"Anony, Anony! Look over here!"
"Anony, one more shot please."
"What will we see you in next, Anony?"
"Anony, do you have any charities that you're currently supporting?"
I am surrounded by chaos. Cameras flash in my eyes and microphones are shoved up to my mouth. I am praying to every god that has ever been invented that I don't look, sound or even smell like the terrified amateur that I am. Ah man, do you think they've picked up on my lip quivering from too much uneasy smiling?? Oh shit, can they sense how totally awkward my hands feel?? Where do I stand next? What the hell am I supposed to say???
Okay. Rewind. Backstory...
My agent and I have decided I need to play the Hollywood game a little more. Or to be more precise, that I need to start playing the Hollywood game. Up to this point, I've just been hustling the Hollywood business... the auditions, the mailings, the workshops... you know, the typical stuff. Now it's time for me to start playing the game, bending the rules, fudging the details, adding a little smoke and mirrors to get a little (totally fabricated) heat on me.
Yes. Publicity. I'm hitting the publicity circuit and getting seen. The details don't really matter, I just have to get out there and act like I'm the next hot thing in town. All your favorite celebs do it, and all the people you've seen here and there (but have no idea what their actual names are) are out there doing the same thing. (Only a lot of them are doing it with publicists. A luxury with a three-thousand-dollar-a-month price tag I don't yet have.) Still, I was blessed with an ability to work any room and bullshit my way in (and out of) most anything.
So I found myself on the red carpet last week for a premiere for a shitty little indie film. I've been on carpets before, but never quite like this. Mostly I just walk by, have a friend snap a shot and move on without anyone really noticing I'm there. This time I was announced. I had ten or so photographers taking pictures of me (awkwardly) posing on the carpet. I had multiple people interview me, which is weird because I was not in any way connected to the film. Why am I here? Why am I seeing this film? Uhhh... because I'm trying to get you people to notice me?!?
I was a liiiiittle more suave than that. After I got the first few awkward jitters out of me and saw the mechanics of how the whole process worked, I instantly relaxed into what comes incredibly naturally to me... being positive, witty and charming in the spotlight. Fortunately, I am pretty quick on my feet and know how to put a decent sound bite together. (I am a writer, as you know.) I walked away at the end of the night filled with this incredible sense of energy. I was a natural. I wanted more. I was born to do this shit!! (How cheesy am I?!?) However, I certainly learned a few things:
Publicity lesson #1: Always research everything you possibly can about the movie you're attending and the context in which it was filmed... oh, and formulate some sort of a positive opinion on the film and its message. Good to have that in your back pocket going in because someone will ask you and "because my publicist sent me" is not a good answer.
You've heard it before, perception is everything in this business. Once people start noticing you consistently around town, they start to feel like they should know who you are. That's the game. If I can fake my way into being someone worth noticing, people will start to notice. But you know what I realized? I AM someone worth noticing, so I'm not really faking anything. I'm just nudging them into picking up on something they would have realized themselves eventually anyway.
The truth? I have no idea if this will actually work. It definitely feels early to me and incredibly phony. I don't totally understand how it translates into more auditions, but my agent is convinced it will help, and I'm game for trying most anything to get this career off the ground. As far as I'm concerned, I'm just adding a new element to my hustle.
The most entertaining thing? In faking my way on the carpet, I ended up hanging with a group of actors who do this regularly. We were chatting together before the film started, away from the news people and rolling cameras. Two of them also had no connection to the film but were just there to "support it"... translation: "my publicist sent me." Two others openly admitted they knew the movie sucked and had no idea what it's shitty message was, but they faked their way through the interviews as well. After that, I didn't feel like such a phony. It's a game. And I'm finally in it.