Living with actors
July 2, 2001
This is a public service announcement, brought to you by Clark Schpiell Productions.
Apart from being a website designer, sometime writer, and a rapier-witted man-about-town, I'm also an actor. I say this to you now partly because I'm proud of it -- I've done a lot of really good work, and not every actor can say that -- and partly because, sitting day after day in my cubicle at "the job I have that pays my rent," I sometimes need to say it aloud, just to remind myself. Or, in this case, in writing. More specifically, in digitized typing. Anyway...
I also say this now because it is important to my story. The guy who sits next to me at work (whose father, BTW, is one of the principle actors in the Star Wars movies) is also trained as an actor. Thing is, he doesn't act anymore, at all (by choice, mind you, not like the 100,00 other actors in LA who don't work, ever, despite a burning, or at least itching, desire). I asked him if he ever wanted to act again, in theater or whatever. He replied that, while he might consider doing a play if he had time, he'd no desire to work ever again in TV or film. I asked why. His answer:
"No offense, man, but I really can't stand to be around actors."
Well, I did not take offense. I consider myself a renaissance man -- a man of striking talent and intelligence who expresses himself through all manners of science and art, acting most prominently, so I know in my heart of hearts that, when people are badmouthing, say, actors or web-geeks or athsmatics, they are not talking about me.
But I did understand what he meant. I have lot of actor friends, but most of those are, like me, folk-of-many-trades. I have also been around a lot of actors who make me, like this fellow, queasy at the thought of one more conversation about the time Nadia Aleyd almost cast them on Grosse Pointe. But, unlike this fellow, I've learned, as a renaissance man, how to tolerate and even enjoy the company of this sort of actor. You just have to play to their weaknesses.
For instance, I like to play sports with this sort of actor, especially stage actors who fall in this category. (NOTE: there are breeds of actors in LA who are less actors and more athletes-who-can-remember-lines. There are also those, like Tom Sellek, who are both excellent actors and great athletes. I don't play sports with those actors. In these cases, I'd suggest a rousing competition of who-can-design-a-stretchy-nested-tables-based-website-fastest.) Nothing like good game of softball or basketball where you are the star player to make you feel really good about yourself and really enjoy the company of pretty people who spent their entire childhoods in dance classes instead of playing catch with the neighbor kids. Of course, this only works if you are at least a slightly-better-than-average-athlete. However, you could apply this in other places as well -- if you are a good chess player, you might be able to make yourself feel superior to, say, the cast of V.I.P., but only if your eyes are closed.
This may not be the right answer for everyone. Some people don't relish the idea of feeling superior to others. Don't ask, I don't understand either. Here's a quick test to find out if this will work for you:
You enter yourself in a Trivial Pursuit tournament, only to find out it is actually a tournament catering to the mentally retarded (you never saw the poster, which sported the clever tag line, "Trivia for 'Tards"). Do you:
- a) participate anyway, play hard, kick ass, and taunt the losers with catcalls and lewd gestures.
- b) participate, but do your best to blend in, putting on a stunning performance and winning only by a few pie pieces, basking in the applause from the crowd as the media names you a champion for the handicapped.
- c) participate anyway, but throw the game at the last moment in order to massage the down-trodden ego of your mentally-challenged opponent.
- d) quietly recuse yourself and make a small donation to the Special Olympics
If you answered A, you are a stand-up comedian (more about that another time).
If B was your choice, get outta my head, man. Seriously, you are the perfect person to engage in my actor-loving strategy.
If you chose C, you're probably a Communist, what with your clearly underdeveloped, positively un-American anemic sense of competition. Why don't you go join your Communist friends in Communania!!
If you answered, "D," you are lying. If you truly feel this way, you do not belong on this website.
I hope this has been helpful, both to my co-worker, and others who shun the stage just because actors make them sick. In fact, this can be applied to almost any area in life. Remember, if you can manage to fell just a little bit superior all of the time, you never need dislike anyone.
This has been a public service announcement.