Smart Girls Who Do Stupid Things

Sometimes…

Meeting The Newest Bachelor, Out Of His Natural Habitat

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So a lot has happened since Miss Moneypenny’s last contribution (and yes, I know that they are few and far between) but I am going to focus on a far  more important topic right now.

I met the next Bachelor.

Yes, it was every bit as wonderful as could be imagined. You, my friends, are  about to get the blow-by-blow.

I was at a rooftop pool in West Hollywood with some friends (this was  actually the first time I’d ever done this, but it was a verrrry L.A. thing to do) to spend a Sunday afternoon with a friend who was in town. There were two  guys nearby who I didn’t recognize, but were pretty cute.

Suddenly, a round of Bloody Mary’s appeared by our group, “courtesy of the  gentlemen on the other side of the pool.” Our group was about 3 guys and 5  girls. When The Bachelor (I had zero idea of who he was at the time) came over with his friend to talk, they immediately ordered another round for the  entire group.

Side note: it is atypical for guys in LA (or really anywhere) to purchase alcohol for people who are not girls. We later found out that his hotel stay  was being covered by the studio, but still. The principle is what counts here.

We were all drinking our Bloody Mary’s when someone asked our new friend Ben what he was doing in LA. Somewhat sheepishly, he told us that he was about to be on a reality show. With some pressing, we found out he was the next Bachelor. And therefore was the adorable Ben that was rejected by Ashley in the season finale. Since I knew of Kate’s obsession with the show, I was immediately intrigued.

We spent the next three hours getting horrifically sunburned (at least on my part) and drinking white wine. Since our dear Ben is a winemaker, he had excellent taste. He was actually amazingly cool. I was shocked. He was signed up for The Bachelorette by his sister, and decided to go on for the opportunity to travel and meet new people. Became the Bachelor because “why not see if I can actually find love, and barring that, go to really cool places and have a free place to stay with great food?”

Some great quotes from the day:

Us: Were you sad when Ashely rejected you?
Ben: No, more pissed off. I proposed, got rejected, looked like a moron. So yeah, pissed off.

On whether or not he had actually dated Jennifer Love Hewitt (a tabloid rumor)…
B: Um. Are you kidding? No. Freaking. Way.

Us: Were you in love with Ashley?
B: I’m not sure if I can answer that honestly without violating my contract.
*We took that as a “no”

Us: What did you do all day on The Bachelorette? A bunch of dudes in a house?
B: Played soccer in the yard. Drank. Played Battleship.

Us: What do you think of The Bachelor Pad?
B: No comment. No comment whatsoever.

Needless to say, an awesome afternoon. He was one of the most normal people I have ever met in LA, let alone someone who was about to star in a reality show. An eye-opening experience that was very befitting of the glamorous lifestyle to which I have become accustomed. *Tosses hair around*

But really. People in LA, especially those who have intentions of going into the “talent” side of reality television, are rarely normal. Or even nice. They are usually very obsessed with themselves and upon finding out that someone works in an agency (like yours truly), will usually jump at the chance to jumpstart their acting career (I have actually had more than one person hand me a headshot in the middle of a party). But Ben was…cool. And fun. He had great taste in wine, was relaxed, knew about cool French music (the CD we were listening to has been in my car on repeat for about the last 2 weeks), and overall, was genuine–a rare quality to find anywhere, but especially in LA.

So I have to say, I will be watching the upcoming season of The Bachelor. And I will be rooting for him to at least have a great time, and maybe even find love with someone who is as genuine as he is (or at least someone who’s not a complete fame whore).

Women In Hollywood – We Are Not Hollywood Starlets

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Working in a huge business can be weird. Certain people know you intimately well, and others don’t even recognize you when you enter the building (I’m talking to you, security guard who I have seen every single day for eight months and still asked me where I thought I was going this morning). On the other hand, being an underling (aka a receptionist) at one of these huge companies can have its major advantages. For example, when I got screamed at yesterday by a partner for not being able to accommodate him in the exact conference room he wanted when he asked 10 minutes ahead of time: He will never know exactly who he was screaming at, which means I sort of get off the hook.

Working for women in a huge business can be weird too. I had an interesting discussion with my father about it the other night, and he said that every single time that there’s a major problem between an assistant and a boss at his place of work, it’s two women. At first, I bristled at the implication that women are difficult to work for, but then I realized that I myself have said that I would probably rather work for a man than a woman at this agency. And I began to wonder why. I generally get along better with men than women, but I can’t be sure how much of that is based on competition. And it seems like most girls I know with nightmare bosses work for a woman (Miranda Priestly, anyone?). Why are women in this industry, particularly in the agencies, so difficult to work for?

Is it because women broke into the talent agency world much later than men? In reading The Mailroom: Hollywood History from the Bottom Up (the prerequisite read for everyone getting into the film industry, especially when on the agency track), most of the stories were by men. The first women in agent training programs at William Morris were hired in the late 60’s, early 70’s. Secretaries and receptionists had been women, of course, but it wasn’t until the Second Wave that women started to be taken seriously in this crazy industry. I wonder if it’s this very history that influences women executives: perhaps it is because these women have had to work so hard to get to the top, they figure that we, as their assistants, should have to do the same.

Talent agencies also have a dearth of women. They’ve always been somewhat of a “boy’s club” and still very much are. At a typical large talent agency, less than 25% of the agents in talent or lit (industry-speak for “literature”, a.k.a. directors, writers, producers, etc. — anyone not “talent”, a.k.a. actors) are women. There are a great deal of women who are assistants, mailroomers, or receptionists, but few of them seem to have the desire to go on as agents. Of my friends in the agency world, only two of the girls I know actually want to be agents at some point. Most of them, myself included (at this juncture in my career), want to go work at studios and production companies, and are using the agencies as jumping-off points.

Being a woman in any male-dominated industry is, of course, difficult. One has to be as competitive as the men in order to be successful, but attempt to stay true to herself. There is also the added stress of working in a hyper-superficial industry. All of the women at my agency are dressed to the nines, hair perfectly coiffed, and constantly wearing impossibly high heels. Perhaps that’s why women have problems with their assistants — their feet hurt, they’re frustrated, and they have to take it out on someone.

And I wonder: Can one remain feminine and still be successful in a field where men have dominated and dictated the terms for so long?

“The Job A Million Girls Would Kill For” Includes Far Too Much Television

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Editor’s Note: This is the first of what should become a series of pieces that reveal an inside look at what it’s like to hold a mundane job at a hypothetically glamorous organization (you know, the job that “a million girls would kill for”, ala The Devil Wears Prada). Miss Moneypenny is a receptionist at a talent agency in California. Here are her thoughts and insights…and this week it’s (as it usually is around here) all about television.

12:28pm
This has been a week of ups and downs. Well really, every week is. I have come to terms with the fact that I work as a semi-purposeless peon in a company whose purpose is to get as much money as humanly possible for people in the film industry (I’m sure that there are other purposes of a talent agency, but that’s what it feels like to me). I also have come to terms with the fact that I will be answering phones, and nothing else, until I have been here for at least a year. It has been five months. I also know that the entire point of this job is to sit here doing really nothing important for a year and then be promoted to an assistant, where my life will be about making someone else’s life easier. This world and this industry is about working your way up from the bottom. Everyone does it, and that makes it a little easier to bear.

On the bad days, I feel my hypothetical brain tumor growing in my head from doing nothing but stare at a computer screen for 8 hours while doing nothing useful. For example, last week I watched the entirety of the series The League. Great show. Enjoyed every second of watching it. At the end of the week, however, I realized that I had done literally nothing but watch this show, check Facebook every 20 minutes, and search for every conceivable site that promised pictures of cute puppies on the internet. It was depressing. I was almost in tears by the time I got to my car. Then I remembered that I should probably go work out because a) I don’t want to get horrifically obese and b) exercise gives you endorphins, and endorphins make you happy (and happy people just don’t shoot their husbands…they just don’t). And perhaps working out would make me feel better (it did, a little).

I do watch a lot of TV at this job. A lot of TV. There is nothing worse than certain days when nothing was on television the night before, or it was a bunch of reruns. Those are painful days, because it means that I don’t have two hours taken up by living vicariously through characters on a variety of programs, including, but not limited to: Family Guy, Modern Family, Mad Men, Glee, How I Met Your Mother, Law & Order: SVU, Criminal Minds, CSI: Crime Scene Investigation (side note: CSI Miami absolutely sucks), Cougar Town, Grey’s Anatomy, Private Practice, the aforementioned The League, The Big Bang Theory, The Office, True Blood, and Dexter.

Like I said, a lot of TV. But, I have 8 hours a day (at least) during which all I have to do is answer the phones. My multitasking skills have gone through the roof. I can (simultaneously) watch TV on my computer, answer the phone, chat with people at work on our intra-office IM system, chat with people on gchat, check Facebook, and play solitaire on my phone. This amazes my boyfriend, who is an assistant at a production company and therefore does something resembling real work.

And there are great parts to this job, which I remember on my good days. I get to see cool celebrities whom I genuinely admire for their talent walk around. I also get to occasionally talk to these people on the phone. I also have a year to sit around and be relaxed, with no real pressure. I have time to learn about my company and this industry in full, by reading every screenplay I can get my hands on (one of my New Year’s Resolutions that I haven’t really been as good about as I should) and watching films that our clients have been involved with. I can also learn about the history of Hollywood and watch classic films that I spent most of high school refusing to watch at my Dad’s request as my only real form of teenage rebellion.

So today I have watched last night’s CSI and Big Bang Theory. I have caught up on Deadline Hollywood, which posts all of the happenings of the industry. I have checked Facebook and gmail probably 10 times already. And this is allll before lunch. I have also talked on the phone to a certain “Pirate of the Caribbean”, who has a great voice and always makes me very happy when he calls. And I have leftover pad thai for lunch. So far, a good day. And for the major hooray, it’s Friday.

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