Sunday, September 25, 2016

thoughts about being a background performer

I decided to become an actress after a lot of inner child work, after deciding that I *was* an actress, had always been an actress, and needed to work at doing what God made me to be, rather than trying to be what my father wanted me to be.  Here's a related blog

Some people think this is because I must always have had an acting dream -- no, though I always did make up stories and act them out alone in my home -- a hobby I was very embarrassed about.  Some people think that this career change is because I'm in love with acting -- no, not exactly.  It's who I am.  This is me.  I'm doing it because it is me.

But getting to the point where one actually can make a living as a performer is not easy.  Most acting jobs pay poorly.  If you're non-union, they're about $100/day -- and they don't pay you for the time you spend learning your lines.  You have to do that on your own time.

Getting roles with lines is not so easy, either.  It's easier to get background gigs.  They also pay you about $100/day for non-union background, but you don't get lines, typically don't get IMDB credit, may not even get your face on the screen.  You might be a sleeve, or a blur of color at the edge of the screen.  One time the deal was that non-union got IMDB credit, but didn't get paid, while union people got paid. You're not allowed to tell anyone that you've been on that movie or TV show, at least not until after it's out.  You can't mention the gig on social media.  On a lot of sets there aren't enough bathrooms or enough lunch (which is normally provided).  

You have to bring your own clothes also.  They want you to bring lots of choices.  They don't want to have to pay for wardrobe for you.  Often you have to sit in a folding chair in a very crowded room, without enough space around you for all the luggage they had you bring, with the changes of clothes.  I was on one set where there weren't even enough chairs, but they wouldn't let us sit on the floor either.

I've also been subjected to frightening air quality issues: spray on makeup -- which means you're inhaling pigment; plastic snow, which fractured and became airborne after 3 hours of dumping the stuff, so that I was covered with fine plastic dust, which I'm sure was in my lungs as well; closed windows and no ventilation so that we were all falling asleep from excess carbon dioxide.  And you can't complain.  There are too many people who want those jobs. 

One time I saw an ad that kept repeating for a background performer to bring a Mini Cooper.  Like why don't they rent the mini cooper?  It's cheaper to get a background performer, desperate for work, to bring one in.  It sounded like they weren't finding one that way, tho.

When you're a background performer, sometimes you're on set with someone famous.  You're not supposed to talk to them.  You're especially not supposed to ask for an autograph or a selfie.  

It's pretty jealousy inducing.  You might be in a crowd of hundreds of background performers, many of whom have degrees in theater, and there's only one star, who might be making as much money as all the background performers put together, and certainly is getting more attention.

But, then, I thought about what I'm trying to get out of this.  I'm trying to be the true me, not the me that my father might have envisioned. 

Part of the true me has been a longstanding resistance to things like makeup, jewelry, hair dye.  I don't like this idea that women's natural appearance is defective, that the solution for this problem is purchasing items from a merchant to cover the woman's natural appearance. 

I realized that when I'm on camera, even as a background performer, my undyed hair might be visible; my face with no makeup (or as little as the makeup artists feel comfortable putting on) might be visible; my hands with no rings, etc.  

Even though my brief appearance doesn't seem significant, it might influence someone.  Someone might say to herself "Look.  That woman isn't wearing makeup and doesn't have her hair dyed -- and she's in a movie. Maybe I don't have to do those things either. Maybe it's OK to just be the way God made me.  Maybe I don't have to pay some company money I don't really have to sell me so called 'beauty products'." And, if I'm background in a lot of different shows, I might influence more people.

That made me feel better.  Maybe -- even if I'm feeling insignificant, underpaid, and under-appreciated -- I'm still accomplishing something.

[mystery.  Why is the end of this blog in white type, while the rest is black? I didn't change anything]

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Watching Hillary be Strafed

There was that famous incident where Hillary claimed to have been strafed in Eastern Europe and there were videos showing that she was not strafed.  Hillary’s haters cite that as evidence that she is a liar.

I see it more as a metaphor for her world view.  She feels strafed.  She wears a facial expression that makes it look as if she is being strafed.  She speaks in a tone of voice of someone who is constantly being strafed. 

In fact, she is constantly being strafed — constantly being attacked over incidents that are not worthy of attack.

She recently famously told this story about being harassed during the LSAT.  Some critics claimed that the graduate deferment was ended that year, so that these alleged events made no sense.  They concluded that she was lying. 

Of course, we can’t go back to that LSAT and see what really happened.  It was before the days of ubiquitous video surveillance.  Unless, a guilty party should have a twinge of conscience and confess, we’re not likely ever to really know.  Was she harassed?  Were the offensive parties not aware of the end of graduate deferments? Did she perhaps take her LSATs a year earlier than the critics are suggesting?  Were the offensive parties perhaps hoping that the graduate deferment would be reinstated so that they believed what they were saying, even tho it turned out to be moot?  Does she really remember false events, because her perception of being constantly strafed manufactures these memories?  Or is she really lying?

Lying implies that she knows that what she is saying is false. Many people believe and say false things for many reasons.  This doesn’t mean that they are lying.  That’s my impression of Hillary.

I find the alleged scandals surrounding her to be horrifying in the inappropriateness of the accusations.

I do not find her reckless in her use of confidential information in e-mails.  A few e-mails that were inappropriately marked may have been forwarded inappropriately, but it is not at all clear that she noticed, or should have noticed that they were classified.  Moreover, to me, reckless is if you take a file and put open on a bar and then go dancing, leaving it open for anyone to read.  If you have a file in a password protected server, and it gets hacked, that’s not reckless.  Even if it had been in the government servers it still might have been hacked.  There is a huge difference between a mistake or carelessness and recklessness.

I do not find her irresponsible for what happened in Benghazi.  She asked for more funding for security.  Republicans are diverting attention from their own refusal to provide more funds for security by accusing her.

Moreover, these things happen.  The good news is that most people in the world respect diplomacy and most embassies and diplomatic personnel are not attacked.  I suspect more foreign diplomatic personnel have been killed in the USA, due to crime, than have been killed in Libya.  Still, sometimes diplomatic personnel are attacked.  People who take these posts know that that can be a risk, especially in a place like Libya.  The sister of one of the men killed has pointed out that her husband knew that he was at risk and chose to stay. Chris Stevens Sister on Benghazi

Pillorying Hillary over this detracts from the heroism of State Department personnel who go into these types of environments. They are heroes. 

Then comes the Clinton Foundation.  Kos about the Clinton Foundation  Charity Watch rating of the Clinton Foundation

This marvelous charity supplies half the AIDS medications that are distributed in the world. They have literally saved the lives of millions of people.  Countries donate to it because it provides services that they may have difficulty providing themselves. 

You don’t want Hillary to meet with donors?  Maybe you want all those people in the 3rd world to die of AIDS instead?

Still, this is where I get into what inspired me to write this blog in the first place.  I was having one of those fantasies of what Hillary should say, again.  Clinton Fantasies blog

I had a re-imagining of what she would say about the Fernando thing

[sad, wistful smile] Ah yes, Rajiv,..  I met him because he was a donor.  He impressed me.  He was so creative and charismatic.  [more insistent and sadder] His colleagues impressed me, too.  They said he was so creative, how he could go into a meeting -- cold -- with people who were dealing with a longstanding conflict; and find a solution, almost instantly, that would satisfy everyone.  He reminded me a bit of how I saw Bill when I first met him.  Also, Rajiv's mother was from the sub-continent, where we have 2 new nuclear powers now. I thought, maybe, he could help. 

[looks frustrated, but humorous]  Then of course there was this whole allegation of scandal thing, how he had no national security qualifications, and our appointing him was corrupt — so we had to take him out. 

[thoughtful] You know, the way creative people come into new situations and find solutions that others did not find — that’s not from expertise.  That’s from looking at a problem with fresh eyes — creative eyes.  Curiously, that’s how people feel about Trump that he’s a smart, creative person who will look at problems with new eyes.

[insistent] Unfortunately, I don’t think that Trump’s that person.  He inherited his money.  He didn’t build any successful businesses himself.  His most successful venture is being a TV performer, a comedian.

[wistful, quiet, wondering] But I still wonder what would have happened if Rajiv had stayed on that committee.  Would he have found a creative solution? Would we be living in a safer, happier world right now?

Then I thought about myself as a child, being bullied.  I think I, too, like Hillary, was the sort to feel that I was constantly being strafed, and to look ahead with a hunted expression and not reply to my tormentors.  Perhaps that was part of what encouraged them to continue. 

There’s also this effect of years of smears.  After people repeat them so often, they start to believe what they’re saying more and more.  That’s what happened with Madoff.  Everyone was saying that his fund was such a great place to invest.  After a while, people believed it, when really it was a scam. 

I feel that’s what’s going on with Hillary. People believe malicious gossip, because everyone around them convinces them it’s true.

I guess I’m dreaming of being her speech writer

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Biles & ADHD meds

Well, this is a tricky one.

Russian hackers come out with information about Simone Biles' ADHD meds.

Yes, they were allowed by the rules.  Yes, they were necessary to her as a person.

But did they give her an unfair advantage?

What about another athlete who might have had ADHD, but wasn't diagnosed or prescribed meds?

What about an athlete who could have been diagnosed, but didn't go to a doctor, or couldn't afford to, and bought the meds on the black market?  What if the athlete came from a country with different ideas about mental health care than the USA?

Are ADHD meds necessary for gymnastics?  Or only for school?  Would she have had to take them on the day of the competition?

Did they stunt her growth, making her shorter, and therefore making flips easier?  Was this an unfair advantage in this sport?

This is all sort of ambigous.

Then it there was that cyclist, who said the steroids were related to his cancer treatment, when in fact they weren't -- and all sorts of Tour de France results had to be voided...

Perhaps some more consideration has to be given to these rules.