Sunday, September 5, 2010

I want to PLAY a hooker, not BE a hooker

A few days after I was fired from my piece-of-shit-assistant job, one of the Producer Reps, who works on marketing strategies and promotion of movies, called me. He was apologetic, as everyone was. My fatigue from 4 years of busting my ass and total apathy for being terminated was perceived by most as shock and depression. It wasn't.

I was walking my dogs while on the phone. He asked me what I was going to do for money. This is how the conversation played out:

Respectable Associate: Are you honing your skills?

Me: What do you mean?

Respectable Associate: For cash jobs, you know. To help you get by.

Me: You mean like dog walking and babysitting?

Respectable Associate: No, like massage.

Me: I am not certified. I mean . . . I give my parents massages.

Not Respectable Associate: Well, I don't want you to think of me as your parents. You know, I like to get my back worked on, maybe I could come over . . . I would be naked of course, and you could work on my back . . . then my front. I could give you $100 in cash.

Me: Wait . . . is this like ... a sex thing?

Not Respectable Associate: Are you mad at me?

Me: No. I just want to know what we are talking about here.

Not Respectable Associate: We don't have to do anything you aren't comfortable with.

Me: I am not comfortable with the proposition.

Not Respectable Associate: I really think we had a major miscommunication. I am sorry. Good luck.

The idea of this flabby dirt bag laying on my bed with his genitals pressed up against my sheets as I massaged him . . . my poor cats looking on in distaste- sincerely un-fucking-bearable. My first thought was, "What about me indicated that this was at all appropriate?" I even asked him that. There was no straight answer.

The truth is, it isn't about me. Pretty girls in Los Angeles are championed in many ways, but more often than not, men use sexual acts as collateral in any professional situation. I often wonder if ugly girls can succeed much faster in this city, just because they are judged more on the merit of their work than what they can do to a cock.

When I was seeking distribution for my documentary, a British Distributor (over the age of 60) was introduced to me through my sales rep, who was equally scummy but guaranteed he could sell my movie. I met Britian over drinks and then he asked me to meet him later to discuss possible distribution. Let's just say it ended with Old Man Winter popping me in the face with a peck. I left, unprepared, naive and flustered. He texted me all night with his hotel room number . . . from an international number. Fucker cost me like $11 on my cell phone bill.

I mean, you are soliciting sex from a filmmaker of a political/feminist documentary. Really? I mean . . . really?

I was younger, tipsy & cried. I had my crisis ritual, call Not for Profit. He consoled me. I blew off Britain and informed my sales rep who insisted this has never happened before and would intervene in all communication between me and Limp Dick.

Needless to say, I never got that distribution deal. However, I did secure a deal for DVD release in North America with someone else.

I confided in the guy I was working for at the time, just a week gig of bringing foreign distributors in to discuss some independent movies he owned. I got the job because I am tall and cute. I understand that . . . but after I told this dude about the Britain situation, he said, "Pretty girls have to fuck to get ahead. If you can't do that, you should leave the business now."

. . .

Last Friday, I was supposed to book a job. It was kind of sketchy from the getgo- in terms of it being an unreleased pilot with sexual situations. Girls were asked to improv a scene where they made out with a man; no full nudity or sex. I guess it should be a tip when someone fronts that there will be no sex. OF COURSE THERE IS NO SEX!

It was a paid gig for $100 and I was open minded about it. They were issuing invoices on the day of set, so payment by check also made me slightly uneasy even though that is typical in many legit projects.

Over the course of the following email conversation, I learned that they were full of soft porn shit:

Him: Yes, I will book u, perfect, ill send u info with wardrobe etc, r okay wit wearing casual clothes that will eventually come off, so maybe thong or lingerie?
Sent on the Sprint® Now Network from my BlackBerry®

Me: I don't like thongs. I have some nice lingerie panties I can wear. What is the context of the scene?

Him: Ok well I'm fingering out which role now I can have u play, let me get back to u later 2day

Me: "fingering" nice typo

Him: LOL, *figuring lol..u know wat I meant haha
(4 days later)

Him: So can you come in at 4:30pm on friday?

Me: Yes, can you send me the script so I know what to prepare for?

Him: Just checked out your facebook, wow! it seems like you know how to have a goodtime, well there is not script its all improved, but you will play a wild party girl thats invited over to the hotel to get the party started, with My character and another actor, there will be another girl in the scene as well
Now we just need to go over wardrobe
Ready?

(Just catching that he is the lead actor in this scene now as I write this blog. Nice.)

Me: My Facebook is on private. Is this a legitimate project? I am sure you understand that if there are sexual situations, a professional actress needs to understand the content and its distribution before participating.

Him: Also yes very Legitimate project, wat do u mean Sexual Situations?

Thanks
Charles

(7 minutes later)

Him: If your having 2nd thoughts then maybe this might not be for you idk..

Me: The breakdown mentioned simulated sex. If you don't have any information to provide your actresses about how they will be depicted, then it might not be a job for a professional actress.

Him: Hey, yea I won't be able to use you on this one sorry

Me: bummer.

Him: Everything is mentioned in the email, and im confused on wat your asking, so rather same myself confusion

Me: Typos are usually an indication of the level of professionalism associated with a project. That was the red flag for me, and your lack of preparation for my questions.

I have done nude scenes on professional sets. I know how it works.

Him: Lol, why r u getting offended, I actually do a lot of stuff through my phone so I was probably typing too fast, I'm very professional, well we can try this again, or if u want to pass u can
Sent on the Sprint® Now Network from my BlackBerry®

Me: I am not offended. I was writing in business fashion.
*****
Now . . . if I was 20 and stupid, I wouldn't have picked up on a few red flags.

1) He is writing from the yahoo address tv_pilots@yahoo.com
Throughout the course of our email conversation, his name showed up as "Scott Peterson" nevermind the wife/baby killer correlation. He was signing his emails as Charles.

2) Typos . . . something we used in the flower delivery dot Com business to identify fraud. Mostly because people in Ghana don't have basic English grammar or vocabulary down. If you watch SECRET DIARY OF A CALL GIRL, you know you don't pick up clients that send you typos in their email. I don't know why exactly that is a tip off, but it is. Whether its the lack of professionalism, the state of mind while soliciting someone . . . not sure. But a big, respectable red flag.

3) HE WAS UNDERMINING MY CONCERNS

When I went in for the audition to be a body double in Soderberg's movie, I had to disrobe. The casting
director always told me where and why he was going to touch me before he did. I have been topless in a couple projects, the directors (even Director Dickhead) always spoke to me with sensitivity about the scene beforehand.


Now, before I became an actress, I was used to men undermining my concerns. That is how they could coerce me into sex before Grad school- when I was more worried about hurting someone's feelings than an STD. Or maybe it was the first time I got pregnant in Grad school and did not have strong feelings towards the lover, also my roommate.

Big Head, which is what I called him at the time and sadly the exact opposite of the head not on his shoulders, because my head (though abnormally small) could fit inside his head like a Russian doll. He was a transplant from Michigan who attended Christian rock concerts and thought he was destined to be the white version of the Hughes Brothers. He LOVED black culture, history, music. He was obsessed with the film MENACE TO SOCIETY.


I made love to him out of convenience. I didn't have time to date in film school. It was easy and he didn't annoy me.


I was knocked up a few months later. We had tickets to visit his mother in Michigan. Someone else paid for them, I don't remember if it was him or his mother. She had a slight chill about her, but I think its because she knew I would break her son's heart.


Big Head asked her in private what she thought about me. She only said one thing. "She is very intelligent."

In Michigan, he proposed with no ring over a pita sandwich, which I didn't take very seriously. It only took me a few days to decide I didn't want to have a relationship with Big Head for the rest of my life. I would have to stop film school and settle for a job, mothering the baby of a complete loser. Its a hard decision.
I made one and went in for an abortion. I tried to do the non-surgical method, but my uterus was protecting the fertilized egg and the procedure was unsuccessful. It broke my heart that my body was protecting a fetus I was trying to destroy. It still does.


By consenting to a non-surgical, you sign a legal contract promising to terminate through surgical means if it doesn't work. This is due to likely birth defects from the chemicals used.

I just wanted to do it before the heart started pumping. Before the brain started developing. I couldn't get it done soon enough. I got a last minute appointment and drove myself to the clinic since Big Head was at work and somehow didn't connect that I needed help. I didn't connect that I needed help. I told him it was ok, I would take care of myself.


I went in alone and was unconscious in a second after the injection. I was in half a dream when I came to, coming back from a vision created by a scene in a James Baldwin novel I was reading (my favorite author). Green hills and someone standing alone. Then I opened my eyes and saw the doctor was over me. I asked, "Was the heart beating?" And she said, "There was no sign of brain activity." Not what I asked, but good enough to let my head fall to the pillow.

I woke up fairly quickly, drinking juice in the post-op lounge room with the other girls. None of us looked at each other. In fact, when I think back on it, I feel like I was in that room alone. I told the nurse I was driving myself home. She said she couldn't let me do that since I was still under the wet blanket of anesthetic.
I wanted to get the fuck out of there.

I begged her. She told me to sign out and slip out. She said if anyone asked, I lied and she was oblivious.
I drove myself home to a rented copy of IF THESE WALLS COULD TALK. It just felt appropriate. That night, while I was bleeding out my first child on a used futon in Orange County, Big Head brought his ex-girlfriend over and they played guitar in the living room together.


I try my best not to fuck losers anymore.

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