Friday, August 15, 2008

No, Your RSS Feed hasn't gone crazy - Sid the Kid is back!

2 principles:

1. The unexamined life is not worth living.

2. The unlived life is not worth examining.

On May 19, after traveling the world, learning, and writing for the better part of a year, I planted myself in Los Angeles, with the dream of becoming a television/film writer. After spending a couple of weeks applying for jobs and purchasing a car, I landed at The Endeavor Agency, run by Ari Emanuel (the character Ari Gold from Entourage is based on him).  Many smart people told me, "If you put in a year at an agency, you can work anywhere in Hollywood." So, I gave it a shot, and within a week, I was Lloyd from Entourage. But I soon realized that working my way up from the mailroom was not for me. I detested wearing a suit. I detested being a finger jockey tied down to a computer all day to work as an agent's slave. And I detested the 12-hour work day that was more creatively draining than I could ever quantify. 

Oh yeah, and I made $9.40 an hour at Endeavor. For the record, the minimum wage in San Francisco is $9.36 an hour, so I'm making as much money as factory workers, day laborers, janitors - actually I'm probably making far less than these salaried individuals. And I was not given any vacation days nor health insurance.

For example, the other day, when I was having my license plate installed, Mike W., the guy who sold me my car a few months ago (who is a great guy and totally goes against all car salesman stereotypes) told me that I could get my car washed for free while I was at the dealership. He suggested I throw one of the "service" workers a $10 tip in exchange for the free wash.  Mike W. said, "He only makes ten dollars an hour, so it's nice when people help him out." At this point there was nothing but bellyaching laughter inside my head. Not only did I make less money than this unskilled, non-high school educated guy who was washing my car, but he received his hourly wage plus tips. To put this in perspective, my little sister who works as a restaurant hostess and a friend's brother who work as a lifeguard make nearly double what I make per hour.

My conclusion is that the entertainment world is MESSED UP! The reason is that there is high demand to work in the entertainment industry because of the supposed glamour. Yes I was alone with Kevin Bacon in an elevator at Endeavor (I told an intern that whenever you see KB alone you are supposed to shout the name of any actor/actress you think of thereby initiating a game of Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon and KB will follow by shouting out another name) and yes I was alone with Sienna Miller (we kept it clean, don't worry)...but other than one awesome conference call with filmmaker Errol Morris and standing next to John Stamos (no talks of a Full House revival, at least not yet) for a few minutes, I was generally just a monkey with zero glamour.

Administrative jobs in the entertainment industry pay low across the board, with a lack of health insurance and other standard benefits as the norm. If there's one union that needs to be formed in America, it is the Hollywood Assistant's Union (Local 90210), as this is the most abused, underpaid, overworked group of individuals I've ever come in contact with in my life.

This leads me into another theory: Why did I go to college? I loved Penn, don't get me wrong, but other than the connections I made from going there, I've realized that I rarely use any of the knowledge that I obtained in the classroom during my "real world" experiences. I'm beginning to see why schools like Drexel and Northeastern focus on "externships" that are practical, real-world applications of what is learned in school rather than classroom learning.

After years of swearing I would never work a low-paying job and even more years of swearing that I would never become some desk jockey, this is what I had become...the tale of my exodus from this world is coming soon...

No comments: