I don’t like to use the word busy. I think it’s mildly rude. When you ask people what they’ve been up to, and they say they’ve been busy, what they’re really saying is twofold: 1) I don’t really feel like telling you what I’ve actually been up to, and that’s pretty much because 2) the shit I’ve been up to is more important to my self-image than spending time with you, and therefore, frankly, I’m gonna gloss over it the way important people gloss over shit when they talk to unimportant people (or, the way unimportant people gloss over shit when they want to sound important).
I fully realize that motherfuckers talk about being busy all the time and never, ever take the time to imbue it with this much meaning, but here’s an experiment: try eliminating the word ‘busy’ from your vocabulary, just for a week or so, especially if you’re a parent, ESPECIALLY if you’re talking to your kids. You’ll probably find that when you DON’T say it, you’re vastly more engaging and sincere, less dismissive and overall, less of a dick. I mean, you can have a lot of shit going on and not be dismissively glib about it. Try something like this:
“What’s up with me? Well, it’s been finals week and I’ve also been trying to hustle at work to save a little money. Sheeeit. I’m running around so much, I feel like I have no time to sleep” is a perfect response to a question about what you’ve been up to. So is “man, I’m just trying to pull it together. I’ve been looking for jobs and keeping up with my planer woodworking whenever I get a chance. I’ve also been hanging out at the bar a lot.” Sure, it’s wordy, but it’s way better than “busy, man. I just been super busy.” I don’t know. I’m not trying to tell you guys how to live, or how to talk, but that word’s not for me. I feel like a better person not using it. It’s not a matter of politeness, it’s cleansing for my own soul. See if it doesn’t work for you.
Anyway…(and this is a GREAT segue) I’ve had a lot of shit going on lately. I’ve been working a couple of jobs and touring on this record that one of the bands I’m in put out earlier in the year. We just got back from a quick European run, which was awesome (thanks to everyone who came out!) and now I’m back doing day job shit. Beyond that, spring is when my kids both have their birthdays, so I’ve been trying to do lots of family time stuff. It’s been a good, productive little bit of time, but all the shit that I traditionally do, the bullshit I fill my days with when I have nothing else going on: writing songs, writing blogposts, sleeping, all that stuff has kind of fallen by the wayside and I want to get that back. It’s been nice cranking away on the tactile issues of completing a tour, office tasks, playing with kids and serving beers, but I also really enjoy starting with nothing and just making something out of thin air. I was hoping to get a chance to do this over this past weekend, but instead something else vastly weirder came up.
So, one of my hobbies is getting rejected by Hollywood. I’ve written movies, pitched TV shows, auditioned for films, made pilots of several reality shows, written short animation scripts, long dramatic stuff, tried to sell finished comedic shorts, you name it, I’ve tried it. And, as you can obviously tell, no one’s ever bought any of my bullshit. Part of that probably has to do with the fact that I don’t really push my shit around and schmooze and all that (I live in the Midwest, and I’m not about to move to LA or NYC to facilitate my hobby of getting rejected by the entertainment industry) and part of it has to do with more practical concerns (I’m not as funny as I think I am, I’m old, I’m kinda funny looking [in an unmarketable, regrettable way], I’m awkward, there are plenty of people who already exist in the structure of Hollywood who can do whatever I am trying to sell at least as well as, if not vastly better than me, I’m in a band and no one takes people in bands, ESPECIALLY small bands, seriously), but generally, I’m totally cool with that. I like trying my hand at selling myself and my projects to Hollywood, I’ve got pretty thick skin, AND, at this point I’m experienced at this shit. I’ve been rejected by everyone from Clint Eastwood to CAA to New Line to MTV and on and on down the line. It’s always a pretty good story and beyond that, it’s a blast to come up with something and get all excited about the fame and fortune that it’s gonna bring me, and then coast back down to earth once I realize that I’ve been rejected again. This is usually the point where I recognize that what I’ve got going on is, by my standards, pretty great and man, it was FUN to try out for that movie, even though I didn’t even hear so much as a peep after I submitted my tape.
Well, anyway, I got home from Germany on Wednesday evening. On Thursday, I got an email from a colleague who had let me know that a popular show was looking for a new, potentially long-term cast member, and that he’d recommended me. Would I be interested? I was jetlagged as shit, but I jumped at the chance to further chase my dreams of being rejected by Hollywood, SO I called my production partner Nick and my buddy Bob, who’s a great actor, and I got together with them on Friday. Bob coached me, and Nick shot me doing the audition, and I sent it off to Hollywood.
I don’t know if I did well or not. I had a great time doing it. The one thing I know for sure, from experience, is that I’ll not hear back from anyone ever. However, for the brief couple of days while I was getting my tape together to send off, it was pretty exciting to think about all the gala events I’d be attending and all the people I’d have to tell about my new job….(sorry boss, I have to quit. I’m a cast member on this pretty cool show now. I know. Yeah. I wish I could do both, but you know…Hollywood, she is a bitch etc), the ways I’d explain to my wife that my hot costars and I were just friends and so forth. I mean, it goes on and on. No, really. I know. It’s ridiculous. But the thing is, while I’m in it—while I’m making my audition tape, I need to believe that I’m the best person auditioning, that I’m killing it and that I’m going to get the part, in order to not feel like a total fucking moron acting in an empty apartment in Logan Square in front of my two friends like the pud I am. In fact, in doing anything worth doing, creative or not, the only way to achieve greatness, or even anything approaching greatness, is to be blindly optimistic or completely possessed by vision to the point where you’re apathetic to anyone else’s opinion. It’s the only way to get spectacular results. Either know, 100% that everyone is gonna love your version of what you’re doing, or truly, in your soul, 100% not care AT ALL what anyone else thinks. I can’t do the second one.
SO, what this mean is that for me, when I do this crap, I get mildly swept up in the glory of kicking ass, just because that’s the mindset I have to be in to try it at all, and that’s exactly, EXACTLY what makes getting rejected by Hollywood such a rewarding hobby, and one that I’m gonna pursue until I’m too old to try anymore. Am I gonna be on a tv show? No. Not any time soon. But that’s cool. I’ve got some pretty amazing jobs and some cool friends and a band I’m proud to be part of and a tiny family I really, really dig a lot. I’ve also got a lot of scripts and shit, none of which anyone likes, but all of which are fucking spectacular, and acting chops so dope you could roll em up in a bag and sling em on the corner. Let’s talk, eh?