Sunday, October 16, 2005
How did I Get Here?
For as long as I can remember I have wanted to work in Hollywood. Some people go their entire lives without ever knowing what they want to do with lives. I have always known. Of course at five years old I wanted to be a stuntman, but its in the same ballpark.
So, after sitting through "Battleship Potemkin" and "Intolerance" countless times, after studying the history, symbolism and cultural impact of film on the world - someone tell me how I ended up sitting in a room watching 30 girls in fishnets shake their ass?
Before I am hunted down and killed let me make one thing perfectly clear - I love what I do for a living. I love almost every part of it. I am paid well to work with talented people, to meet every celebrity known to man, to travel all around the country - I know I could be working on an assembliy line, I could be doing construction or any number of physically demanding, difficult jobs. I am well aware I am in no position to complain...
But I will.
Sometimes my job makes me feel downright scummy.
The first time was when I was in Cancun. Mexico (I know, already you're saying "Shut the fuck up you ungrateful bastard,") producing three episodes of the Jerry Springer Show for MTV's Spring Break. The creative was a "King & Queen" of Spring Break type thing. Basically an excuse for skin. Fine, it's what Spring Break is all about.
All my coworkers were teasing me constantly about having landed this assignment. Anyone who knows me knows I am not a "stripper" guy, I am not into sitting around watching porn, and I am not one to yell out "Hey baby," from a moving vehicle. My coworkers, on the other hand, were. Case in point - my school buddies threw me a bachelor party and knowing I wouldn't be into strippers and ho's, we spent the night gambling in Atlantic City. My work friends found the idea of a bachelor party without strippers so deplorable, two nights later they kidnapped me and dragged me to "Private Eyes." It's a long story but let's just say I got several lap dances from an openly anti-semetic stripper with a European accent. Oh joy.
So there I am in Cancun, and I am already sure I am going to hell for the stunts and games I have created for this show. I have dug deep and awakened the slumbering Frat Boy inside me. We are planning on making bikinis out of food, having guys write words in lipstick on their partner's behind, then having them press their ass up to glass to transfer the word so they can read it. I am going straight to hell. From a producing standpoint I do have a major concern - how the hell are we going to get students to actually do this stuff?
Well, DUH. At the auditions I would start things off by playing music and asking the kids (I was three years older, but they were still "kids") to dance. I wanted to see how inhibited they would be. Well, 4 seconds into the first audition I had 52 naked college students grinding each other and twisting into positions that would make Caligula blush. There was actual penetration. I swear to God, all I was thinking was, "Their parents paid for their daughters to have a nice week in Cancun and little do they know their little girls are a bunch of hobags doing a 69 in public on some guy they just met at Senior Frog's."
Needless to say, the show was the highest rated Spring Break show in 4 years.
So, back to the 30 girls shaking their asses...
My current project is producing a show called, "Nick Cannon Presents Wild n' Out." It is an improv comedy show - kind of a hip hop version of "Whose Line Is It, Anyway?"
Besides the cast of improv players there are 20 "Wild n' Out Girls." These are basically hot girls who function as cheerleaders, waitresses, Vanna Whites and Hooters girls all rolled into one. It is time to cast this season's girls.
Now, to me, the only thing creepier than innocent kids grinding on a beach for 6 seconds of airtime, is when men are completely objectifying women, and the women know it and it's why they are there. Another reason I am not a stripper guy - the fact that you are there to gauk at them and these women are there, with quiet contempt, to be gawked at - I don't know, it makes my skin crawl.
So we tell our casting director that we need "hot girls" and she lines up 42 of them. We bring them into the room 3 or 4 at a time. The first group comes in. They are all Asian, all looked used like the prostitutes from "Full Metal Jacket" and are wearing practically nothing. They speak with such thick accents if I imitated them you would think I was mocking all Asian people...and I would be. All of their "L's" are "R's" like the waiters in "A Christmas Story" - "Fa Rah Rah Rah Rah, Rah Rah, Rah Rah."
We talk them. What are their interests, do any of them haver acting experience, what do they like to do in their free time - WHY? WE ASKED THEM THERE BECAUSE THEY ARE "HOT," AND THEY KNOW THIS BUT WE BOTH PLAY THIS LITTLE GAME UNTIL WE ASK THEM TO DO WHAT THE JOB ENTAILS...
We put on a boombox and ask them to shake their asses.
I am sitting there, staring at these sad, sad, girls with fake boobs and stretch marks thinking, "One day my daughters are going to ask what I do for a living. Do I have to disclose this?"
With each group of girls I sank lower and lower in my seat. The obligatory 2 minutes of conversation, then they shake their ass. It's like asking a hooker, "So, do you, uh, go to school or anything?" cause you feel the need to be human in some way before you give her money to blow you...or so I imagine.
And to make matters worse, these girls are so dumb. Being objectified is the only shot they have. We asked each of them to tell us something about themselves. Here is a random sampling:
- If I look at polka dots I puke. My brother too. We are like, dot phobic or something.
- I can put my leg behind my head, you know, like, if you need me to.
- I sorry. What you say?
- I've seen your show. It's really awesome. You are hilarious. (She was talking to the casting assistant. Our host, Nick, was three feet away.)
- I take lots of classes about lots of important stuff.
Three hours of this. I was going to write socially conscious, deeply meaningful films (not movies, films), direct them myself and collect Oscars like others collect stamps. I was going to be an artist will a deep yearning to create, to make the world re-examine themselves and everything they believed in...
How did I get here?
at 10:50 PM