Goodbye to a Coward and a Bully

I haven’t watched American Idol in years. I really only followed it for one season, but that was enough. I find the initial auditions painful to watch. The people that go on there who are clearly being silly and doing it for their five minutes of fame are one thing, but I cannot bear to watch the others who suffer through the pain and humiliation of rejection on national television. The ones who really are trying to fulfill their dreams. Watching them fail is not pleasant to watch.

This is not entertainment. This is cruelty and I find it disturbing that so many people enjoy watching this.

I do believe that sometimes people do need to be told the cold, harsh truth. Sometimes people truly are wasting their time trying to make it in a field where they just do not have the talent for it.

Simon Cowell is not trying to help these people by telling them the truth. He mocks people who are brave and strong enough to get up in front of millions of people and uses their moment of glory to show off his own “cleverness” in how many different ways he can insult them. He is cruel and demeaning and I’m glad he is off the show.

I love to read about near death experiences that people write about (bear with me, I do have a point here). I don’t know if they are true, but I really hope they are. Many people who have experienced them say they go through a kind of “life review” where they can see all the good and all the bad that they’ve done in their lives. They truly feel the things that other people felt in response to their actions.

I’m not a vengeful person. I don’t want Simon Cowell to go to Hell. But I do hope that he undergoes a life review and that he gets to feel the pain of every dagger that he plunged into the heart of these passionate, hardworking Wannabe singers. And I hope he’s sorry.

JERKS

Right now I am working on writing articles that may be helpful to Wannabes as I hope to use this site as not only a place to share and commiserate, but also to learn. I am working on an article on what to expect during a first audition and I have contacted several theater professors for their help. I am also contacting English professors for writing advice for an article. I have received several kind, compassionate answers (mostly email but one very friendly voicemail). It makes me so excited to know that others are so eager to help us Wannabes on our climb.

So why is it that the jerks always stand out more?

I got one email that simply said “Since this is my livelihood, I don’t give out that advice for free.” No, “hello”, no “sorry but..” Jerk. Many of the professors I emailed simply did not respond. They may be too busy (during this end of the school year time, I bet they are truly swamped) or may have any other valid reason not to answer. No problem. But why bother to write back and be an ass about it? NO FAMOUS PERSON, NO MATTER HOW TALENTED, MADE IT TO THE TOP WITHOUT HELP ALONG THE WAY. And who ever heard of a professor who refuses to share any of their knowledge “for free?” What, I need to enroll in your college class if I want your views on Shakespeare? And not everyone can afford to go to college, Poindexter. I really hate that it’s the jerk that stands out in my mind, and not the amazingly kind people who are willing to help.

Speaking of kind people:

Jodi Picoult – yes THAT JODI PICOULT, bestselling, mega-famous, mega-talented, awesome Jodi Picoult answered my email, with kindly advice, less than five minutes after I sent the message.

Other kind people : see earlier blog about the inimitable, incredible, classy, and KIND Betty White.

All you Wannabes out there – DON’T BE A JERK IF YOU EVER HIT IT BIG. Don’t be that guy.

Hear it, learn it, live it.

BETTY WHITE ROCKS

Betty White rocks not only because she is one of the most successful women in the history of entertainment, having been active and working for more than six decades, but because I always get the impression that she hasn’t taken one moment of her success for granted. She often describes herself as the “luckiest broad on two feet”. She’s smart, classy, and hilarious. She’s an inspiration to me as a Wannabe because she seems so grateful for her success. I think we’ve all heard seemingly clueless, successful people in the biz who seem to think their success is totally deserved and their star will continue to rise indefinitely (one starlet, who shall remain nameless, seems to think starring roles in summer blockbuster grow on trees so she doesn’t have to actually “try” to be good at what she does). There is often a very fine line between great success and nine to five-ing it for the rest of your life, no matter how talented you might be. So cheers to a classy lady who deserves her success and is grateful for every moment oof it. GOOD LUCK ON SNL TONIGHT, BETTY!

Brief Thoughts on Rejection

A Wannabe director friend of mine had this to say about rejection:

“Rejection comes with the business, I really don’t dwell on it nor do I worry about it. I’ve had my films turned down by distributors and film festivals no less than 75 times over the past 3 years. I deal with it by continuing to work, write and hone my skills. I can’t and don’t take it personally, simply because as a Producer/Director I have to reject actors or crew often. It’s never personal. Maybe it’s just not the right fit for us, and the same applies with a festival or distro company. They may not have an interest in horror this year. So…you keep fighting, keep moving and never take a “no” personally. After all these/those people don’t even know me, so how could they dislike me on a personal level? I have enough friends who do that!”

I wish I could say that I let rejection roll off me that easily. Maybe lots of people can. Maybe you can. However, I’ve learned an awful lot about rejection in my fifteen years as a Wannabe and I have come to the point now where I actually accept it and embrace it. Well, I embrace it like you embrace your slobbering Aunt Matilda who means well but who you can’t wait to get away from. A tentative, get-the-hell-off-me embrace. A necessary evil embrace. It’s tough to get rejection, but getting rejected repeatedly makes you tougher. The Wannabe is stronger, braver than the average person because we know it’s coming and we charge forward anyway. It’s stepping into the ring knowing with 100% certainty that we’re gonna get hit and get hit hard. We get knocked down over and over again and yet we get up every time. And it’s not easy. If you’ve gotten rejected but didn’t give up, be proud of yourself. Not to get all Mr. Rogers on you, but I’m proud of you, too.