Thursday, January 21, 2010

Random Acts of Kindness: How May I Be of Service? (PART II)

(This is a continuation of my earlier post, which can be found HERE.)

Yesterday, a different friend of mine called me to give me specifics of working a different award show: start date, how many weeks, pay rate...

As he talked, I noticed that I was getting more and more tense, and felt on the verge of hyperventilation. Just the thought of the work; the deadlines, the attitudes, the pace, the minutae, the demands - were about to send me into a panic attack. I wanted to take a Xanax. Instead, I just stayed present and paid attention to what my body was telling me.

Here's what it told me: "Taking drugs to suppress my normal function only compounds the problem. I am trying to tell you that you need to stop doing this."

Now, I know I've wanted to for a long time now, and up until about 7 months ago I was at the point where my income from commercials was such that I didn't really HAVE to do production work to make ends meet. Financial challenges has made it necessary again, and instead of focusing on what feeds my spirit, I've had to take these jobs and focus on things that are sooooooo not important to me. You know I SO respect artistry, but when when Miss-Flavor-of-the-Month's tour manager is calling me once every 20 minutes because he wants to make sure that the production is going to pay for repairs to the strap that broke on her $8,000 shoe, I really want to say "Bitch go to Payless like everybody else." But I'm not "supposed" to say that, and I hate even feeling that way. So I swallow my impulse and a Xanax with a glass of water. Look at what's going on in Haiti right now. Look at the chronic problems we have RIGHT HERE. Am I really supposed to care about homegirl's shoe? Multiply that nonsense by 20.

There are people who would break their leg (and mine) for a chance to work this closely with celebs, and though (fortunately) most of the celebs I've met have been nice people, a lot of what their "people" deem as important is really not important in the grand scheme of things. I do understand that "importance" is relative: if your client is going to fire you for not having a certain brand of yogurt (or whatever) in their dressing room, you need to make sure you get that yogurt. So you call me. And I make it happen, but not always as quickly as you would like, so you keep calling me and wanting me to care enough that I get all crazy with you. But I really don't care that much about the shoe or the yogurt, and I think my efforts should be spent on things I actually CARE about. I want to be of service in ways that matter.

(I SWEAR I didn't intend to go on for this long! Part III - the last part (I promise) can be found HERE!)

--Nicole

2 comments:

Deb said...

Oh Nicole it is so good to hear this stuff from you. I am constantly nauseated by the crap that celebrities get away with. You truly are a breath of fresh air. As you say, in the grand scheme of things there are so may more important things to spend time on. I am so honored to know you even if it is just in cyberspace at the moment.

Nicole J. Butler said...

Hi Deb!

I want to clarify that it's not everybody, and it's USUALLY not the celebs themselves, it's usually their people who are falling all over themselves trying to get something for them, even if it's something that the celeb mentioned in passing.

More often than not I'm left wondering "Is this crazy to anyone else?" Especially after I've had to change someone's flight 6 times in 2 days (which has happened) because they kept changing their mind and I wasn't allowed to say "Um... no, I wont' be doing that. Now, get on the plane."

People are people and will do what you let them get away with. If you say "no" they stop with the madness. Unfortunately a lot of producers are afraid or unwilling to say "no." In the 7 years that I've been doing production work, I've only seen one producer tell someone that he wouldn't meet her demands, wish her well, and book someone else on the show.