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Saturday, April 22, 2006

How Much To tell

If you work in the entertainment industry on any level, you quickly find out how many people working outside of that industry think it's fun and glamorous. Sure, it is to a certain degree but not for the reason "civilians" think.

When I think of attending a movie or stage premiere or other fancy function because of my personal or company involvement in the production being celebrated, I think about the cool limo that will come and pick me up, the fact I can have a great drink while sitting in traffic getting to the premiere and the fun I have deliberately going in the back door to the event. Some in my position enjoy going through the front door along with the celebrities but I would rather not be anywhere near a line of endless flash and lights unless I have a purpose. Besides, sometimes it all gets jammed up with reporters and other members of media jockeying for position to interview or photograph celebrity guests. I'm not big on standing in lines and being in large crowds without a reason.

For ten years I worked for an entertainment law firm Grubman & Indursky in New York City. I was a freelancer who did all kinds of work for them. Lawyer Allen Grubman remains a respected name in the entertainment business. Consequently, I got many odd jobs through my connections there working for entertainers by reading their fan mail for any threats or weirdness their security should be aware of. From those entertainers I was referred to other entertainers, most of them considered superstars in the music, film and TV world doing the same kind of work, being a companion or filling in for an assistant off on vacation or some personal family emergency. What I liked about that work was the variety and how well I was treated. Well, I don't allow anyone to treat me badly so I suppose being treated like a professional was the only option going in.

I rarely, even to friends, talk much about what I did or who I worked for. The reason? Something called confidentiality agreements people have to sign when doing almost any kind of work for well known people. It's easier to not even tell people that you had any contact whatsoever with so and so when the name comes up because that leads to questions you can't answer. It also can lead to a situation that even if you can offer some tidbit or feel comfortable enough to say you worked with them there is a chance the person you are telling all this to thinks you are making it up.

To me, that would be the worst thing. There is nothing sadder than someone who pumps his or her own ego by telling stories about friendships or interactions with a celebrity that never happened. The act itself makes it clear that the individual making up the stories has no self worth and feels he/she can only be important by attaching himself/herself to a person deemed to be important to other people. As I don't take photographs with those I have met or worked with the business I don't even have the proof I met any of them.

Apart from keeping it all close to my chest for the aforementioned reasons, there is another important reason: relationships. I live in a small state now two hours from New York City. However, cars and trains make it quite easy for me to be in busy hubs like New York, Philadelphia, Boston or Baltimore in relatively little time. Living in Delaware doesn't prevent me from doing anything that my colleagues living in New York City, for example, can do in the business. Since I continue to do work in the business and for famous folks, I am careful what I say and how much to people about my work. Generally, if I share anything, it's information the subject person has already shared publicly. If the person I am telling it to hasn't heard the stories before, the person thinks she's getting the inside scoop when she really isn't.

When I work with famous people in whatever capacity, what excites me is having access to a car I can't afford, eat caviar and other delicacies I normally don't buy for myself because of the expense, and the goodies I am given to take home. Those are the perks that mean something to me. Celebrity itself doesn't impress me. Talent certainly does but I am more impressed by someone who is talented and a decent person. Those qualities are important to me about any individual.

You can go out and shoot a dozen people and become a celebrity.

Otherwise, all the famous people we admire eat, sleep and go to the bathroom the same as us. Knowing them doesn't make you an important person except to those who are easily impressed by such things.

What I have enjoyed in the business is the variety of work and people in addition to the perks - my idea of perks.

When I get home from a big event with lights, camera and action, I still have to take out the trash, feed the cats and pay my bills. I hope it always stays that way.

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