ENTRY #126
YouTube and Feedback links added 02.21.09
7:22 PM, Friday, June 15th, 2001:
Thanks again Michael
I toyed with the idea of NEVER bringing this up, but this just needs to be. It has effected me SO much, taught me so much, and I just GOTTA pass it on to you. It's indeed part of the character development I try so hard to document in this journey...
I'm going to describe a situation to you that is so cut and dry, so obvious, that you will swear that I'm adding my own bias somewhere. I must be telling half the story. Hell, for the last 24 hours I'VE thought I was missing something. What I didn't realize, was that I was on a different planet. The 4th planet from the sun is NOT Mars, it is Hollywood. The best part about this, is because I've BARELY ever spoken of this person in these entries, I can tell this story generically..."I Love LA"
In March I lent 4 DVDs to a friend. For 3 months I called over 10 times asking for them back, and he blew me off. Even belittling me for being so anal for wanting them back: "I've had friends borrow my things for 6 months!" was a common retort. When I did get them back, the back of my Jordan DVD had water damage. In fact it was STILL damp when I got them! When I expected compensation, he belittled me further by trying to make me feel ungrateful for his past favors. "What have you done for me? You really expect me to replace a $15 DVD?".
I was quite taken aback. It seems universal to me, that when you lend something to someone, you deserve it back in the condition you lent it: PERIOD. It wasn't like the insert was just a little BENT or something, it had water damage. Not only did I expect compensation, I expected quite an apology. I mean he blew me off for how many months? And then this? He kept saying I was disrespecting him after all he'd done for me. But what he had really done, was take advantage of my time and good heart. Moreso than any human being I've ever met. Example?
"I got you a job man! $60 to come out and videotape my friend's show, you supply the $10 digital tape, and make some VHS copies for us...as well - make a video presentation for him to use on stage in his one-man show, and if you could design his flyer in photoshop? Oh and don't do it as a favor to me." LOL. And this is actually one of his more generous schemes. Well I've always helped him out. Doing favors is the key to success in this town, and if I can, I will.
But what I realized in the coming moments of this incredible event, is that I actually care about the people I help. Ya know? Take Marshall and Pep Talk for instance. It had it's head aches, and ended up being MUCH more work than I was prepared for - especially for free - but I care about Marshall. I want him to succeed. I know that if he can help me down the road he will - and vice-versa. For instance he introduced me to Charlotte, right? He doesn't hold that over my head as if he's responsible for the success of The Trinitrons now - he's genuinely happy he could help. I feel the same way. It's a feeling that you know this person wants to see the best for you. And for cryin' out loud, if I ever borrowd a DVD and poured WATER on it, I'd feel quite embarrassed and apologize profusely. Especially if he left a message in which he was obviously frustrated and angry. In fact, most HUMANS would...I'm not special here.
But what transpired with this other guy was so amazing, so astounding, I felt like I was on another planet. I mean forget the attack I got on the phone from him:
"After all I've done for you mother-fucker? After all the favors I've done? What the fuck have you done for ME KONTRAS? I spread your name ALL OVER THIS TOWN. I ALWAYS bring up your name if someone needs any digital camera work done...and you're gonna lose THAT for a $15 DVD? How can you be so petty? That'll be the most EXPENSIVE $15 you EVER spend MR."
...DUDE COMES TO MY APARTMENT. I'm in the middle of quite an important meeting with Charlotte being that we were supposed to FILM today, and he fuckin' goes OFF. It was border-line psycho. I mean, this was one of the nicest, most mild-mannered people I had ever met, but heaven forbid you don't treat him like your savior. That was the problem. I obviously had NO PROBLEM losing his friendship over this DVD. I mean at first it never crossed my mind, because I figured he'd pay for it...but after this I was thinking: "Wow, for only a $15 DVD, I get to NEVER deal with this shit again". And you wanna know why this angered him so? Because this favor he did for me - LOL - the $60 sweat shop work pays better favor? Well, now he had to go back to his friend (whose show is this weekend) and tell him that he'll have no one to make his flyer, no one to produce his video and no one to tape his show. LOL. So then he steps up to me a bit. I was sitting down and he inveded the ol' "personal space". "Get out of my apartment". I stood, went to the door and said: "LEAVE - NOW". He stood in my face about 6 inches from me, and beraded me more. I asked him to leave a total of 11 times. I was actually a bit nervous. I didn't think he'd hit me, but what kind of mental stability must you have to first of all do this at someone's house IN FRONT OF PEOPLE YOU DON'T KNOW, and secondly to ignore someone telling you to leave? I had absolutely no power. I was very close to calling the cops when Charlotte, who had stepped in the hallway after a few minutes of this, stepped back into sight. He finally did leave. And I was extremely shaken up. But my oh my do I have some great lessons to build from here.
1. I really need to CHILL on my openness about how much I'm struggling. I have always been open with it, because it helps people relate. It is indeed character development. It effects so DEEPLY how I react to situations. Right now Jess and I are actually saving pennies...and that visual image gives you a clue to what I'm going through. The guilt I feel when she has a bad day at work. All of that. But what it does do, is allow people to use you in a tremendous capacity. As if dangling $20 in front of you is a favor to YOU, when it is indeed a favor to them. By being open about your finances - even when they're good - you're setting yourself up to be riducled for being so CHEAP, or ridiculed for being ungrateful. It can effect your reputation in this town, and can hurt your contacts in the future. And I WILL NOT allow that to happen. I do care about the truthfulness of "The Journey", but I sure as hell won't jeapordize my future by being too honest. I am TOO DAMN CLOSE.
A. Please understand, that I'm still gonna call people out to some degree. I believe wholly in the "burning bridges" phenomenon I wrote of in Entry #104. I'm not burning a bridge when I reveal that someone treated me like complete shit. They are burning a bridge to ME. Now obviously I did not use this person's name, and I will not speak badly of this person to ANYONE who doesn't implicitly ask for advice about him. What I will do, is make sure I NEVER, EVER, EVER do business with this person, or be associated with any project he's in. I've seen a very shocking side of him, and will not be taken advantage of any longer.
2. Layered favors, HAVE TO END. Videotaping someone's show for them is a HUGE favor to begin with...supplying the digital tape stock AND MAKING COPIES is way, way, way too far. I have every right to say: "$5 per dub, and you supply all the tape" - because if you go to any dubbing house and ask for 3 copies of something - their SET-UP fee alone will be $50. And no, throwing someone $20 for the WHOLE thing doesn't make-up for it, it compunds the insult. One of his big manipulation points was: "Hey, I'm barely making anymore than you by directing it!!" Yeah, well that was your choice. It is a favor to that person to EVEN SHOW UP AND videotape it. There's your favor! You're welcome! I have to start seeing that. Multiple favors to someone on ONE project, will be looked upon as ONE FAVOR.
3. Make GODDAMN SURE, both parties understand who's helping who. This is the part that makes me fucking SICK. It goes against every moral fiber in my body. A favor should be unconditional and without expectations. Well, not in this town. And if you believe that - you will get it in the ass like I just did. If you consider what you're doing "a favor" to that person - FUCKIN TELL EM. Make it CLEAR.When they say shit like: "Don't do it as a favor to me", say immediately "I am doing it as a favor to you!" and if they have a problem with that - DON'T DO IT. Because they will USE IT AGAINST YOU in the future. You have to be IMPLICIT here. "I am doing you a favor" - a normal person should feel like a slimy piece of shit throwing this in someone's face, but it has to be done. A novice in this town will think:  "JESUS what a DICK, can't he just be unconditional for a friend?" - then hopefully that same person will go through what I went through and realize I wasn't being a dick...I was simply avoiding disaster. This lesson will be THE hardest for me to learn. I will however live it from this point on.
What is really great about all of this, is that it happened with someone that was so obviously in the wrong, that I can get some great lessons out of it - and not stress too much about it. Granted, I have of course. I was so shaken up when he left I felt the need to talk with Charlotte for an hour just for some mental validation. Mental abuse is quite powerful in that sense. Much moreso than physically. Had he come over and punched me...I'd immediately know there was something wrong with HIM. When someone CONSTANTLY manipulates you and turns things around, and tries to have mental power of you - you feel attacked. And it's not so cut and dry as to who was wrong. But again, it didn't take much time to realize: DUDE damaged something I lent him, and then tried to make it my fault. Ahem...wrong. LOL.
So there you have it. It's a tough lesson because it's give and take. You need to do favors out here, and give of your time for less than you're worth - but you also need to know that balance and be cautious. I pray that someone reads this someday, and avoids what happened to me - 'cause had it not been for how incredibly pumped I've been about The Trinitrons lately...this event would've really fucked with me for awhile.
Speaking of The Trinitrons...oddly enough because of him interrupting our meeting - Charlotte and I never had a chance to set up the camera and do some tests and we now have to do that TODAY, which was supposed to be our first day of shooting. No problem though - we bumped it to Monday and Wednsday for the first 2 tvs - and the last 2 are still right on track for 2 weeks later. Expect The Trinitron Chronicles: Part Two on Monday morning, and PART 3 a week later.
original video file
JUNE 2001