I once screamed at Dustin for not involving me in a project when it seemed to gain momentum. I had donated my likeness, my voice, and my notes to all of the pitching and fundraising materials for character he had created and I wanted to be a part of it when everything began to come together. It did begin to come together – around a completely different actress. I was livid. I think I broke a plate.
That project fell apart, as most projects mucking about the studio system do. Over a year later, he is still trying so hard to get that particular script off the ground and I feel so, completely ashamed of the selfishness I harbored before. That film could have been a game changer for him. It could have launched a career. Would I wish the demise of his film because of my non-involvement? God. Pardon my French, but I was such a cunt. I am amazed we stayed friends, much less started to date a year or so later.
That whole situation helped me put things into perspective. Namely, how no one owes anyone anything.
A couple of people have sent me random messages asking me why I’m not involved with Siren, the feature length version of the short that I did in V/H/S. I’m not in it because no one approached me about it – and that is totally fine. Just because I was in the short didn’t mean there was an obligation to include me in the feature. I mean, good lord; I was asleep for most of the original, anyway. I’m just happy that some of people I had a blast with on short get to work on what is sure to be a killer feature. (No pun intended.)
“Yeah, but aren’t you mad?”
This is a recurring complaint from actors. They know people, but why aren’t people doing doing doing for them? Why didn’t so and so send out their package? Why didn’t so and so introduce them to that guy?! Why didn’t that working actor friend of yours offer to recommend you to their agent?!
Look, I don’t fucking know. And I’m done trying to figure out why. Just because you have a friend who is a manager, an agent, or who is simply well connected doesn’t mean they owe you a damn thing. No, they don’t owe you a meeting. No, they don’t owe you a part in their movie. They don’t owe you hello. (Though hello is nice. I have been known to show disproportional excitement when someone tells me hello.)
How about this: why don’t we stop projecting our lack of success on the people who COULD HAVE done this or SHOULD HAVE done that for us? Because here’s the thing: they either did or did not – and there is no SHOULD have. Because no one owes us shit.
Why don’t we focus on building ourselves up to a point where we no longer feel the need to rely on others for our own progress? What if we shifted the focus from what people are doing without us and to what we could be doing for ourselves and living happier, less resentful lives?
If someone wants to lend a hand or work with you, then wonderful. But don’t equate friendships to connections. Maybe I’m the dumb one, but I feel so tacky soliciting people for hook-ups. I can’t even talk to a promoter for a club without feeling like I’m taking advantage of someone. I have encountered a few people who have very graciously offered to facilitate an introduction for me, or set up a meeting. I am so, incredibly grateful.
But the minute you start to feel like the universe owes you some kind of success, be in the form of connections, relationships, parts, meetings, whatever – you are paving the way for a lifetime of disappointment.
Life is for living and loving. And it’s too hard to do that when you’re too busy being a Pissy Patty.