Who is the Donald Trump Supporter?

I wake up this morning and flip the television to CNN, it’s of zero shock that they are doing a live spot on Donald Trump. In the background is the most mundane shot of people being handed signs and slowly filtering into the facility several hours in advance of the event. Much like a Black Sabbath concert ticket going on sale at 6am, the one thing you won’t see at the break of dawn at a will-be Trump rally is a person of color.

Let me make it clear, Trump scares the shit out of me. I’m a native of Michigan, whose primary just recently passed, and I think the most frightening post I’ve ever read was shared by an extended family member. This was not just some Trump bashing write up with the primary goal of going viral first and perhaps sending a message second, this was the true story of a Facebook friend of a friend – someone I could theoretically link up with in real life – and perhaps, that is what made the message so strong.  Basically, two girls went to a Trump rally and just happened to be wearing some Feel the Bern hats, and though there were many people who attended that particular event to be disruptive and cause a scene, these two girls stood and listened without saying a word. At some point when disrupters were being tossed out left and right, the crowd begin to hype up and some aggressive Young Republicans began to point and scream at the girls to “GET THEM OUT.” The girls were quickly being forced out by Trumps hired security thugs and the girls explained that they weren’t doing anything and they had the right to be there. “Nope, not here” they told the girls as they were jeered all the way out the door.  The sheer fact that Trump incites such hate into these crowds and that a person can be ejected simply for wearing unapproved clothing should terrify everyone.

So who are these Trump supporters? The old white people funneling into the Ohio event this morning look harmless enough. I kept asking myself what they were so pissed about. Then, I thought about what would be playing on CNN if they weren’t busy covering Trump-aganda 24 hours a day. And I realized they would be playing the same thing they had been covering for two years solid before Trump jumped into the Republican clown car – racism in america. Well, perhaps that is putting in politely, I believe maybe when the coverage started, the goal was to cover racism in america, but just like Trump-a-palooza, what was intended to be coverage of facts presented with professionalism, slowly evolved into an open platform for biased zealots to lecture white people on just how awful and racist they all are. Thank god I don’t have to sit through that, I thought, and the lightbulb turned on.

Look, I grew up in Detroit, I currently live in Atlanta and I was one of a few dozen white kids in my tech school, I am no stranger to black culture. I really did grow up with no consideration that the color of someones skin meant anything at all. And even though it’s natural as you get older to recognize and perhaps even judge cultural patterns – Asians and women don’t drive well, blondes are dumb, etc. these are just stereotypes. I like smart, thoughtful people and hate dumb assholes, regardless of the flesh that covers their bones.

One of the shows I loved to watch was Dr. Drew on HLN, it came on right after Nancy Grace and typically contained thoughtful conversation from a clinical perspective, and I really enjoyed it. Unfortunately, I was forced to tune out about a year ago. I simply couldn’t take it anymore, like their parent company CNN, they spent almost every episode during a one year period focusing on racism. And racism is a terrible thing and to label someone a racist use to hold a lot of weight because by definition, a racist is a person who believes that a particular race is superior to another. That’s right, a word that should be reserved for only those who embrace supremacy has been so badly distorted by use that it has become akin to being labeled a poser in the 1980’s.

My Dr. Drew days came to an end pretty much the moment when someone pointed out that racism isn’t culturally exclusive and fanatical lawyer, Areva Martin concluded (not suggested) that only white’s can be considered racist because they are the majority race, it’s not possible for blacks or any other race to be a racist because they will never be in power. Did I mention this woman graduated from Harvard (well if I didn’t just watch 12 seconds of a clip and I am sure she will make mention).  But seriously, how is this person on air every single night? And perhaps if it were exclusive to just one person, I could deal with it – but that was not the case. The deck was stacked with people taking fanciful leaps and presenting them as fact and this was by no means exclusive to this one show or one network.

All of a sudden, there was an influx of this definition warping and it had taken over the airwaves without a second thought. I am as left as left can be, I am aware there is a disproportionate amount of black males in prison, I understand police brutality is a real thing and support finding peaceful and lawful ways to enact change. But based on the media’s coverage, it was no longer socially acceptable to cast any doubt over any scenario where a black man was killed by a police officer. Can’t a person wait to hear the facts of a situation before drawing conclusions, is it really so terrible to have faith in a justice system and a grand jury of 12 local citizens deciding whether or not a crime was committed? Are you a racist if you don’t automatically assume everything is a conspiracy? The people they allowed on the tv, and therefore into our homes would have you think so. It was so clear that the lines of reasonable thinking got muddied and yet nobody was there to stop the run-away train.

So, I turned off my tv, and exited the conversation. And yeah, the fact I can do that is white privilege. But, it was what I had to do because I felt myself start to get angry and I had to get out before I misplaced it anywhere besides where it belonged – at the media.  And all I can think of right now as I watch the Trump rally coverage is that perhaps these people didn’t turn it off.

I don’t actually know who they are, these insane people who support an actual racist bigot and dare to put their hands on another, but I do know they are not my kind of people.

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I ain’t afraid of no ghosts… till now

I was actually really geeking out when rumors were flying last year that they were thinking about doing an all female Ghostbusters. This coincided with a period of time when I had been developing a lot of my own writing, so I actually sat down one day and thought through what I would do with the plot if I were in charge.

So, today was the day I had been anxiously awaiting, they dropped the first Ghostbusters trailer and I wanted to see if it was anything like I had thought or perhaps something even better. It is not. Not even close… not even funny. And this criticism is coming from a girl who loves all four of those actresses, including Kate McKinnon and Leslie Jones. I still watch SNL once in a while, even though the only “cool thing” to do is bash it mercilessly and squawk about how it hasn’t been funny since Belushi died (insert world’s largest eye roll). But, sorry – not even I can find a way to defend that hot steaming pile of trailer that made my eyes burn.  Was it really that bad? I watched it twice – dear gawd yes. So, many questions bounced around my head – why are they doing a reboot and not a stand alone? Could they be saving all the funny stuff for the movie? Did they forget to watch the original film and design the new ghosts after the ecto-cooler drink logo?

Anyway, in an effort to wash the gross out of my mind, and because I think it would be fun,  I’m going to share a quick version of what I had outlined more than a year ago:

———-

Ghostbusters headquarters is 30 years older and falling to pieces, and so is it’s last remaining inhabitant, Dr. Raymond Stantz. The much rounder and grayer Ghostbuster does an interview with the local news about selling the building and contents, he admits he will be retiring to florida since there isn’t much use for a Ghostbusting business after they were phased out by a phone app.

Eventually, it’s purchased by a group of three super nerdy women in their late 30’s (led by a liz lemon type), they set out to restore the building to it’s former glory and turn it into a museum.

At the celebrity filled party for the inauguration of the museum, a careless waiter pops a bottle of champagne and the cork smashes through the glass peep hole of one of the containment units. An initial gasp comes across the crowd, but our liz lemon type assures everyone there is nothing to worry about since these units have been clear for years. She couldn’t be more wrong and a ghost emerges from the unit and begins to wreak havoc. People scream and try to open their Ghostbusting apps, but their cell phones can’t generate service.

Across the city, all of the ghosts people had previously been scaring away with their apps are reclaiming their space due to the large scale phone outage (quick homage to the original GB montage).

Taken in by the law, the women are told as the new owners of the facility, they are to be held accountable for everything and had better fix it. Without any working phones to contact any of the actual Ghostbusters, the three women go to visit the one person they know is left in New York City who might be able to help them. They tap lightly on an old rusted apartment door.

“Whaddya want?” A sassy Janine says. After hearing their plight and initially slamming the door in their faces, Janine reluctantly agrees to help them. They gather intel and equipment back at HQ, and figure out how to stop the ghost. They suit up and Janine takes her rightful place as Ghostbuster number 4. Hijinks ensue as the novice group try to locate and take down the frequency disturbing ghost – and they eventually get the job done.

Back at HQ, Janine shows the girls how to store the ghosts properly. The phone is ringing off the hook, people are calling in – no longer confident their phone apps will keep ghosts at bay they need the Ghostbusters to trap them for good. With a growing confidence among the younger team, they decide it’s fate to reopen the business. Janine says she’s too old for this crap though and takes off her uniform, while the other girls gear up to head out again. Our Liz Lemon leader says they will need some help cover the phones for a bit. Janine rolls her eyes and turns away, we secretly see she is giddy when she slides into her old desk, looking exactly the way it had in 1984. The phone rings again.

“Ghostbusters whaddya want?” Janine shouts into the phone.

Fade to black.

———

Sure, it’s not a prize winner, but I spent all of 20 minutes on it and think it’s far more relatable then that very odd trailer. I could be wrong, but that is where my gut stands as of now.

I’d love to hear what you think about the trailer and what you hope to see in the reboot. After all, there is always HOPE.

Bride(r) Beware!

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Over the holidays I got engaged! It’s been a totally exciting time in my life and since I’ve had some down time, I’ve spent a lot of time doing research for my Spring 2017 wedding. Having over 10 years experience working logistics in Reality TV, I am lucky enough to possess an extensive knowledge about these types of events. Because of my work, I have actually planned both a wedding and a surprise vowel renewal ceremony from soup to nuts. Besides this, I regularly book catering for crews of 60-120, rent tents, tables, chairs, event space, etc. So, I really consider myself in the know about these things. I cannot tell you how shocked I was when I began to surf the web and realized there seems to be some sort of collective understanding by vendors to price gouge as much as possible for all things wedding related.

In my opinion, the most heinous offense was an article written on Every Last Detail about why you shouldn’t negotiate with wedding vendors, and it in the author said that negotiation feels dirty and is in fact, the same as having your boss demand a portion of your next paycheck. WTH?

The article left me dumbfounded and with a bunch of questions – who is stupid enough to believe this and seriously who is stupid enough to write this?  That is when I discovered that the site is Edited by a wedding planner. Ah, yes – this type of advice would serve very beneficial to her, but the absolute worst part is there were tons of comments left from vendors backing up the insane claim, saying they would simply walk away from anyone who is  difficult enough to try to negotiate prices – and on the flip side, suggestible brides were thanking this dumb website for it’s awful advice. A simple google search confirms there is a “wedding” cost surplus of around 25-35% that vendors charge – well, just cause they can. This is not a conspiracy theory, this is good old fashioned sexism, sitting here alive and well and instead of someone calling out this disgusting practice for what it is, here is an article suggesting women lay down and take it while they get ripped off! The fury inside me began to grow, someone on here needed to speak the truth to these poor misguided women. I took a deep breath and I left the following comment:

Oh PLEASE tell me this is a joke! Look, I’ve got 10+ years working logistics in television, which makes me in the know on all things event related – catering, event space, rentals, etc. Negotiation is how smart business is done in America and any business that is “offended,” is run by a fool.

We already live in a world where goods marketed towards women typically cost 20% more then the male or unisex counterparts and It makes me furious to know that the wedding industry takes this way farther in the hopes that silly women will pay just about anything to get what they want. Do us all a favor and stop perpetuating this type of sexism. And I see all these vendors here yelling hooray cause it’s a good message to help line their pockets – but seriously, let me give you some real insight for a moment:

Stills photographers who I hire to come on set for a few hours to take official behinds the scenes make about $300-$400 flat- these are the same guys who shoot official pictures for pro sports. Now, knowing this I would like to tell you about a Production Assistant (this is the lowest entry level position on a show) I once hired who was a “wedding photographer” on weekends. This kid barely had the skills to carry our cameras from the trucks indoors – there is no way we would ever let him shoot one – and yet, somehow even with a vastly unimpressive website (in my professional opinion) he was able to dupe brides into paying anywhere from 2-4k for him and 2 of his other PA buddies to shoot a wedding. Of course, it would take them months to deliver prints because they had to sub out the retouching because they don’t have a clue how to do it themselves. He told me those were the competitive rates and if he asked for less it would scare brides off. SERIOUSLY? Same goes for catering – I get world class meals (choice of 2 proteins, veggies, and a starch) served buffet style in fancy chaffing dishes for $25 per person. Sure, it may be worth it to double that price if you want to serve filet and lobster but certainly not if you are sticking with chicken and fish. Please brides, come to your senses here.

You should always ALWAYS always get as many bids from as many vendors as possible. I wouldn’t even mention a wedding when touching base – tell them you need an estimate on a family event with x amount of people and see what they come in at when they are not trying to gouge you because you dropped the “wedding” word.

I really hope this author decides to wake up in this century some time soon. Please do not take her horrendous advice.

And there it sat for days on end “waiting for moderation,” while other comments on different articles around the same time were getting approved. Seems pretty clear to me what is going on here. So Brides, if there are any of you out there, for the love of all things – PLEASE do not let this type of internet garbage persuade you to overspend because you are afraid to hurt a vendors feelings. You accepting any price that is placed in front of you makes it harder for the next person in line who may not be able to afford an unfair 35% price hike. Vendors want to take advantage of you and this is a capitalistic society, so they have the right to try, but you have the right to demand fair pricing and be prepared to walk away if they won’t give it to you.  Use common sense, if your caterer pulls together a menu that looks and tastes like Olive Garden’s all-you-can-eat pasta bar, but costs $65 a plate, it’s time to move on.

Personally, I decided for me there was no reason to go into long term debt for a one day event. My wedding will have all the bells and whistles, but by using some creative thinking and my negotiation skills, will only cost about half the national average. I’d much rather use that money down the road to invest in a home to grow a family in. It’s up to you what you want to do, but I decided to look beyond my wedding event and not forget the bigger picture – no matter where we are, I know I will have my friends and family at my side when I exchange vows with my best friend – and that’s a beautiful picture indeed.

 

******

Update 2/23/16 – I decided to try and post a more tame response to the above mentioned article under a different registered user on February 15th, 2016.

There is no reason why you should not negotiate with vendors. I’ve seen from 35%-300% markups on products and services for no other reason then it is for a wedding. For example, there is a website offering private event DJ services $250/4 hours. The wedding price is $600/4 hrs with no additional personnel or equipment included. Why? Well, because they have found out that people will pay for it no questions asked.

Asking vendors for the best deal possible and then comparing bids is the american way. This is Capitalism, companies can charge anything they want for a service (especially weddings) and consumers have the right to go with whomever offers them the best deal. This is how it works, there is nothing offensive about it. Don’t go into even more debt for a one day event because you were too afraid to ask for a better deal.

and that too is still sitting there waiting to be “moderated.” Therefore, I’ve determined you shouldn’t trust ANYTHING on the website everylastdetail.com

 

Man·pology

Screen Shot 2016-02-01 at 6.56.10 PMI have to take a short trip up onto my soapbox for a moment. You see, it drives me nuts, I mean absolutely insane when other people do the sorry/not sorry type of apologizing that people are just starting to catch on to. You know the ones I’m talking about, they usually start with “I’m sorry you feel that way.” That specific set of words that come in when what you really want to do is place blame on the other person and take no responsibility for your own actions.

Don’t get me wrong, I have used that tactic many-a-time, and I’ve always meant it just like that. I’ve got a straight-forward, blunt type personality and it works well for me, but I also understand it’s not everyone’s cup of tea. So, there are times when I’ve said something that’s an ugly truth out loud and this may be upsetting, but none the less, it’s still true. So for that, you have definitely earned no more than a “I’m sorry you feel that way.” On the flip side, there have been times when I have actually misspoken and managed to string together a set of words which can easily be interpreted in a way that delivers a punch I never meant to throw. And for that, my mistake, I will wholeheartedly deliver a “I’m so sorry for what I said, I didn’t mean any harm, but I can see how my words caused some.” It seems to me that there are only two steps to delivering an apology, and they are as follows:

  1. Identify what the action or words were that upset someone
  2. Deliver the appropriate corresponding type of apology

You would think that this was pretty cut-and-dry, but then we have to bring the dreaded Manpology into the mix. I’ve dated a lot of different men – all types – from varying ages, education levels and ethnicity, and it seems to me that the one thing they all have in common is their inherent knowledge of Manpologizing. In the past, I have often referred to this as a Marytr’s apology, but at some point, someone brought to my attention that this could be offensive to some, in which case I will tell those offended parties, “I’m sorry you feel that way.”

The Manpology is typically delivered with just a hint of aggression, usually in short snippets of repetitive “sorry,” for which the deliverer makes it abundantly clear he has no clue what he is apologizing for and usually throws in some variant of “I can’t do anything right.” And there it is, the blame is thrown right back on you, because now the alleged offender is suggesting they are really no more than a victim of circumstances beyond their control or of unrealistic expectations of a crazy woman. Don’t get me wrong, there are some ladies out there who are way out of line, and if you find yourself with a woman who is too demanding, then by all means – break up with her. But, the Manpology seems to make an appearance all the time – from the minute situation to even more offensive act of infidelity. And then, when this “I’m sorry/yet I refuse to admit anything is my fault” type of apologetic defense comes into play, the woman responds wildly, thus seemingly proving the crazy woman claim that goes hand-in-hand with the Manpology.

And you shouldn’t necessarily blame the woman for having such an adverse reaction (just see the second sentence of this blog), but men know this is the easiest way to get to a stalemate. A simple “Look how crazy you are right now” can stop a woman in her tracks and men know it. And thus, the Manpology has been perfected and passed down to the bearers of penises for generations. I love men endlessly, but this behavior has got to stop.

So ladies, now that you know the symptoms, I urge you to keep your cool and accept obscure apologies no more. If we all work together, we can revoke the intangible Manpology cards in our households and it will soon be a fad of the past! I will leave you with the the words of great G.I. Joe, knowing is half the battle.

 

Putting my wand away

Since I decided to step away from my 80+ hour a week production job, I’ve had to spend a lot of time figuring out how to market myself and my skills. It’s actually incredibly difficult to translate what working as a Production Manager has really meant, though I gave a good swing at it in my previous posting, Whats it like working in reality tv. One thing that is a little bit easier to disseminate is the skills I picked up along the way. By far, I think my greatest skill lies in the thing that I see so often lacking in professions I encounter on a daily basis, and that is foresight.

The beauty/curse of working in an industry where people can toss around literally any idea in the world – “We need to figure out how to get cell service on that mountain in the middle of nowhere” or “We picture them on a deep sea diving date looking for actual pirate treasure, so let’s find a place like that and figure out how to shoot it,” is that I am usually the one in charge of the actual figuring. And boy, did I get good at it. I like to say that I can become an expert on just about anything in less than a day. The key element to making this magic happen is having no shame. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve tracked people and businesses down from Google and said “I know this sounds a little bit crazy but I have no clue how to do this so can you help me or do you know somebody who can?” I was always incredibly surprised how helpful perfect strangers can be.

Of course, there were many times when due to the workload and limited access to the idea makers, you are only given pieces of instruction, usually in the form of a an incredibly ambiguous email. These are the moments when you feel like you have fallen off a cruise ship and despite standing right next to the rescue tubes, people keep throwing down pieces of wood, expecting you to be able to build your own boat. Early on in my career, I would flail – doing exactly what was being asked of me, even when I knew something about it seemed really off. Later on in my career, I figured out that the best way to stay ahead of these things was to set up shop on the nearest life raft the second I stepped foot onto the cruise ship.  I began to insert myself early on into matters that didn’t necessarily concern me yet, but this is where I would learn about who these idea makers were, what they hoped to accomplish, their timetables and their style of getting things done. That way, not only could I think inside and outside the box, I could see the whole piece of paper the box was drawn on. I loved being a few steps ahead, and just for a small amount of effort, it was a total win-win for everyone.

I once hired a woman who ran her own live event business to be my coordinator for a few weeks on a show. She told me she didn’t know how I managed to keep it all together because there was so much more going on then she would have ever anticipated. I was sort of shocked and delighted to hear this compliment coming from someone who has headed up large scale parades. I really thought that once I left LA, I would have a world of opportunity, I would be able to test the waters in a few different fields until I found something I liked.

One cross-country move and thousands of resume submissions later, I can tell you -this has not been the case. Only once I dulled my resume down to a more cookie cutter look and downplayed my television past did I even get a few calls. It’s sort of sad, but now I know that I must hide my wand – my ability to make magic and the thing I spent 10 grueling years working tirelessly to perfect. It feels like the death of an era for me. But hopefully, one day down the road I just might find the right reason to dust that wand off again.

What’s it like working in Reality TV?

I get asked this question a lot – many people have told me that they want to do my job, so I thought I would open a window to let those folks peek into what it’s really like to work on a reality TV show.

First thing to know is that every single reality show is different. Speak to any crew member and there will be three classifications to which a show can fall: Good, It’s ok and it’s a NIGHTMARE.  And the worst part is that much like life and a box of chocolates, you absolutely never know what you are going to get. You see, there is a myriad of elements that play out behind the scenes on a reality show that can make or break your experience. A few examples include; how diva or professional the cast can be – do they show up on time or 90 minutes late everyday, how dickish or cool are your coworkers – are they your drinking buddies at the hotel bar after work or do they hold a grudge against you b/c on shoot day 5 someone forgot to order a side of ranch with their lunch – Also, how many days straight have you been working (10, 20, 30 – yes, an American human can be required to work 30 days straight and in reality world if you are “salaried,” or exempt from overtime pay, you most certainly will) and finally, have you had the opportunity to sleep more than 5 hours a night because budget constraints have created a grueling schedule? You see, this is why it’s difficult to tell you what it’s like, I would do between 3-6 shows per year and each had their pros and cons. More often than not, I’d tell someone who asks – It’s fun, but exhausting. And that’s true.

I can’t stress enough how much the exhaustion part takes a toll on reality staff members. A long work week for most people is having to stay late a night or two during the week, or heaven forbid – coming into an office on a Saturday.  40-hour workweek for us is considered a part time job. I figured out there are exactly three kinds of days I’ve had during my 10 year career working on reality shows:

THE EASY DAY – 4% occurrence 

Typically, this type of day only applies to the first and last few days on a show. You wake up at 7:30am, in the office by 9:00am. Check three things off your to-do list, attend a few meetings and be physically present just in case anyone needs anything. You actually get to take a lunch. Leave office at 6:30pm. Take calls until 9pm.  Total work hours: 9

THE TYPICAL DAY – 63% occurrence 

Wake up at 5:30am, buy coffee and bagels on the way into the office and wait for the rest of the crew to arrive for their 7am call. Run around town all day supporting your crew through 12 hours of filming, return to the office for wrap out and prepare for the next day. 50% of the time you have time to eat your lunch while working. Leave the office at 9:00pm. Total work hours: 15

THE WORST DAY(S) OF YOUR LIFE – 33% occurrence

Wake up at 5am – not that you actually slept thanks to crippling anxiety. There is a major event coming up in the next 48 hours and everything has to be booked by the end of business that day.  You’ve sent a dozen emails and texts to department heads hoping people will make decisions – WHY O WHY in the world is everyone ignoring you like you’re patient zero?!? It’s 6am, you are in the office alone, might as well use this time to restock the copier and crafty tables. 7am, you get the crew out the door, you will be chained to your desk, so they nominate the assistant coordinator to go in your place on set for the day. You wait at your desk – wonder when the decision makers will arrive while acid in your stomach tears a slow hole. 9am, still not here, but it’s a perfectly fine hour to take all those above-mentioned emails and replay all with one word, “bump” and a smiley face. 8 minutes later, the power-people walk through the door. You try to act casual with a bunch of “good mornings and coffee is extra delicious today,” and then you immediately drop your real agenda, “did you see my email yet? Oh, no? Well just a reminder we only have until x o’clock and it’s just me to do it all, so the sooner the better.” They assure you will be the first to know. And then you wait. You skip lunch, convinced the moment you step out of the office they will pull the trigger. It’s 2pm, you start calling vendors put on your sexiest damsel in distress voice and plead – please.. please, if we place the order at closing time can you have someone stay late to work on it? This works somehow. It’s 4 o’clock, boss man emerges from the office – “Do it!” he tells you and you hit the phones like a 1940’s switchboard operator. You lock vendors until 8pm when the crew returns, then you wrap them out and do timecards. It’s 9:00pm, the creative teams email you something they need 1000 color copies of, also, they want to know  if you can have a banner made and ready for on-screen at 9am. You spend the next 45 minutes making calls – the person at the nearest 24 hour Kinkos laughs at you, however, you find another Kinkos 39 miles away that can do it, and your Line Producer approves the cost of a banner twice the size requested because “it should pop” but won’t let you order the copies from Kinkos because there is a “perfectly good one-sheet color printer at the the office that the show already sunk $58 dollars into.” So, you send the one person who was helping you make the 1000 copies off to middle-earth to await the banner. After beating up the printer a dozen times for jamming, you run out of color ink and make a trip at midnight to Walgreens – you will do a dance like you’ve just won the Superbowl when you find out they do have the correct ink in stock. It’s 1:30am, the PA finally returns with the banner, you close down the office and count on one hand the hours until you have to be awake again. You go to your hotel, pat yourself on the back for saving the entire show and do a fully-clothed belly flop onto your bed.  Total work hours: 19.5

As you can see, being this kind of productive is one of the most challenging and rewarding experiences. I’d say that if you can hang in those types of situations, you will be able to work with some of the most ambitious people on the planet. I never understood why it takes three years to build an overpass, if I put my art guys on it, we’d have it up in three weeks.  Bottom line, in reality tv, you are making magic happen every day.

Memory Lane: That time I hung out with John Mayer and that guy from Heroes

One thing I always loved about living in LA is that even on a supposedly mundane night, the most unbelievable events can unfold around you. Whether it’s Tara Reid puking on your shoes at the Henson lot’s private Halloween extravaganza, or constantly turning around to see Travis Barker  trailing you in so many different locations that you start to believe perhaps he’s stalking you. But one of my most favorite stories I love to regale when I am entertaining a group of people is of the night I went to hang out with my friend and his band at the Three Clubs in Hollywood.

It was right before the banks nearly broke America, around 2007, and I was working as a Coordinator for a tiny production company that had one well-known show. There was an attempt to do a spin-off and as usual, I was recruited midway through when things weren’t going as smooth as they should. I’m happy to say the people I was working with were fantastic humans and it was probably one of only a few shows I’ve ever worked on where I felt truly needed and in turn, greatly appreciated. You’d be surprised how understaffed reality shows are compared to scripted, each person has to take on 4-5 full time jobs, and you are often run into the ground working 7 days a week, 16-hour days. The worst thing for me was never the schedule, though now that I am older I will not allow a job to consume my life, but in these scenarios, a lot of superiors who are never physically present tend to harp on the one or two things that didn’t go well and completely ignore the fact you sacrificed months of food and sleep to manifest thousands of positive and perfectly executed tasks. The silver lining in this unrelenting, intense pressure/sleep-deprivation/isolation type of situation, is that you tend to become very close with that small group of people with you in the field and often for the duration of the run of a show, these people become your closest friends. And that is how I became a fleeting friend of former Bachelor, Bob Guiney.

Unlike some other semi-celebs I’ve known, Bob is one cool dude. He’s endlessly positive, super down-to-earth and best of all, from my home state of Michigan.  I didn’t really know much about him at the time because I had been sucked in by the reality tv production vortex for a few years already, and rarely had a moment to myself to catch up on trivial things like current events. One day, after the show was in the can, Bob invited a bunch of the crew out to see him perform with his band. Since I had a friend in town and was looking for fun stuff to do, this seemed like the perfect LA experience to show to an out-of-towner.

We showed up fashionably late, partially on purpose and partially because I spent 30 minutes looking for parking. Since I was in my early 20’s and extremely underpaid, I adamantly refused to pay $10 to park anywhere ever. I have no idea how many songs deep the band was before we arrived, but the performance space they were in was tiny, it looked like a banquet area in the back of restaurant with a small stage only a foot or so off of the ground. The crowd was light, so it didn’t take long for me to scan the room and see that nobody else I knew came. My focus shifted to the band, who actually sounded pretty awesome, and I was a little shocked when I began to realize that everyone up there was famous. James Denton from Desperate Housewives on bass, Greg Grunberg from Heroes played the drums and that House guy from House MD strummed his guitar. Holy crap, my semi-famous friend is in a band with his super famous friends – how cool is that? My girlfriend suggested we move to the front and in-between songs, and we did just that. Not one second after seizing our new spots, Bob saw me, shouted hi and gave me a high five – it was such a rock star moment.

A few songs later, a special guest took to the mini-stage and wailed on the guitar while crooning with the voice of a much older man. It was none other than John Mayer. Though, I knew of John and his music I wasn’t really a fan until that night. The handful of pop song that streamed the airwaves during the previous few years gave no hint at the profound talent and deep emotional connection Mayer has with music itself. He stayed for about 3 or 4 songs and I believe he only played one of his own, it was an awesome sight.  Shortly after, the gig was over, the lights came up and everyone was getting kicked out. Bob told us we could stick around and like the good little production solider I was, I volunteered me and my friend to help Greg pack up his drum kit and load it into his SUV. He didn’t drink, so he wasn’t going to stick around, but he was grateful for the help, so my friend ended up getting a picture with him (o-o-towners, am i right?!).

When we got back in I made a beeline for the bathroom but some angry looking bouncer told me if I crossed over this invisible line he was guarding, I wouldn’t be able to come back. I whined about having to pee but he just shrugged his shoulders. I was just about to turn around when a man emerged from the packed crowd on the other side of the invisible line and was physically stopped by another protector of the line. It was John Mayer, he was just performing and needed to get back there, he explained politely. “You’re not getting through” the a-hole bouncer/UTI proponent quipped while holding out his meaty arms. I couldn’t believe what was going on and in that moment of intoxication I decided to step in, “hey guys, you do know that is John Mayer, right?” I asked to blank stares. I could see they weren’t getting it, so I started to croak out a few lines from some of his greatest hits, Your Body is a Wonderland, and Daughters – I even scrunched up my face to look like his when he sings, all while failing miserably to actually know the words to his songs. Eventually, when I opened up my squinted eyes, John seemed to be holding back a laugh and brought his hands together in front of his chest and told me “Please… it’s ok, just go get someone from the band.” Did John Mayer just beg me to stop singing his songs out loud? Um, yep – ’cause I’m a f*cking rockstar.

John made his way back with the help of the spitfire female in the band and me and my friend spent the next hour hanging out with these guys doing shots of whiskey and trying to act like rubbing elbows with celebs happens to us all of the time. Eventually, even we all got kicked out, said our goodbyes, and made the half mile trek back to where I had parked the car. Luckily, my girlfriend didn’t drink much so I slid into the passenger seat, clunked the seat back to chillax mode and asked”Did that all really just happen?”

“Hell yeah, it did!” she confirmed.