making lemonade is always an option

even when we want to make them so, some things, like team rankings, just aren’t subjective. that simple truth deletes the space for any related debate, which seems to infuriate some people. and that’s usually when attacks become personal. in some circles, athletics dominate that squirrelly marketplace. but it is all seeped far deeper than what we are shown.

teams who spend the year competing against others are looked at differently than sports that determine earned accolades by personal judgements. nothing is outwardly admitted, but the differences among the natures of the competitors is clear.

when placement goals hinge on showcasing a winning personality, it is usually more obvious. there, the crossover into the entertainment landscape, competing in such a similar popularity contest, makes more sense.

making a name for oneself in more resolute team sports, though, involves a unique kind of tightrope to walk as likability parameters can change drastically based solely on the others who are present. the mosaic of the metaphorical playing field shape-shifts as the rooted-for team changes with the standings. or when an opposing player make a social blunder. which is often open to interpretation, so it still sometimes becomes the more salient metric paid attention to.

the big personality required to shoulder the responsibility of such whimsically changing demand carries with it another kind of onus, too. one that is taken for granted by most as it is simply seen as par for the course in such fields. the few closest to those in that purview have to really stay on their toes, as the butterfly effect of one small change in the makeup of the environment can alter outcomes for years to come. whether they are bought or controlled by sources unseen ceases to matter when actual health is at stake. and players seem to know that in the moments that matter most.

defining the narrative that nothing i ever did professionally was thought to be possible, not any of my cohorts also worked with both athletes and actors. but a most notorious athlete was dating an actress that colleagues at the company i worked at represented, and as he saw through the smoke and mirrors of our business almost instantaneously, they felt for her sake that someone should mind his affairs.

seeing how seamlessly it could work by having someone exist in the fold to be the bad guy, he wanted his own foray into the limelight, too. the most difficult of media personalities took note, and were not quiet. we were heavily watched, and while most of the opinions were warranted, each team he went to had a different axe to grind. when he was on their team they celebrated him. when they played opposite him, though, all bets were off. the years working with him were exciting, but long. hard. brutal, in some cases.

it was not his first rodeo when he called me after hours to announce his glee at being traded to a team in a city he yearned to play for. he was getting on a plane shortly, he said, but his list of expected anticipations preceded his bonafide reason for being there. that it was late on the east coast appeared irrelevant. he wanted to attend the most highly coveted event in fashion there was, and we had less than a week to make the impossible a reality.

excusing myself from a work dinner to answer his call was not an oddity. but nothing about the summons warned me of the hoops i would soon find myself jumping through. the people in charge of the evening were notoriously snobby. that we both had forged relationships with underlings in charge of more than they knew we figured may work in our favor, but it depended on whom we could speak with to ascertain admittance.

whether he was ticketed or not, i knew he would find some way to attend. that he was not a name they would part waves for was irrelevant to them. but scenes made there were not appreciated. or easily swept under the carpet. so my non-choice was obvious.

and if that man taught me anything, it is that the happiest of accidents come about in the most random of ways. he made it to new york. and that event. we were able to parlay his presence into a magazine internship position, and the positive press garnered from that lasted longer than his tenure on the team.

situations we find ourselves in are seldom easy. as much as we try to make them so, there is almost always a game-changing circumstance that we overlook. while he played there, a rule was literally made disallowing actions he took against a goalie. i sat with his mother as it went down, and her sideways smile told me everything i wanted to know. this had always been him. what i had faced was but a speck in her lifetime with him.

when we met up with him after the game, she hugged him proudly. the earlier transgressions weren’t mentioned. that she got to be there for that moment was what mattered. and that’s the take away. i think of her fortitude often when the frustrations with my m.s. make me want to scream. some pieces of life are ridiculous. some are maddening. but whatever the circumstances look like, they’re not the full story. and that is something to always remember.

it really is the little things sometimes

parties aren’t always intended to be just for fun. for shyer guests, and those who can see through the broader pomp and circumstance, the rigamarole that is in some ways deemed necessary is often painful to endure. mentally speaking. usually.

for a while, gatherings intended to be celebrations became visually as important as the work that brought people there to begin with. perceptually, anyway. those who know always know, though, which is thankfully more obvious now. but with that shift in purpose, cottage industries for services ranging from wearable accoutrements to chauffeured travel offerings sprouted up all over. seemingly overnight.

sorting through that mêlé was its own orchestration of landmines to navigate as affiliations determined allowed users. the little that remained or could be reserved was coveted. and with so many more of us employed, we inadvertently muddied the waters as we tried to keep our jobs. it wasn’t long before the smoothest talkers and biggest promisers became the ultimate tool to have access to in some circles. and that cycle of desire and access started all over with each supposed advantage.

as the visibility grew, though, each of us had more responsibilities to be aware of. to keep in the front of our minds. those who didn’t were hit with the accompanying sore ramifications eventually, if not immediately. when someone didn’t get a part they thought they were a shoe-in for. or when rumors were spread around town about certain actions in certain moments. before we all had camera phones, more could be gotten away with. the secrecy that veiled the legitimate goings on seemed untouchable. opaque. but in the more gossipy circumstances, that was usually only for a short while.

awards shows were the highest echelon for such unexpected shenanigans. what would be worn dominated actions for months leading up to the nights in question. holds were placed on desired hair and makeup teams farther out than the nomination announcements in hopes that they would be needed for the night of. everyone in town wanted an invitation, but rules kept in-person seating to a hand-picked minimum.

the rest of us typically ended up standing in tents scavenging for water and whatever free sustenance happened to be nearby when the hunger pangs took over. we waited in hopes of feeling needed for the momentary opportunity of a reaction in the press. empty lives were blatant before we all could text to avoid uncomfortable interaction.

as the categories wound down, the numbers of on-site worker bees dwindled. those of us remaining collected mostly by the companies we worked for as the winners of the final categories were called out for the telecasts. the energy waned as the more experienced watch dogs shuffled away from the chaos of the momentary festivities. we would all learn when we could most easily depart eventually, but the hope that always remained present was buoying. we almost always knew the outcomes, but you truly never really know until it’s spoken.

like unevenly matched baseball games with more boring innings, crowd attendance was many times predicated by the excitement garnered in the rooms backstage. odd pairings that would never be designed by studios for films could be seen all the time as notable people coalesced for presentations of winners. to rehearse, or rewrite not-great scripts together. in hindsight, without the pressure to represent the winner, being corralled into a so-called “publicist tent” was worth it for that alone.

what was said during group bathroom breaks was made public knowledge almost immediately. actors quickly became aware of that, and those in the know acted always as if they were on a set break wearing a hot mic. at any time, anything overheard could be made into fodder for something. by anyone. and with as many comedians around as there were, and with all the other uncomfortable personalities present, it often was. as much as we feigned otherwise, privacy in real-life application was non-existent.

when fewer cared about what they thought they could glean from the myriad nuances they witnessed, the distinctions of who was who weren’t as needed. hair was let down among trusted confidants. shepards at such gatherings were mostly discreet. but those who had been burned stayed away from the tempting flame, and discomforts that required separation to address were kept at bay as long as possible.

at the parties, sometimes only the leads were promised access. but all involved wanted to go. the pack mentality was strong, and while they didn’t always accommodate the full group up front, networks relished in their access to fuller casts.

one year, the tertiary cast members of a popular, award-winning television show saw the line of cars ahead of us for a party after a show and panicked. the men of the group remained at a quieter level of their elevated vainness, but were still relatively unconcerned. a strong fear swept over the women, though, and murmurs of early call times and wanting to head home to avoid the hubbub were heard above the din of the shouting vehicle directors in the nearby drop-off area.

the automatic, uncensored, offer of my nearby apartment for a bathroom stop fell out of my mouth before i thought any better. i lived alone, and had had a recent visit from my housekeeper, but they were all far above my life pay grade. that i could get access for and drive a few of them to an event that my top-of-the-call-sheet client was attending was one thing. but knowing none of them well enough to feel comfortable having them in my home was something else altogether.

the sense of relief that washed over the camp was immediately palpable. and with that, the off-hand mention became a decision cemented for me. ball gowns and tiny purses ascended the stairway to my single working-gal apartment. it looked as if mary tyler moore got stuck entertaining on an episode of her sitcom. but far faster than it would have taken at the party venue, we were done and heading back more comfortably to the red carpet.

photos that night were filled with genuine smiles. it was as if the cast had realized they’d won all over again. as the lines for restrooms and mirrors spilled into the event room, our earlier detour became an inside joke among the group. they were now reunited in full, and a few of the most notable cast members thanked me effusively as they watched other groups be dismantled by bathroom breaks.

awards aside, perhaps that night we all took away a most valuable experience. what makes things easier for others doesn’t always need to be overly comfortable for us. but doing what’s best for all one is usually what ends up being the best for all involved. and small grievances are but a tiny price to pay for group peace. for restrooms or otherwise.

at the end of the day, we aren’t all that different

arranging hosting opportunities on shows that people want to be a part of carries a different weight than that of simply wanting them to do well. goals to attain, and achievements earned, mean more to some people individually. as the pathway to success seemed to become
more clear on paper like a worn walking path, eventually, the perspective of which was more important to attain shifted in the industry. but until it did, the agenda we all sought of providing merriment was one in the same. momentary or otherwise.

once one hit was had, the accompanying pressures that come with engineering repeat greatness usually took over. performances in any capacity at those opportunities weren’t taken lightly, and the most notable were akin to presenting a solid resumé after a wonderful facetime meeting at a job interview. just seen more widely. all that went into what was seen was understood. not necessarily known, but felt. the magic in the air was tangible.

an accepted rule in a repertoire of nature is that like attracts like. and there aren’t that many kinds of us, so finding that connecting facet isn’t actually as difficult as we make it. with aligning sensibilities, the wiggle room for error is innately negligible. calm actions taken by the level-headed among us keep most errors from even being noticed. when everyone is pulling in same direction, there is no dead weight to make accommodations for.

not everything works the smoothest when arbitrary rules for inclusion are followed. and usually, those who want to get into something that way aren’t welcomed. doing the work is part of being part of it. it was made to look too easy, though, and all that goes into that process got lost. in efforts of acceleration, to reach a sought level of success while avoiding the icky parts, what we gained through those not-so-savory experiences went out the window, too.

part of what makes shows like “saturday night live” so enchanting is all that can go wrong that doesn’t. it may not always be great from a subjective content perspective, but the artistry in all the departments is awe-inspiring. from the network pages to the writers and cast, the machine is thick with respect for what makes creativity flow. lets it.

the world of non-office office work was often the same. creating space for people to be their version of people is highly underrated. and we excelled at it by not trying to. after years of collegiate academic rule-followings, the relative freedom we saw in performers was a novel sight to behold. like the highest views seen from floating weightless at space camp.

assistants were chosen based on the vibe they gave off rather than academic prowess. that i had attended a prominent university would have been detrimental in most related circumstances. but my soon-to-be boss was desperate as his support staff’s two weeks were almost up, and my lacking street smarts relative to my glaring book smart capabilities was delightful in small doses as someone to be entertaining as they kept people on hold. and the wherewithal i had for follow-up would allow for him to stay high and mostly out of touch. we were a good pair.

the week before i was to start that p.r. job, i was asked to bring home press kits so i knew better with whom we worked. some names were known to me, but all were more so by others i knew whose excitement may have superiorly suited them for the position. the humor palette in that job went from acts with puppets to irreverent show creators to biting acerbicness in the political landscape. i learned early that what makes people laugh is not always the same.

when that almost-boss invited me to watch a client at a local comedy club, he suggested that i bring a friend. in hindsight, he likely meant a girlfriend, but my guy friend sat just as patiently as that guy yelled at the waitress over the unnecessary heat of the gazpacho. nondescriptly quelling that kerfuffle made up for the male-ness of my friend, and despite the fact that the evening was oddly foreshadowing of all that was to come, i was mesmerized by the range of people being themselves.

a show recently showcased two known funny people casually commenting on their profound appreciation at unexpectedly running into like-minded folk. while it was no doubt a humorous moment to witness in the series, social pairings was always a hidden landmine at events. not everyone knows how to assimilate into their surroundings. and while it doesn’t seem to follow the protocol of obvious propriety, that’s alright. especially when the majority of us want to ensure that no one has hard feelings.

there are many foibles in conventional wisdoms

rules are a very subjective part of life. it may not seem like they would be, but everyone wants what they want to be adhered to as best possible. as often as possible. which leads people to fall in line. whether that’s right or wrong. agreed with or not. if the person dictating behavior is coveted, those preferences are seen as mandates, in some cases. and are mostly followed.

all can be skirted, though. when done courteously. under respectable circumstances. but for a while, that designation became blurry. everyone wanted to get away with something as the boundaries seemed to become so nebulous. sometimes there was no issue, but the ones among us who could skirt undesired circumstances inadvertently changed the game for all of us. and everyone who thought they could make it so wanted the rules bent. few were willing to break them altogether, but once successful exceptions were known about, that was the new professional barometer we had to match.

what that meant, how to go about getting such accommodation, was still mostly unknown. in the broader, rule-abiding populace, at least. the reality show hosted by the former u.s. president showed how things worked beyond the smokescreens. and how we create them. stating how obvious it all was at the time seemed unnecessary, but clearly that wasn’t the commonest of knowledge. and once we got caught up in the personalities of the castings instead, all bets were off.

early on in my career, most of the people i worked with i can see now were pretty aspbergersy. which i mean in the best possible way. we didn’t always see each other regularly. some weeks were dominated by the other, and some years were vacant. all of them were very opinionated. resolute in their beings. being amongst all that confidence was refreshing having just come out of a most insecure collegiate lifestyle.

being in charge of directing people’s paths is daunting, though. and like children, when they change their minds and veer off course, everyone must jump to attention at times. when there is danger. when situations created dictate peril. knowing how to translate between the aisles is an imperative part of that equation. and not enough of us have that skill.

lying is very different than evading the truth. little children may be taught that they’re the same thing, but what that really means is that the consequences brought about for others can be. knowingly doing damaging acts is not the same as ignorantly following shoddy advice. that the punishments doled out are the same is perhaps right sometimes. but not always. the machinations aren’t the same. neither most times are the players. the distinctions scarily are not always made. and we all suffer for it.

like all economics courses teach, the market is the one setting to always keep in mind. there is a lot that is overlooked when the consumer base is seen to be more powerful than that of the seller. extrapolating the theory for real life application, making and promoting entertainment fare has its own boundaries of acceptability. years later, what we saw in that space is now being experienced en masse. most are breaking all the rules they can get away with. and there is a lot of detriment.

while a lot of the suggested social rules were discussed leading up to events, wild card happenings were always to be expected. acting on the fly required being in the moment. and for a while, we usually were. down time was once our own. but it was easier to see the falsehoods in the stories we were told, and while that is its own situation now, our jobs depended on managing that distinction.

entire film promotions were modified based on different countries’ allowances of behavior. what was encouraged was not a blanket custom, and a lot learned that the hard way. having someone in your corner who knew the ropes sometimes helped make other arrangements possible. but sensibilities aren’t googleable. so rules are crafted in that absence. knowing the specific weight and makeup of your offering is key to finding alternative solutions. and it can all be done. we just have to really want to do them.

nothing is really all that hidden when we look

personalities are sneaky beasts. we can easily think we know more than we do about people. when we want to see something, especially. but acknowledging what is truly there, seeing past the proffered shiny things to what is also there hiding in plain sight, is a wonderland few of us choose to explore. when the door is opened for us and we are welcomed in, the immediate reaction many of us have instead is to run. bolt. and the various methods we’ve concocted to jump away from feeling things is astounding.

the truths of public figures are exposed every minute of every day. when fewer look, less is seen. but it is always there to be discovered. celluloid fare depicts moments in time, and before fiction became real, entertainment was just that. but as shows watched and movies written became more accurate representations of the people in them, and we saw that, the veils got lifted. it became a weird game of sorts to hide true facts when we needed to sell the broader concepts. and who we all actually are as people got insanely muddled in that process.

defining pieces of ourselves were glossed over when they didn’t match the overriding narratives. what we lost out on seeing, though, was usually what made the people we love who we love to begin with. but character-defining experiences sold better with accompanying laughter. according to the reams of metrics we so carefully followed. to succeed. like we’d been taught. at which the fancier schools excelled.

soon, everything was clearly trying to be funny. in the offices higher up, humor was chosen over chagrin in every instance. from plot points to marketing materials. the interpersonal dichotomy we created, celebrated even, in both the characters we watched and the audiences we angled for, psychologically speaking, forms a baseline mark of emotional stunting. and we unknowing promoted the breakdown of logic as deadlines rushed us and decisions were made for us to simply carry out.

the cinematic world formed the boxes we lived in, and our immaturity and relatively limited life experience kept us there. let us live there and decorate the space. like the big apartment complexes in los angeles we rented living quarters from. a lot got mixed up as life metaphors erroneously truncated the co-existent layers of humanity, apparently. we became the two-dimensional stereotypes we hawked as we all aspired to inspire. however we were presented. if we even knew we were being presented.

in that paradigm, dodgy behaviors were dismissed. ignored until they couldn’t be. the rumors of the real occurrences became the storied legends of record that got passed around and changed like statements in a game of telephone. but truth is always stranger than fiction. it isn’t just an old mythology. or a movie with a whimsical leading man.

veracity was not our business, and assuming that anyone projected their own was a fallacy we perpetuated as long as we needed to. for the benefit of others, which quickly spared us, too. real lives can be heavy. that we were always in a work mindset served only to ensure that we never analyzed ourselves. speaking of those around us was tantamount to professional suicide, so the fantastical world we created became our mental residence.

which is maybe why so many of us were routinely caught off guard. gullibility isn’t cute at the ages we were, but neither are tattle-tales. that book about everything we needed to learn being taught in kindergarten was probably true, but as we culturally allowed even that timeframe of life to become a training ground for miming falsely saccharine niceness, the lessons we so sorely need appear to have been lost.

we mistook professional signs of care for personal affection as the lines got blurred between characters played and personas embodied. a late night email one time announcing an unrequested arrival at my home, and the subsequent suggestion in person to engage in a secret affair, thankfully never made the airwaves. work drinks of a boss that turned into hourly phone check-ins the next day reeked of teenaged shenanigans. ired assistants all over town wore their irritation under fake smiles. intellectual acumen could be a glaring detriment when emotions got tweaked, but we were none the wiser as we powered on.

the movements that are happening now may benefit someone, but their construction screams of a lack of real world awareness. direct involvement. that there is such a disconnect between what we are told versus lived realities is sadly unsurprising, but there are many of us begging to share anecdotes of growth. and in a world of vacuous representations of true stories, perhaps the stories of all the hidden figures we’re hearing about will hold some weight in the now. so we don’t have to revisit our story in forty years to see what we’ve been missing.

framing is everything, always

traveling was once a major part of promotion. before social media imprints took over the world and it was assumed that we got the same messages from the same words and images, market-by-market saturation was imperative. media tours exposed us to ranges of reactions. gave us varied responses. how some folks were viewed in different parts of the world was not always endearing. but the goal of our trips was always to build awareness, which happened regardless of the feelings brought about by it. and that was accomplished, even if we didn’t understand what would be made of most of it at the time.

the broader workings of felt perspectives was far above our pay grade then, and with that buffer, our packs lived in relative obscurity between us. closenesses were forged without discussion as we protected each other from outside prying eyes. the visibility that came with celebrity meant little to many, as they hadn’t really experienced it yet. some clients were still just the funniest member of a small group. individual quirks weren’t masked yet. or changed based on the other personalities present. who we were was who we almost always were. and we all played mostly at the same level. as humans are likely meant to.

with no one desiring to make waves, a lot of questionable behaviors got overlooked. physical danger was usually the only earmark of controversial activity, and even then, that was weighed against the kerfuffles that could potentially come out of making it known. as companies do financially before they make product recalls. embarrassments rarely qualified, and those who made a bigger deal of them than was deemed necessary weren’t invited back.

the situational math of personal groupings was inherently less problematic to work out on the whole. roles and the duties we were there for felt more understatedly obvious. those of us also with corporate jobs to do had our own other set of boundaries, and less verbal instruction for all of them had to be given for them to be adhered to. whether or not they were respected was a different equation altogether, but with our less sensitive mindsets, unless there was a problem that couldn’t be circumvented by simply sending another body to handle the requisite busywork, big deals were not made of wonky choices.

movie promotions could often see cast members on the road for weeks at a time. screenings and appearances were most often conducted in major cities. local media fare was added into the schedules as it fit, and both television and radio interviews in the smaller markets brought out legions of fans eager for a glimpse of a famous person. the longer we made the same trecks, the makeup of allegiances changed. most of us welcomed the fresh faces and what that meant for the projects despite the heightened security that entailed. rare travails let us explore the grounds more thoroughly and get to hear the stories of community changes from the local studio reps hired to shuttle us around.

working mostly with male comedians, and having grown up with a younger brother, it was commonplace that almost anything could be a punchline. a prime travel accompaniment to talent given my thick skin, i got to see the endgame of a lot of wayward observations turned into efforts at humorous actions. some comedians will noodle on a bit well past its prime if they think it can garner them a laugh. and while not everyone is a comedian, most think they are, so that pool gets easily mired, and very deep, very fast.

older and wiser applies perfectly in many cases, and those on their way up usually tried the hardest. all of my work travel happened after 9/11, and while the tsa is unique in each city, despite their being mostly upbeat and friendly as humans, being acquainted with any of them is too many. a later encounter was possibly a come-on, as my travel between los angeles and new york city was frequent enough one year to be noticed, but thankfully not enough to make it an issue. there was one trip, though, to philadelphia on a press tour, that made us all shockingly aware of the troubles that could be brought about. such jokes were quickly tabled after that. even with the raucous memories it gave us. once the chagrin ebbed.

upon landing around dinnertime one night, a charge told the local studio reps that instead of attending a fancy dinner, he wanted to peruse a local sex shop he’d heard about. as part of my job then was keeping an eye on movie star clients when we traveled, i had little choice in the matter. he felt invisible as no one was there to see him, and spent hours in the store. he nerded out with all the staff as they regaled him with their new products. despite nervous giggles from our young babysitters as they attempted to be professional, he finally made his purchases and we headed to the hotel for the night.

after a day of appearances, and being joined by a competent familiarity in our handlers that was never to be duplicated, we left to go on to the next city. not a dime of the marketing budget we could get for press was not spent, and our separate airport handlers brought us right to the front of the security line to get to our gate. as my carryon suddenly mandated several sets of eyes at the x-ray machine, the client guffawed. when the tsa agents pulled me aside to address the vibrating egg in my suitcase, my red face at what i immediately knew to be his clandestine effort at humor silenced all but my travel mate in the area.

after reassuring them that i had no plans to cause issue on the plane, and pointing out my famous colleague, we were ushered aboard without further incident. our trip was tainted, perhaps, but far from ruined. and the incident preceded us to the next legs of the trip. after initially awkward meetings, once we all came to terms that i had indeed survived the humiliation, the trip continued swimmingly. there was no danger to avert. real or imagined.

while i wonder less recalling these memories as to why my thoughts and feelings are stored and accessed so oddly in my brain, seeing his relatively sedate expressions on the tv spots for his newest hosting gig brings up deep joy in me. the kind that is egregiously out of turn with most other viewers, but reminds me that i got to experience a side of him that few have. funny types surround themselves with cohorts of choice. some also know they are funny. some happen to be, but by accident. some in the mash-ups confound spectators by their presence.

it is the cacophony of persons, though, that paints the tableau. knowing that your place is not always yours to choose can be a hard pill to swallow. but when we can figure out how to subsist wherever we land in that mix with grace, we all thrive. memories, like life, are all in the framing. and writers capture it all to make up their characters. so, whatever shows or movies we watch includes some of those pieces. the good stuff does, at least.

we aren’t always the story

everywhere is probably an incubator for something. sports teams routinely practice local farm teams. for many reasons, but a major one is so that there is always a stable of players at the ready should they be needed in the majors. movies get tested and storylines dissected by non-pros before wide releases. all of us come from some place with repeats of odd and unexplainable occurrences. most of us thought we were being confident and brazen by escaping small-town life to explore. live on the edge a bit. the joke is now on us, apparently. channels devoted to murder shows depict how some of the most torrid of happenings often come about in the smaller town infrastructures.

regardless of industry, changing the makeup of the subject availability is often paramount to achieving rewards. some musicals duck and weave through outlying towns in what seems like a maze as they hash out the nuances of phrasings. then they maybe try for a spot on broadway. the focus is on the songs especially. the story verbiage and dialogue are usually ingrained in us from the original source material. but adding music involves a whole new layer of meaning expressed by the show. and making sure they maintain alignment with the actual story is a feat only well-versed participants can properly achieve. the rest of us may offer our superficial opinions, but at the crux of the project is a vehement trajectory that the story follows. so it makes sense. encourages our growth.

earning awards and accolades is often but a stepping stone to getting the next project. knowing the steps to take is a basic game non-creative team members gamble in, but sometimes everyone becomes caught up in the corresponding charades that show up with success. the hubbub surrounding actor awards every year is a prime example. and the explosion of televised awards shows is only the part we get to see. what goes on behind the scenes is its own drama. with its own politics. and casts of characters.

some cities known primarily for other things take on the personas and personalities of those who choose to live there primarily to make successes happen. if such pressure is applied. no one is ready for the onslaught of needs, though, it seems, and the entitlement that trickles down often masquerades as an opulent requirement to acquire prestige. national celebration. international aplomb.

marketing is a tool designed to achieve success. public relations is not the same. that the words are so easily confused and used interchangeably used to steam my insides. which, admittedly, may be part of why i broke. but the roles played out do not serve the same purpose. there are a lot of different branches to this line of work. of masking truths. i worked in personal pr, and breaking down the semantics to ascertain the included definitions speaks directly to my psychology learnings. both are based on the same principles. pop-culture is making collegiate-level training of all kinds more broadly accessible. so it’s on us when we don’t connect the dots.

a well-known christmas movie, one that dominates programming for a full day in most places, was recently turned into a musical. the inclusions and reasonings for the original film castings had grown and meandered over time, and by then also publicly included recluses and porn stars. giving each actor the requisite limelight was a chore of scheduling with a base ability to surmise perception required. a tricky enough endeavor, the financiers weren’t industry mavens, and explaining those variances and the range of potential reactions was trying. star power is another element that is ultimately determined by the purchaser, but not having all able to show up is sometimes a good thing. speaking from a relatively detached, outsider perspective. even when that isn’t easy to explain.

at a fancy dinner opening night, in a city known for its wet weather, after putting our umbrellas aside, the producer and i attempted a just explication. libations thankfully were not in short supply, and soon the more businessy topics were tabled as the excitement to see the production grew. months and years had gone into these moments, and pointed questioning was graciously shelved in lieu of making sure we ate and got to our seats on time.

by the time we made the short walk to the theatre after dinner, the rain had mostly subsided. in response to a conundrum of direction, as i spoke with my hands, my umbrella haphazardly moved to the side. as i pointed excitedly at something, someone not in our group bit my finger. at the top knuckle. she looked me squarely in the eyes as my hand slid out of her mouth, and i was only jolted from my shock as i was urged by my group to get a tetanus shot. one of the men chased her, and i
immediately anticipated having to react to some sort of physical altercation with a statement to the audience explaining our absence.

the weary smile that i’d come to wear as a costume for that job plastered staunchly to my face as i ignored the pain. the ickiness of the situation. and we went on to the show. none of us were late. the show went on. as life does. it was fun and light-hearted and spectacular. it came to new york the following year, and no one in the press seemed to care that one of the producers was from the original cast. the project got to speak for itself, and everyone had their own, untainted, opportunities to achieve their own kinds of success.

the writers of the musical’s lyrics went to my alma mater. they had met there, worked on several projects together there. despite our having traversed the same paths at the same times, that was the first opportunity i had to spend any time with them. we’ve remained friends through social media. one has his own kids now. the other seems busier and happier than ever. whatever my narrative was that night is thankfully not part of theirs. not becoming the story is a base of that pr occupation. and really, all of life. not all of our tales always need to be told. hopefully we can all remember that, too.

expressions of all the feels are palpable

true expressions are increasingly rare. in the past, displays of merriment were relegated mostly to private sexual moments, so we didn’t learn en masse. but joy is hopefully to be had elsewhere as well. a plethora of analogies have been made over the years to explain the workings, and are spoken confidently, as if to lessen the outdated stigmas. but like antiquated phrasings born of sarcasm, that are oxymoronic by nature, there is more to it all than being able to flip on physical switches.

personality tests exist to delineate the thirteen known archetypes into four groups of humans. aside from pop culture renderings to suss out superficial similarities, most often, the distinctions are utilized by bigger groups. so we can work better together, presumably. delving into each of those makeups is illuminating, however. what seem to be our biggest differences usually connect somewhere via a thruline of sameness. once we look beyond the titles, that truth is clear for all who want to see it.

finding your person is but a personal invitation for self-realization. the attractive energy is really just a mirror for ourselves. a doppelgänger of one’s traits and qualities that wears different clothes. as much as we may not want to own our own, the blunders we see in others are just ours as viewed from a different perspective. age, gender, all is irrelevant. as we get older, that lesson conduit has to expand. it just has to — no one can take all the pressure of being the sole responsible party in that role. and whether we intend them to or not, all our feels affect our surrounding people. joy is not the only emotion that transfers between us.

a comedian told us once that her greatest piece of advice was gotten from a fellow comedian who is now perhaps best known as a talk show host. she’s used different terminologies when describing it, but the essence of it is to publicly only emote the kindnesses about others always. any of the ickier stuff we see around us will probably always be there if you look for it, and there is no need to invite or cultivate more.

as the new go-to bible teachings, in short-form and palatable statements, memes expound the concept that we’re all only here to walk each other home. life welcomes goodness. positivity. expressed discord without another purpose is gloriously now passé. unless that’s the reason for a gathering, no one has the energy for that. time is better spent sharing comfort with each other. whatever that entails.

for most now with name-recognizability, when they started out in comedy, that presumably wasn’t the main agenda. defining a happy accident, though, it is in most cases what keeps them around. grinding day in and day out. judgements of what that looks like are for the birds, but sharing oneself with others is a gift too many of us take for granted. parents likely feel the most similar sense of being wanted, but as laughter is ultimately for the one laughing, comedians be default take on an odd duty.

anyone in anything for a solely financial reward is missing the mark. performers seem to connect with that sensibility most easily, but we all have that piece. whatever our possessed accolades, how another feels in our presence will be their memory of our persona. how we describe players in our encounters is taken to showcase how we talk and think in general. we are all cadences interlaced with assessments. the words we choose separate us from the pack.

there are pros and cons to everything. it is likely also why bullies don’t seek out loud truth-tellers to beat up. and to avoid such settings is perhaps why a lot of funny folk honed their skills. former colleagues of mine have been murdered, and while it likely wasn’t the plot of a short-sighted conspiracy theory, a lot of us who juggled variations of the truth have become physically and/or mentally busted. another meme series tells us how words have meaning. most of us excelled at the intricate nuances of the english language, but we really didn’t know what we didn’t know in that job, it seems.

whether the reason is banal, like reworking wording structures to see how something could work, or malicious, an intent to cause harm, holding a focus on past hurts is limiting. working out the word math is one thing, but adopting the painful thought into used rhetoric is an unnecessary inclusion to the process if the goal is to move beyond the problematic notion. children’s programming proffered skits and truncated soliloquies to educate us on how we could go over, under, or through obstacles. nothing we were taught celebrated languid actions. or giving up. where we got those ideas is farcical to me.

all we are left with at the end of the day, it seems then, is our true selves. and that expression of emotion is what people take as our makeup. c’est la vie if it isn’t what we mean. nothing and no one really stops for us. ever. whatever the stories may be, how we relate to others is the only takeaway. and thankfully, most whom i have known got to that realization. even if it was eventually.

navigating the languages we aren’t taught in school

the language commonly used was a shorthand. work was what the majority of us shared in common, and that it also included interpersonal dealings made seeing and understanding what seemed obvious mandatory. schedules were to be respected always, and ramifications for tardiness could justifiably mean being fired. being on-site early thusly became expected, and being on-time became being late almost overnight.

as the industry grew, the understanding of what it meant to be present increasingly varied. the more youthfully-minded somehow didn’t always take into account the multiple facets of connecting travel, and many a misstep happened because second legs were ignored after the initial jaunt was arranged. many friendships got forged out of necessity, but knowing whom you could trust to have your back in some instances was its own minefield.

involving live sporting events quickly became a thing to be done for movie promotions when general awareness was low. and time stops for no one on a basketball court. especially when it’s televised. producers of some such spots worked their way into roles of confidants as talent was otherwise often left alone. when unnewsworthy tidbits became fodder for tabloid television, though, those relationships could easily take on a predatory sensibility. as we ranked higher in our fields and carefully traversed the line between those already with fame and those en route to it, in that setting, the lines disappeared. vigilance of all things was paramount, and not being accessible was a detriment. regardless of the fare being sold, personal representation had its own set of rules. and while many coveted the protection we provided, few knew all that went into it.

any happenings were soon fair game as non-commonplace content was needed, and the people milling around our clients needed to be vetted. or, at least, known. the scope of hangers-on was vast, and at any point, anyone could become a plus one. why few of us can stand to be alone is perhaps something to look into.

in a cris-cross of kismet with such a wonky start, we accidentally made what became a franchise with a relatively unknown star in a horror movie. his beginnings in that world were auspicious. that he was a popular admiration among older teen girls who could imagine a life on the other side of the tracks with him was known, but rarely touted. racism was quieter in that space then, and there are always ways around what was once presumed to be the given. norms were disappearing rapidly, and simply because one outlet didn’t want to blow up the likability of someone pointed only to the reality that someone else would probably want to.

for that first movie, the studio was perhaps caught off guard a bit. his lack of blatantly visible notoriety to the higher ups tainted the treatment provided by those in charge of arrangements. thankfully, he was none the wiser. while usually team screenings were set up, dvd copies of the film were sent to a small group of industry homes watermarked with recipients’ names instead. admittedly eager to show off my access, and truly excited to watch a guilty pleasure kind of film with friends who joined for ordered dinner and provided wine, we jumped as my name floated onto the screen. none of us looked away for the remainder of the film, and my mind coursed with possibility. personalizing the moment was, in hindsight, gloriously unnecessary. but wholly memorable. the folks behind that once-little studio knew what they were doing.

the movie was captivating. we all could envision ourselves caught up in such positions. being older, even though it was dark, we could see logic to more sides of it all. and, like the murder story fanfare many of us grew up with, this film highlighted the precarious situations we put ourselves in unknowingly. the horrors that could await us. the recent movements have nothing on actualized fears, and related propaganda was enticing to experience from afar. before we all knew how awful human minds can be. the growing emotional intelligence is a welcome agenda.

part of that marketing tour took us to manhattan for some smaller show appearances. chauffeured transport vehicles didn’t make the budget cut, and his excitable realization that we were near some of his old stomping grounds prompted us to take the subway between shows. my arrogance of thinking i knew the ropes was outed almost immediately as he caught me before i fell onto him when the train took off. lest more than me are fooled, traveling often does not make one street smart. we worked together for years, and he never brought it up. but i knew instantly that he had my number.

my insistance that my ms has an emotional bent to its makeup is not out of nowhere. my physical balance was fine then, but my emotional stability, while the unsightlier pieces were masked by my silence, was not. that experience on the subway was over a decade ago, but that moment of embarrassment is not at all ever far away. it comes at me whenever i almost fall. words i mean to express get changed somehow before i can speak them. usually when that happens, i slide to the ground rather than thunderously tumble. while i applaud that advancement to myself, what comes out when asked by others of my well-being sounds defensive, or as if i’m lying. which i don’t mean to be. there’s no need ever anymore.

language then becomes its own secondary situation of muck to address. what makes perfect sense to me is not always clear across the board. non-verbal statements and visual cues are not always factored in by all, and the need for astute verbal projections is required. seeing the confusion swirling in the world now, at least finally i feel less alone in that. which feels selfish to write, but tells me that we have a much bigger picture to see. saying what we mean and meaning what we say is of far more importance than the supposed messages of any film i promoted, but learning the salience of language was a good lesson to have. and emotional communication is mostly the same between us. regardless of where we once hung our hats abroad.

how we see what we see

perspectives held can come from anything. they’re presumably meant to be different depending on our various backgrounds. the differences in our lived life experiences. that there is a push in contemporary society suggesting we have to be the same to understand each other, though, is illogical. nonsensical. when you zoom out, the concept is often akin a that of a dog chasing its own tail. it may help resolve the temporary situation, but in the long run, an insane amount of energy is wasted to gain a momentary peace. and it may not be for all. there’s maybe a lot for us still to learn.

the rules suggested by generic magazine learning aside, adopted nuances are what distinguish us in a group. entertaining those of others lets us temporarily try out various freak flags, and blending experiences becomes a highlight to attain. the methodology for one to experience joy, though, is not necessarily the same across the board. and our insistence on maintaining allegiance to that outdated mode of thinking sometimes produces a glaring detriment.

more obvious distinctions can often be made along some lines, but oversights are also as delineated. when we accept that instead of crafting ways to be more similar, we work better. when we hear and take into consideration the issues that some raise, it sparks our own forging of innovation. our backgrounds provide us each with storied pasts for a reason, and accepting what that can mean need not be as difficult as we make it.

we all have different makeups of masculine and feminine energies, and separating us simply by the parts we can see is shortsighted. limiting. some humans who are outwardly the brashest and bulkiest have the softest and warmest intentions. when their tough brains align with their mushier insides, the most opinionated amongst us are often forced to take a beat. consider all the moving pieces of our misjudgments. there are always factors too that we can’t see, and that’s likely by design somewhere. like advent calendars with stories and chocolates tucked away behind the more visible perforations.

some movies rely on those outward distinctions perhaps too much at times. there is only so much time to unpack the layered personalities that are included in ensemble features, and murky human sensibilities not self-evident by one’s individual quirks are dismissed if they aren’t needed in the overriding narrative. as with life. storytelling courses break down the intellectual nuts and bolts of character presentation, but making that watered-down description of people the focus rather than letting it all simmer while the actual story unfolds is where we all get lost.

generally assumed constructs of tropes get parceled out by anyone who wants to sell those characteristics. and if we don’t fit into them, we are designated as not being a match and ignored. sometimes, that pushes us really far out of the general population. sometimes, we care. other times, we watch from afar as people wanting so badly to be something they’re not get fouled up. spin themselves out trying with all their might to fit an invisibly obvious status quo. once we are made to face our own chagrin in our own experiences with that futile endeavor, lessons are hopefully learned. and until we tried to outsmart ourselves and just assimilate our wounded pieces instead, they were more readily.

while it wasn’t always, movies and movie promotion eventually went the way of consumerism now. the visual awareness of traits specific to more unique characters were shot less. to sell projects, writers following orders based mostly on opinionated speculation gave them less instance to pop up. once a hidden gem to be enjoyed, scene stealing became an offense. the most humorous parts of films were soon employed in broadly-distributed trailers to entice theatre attendance. pop culture commented on the shift, but until the creativity of internet use, alternatives weren’t willingly offered. bettering outdated outlines became a tantamount agenda rather than creating new ones. older generations had some apropos, if not ickily colorful, ways to describe the useless process. they still ring eerily true.

men i worked with became concerned with being too bald. too black. too short. too gangly. films marketed to teenaged audiences explored those issues, but as a whole, we did not. being positioned as “that guy” was not always commercially salable then. focusing on relatable tidbits was then preferable, and a lot of what we could show became more vanilla. but, given the antiquated mode of duality we keep beating our heads trying to follow, and knowing the nature of how things tend to work out in reality, it is really no surprise that the world operates like it’s a creation you make at coldstone creamery. just once.

thankfully, well-made and entertaining animated renditions of real-life discomforts are now also an available tool for non-kids to explore ranges of human variances. they showcase the cornucopia of peccadillos we have without the overt adult propaganda of cartoons we watched as kids. these hidden-in-plain-sight shows create communities of comedic observers who verbally commune and come up with ways we can manage them. or assimilate them without conflict or mockery. but with the lack of acceptance to be found out there, most of us don’t watch all the stories at our disposal. or at least take them in. someday, hopefully we will.

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