Life in Hollywood, below-the-line

Life in Hollywood, below-the-line
Work gloves at the end of the 2006/2007 television season (photo by Richard Blair)

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

The Followers

(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?


Nathan said...

Hey! I'm still paying attention. I'm just not a "follower". (I cheat -- my sidebar shows me when you've got something new.)

J said...

I'm not a follower, either, but I stop by every Sunday and Wednesday.

Haven't missed a post since I started reading last year.

Keep it up!

Andrew Bellware said...

They may very well have simply switched readers and rather than "follow" they just subscribe to the RSS feed. Or, heck, they may have switched Google accounts.
Really, I wouldn't read too much into it. ;-)

dzrtrat67 said...

yup. What Andrew said.

I read your posts regularly, even though I'm not a "follower." Using Google Reader or other RSS readers makes it easy to keep up with many regularly visited sites, without having to bookmark or remember any of them.

Anonymous said...

Believe me Mike, you underestimate the loyalty of your followers.

Since you mentioned my humble blog in one of your posts, I've received dozens of pageviews that could only have come from those who faithfully 'tune in' for your next episode! :)

D said...

I was going to tell you not to despair, but I've been beaten to it. I read regularly but don't follow simply because I don't want my phone buzzing any more than it does, and I mainly view your site on my phone. I lose followers from time to time too and wonder why.

Michael Taylor said...

Ah -- my ignorance of the digital world is profound. I don't really know what "RSS feeds" or "Google Reader" are, but from all of your responses here, I gather there are many ways to keep track of favored blogs on the net other than signing on as "followers."

Thanks for shedding a little light on the darkness. I wasn't really too worked up about one reader jumping ship, but it just seemed kind of odd.

And thanks again for tuning in...

Ed "sloweddi" said...

I work with computer all day and all night but my knowledge of basic things like "follower" is non-existant.

How does one "follow"?

Art DepartMENTAL said...

While I check in often I wouldn't mind being a 'follower' of your blog. However I can't find where I am supposed to sign up to become a 'follower'. Perhaps I am just to used to Wordpress and it is somewhere completely different on Blogger.

Michael Taylor said...

SloEddi and artdepartMENTAL --

Truth be told, I never paid any attention to how one signs up as a "follower." Everytime I log on to Blogger, the list of "followers" is just there.

So I've added a gadget at the very bottom of the page which displays those who have already signed up. There's a link that apparently will allow you to sign on, if that's what you want to do. Could be you'd have to join Blogger in some fashion -- that seems to be how Google works.

I'm not sure there's any real reason to sign on, though. By now, you both know that my goal is to post every Sunday, with an occasional mid-week offering when the spirit so moves and the creek don't rise. But if you want to sign up, be my guest...