Monday, October 3, 2011
I am writing this at the Beautiful Starbucks. I haven’t been here in a long time. It feels like old times, like February through July of this year. The clientele is looking as beautiful as ever.
When I moved to Springfield, I volunteered with Young Life for awhile until I got a job and started the Skinny, and just got too busy. Young Life is all about crazy fun for teenagers. At one “club,” where there are songs and games, etc., I remember one particular club really well. I don’t remember what the game is called, but they bring a kid up to the front, give him the mic, then have him call home on speakerphone and try to get his mom to say, “Did you poop your pants?” The trick is that the kid can only allude to it, but can’t tell his mom to say it. This particular night, the kid called home and kept trying to get his mom to say it, and to the delight of the crowd, she kept getting excruciatingly close. Then, instead of using the verbiage they were hoping for, she said, “Did you $h*t yourself?” It was kind of awesome.
When you’re trying to make it in Hollywood and have to have a part time job, you want a job where you might, just might, interact with people in the industry that can help you. You also want the opportunity to talk with them for awhile where you can bring up your acting aspirations in a non-awkward, non-pushy, within the guidelines of the job, kind of a way. Let’s be honest, rarely is a Hollywood mogul going to say, “That guy was sure helpful in helping me pick out a case for my phone, I bet he would be great in my next movie.” Nor will they say, “That guy makes the harsh fluorescent lighting and standard blue work shirt work for him.” But, this is a land built on “Just give me a chance,” so if you can get yourself in that position, you revel in it. My job is great for this, it’s usually filled with wealthy industry people, who we get to spend a lot of time with.
Today, I helped a guy out who wanted a hard drive, so he could back up his work because he’s a screenwriter. I said, “Oh, what sort of screenwriting do you do? He said, “Movies.” It turns out he wrote the screenplay for the movie, Defiance, among others. I said, “I’m trying to write a screenplay, it’s hard.” Seed planted. I gave him the opportunity to say, “Oh, I would love to help you with that. If your screenwriting ability is anything like you’re ability to help me find a hard drive, then we should partner up on something big.” He resisted the urge, but I mentioned it. Smooth.
I have mentioned Convoy of Hope before, which is my favorite international aid organization based out of Springfield, MO. Hal, who I have written about has gotten me in touch with a successful actor, who is a big Convoy supporter. We haven’t totally been in touch, it’s more that we’ve played a lengthy game of e-mail tag trying to get together. Today, a guy came into the store, who I vaguely recognized, but couldn’t place. He had an issue with his phone and explained it to me. When he brought up his e-mail screen, I noticed an e-mail from the actor that I have been playing e-mail tag with. I have e-mails from him in my phone, too! Weird. When the vaguely familiar customer left, I imdb’d my actor connection, to see if he had done work with the vaguely familiar customer. Sure enough. I was talking to Tim Olyphant, a fairly well known actor. Small world.
I held myself back from mentioning my connection to his e-mail, because that’s creepy. Instead, I just treated him as an equal, a colleague.
On a related note, I have decided to try to say Gigglebyte, instead of Gigabyte, to customers without them noticing. I was reminded by my ex co-worker, Lisa, that at my old job I would try to get the CEO to swear every time I talked to him. It was an achievement each time it happened. It wasn’t unexpected, he liked to swear, but he was also trying to stop doing it, which triggered the older brother in me and made me want it all the more. I would try to bring up his little dogs that he found annoying, or the actions of the competition, or say something ridiculous that would make him instinctively say, “Houghton, you little $h*t.”
Now, I just need to try to get important customers to say, “Houghton, you little $h*t, you’re perfect for my TV show.” More than likely though, I’ll just get a, “Did you $h*t yourself?”