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Wednesday, August 25, 2010
(Illustration by Kate Greenaway)
This blog lost a “follower” a couple of months back. Although the concept of having blog “followers” was flattering at first, then seemed maybe just a little bit creepy, I finally realized it was simply a time-saving device for readers weary of clicking “Blood, Sweat, and Tedium” only to find a stale post they’d already read, now curling up at the edges and turning yellow under the fierce Southern California sun. Signing up as a “follower” allows a reader to be notified whenever a blog puts up a fresh offering. So when my tiny flock slowly-but-steadily grew to twelve, that meant at least a dozen people out there were actually reading these posts. Although I never harbored any illusions BS&T would attract hordes of readers – not everybody is interested in the raw grist of a juicer's life below-the-line -- at least it was making progress out there in cyberspace.
But then I lost that “follower” –- one day the name was there, the next it had vanished from the list, leaving eleven where once had been twelve -- and my little house of cards built on a foundation of assumptions came tumbling down.* Maybe the reader finally got tired of my endless mewling rants about the indignity of working for cable rate, or my criticism of occasional incompetence in the production ranks, or perhaps he wanted more bitter, snarky war stories from the front lines of location filming.
Maybe he wanted me to name names.
But there are boundaries I cannot cross without the risk of winding up out on the street and on some secret Industry blacklist. These signs are becoming more common on sets all the time, as smart phones with cameras proliferate throughout society, and given the non-disclosure agreements we all must sign prior to employment, there’s only so far I can go in revealing what transpires on set. That’s why you won’t find the names of the shows I work on here, nor the actors who star in those shows. Unlike them, I am totally replaceable -- juicers really are a dime a dozen in Hollywood – so although I always tell the truth about my work, I seldom reveal the whole truth. When appropriate, I’ll name long-dead shows or movies I worked on in the past, but I try to avoid leaving too many clues as to my currently employment status. To do otherwise could be professional suicide, and if the notion of hanging up my gloves for good holds a certain appeal (mostly when the alarm goes off at 5 a.m.), I really can’t afford to be driven into the exile of premature retirement.
And truth be told, for all my carping, I'm still having fun at work -- on the good days, anyway.
Besides, being forced to the sidelines would leave me stuck writing a very boring and increasingly bitter blog about the miseries of terminal unemployment in Hollywood -- life amid the ruins under the Sixth Street Bridge -- and you don’t want to read that anymore than I want to write it.
Still, I must admit that having a "follower" vanish into the ether kind of gnaws at me -- why go to all the trouble of de-registering to become an ex- follower? Why not simply stop reading?
I guess the Hollywood Juicer is no Pied Piper after all.
But that's okay -- being a modern Pied Piper was never my intention. It’s impossible to please everybody in this fractious world, and the knowledge that at least eleven of you out there in the trackless wilds of cyberspace were willing to sign on – and stay signed on – means something. Without readers, this blog is just an empty soapbox on a sun-bleached sidewalk in a city with no shame.
I do appreciate your interest, so thanks for tuning in.
* So where'd you go, Frank?