Clawing to escape the belly of the beast here in Hollywood. To commiserate, email my name assistantatlas at yahoo.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Shut Your Eyes, It's Hollywood Momentum: 3.18

Oh Hollywood Momentum, it's on. Now you're just trying to piss me off, aren't you? What was up with that "For example, one [letter] attacked us for glamorizing the life of an assistant". I don't know if that referred to recent attacks on your idiocy by myself or the good folks at Overeducated and Underemployed, but know this: you couldn't glamorize sh*t if I gave you glitter.

I know some of you assistants out there have been drawn in by the shiny format of Hollywood Momentum, with its cleverly-labeled sections and its 'editors'. But be warned, assistants, the people behind Hollywood Momentum are deeply, deeply stupid--in addition to making me sleepy. Well, perhaps stupid is the wrong word. "Naive" is much better.

Take, for example, this advice from Editor Lisa McDivitt on "How to Learn Good Habits from an Incompetent Boss". Or don't--I'll quote the relevant parts here.

LISA SEZ: Pick up his pieces. I know you will want to slack off as much as your boss does (why should you work hard if he doesn’t?), but resist the temptation. Wherever you see your boss falling down, follow and pick up the pieces. What if he doesn’t notice and commend you? It doesn’t matter, because you’ve used his failings to your advantage. Lots of assistants to incredibly talented and self-sufficient bosses never learn anything, because they aren’t allowed the opportunity to do significant work.

ATLAS SEZ: Yeah, I picked up pieces for a long while. And all that hard work did was make my evil boss a nice chunk of change and keep him in the game when he should've been forcibly retired. Take MY advice: sabotage your incompetent whenever possible. Do it covertly, of course, until you're ready to depart. Make it known to as many of his clients, colleagues, etc. that he's an idiot whose business is only held together by your efforts. That way, when you leave, you can steal his best clients and his former partners will come running to you--now that they can work with you without him getting in the way. It's not easy to do, of course, but no one ever said being an assistant was easy, not even Hollywood Momentum. Oh, and for the record, having had both super-evil and rather-good bosses, it's a lot easier to learn when there's less screaming.

LISA SEZ: Learn from his mistakes. Listen in on all his phone calls and watch when he interacts with his colleagues, not for what your boss says as much as how the people he is talking to react. Do the executives he talks to sound like they are trying to get off the phone? Take note. Do the actors sound more aggravated than acquiesced? Learn what not to say. How do people react to your bosses notes and ideas? It can be a great lesson in what not to do, and in reading people in different positions in the business.

ATLAS RESPONDS: Um, shouldn't this one go without saying-- that you should be paying attention to what's happening at your job? Well, I guess it's appropriate for the piece, but my intellect still can't help being a little insulted. Of course, it already has pretty low self-esteem thanks to the daily beatings it takes in Ho'wood, so I guess we'll just move on.

LISA SEZ: Don’t be afraid. Don’t be afraid to admit that you know more than your boss. Sure, you may not have as many connections, as much time on the job, or as many projects under your belt, but it doesn’t mean you don’t have ten times the qualities of your boss. So take whatever he must do right (there has to be something), and figure out for yourself how you can expand not only on your talents, but whatever moves your boss made to get where he is.

ATLAS RESPONDS: Are you insane, Lisa? Seriously, have you taken complete leave of your senses? Have you ever actually worked as an assistant for insane/incompetent boss? If you admit you know more than your boss, your a$$ will be shown the door faster than you can say "Les Moonves." With most bosses, a healthy amount of fear is not only warranted, but a necessary trait for survival. Also, if your boss is truly incompetent, it's probably best NOT to ape anything he does, even what he supposedly 'must do right'. There are alternative methods to doing just about everything, one just has to look for them. Well, guess where I won't be looking from now on? That's right, Hollywood Momentum. You guys are so smart.



Blogger EmployeeMegan said...

I believe the ladies of hollymo' are calling me out, based on the "letter" thing and the fact that they later reference the idea of assistant life being "dark" precise contention to them when I replied to their comment on my post.

Amazingly though, they failed to understand the intent of the original post in any way...I believe I accused them of baseless self-satisfaction, inaccuracy, and dullness...never glamour.

And yes, indeed, it is on.

10:46 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Looks like professional jealousy to me. I like Ho Mo (no, not homos, what do you take me for?) It is illuminating on the subject of the Assistant's Life. Now I see what Assistants are: secretaries. As in any "glamor" business, the kingpins use the "glamor" to persuade people to come and be their personal slaves for peanut wages, holding out the largely illusory prospect of promotion as bait. Better, methinks, to get a real career, make a little dough, write on the side until you've got a spec you can sell. After all, don't they all say that a good screenplay will find its way into the right hands?

4:49 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anon@4:49 Who told you a good screenplay will find its way into the right hands? Because I'm guessing their pants are on fire right now. You don't become an assistant if you want to be a screenwriter [unless you're a masochist], you become an assistant if you want to be just about anything else in the industry-- agent, development exec, producer. And the horrific truth of Ho'wood as Atlas calls it, is that you've gotta suffer through assistant hell in order to get a shot at those careers.

5:29 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dude, Atlas, you're turning into an Ari. And not the funny kind. Check out your first "ATLAS SEZ". That's total Ari-ness. Beware, my friend, beware.

7:09 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

No - you absolutely do not have to suffer through being an asst if you want to succeed - that is what losers will tell you.

You obviously are one of those losers.

10:30 PM

Anonymous Enrique said...

You don't HAVE to, but the fact is most people do. Assistants, secretaries, whatever you call them, for the most part, are underappreciated and usually taken advantage of. So technically, you don't HAVE to suffer... but chances are you will. That's life.

10:45 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I could be wrong, Anon@4:49, but I had the impression Atlas had ambitions in the screenwriting direction.

The man with the pants allegedly on fire is David Steinberg (Slackers and American Pie 2), who writes a column for would-be screenwriters at under the caption "Hollywhooped". He's very entertaining and informative, though for all I know he could be full of it. He's of the opinion that a good screenplay will eventually find a home. Obviously, though, that's impossible to prove. There could be any number of brilliant screenplays lying in drawers because their authors are no good at self-promotion.

It sounds from the warmth of your comment that you might have an allegedly hot screenplay that isn't getting any fans?

His advice to would-be screenwriters is: get a job in the industry, like an Assistant's job, so you can make some contacts so you can sell your screenplay.

5:50 PM

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