True story, which happened yesterday. I was at the Chicago Merchandise Mart having lunch with my wife and mother, and saw next to us three young folks - a guy and two girls, definite hipster artist types - who were having lunch and hanging out. I overheard the young man talking about how he was having a tough time finding a job, how employers just don’t seem to “get him.” His two friends consoled him by calling the world bullshit, etc.. It’s nice to have friends.
After fifteen minutes I saw them going through what looked like a series of headshots, that the young man was talking about a film he was helping put together. He was a filmmaker! I love meeting filmmakers in Chicago, because unlike Los Angeles, New York, Austin or New Orleans, we’re quite a rare bird in this town. I saw one particular headshot on his table - a striking redhead - who fit the profile of a character in a short film I’d been assembling with a friend, who happened to be a fellow Sundance Institute alum.
I excused myself from my table and walked over to the young man and introduced myself as a filmmaker who was putting a film together, and that I couldn’t help but notice one of his headshots. I told him that I’m a Sundance alum who’s directed features, just to reassure him that I wasn’t some hack weirdo. He didn’t say a word back, but started thumbing through the headshots until he got to the young lady who caught my eye. “That’s the one,” I said.
He did a silly giggle and shrugged his shoulders and said “that’s my girlfriend.” There wasn’t any contact information on her headshot and it looked like she was just starting her journey as an actress. I asked him if she had an agent, and at this time this guy’s friends keep talking to him while I’m trying to have a conversation with him, and he starts having a conversation with them right back - in the middle of my conversation with him about a possible huge break for his girlfriend, and I was at the time feeling generous enough to possibly ask him if he would be interested in joining the shoot as a PA or paid intern, because I like to help filmmakers. I would only want someone to do the same for me.
"Ahem. Does your girlfriend have an agent I could contact?
He doesn’t look at me.
So this guy could care less, talking about french fries with his two lady friends, who they themselves couldn’t care less that a Sundance Institute feature filmmaker was talking to their friend, when they just consoled him that the world is bullshit and doesn’t get him. So I have to remind him that I’m standing there with a headshot of his girlfriend in my hands, and I ask if he could give me HIS email so that he can pass my information on to her. I figured it would be weird for a random guy to ask for a lady’s contact, so I wanted to reassure him by having him be the gatekeeper. He’s her boyfriend, after all.
I took out my cell phone and pulled up a notepad and looked at him, waiting to get his email and her name. He again forgets that I’m there and goes back to speaking with his friends, and I have to sternly ask “can I get your email.” Not looking at me, he utters out a name and an email address. I feign appreciation and walk back to my table, and watch them talk as if nothing ever happened.
So here’s a small lesson for aspiring filmmakers, or just about anyone looking for a job in any career. When someone comes up to you and is in your industry, engage them. You don’t have to drop everything, but acknowledge them and take two minutes of your precious time to find out who they are and where they’re coming from. Sure they could be bullshit but there’s also the chance they’re not. You never know. I certainly don’t come off as crazy and I told this guy my credentials, and there’s always the possibility that I’m a liar. But if I were in that guy’s shoes, and I was hungry for work in the film industry, I’d show some interest and ask questions and say a little about myself. That’s just me. And you. And any other sane person.
And here’s also a small lesson for aspiring boyfriends. If your girlfriend is an aspiring actress or aspiring anything, do everything you can to help her out. She’d probably appreciate it. Now I don’t even feel like contacting this girl because I don’t want to deal with her douchebag boyfriend, who probably won’t even forward my email on to her.
Fucking hipsters. Act like the world doesn’t get them, that we should all make a better effort to understand them because they’re so special and unique. And lo, when someone who does understand them comes to them - which rarely if ever fucking happens in life, by the way - and you act like you’re Brett Fucking Ratner and don’t even show any interest and initiative in your own career or even your own girlfriend, then good luck to you. I’m sure you’re a genius and the MacArthur foundation will find you and offer a Genius Grant, but you’ll probably ignore them and say you hate PBS because Downton Abbey totally fucking sold out.
Man I’ve never been this irritated in a long time. I hate it when people squander opportunities, when they show zero passion or zeal for the medium that I’ve sacrificed so much for, that I’m willing to take a fucking bullet for. I felt insulted as I watched this guy put a $900 pair of Sennheiser headphones on his head and walk away with his pair of give-a-shit friends. Argh. Can’t let this bother me, but it so does.
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- fcc101 said: What an ass.. Im sorry you had to go through that. Its all about building relationships in this business…
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- theladygoogle said: Jesus Chirst! I wouldn’t put it down to his being a hispter, I would put it down to him being an entitled asshole. Some boyfriend!
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- igotssomethingtosay said: This doesn’t surprise me at all. The world of indie film is rotten with hipsters, who somehow end up getting more credibility than real filmmakers who work their asses off.
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- bloodyenochian said: This seems more like a case of people wanting to be models and actors because it’s a “cool” thing to be and it makes them look all artsy and mysterious, but they don’t actually want to work in the industry. I suppose you totally freaked them out
- helms-deep said: Yeah…he’s not going to go very far with that attitude, in filmmaking, in life, and especially with his girlfriend. What a jerk.
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