The Golden W

The seniors in my high school had the option to graduate with a “Golden W.” We were given a sheet of paper that listed every possible extra curricular activity we could have participated in for the last 4 years, and then we were supposed to have teachers sign next to the ones we were involved in. You received the Golden W if you had enough points.

I did not receive a Golden W. It wasn’t because I didn’t participate, it was because I just thought it was really stupid, and unnecessarily competitive.

The band teacher in my high school was meeeeeaaaan. I’d love to look back on it and say that all the abuse he bestowed upon us helped shape us into disciplined adults, but I personally think it just gave me an irrational fear of mustaches and having coffee cups thrown at my head.

Anyway, if you dropped out of band without participating the whole 4 years, he would award you NO points. Which pissed a lot of kids off. That Golden W should have made up for the noxious epithets that were slung in their faces- even if only for a few semesters.

It was probably a really shitty thing for him to do. I’m sure he had some screwed up version of a moral ground, and awarding Golden W points to a quitter was cutting the grass too short. Perhaps he thought kids shouldn’t be awarded for lacking endurance.

I thought about the Golden W when I sat down to write this morning, because I was fuming about social media and how much I hate it. I hate that having a consistent online presence is a job requirement. Tumblr? 15 points! Oooh, WordPress? 50 points! Adding up those points won’t get you a job, but it may get someone to glance at your resume.

But I think what really bothers me is that it is considered “hard work.” I grew up in a blue collar town. Hard work meant physical labor. Generations before me worked in factories, meat packing plants, manufacturing. (Or public schools). I myself have been a server for almost 11 years now. I’m used to the idea that if you’re not standing for 12 hours, shoveling food in your mouth when nobody is looking, shrugging off sexual harassment  and bowing low to everyone who walks through the front door- it’s not WORK.

As much as serving can suck the life out of me, it is something that I am good at. I’M A REALLY GOOD WAITRESS YOU GUYS.

Not so much with social media. I mostly feel like it’s a very speedy bandwagon onto which I will be forever trying to hooky-bob. Thus amplifying my mediocrity.

So, that’s what I’ve been working on. Swallowing my pride and scheduling my Tweets. And maybe not sounding so much like that band teacher who didn’t have many positive things to say ; )



Late for a Funeral

The first on-camera class I took was through my university’s theatre department. At the time, I considered myself a very serious theatre student, and the prospect of acting for the camera seemed, well, laughable. Film actors don’t have to fill up a theatre with their voices! Film actors don’t have a live audience! Film actors don’t have to do a good job because film is really the editor’s medium! 

After the first day of class, I realized I knew absolutely nothing about anything. Which may still be the case, who knows.

I’ve done film here and there for the past few years. Some industrials and educational videos where I get to be the most exaggerated version of myself, a handful of television episodes created by my inexhaustible friend John, and a variety of super fun improvised sketches and shorts. 

Last weekend I set off for New Jersey with a film crew from SVA and a ball of nerves rolling through my stomach. We were making a movie. A serious one. With a great script, and a lot of heart. And I had to rely on my acting chops instead of my gregarious personality and ability to make things up on the spot.

I’ll save the details for my journal. In short: it was a lot of work, and it wasn’t easy, but it was a lot fun. 

In the passenger van on the way home, surrounded by a bunch of exhausted and wickedly sunburned college kids chatting excitedly about their upcoming shoots, I realized that one of the main differences in our collegiate experiences, besides the fact that I was in Iowa City and they are in New York City, is that they are actually, consistently working. 

And dammit if I wasn’t inspired by that! I want to make more movies!