duke in college basketball, or the Yankees in baseball, or the Cowboys in football but I am a Lakers fans and get why people hate these type of teams. They win, and they win a lot (Not recently in the case of any of these teams anyway.) Winning breeds jealousy. So I get it, but the complete irrationality of some Lakers fans have become too much to stomach. So as a completely rational fan I figured it’s time to SCHOOL my fellow Lakers lovers. Remember I do this because I care. (This list is in NO particular order.)


Last year even with a healthy Kobe, (until D’Antoni ran him into the ground like a mad jockey riding a Shetland Pony in Kentucky Derby) and semi-healthy Dwight Howard, LA BARELY made it to the playoffs. This collection of players in LA is SOOO bad that even with two of the top 10 players in the league last season LA was only an 8-seed and STILL got sweep in the 1st round.  THAT’S HOW BAD LA IS!
Get use to seeing this face and THOSE type of scores.

There are ZERO trades to make, no marquee free agents are talking about coming to LA, no sure fire franchise player in the draft (ala no Duncan, Shaq, or LeBron. Anthony Davis was the last one.) and our best player, Kobe, is coming off the worst injury possible. This is not a quick fix situation. Get all those fantasies of every player and their grandmothers coming to LA. Irving isn't coming. Melo isn't coming. And at least not next season, Love isn't coming. You know who is coming back? Mike D'Antoni.

2.  Kobe IS NOT the best player in the league and HASN’T been for awhile.

This is one of the hardest things for LA fans to admit, but let’s have a moment Lakers Nation. Let me talk to you for a second. I love Kobe. Dude’s easily my favorite player ever, but I love the name on the FRONT of jersey far more than I do Kobe Bryant. The Lakers were great before Kobe and will be after Kobe. Now if you honestly think a 35 year-old shooting guard with 18 seasons, 45,000 minutes played, that's coming off of THE WORST INJURY IN SPORTS, is the best player in the NBA, then… well then you’re just fucking crazy. Kobe can’t stay in front of cardboard cutout anymore defensively and he’s basically the NBA equivalent of a DH in baseball. And I’m going to assume after what happened when he did come back, another injury, this is going to KEEP happening.
Like all of Laker Nation, I love Kobe too,
but some fans are like mama bears protect cubs.

It’s not that I’m “hating” on Kobe, but merely pointing out the fact that he’s just old. Something he's been for a minute but now he's old AND hurt. But there’s nothing wrong with that. This stage of a player's career happens to everyone. He’s got nothing left to prove to me, you or anyone. One of the best ever, but currently NOT the best. Right now today as of March 25, 2013 I can name about 15 players I’d rather have. And the same was true of Michael Jordan in March of 2003 when he was on the Wizards.


Want to hear something really messed up? NBA players are underpaid. Now that sounds crazy saying that people who are running around bouncing a ball playing a game and getting paid millions of dollars are underpaid but check this out. Yankees first baseman Mark Teixeira would be the 2nd highest paid player in the league. When a guy that's not even the best player on his team and not one of best 25-50 players in all of baseball makes more that all but one player in the NBA that’s an issue.

That being said, Kobe has been WELL compensated for his services to the Purple and Gold. LA shouldn’t be paying anyone, even Kobe, for PAST performance. I could see giving him this deal if Kobe got "short changed" early on in his prime but he didn't. In fact, Kobe’s the highest paid player this season, still brings in more dollars off the court than anyone else and his total career earnings are top three ever.

 In a salary cap driven league, tying that much money to one player is already stupid, but to gurantee that much money to a player coming off injury, his 17th season, and who got injured as soon as he came back for the aforementioned injury was damn near negligent. Paying Kobe all that money is like putting an all-you-can-eat seafood buffet in a strip joint; it’s just an all around bad idea and no wins. But if you still aren’t convinced, ask yourself this; if Lakers brass could go back in time and do that deal again, do they do it?

BONUS: Kobe's 5 Rings AREN'T A VALID REASON TO SAY HE'S BEST. By that logic, Robert Worry was better than him and Jordan.

4. LeBron James is the best player in the NBA, has been for a while and the gap between him and next best is not close. 

I’m 90 percent sure most of you just stopped reading, but saying LeBron James isn’t the best is akin to saying water isn’t wet or fire isn’t hot. It’s just illogical. Dude has the 3rd highest scoring average EVER. EVER. There haven’t been 5 players ever than can average 27 points, 8 boards and 8 assists a game,

Sorry, but right now and, for the pass three seasons,
the guy in black has been better.
You remember how crazy people looked bashing Kobe when he was dropping 81 or when he dropped 50 six games in row? Remember how completely petty those people looked because they weren't judging Kobe on his ON COURT ABILITY? Lakers fans, we look the same way when we say LeBron sucks. Lakers fans are OBSESSED with bashing LeBron like racists republicans are with bashing President Obama.

Look, I didn't like Michael Jordan growing up. Mainly because my first real lasting memory of my Lakers involved MJ killing LA in five games during the Bulls first title. That being said I at least recognized MJ's greatness. So why can’t we just do that with LBJ? It’s like getting to watch Jordan, or Magic, or Wilt. We’re watching an all timer, at his peak no less, and even though he’s not a Laker, we can still recognize game.

5. The Miami Heat are NOT a rival for the Lakers!

How many times has LA and Miami met in the Finals? I’ll wait…. Oh the answer's zero you say! That’s why LA and Miami are NOT RIVALS. The Lakers have NEVER been eliminated from the playoffs by the Heat. That's why seeing Lakers fan rooting for the Spurs in Finals last season after they (the Spurs) waxed the floor with LA in round one was crazy to me. How many times has LA tasted the bitterness of defeat at the hand of Duncan and the Spurs?

Spurs, Celtics, and Clippers are far more natural rivals as there is PLAYOFF HISTORY BETWEEN THE TEAMS. (Clippers not so much, but they’re in same building so…) Those games mean more, so until a bond is forged in the heat (pardon the pun) of playoff fires, l look at the Miami Heat like Muhammad Ali looked at the Vietnam War in 1969. “Ain’t no Viet Cong ever call me nigger.” “Ain’t no Heat ever stopped my team from winning a title.”

6. All our problems are NOT Jim Buss’ fault.

The funny thing is Jim Buss has been in charge of things for the Lakers longer than you think. Who do you think drafted Bynum? Or helped with the Gasol trade? He’s done some great things for LA. Sure the Lakers are a mess right now, but it’s not from a lack of effort on Buss' part. He DID trade for Chris Paul. He DID trade for Dwight Howard.
This is a shadow few men could get out of.
Cut Jim Buss some slack. He's following the best ever.
Both were smart/box office moves at the time. The Paul failure was not his fault and Howard just wasn’t built for LA. He’s (Buss) a problem, but let us not forget that the dude tried to stop this from happening, Had David Stern and the NBA not owned the Hornets, Paul is STILL here and at the time we hadn’t traded Bynum so we clearly would have flipped him for Howard. On a team of Howard, Paul and Kobe, Kobe's still alpha dog and LA has pieces in place after Kobe retires. Didn't work out but he did try.

7. Our 16 titles mean jackshit right now.

I get it, I get it. It’s about team pride and blah, blah, blah. But just like I don’t let Cowboys fans, or Norte Dame fans, use PAST GLORY to talk about their team's CURRENT circumstances, we can’t use it either. We suck right now. Magic ain’t walking through the tunnel. Shaq ain’t walking through the tunnel and neither are those titles.

Look Lakers fans, we’ve been on the top of the mountain so long that our heads are spinning from the lack of oxygen so I get why some of y'all are nuts. We can’t always be good. We can't get every free agent. And we can't win the title every season. I know this wasn't easy to read but someone needed to say it. Every team has to go through this. Now it’s our time to go through it, but it's tough because we're Lakers fans. We NEVER go through this. We’re at the bottom but if history holds true…That won’t last too long.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

The Twisted Confessions and Atramentous Musings of A "Broke" Writer (Opening)

Most days are a battle. A battle that is an amaranthine and fruitless struggle to overcome an enemy that’s as ever-present as a shadow and as unforgiving as a scorn lover. Myself. Like most good writers, and yes I fancy myself quite masterful with the written word, my worst enemy is myself. There’s always this ineradicable self-doubt and apprehensive feeling that clouds the anterior of my mind. It’s the brief moments where optimism shines through like sunrays on a cloudy day that I outwit myself and create. Like now.

Fiction writers are by nature a pretentious bunch of bastards that think far too much about words, worlds, things, and people that don’t exist. It’s a tortured life spent creating, changing, re-creating, then changing again, then again… then again. Most are so fearful of rejection and ridicule that they’re forced to hide their work like an overprotective mother bear. Not me. It’s one of the several “writer’s tropes/stereotypes” I’ve managed to escape. I figure, the ultimate goal of creating is to SHARE.  I freely and openly like to SHARE my work. Be it half-done, completed, or a single idea. I’m always looking to SHARE! Not to be praised, like so many others mistake or confuse, but to SHARE. To have other people experience and absorb my creations. Whether that work is love, loathed or something in-between is not for me to decide. The individual experience is just that; an INDIVIDUAL experience. I’m just the provider.

I’m starting to appreciate the grievance that is writing. The loneliness, the doubt, the excitement, the judgment, the whole kit, bang, and caboodle that is being a writer. I’ve said it before, but this is not a path for everyone. I wouldn’t suggest anyone do “this” for a “living”. SERIOUSLY! DON’T TRY THIS SHIT AT HOME! This is the greatest, and I mean GREATEST, risk versus reward career I could possibly fathom. There are more days than a few (and I even feel like this on GOOD days.) that I seriously question my decision. There are ZERO guarantees. There is a TON of established talent, upcoming talent, and future talent to compete with. There are people FAR LESS TALENTED than me that WILL succeed. People FAR MORE TALENTED than me that WILL succeed. 

Talented as I maybe, there’s a very good chance that all of “this” will be a waste of time. I have to live with that doubt DAILY. But you know what, I gladly do. My life’s journey is one in which something so friable and fatuous as “writing” is totally worth it. That is partly what this blog will serve as. As a way to give you an inside look of the thoughts on a writer. Some days I’ll talk about the outside factors (good and bad), how relationships affect my writing, or what it’s like to write comedy, or how I interact with other writers, or interviews with other writers, or what it’s like when someone likes my work, or when someone doesn’t. Some will be funny. Some will be sad. Some happy and others just plain weird. Who knows? Either way it should be semi-interesting. Or least I think so.