Los Angeles

Hollywood Life

January 16, 2006

I’ve worked on Hollywood movie sets for over ten years and the last year, since living in the Los Angeles area, been more heavily involved. I started with the top people, met more along the way, work with a-listers, chat them up at the local cafe, wave hi to them in Brentwood and generally have seen pretty much everyone. The only time I’ve ever been tongue tied was meeting the Gilmore Girls Grandpa but I think it had very little to do with actually Hollywood and celebrity. I kid you not, with everyone else it’s literally been just everyone else.

I remember when the television show The Insider was first going live and I was brought down by their media department to interview. Seems my ability to write, work with people and who I knew was reason I was sought out. And whilst there on set, I remember an actor coming over to me and just demanding a crap load of stuff. I looked at him and said, “Are you kidding me with this?” And he replied, “Don’t you know who I am?” To which I responded, “No, actually, I don’t” and walked off. I ended up turning down the job because I didn’t understand the fascination with celebrities and I didn’t want to perpetuate it.

I’m all for giving respect but not giving out adoration or jumping just because someone’s been on some series. I do not read gossip mags, watch television shows about celebrities and I’m not on the up and up of who’s dating who. I love, adore, swoon over being on a film set. I adore great, wonderful movies and working with a cast and crew. But I am so unbelievably over and annoyed with the whole Hollywood Obsession.

This comes about because today I was driving through the back streets of Beverly Hills to get home and the streets were cornered off and police were everywhere. I was told I could get out through a barricade just down the road and while I was stopped, I saw what all the fuss was for.

There was a pre-Golden Globe even at the Beverly HIlton and in another back street beside me was all the limo’s coming to pull into the hotel. Limos and town cars with black rolled up windows and on the other side was a horde of people. Screaming. Waving. Crying. Pleading. Not for a specific car, but for any car that looked like someone. They just wanted to be seen by someone, recognised by someone, be acknowledged by someone. And not someone who seriously means anything, but by someone who lives in a make believe world that they fantatsise about joining.

And that scene made my heart break. Literally.

Months ago there was a woman visiting my neighbour. She sat outside to talk on her cell phone to her friends back home. “Guess what!” she cried with so much excitement, “You’ll never believe who we saw today! URKEL!”. I didn’t know who Urkel was but when I found out, I found it sad that that character and the person who played him, made this poor woman feel special. It made her whole trip out to Los Angeles worth it.

A few years ago, when I was receiving between 500-800 emails a day I did my best to reply to as many as possible. And 90% of the time when I’d reply, I’d get weird fan mails back saying, “I never thought you’d reply!” People had me on some kind of pedestal and some how received validation from me writing them back. It bothered me greatly to have fans or “minions” (the die hard people who live vicariously through my site, follow my every word and want to be me in ways that are flattering but scary. And they do this to a lot of people). I don’t want anyone to measure their life against mine. I don’t want anyone to think I can make things better by saying hi or that they are “cool kids” because they know me. That’s just absolutely retarded.

I’ve learned to keep my mouth shut about who I’m friends with and who I work with outside of the industry (inside the industry it totally works by who you know). If I say I am working on a movie set people always want to know who it’s with. When I worked in a corporate office no one ever asked me who my boss was or who sat next to me. Why does some celebrity make it cooler? Why does it make me special?

There’s a fascination with Hollywood that I just can’t accept – I understand it but I just can’t accept it. People reading Star Magazine and gossiping about people they don’t know – not taking two seconds to think about how they’d feel to have their life under a microscope or having to answer how they feel about politics when they know shit. I don’t understand looking up to Hollywood People. Trust me people, they don’t have the answers. They have scripts. And managers. And stylists.

Within Hollywood, I accept how it works. I accept the layers and the protocols and I go along with it because I really love the movie making process. I’m not out to change that, it’s an institution good and back, but I’d love more than anything to change people obsess and celebrate Celebrities. I’d rather people’s sense of worth come from within themselves and things they do – rather than against some imaginary or vicarious life of someone else.

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