September 28, 2007
Friend Shui (or "Why I Disabled Messaging at MySpace")
Benefits have included nearly tripling readership of my weekly column, reconnecting with some of my longest-lost friends, landing on the radar of international media outlets, and being able to communicate directly with actors who are up for projects I'm casting without always having to go through their people.
I already get hundreds of emails per day. Hundreds. They. Never. Stop.
And MySpace messaging has spiraled out of control for this chica. About 65% of the messages I receive are from actors looking for advice I've already spelled out--in great detail--at my column. And since it seems that few (very, very few) people actually consult my FAQ before reaching out, I am forced to either ignore the bulk of the messages or answer in the form of sending someone to read my FAQ or columns.
Think I'm being ungrateful for the love? Absolutely not! I am not at all having any kind of problem with the fact that people want to ask for my advice. It's the... other stuff... that gets me less excited to log in at my MySpace account.
I know we've never met. I desperately need an agent. Please watch my reel and tell me to whom you'll be recommending me. This is urgent.
Can you look at the 200 proofs from my recent photo shoot and help me choose a headshot? I've read your series of articles on headshots and find the advice good but useless for my particular situation. I need your help one-on-one.
Help me join SAG. You're my only hope!
You haven't answered my messages. What the hell is wrong with you? You act all accessible but clearly it's all just an image you're trying to project. I've sent you five messages in two days and you haven't gotten back to me. You suck. I'm reporting you to the BBB as a fraud. Your book sucks.
All 100% true-story messages (but with better grammar and spelling, because I can't flippin' bring myself to recreate some of the more mind-numbingly bizarre elements of these messages).
Point is... 65% of the messages I get range from wholly inappropriate to flat-out presumptuous and rude.
So, I learned how to disable messaging for non-friends at MySpace. (As Brendan knows, this was a banner day for me. Cut way, way, WAY down on the volume of stuff. Awesome.)
But that's only taking care of the majority of the messages. There's still another bunch of stuff coming in that I'd rather have come through... well... anywhere else. Like, via email at my column, via comments at my MySpace page, via comments at the BonBlogs, or via email at any of the various accounts I have set up to deal with things like showcase-related correspondence, casting stuff, speaking engagements, or books I've written.
Dang, y'all, I'm OPEN. I'm WAY accessible. Especially when you consider the sheer volume of stuff coming my way.
(Someone recently asked why I don't do speaking engagements at such-and-such facility. I was stunned. I'm like, "Uh... is it not enough that I'm at SAG once a week most weeks? That I'm somewhere out there speaking to groups of actors all over town--usually at places where actors needn't spend a penny to be there--already? You just need me to be at this particular place because it's your favorite? Uh... no. Not looking to add places to the itinerary. Thanks.")
So, I guess this is like the same thing, but in terms of ones and zeroes. Friend Shui. Optimizing the accessibility. Working smarter. (We've covered this before.)
Thank you thank you thank you for your understanding.
And for those who want to turn this into anything other than what it is, well, I guess I just have to start getting okay with being misunderstood sometimes. It's certainly not going to get easier as we continue in this direction.
There's a reason I say: If I had known how popular going into casting would make me, I would've done it in high school. But getting used to this level of sought-outtedness in my 30s is okay too. ;) Thanks, y'all. LYMI!!
Posted by bonnie at September 28, 2007 6:43 AM
Posted by: chipper at September 28, 2007 11:15 AM
Oh, that reminds me. I want to move to L.A. soon, and I don't know where to live, and I don't have a job lined up. From the fact that I read your column and your blog, you can assume I'm a 100% professional actor, right? Can you tell me a good neighborhood to live and a good place to get a job? Maybe recommend me to someone you know who's hiring? And while you're at it, do you know anyone who's looking for a medium-height, slightly overweight, pimply-faced very talented young man? I promise I can make myself look like a soap star! Just look at my headshot!
Oh, and since I'm just a poor starving actor, and you're obviously very successful, can you get me my three SAG vouchers, and maybe loan me the money to pay my joining fee? It would really mean a lot!
Also, I'm writing a paper for my college class on how to be a casting director in L.A. Can you tell me how? Just things like how you find work, what you do on a normal day, what your pet peeves about actors are - you know, nothing long.
Oh, and I need an agent and manager, too. I'm going to e-mail you my five headshots as attachments, and also my two demo reels. I'm sorry they're not professional headshots yet; just ignore my friends. I'm the one not holding a beer. Please recommend me to any agents you think would want me. Also, to Steven Spielberg if you know him. I've always wanted to be in a Spielberg movie like that Ocean's 11. Thx, ur the best.
(Two hours later)
whats wrong w/ u, bon!! i've sent u like 2O msgs and u still haven't gotten back 2 me. OMG, ur obviosly the most self-important person alive and doesn't care about actors at all. what, u have time to take pix of ur cats and not to do all my reeserch for me!? who do u think u are!!!!
Bon, in all seriousness, don't let those jerks get you down. In terms of accessibility and radiating love for actors, you're an Olympic Gold Medalist!:-)
Posted by: Cole Matson at September 30, 2007 7:56 PM
Bonnie! I was just writing to let you and your friends on this blog know about a new independent film that will be screening at the Hollywood Film Festival this October 20th called "Heavy Petting." It's a romantic comedy about a guy (Brendan Hines from "Angel" and "Without a Trace"), a girl (Malin Akerman from "The Heartbreak Kid") and a DOG! How awesome! Finally a romantic comedy for animal lovers!! And I know how much you love your cats so hopefully you'll love this as well. Also starring Kevin Sussman.
For more information, you and your friends should visit www.heavypettingmovie.com
It's premiering Oct. 20th at 7pm at the Arclight Cinemas in Hollywood. I hope to see you guys there!!
Posted by: Andrew at October 2, 2007 1:29 PM