LA Conversations To Avoid
I love lots of things about living in LA.... but there are a few that I could do without. Topping that list is the near-constant conversations that people in this town have about "the industry." Everyone seems to think they have the inside information on how this whole business works... more often than not people who have absolutely no qualifications to back this information up.
Avoiding these conversations at all costs is extremely beneficial to your mental stability, in my humble opinion. Sometimes you get stuck, though, as I did a few months ago.
We find out that he is our age, has attended similar training programs to ours, and that we have a few friends in common. I say something about how its always nice to meet someone who is serious about their career and training. He then looks at me and sort of laughs.
I asked what was funny and he says something along the lines of, "Well, I'm not sure how serious you should be."
Blindsided by this strangely rude comment from someone I have just met, I give him a look that says: EXCUSE ME?
He shrugs his shoulders and says, "Well, I went to school with [insert name of quasi-famous talented actress who is my age] and she's already really successful. I mean, I have plenty of time to make it because I'm a guy. Girls can't succeed in this industry if they're not well-known by the time they're 18."
Now, obviously this is a rude thing to say on many, many levels. It is also strange to hear someone who is at essentially the exact same level in their career that I consider myself to be try to explain "the industry" to me as though he is some kind of authority. This is not appropriate dinner party conversation, to say the least.
I told him that was an interesting opinion and spent the rest of the night focusing on the friendlier people in attendance... but, I have to be honest, what he said got to me. I know it shouldn't have, and I know better than to believe things that insecure people say to me to make themselves feel superior. Its just that... I couldn't get past the idea that there was a lot of truth to his statement, as misguided and rude as it was.
There is a substantial amount of emphasis on women being as young as possible in this business. I'm pretty gosh darn young myself, just out of school a couple of years, and yet I feel over-the-hill already. I hear stories about girls my age being asked to get botox before shooting major films. Loads of the men playing "high school" aged kids are early 30's, while most of the women are closer to 19.
What does that say? Because the truth of the matter is, right or wrong, this business is hard enough to break into... to think that you could actually change any age/sexism is even more unlikely. Which means that, in a way, you just have to accept it and deal from there.
If you're a woman trying to break into the business, do you feel this extra pressure? How do you combat it, or is that even possible? I'm really curious.