Monday, April 18, 2005

Let's Meet After Third Period And Give Her A Wedgie

I attended a workshop yesterday entitled, ‘How To Get Paid To Read Scripts’ which was held at the illustrious educational institution known as The Learning Annex, home to not only ‘How To Get Rich’ seminars by Donald Trump but also classes such as ‘Cardio Striptease’ and ‘Change Your Aura, Change Your Life.’ It was very informative, though, and besides the shock that, should I pursue this, I would make about 1/10,000 of what I make as an art director, it convinced me to explore this as a way to earn some extra Gap spending money (that comes out to two pairs of pants! Every other year!) while still getting in some writing practice.

I've taken a few classes and worshops over the past few months and have noticed that little has changed since I was in grade school – aside from my personal feelings of dread and inadequacy, there is the classroom dynamic among the students; still present are the nerds, the ‘good’ kids and the deservedly mocked and tortured ‘Teacher’s Pet.’ The Teacher’s Pet is distinguished by her/his overzealous nature and eagerness to forge an unnatural bond with the teacher, achieved by much ass-kissing and pandering, all at the expense and time of fellow students. In grade school it may have been little Johnnie who always brought Mrs. Aaron an apple, raised his hand to answer all of her questions, and unlike the rest of us, never made fun of how she did the flag salute, her hand resting completely horizontal atop her huge breasts. In the adult world it’s the student who deifies the instructor, answering all of their questions, laughing a little too loudly at all of their jokes and rushing up front immediately after class is finished to snare a private audience with and kiss the feet of said Imparter Of Knowledge.

This class was no different. The pariah in this case was a woman I will call Sherry Lansing, not because of her resemblance to the powerful, carefully coiffed studio mogul, but because of her repeated declaration that she had “EXTENSIVE EXPERIENCE IN THE ENTERTAINMENT INDUSTRY” which she would implausibly manage to fit into almost every sentence.

As with all teacher’s pets, Sherry Lansing made sure she was sitting front row center, the better to save the teacher's life should a ten-ton meteor come crashing through the ceiling. She had the annoying habit of flipping her hair and leaning WAY forward (in order to soak up the rays of knowledge emanating from the instructor) whenever she was about to make a point, which was about every two minutes or so, or to ask a question, which was every other minute that she wasn’t MAKING A POINT, because you know she had EXTENSIVE EXPERIENCE IN THE ENTERTAINMENT INDUSTRY. She would always find a way to bring her "valuable expertise" into play, no matter what the topic we were discussing, as in, “Speaking of story synopsis and it’s bearing on the overall scheme of the universe and all lifeforms that came before us, I gotta tell ya’, people, ROBERT ALTMAN was great to work for.” The rest of us mortals would sit mutely, rolling our eyes as we plotted our own secret revenge fantasies against this name-dropping gasbag. Mine involved Crazy Glue and a toilet seat, but I guess that’s just the eight year old in me getting all riled.

Sherry was sitting next to a French-Canadian woman, and although not nearly as vocal about it, she also had previous experience in the industry, which immediately set her up as Sherry Lansing's arch rival. She sounded just like Celine Dion, and her voice would lull the room into silent attention, all of us charmed by her lilting, perky accent. I thought of asking her to sing the theme from ‘Titanic’ but she was a big gal and I didn’t want to get my ass kicked.

As we were being excused for lunch (whatta ya have? Peanut butter? Wanna trade?) I saw Sherry Lansing stop Celine Dion and ask her, “Are you going out for lunch?” I saw a flash of momentary terror in Celine’s eyes as she answered a meek “Yes,” her precious hour of lunchtime that she was planning to spend rehearsing for her Vegas extravaganza RUINED by the possibility of having to listen to Sherry’s detailed EXPERIENCE IN THE ENTERTAINMENT INDUSTRY. Then Sherry barked “Can you bring me back a large coffee?” as she shoved a couple of dollar bills into Celine’s palm. Celine looked stunned but managed to answer back, “I am going to DenNees and ju know dey have zee teddible cofFee” which would have been hint enough for most people to back off, but Sherry just pressed on, “Not if you tell them to make a fresh pot.”

Ouch. A silence fell over the room. Everyone knows that, in the hierarchal world of the entertainment industry the symbolic act of asking someone to FETCH you coffee is like the alpha chimpanzee imploring the lesser chimps to eat his poop, and telling them to have a fresh pot made is like, well, asking them to cook that poop into a nice chocolate soufflé first. Those of us that witnesssed the transgression stared at each other and then leaned forward in our seats like we were waiting for the lunchroom spat to turn into a full fledged brawl, anticipating the showdown between powerful studio head and internationally known singing superstar, and ready to chant, "Celine! Celine! Celine!" but our hopes were dashed when she gathered up her things in a huff and left the room, leaving Sherry to preen in her mirror and comb her arms.

I would love to say this story ends triumphantly with Celine storming into the classroom while majestically hoisting a cup of Denny’s coffee above her head, belting out ‘My Heart Will Go On’ and then dumping that cup of java onto the head of Ms. Lansing, thereby rendering her mute and the rest of us able to get a word in edgewise, but it doesn’t. Sadly, there was no Hollywood ending here. We returned from lunch and finished up the class, Celine Dion humiliated into silence and the rest of us forced to endure the blathering of Sherry Lansing and the scent of her chocolate-infused poop.

Archive File: Cranky | This Life

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  1. That was classic! I guess somethings never change and it reaffirms one of the reasons why I dropped out of college (the other pesky reason being my grades, of course).
    -NorCal Sistah

  2. This is proof once again that the world of entertainment anything is not for me - Seems even entertainment school is one ugly place. Those hideous examples of entertainment exec. wannabees!!! The nerve!!

    Them mind games you described are just to much to handle- and all that political classroom jockeying... for what??!! An eventual measley end credit buried long after 'Best Boy'... or a stinkin' steamin' cup of hot java delivered by a shamed and submissive underling -

    Shades of LOTR (!!)- at least those Hobbits had self respect.

    M save yourself while you've got the chance - drastic design can't be that bad?! - ( oops I meant "graphic") Drop out- take an incomplete- have your doctor write and excuse!!!

    MTM, jew muss runned avay now!! hairy up!!
    runned! runned now... beefaw iss tu laid!!!! Safe yurseff !!!

    (yeah I know that doesn't sound as good as your Celine - but Im not the writer)

    I dare you to sit in Ms. Lansing's seat after lunch break next class.

    C'mon live a little it would make for a great "...tune in again next week when I ..." blog post

    I want to hear that you threw your coffee (accidentaly) at her windshield as she leaves the parking area !!! -

    YESS !!
    My hero MTM!!!!

  3. hi marsha, your norcal sis turned me onto your blog and i just want to let you know how much you crack me up. great imagery! thought you might be amused by this usa today blurb if you haven't already seen it:

    happy blogging! -kb

  4. Your signifigant other4/21/2005 3:26 PM

    Even better than your telling of this story in person! Classic.


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