Monday, Sept. 04, 2006
An Offer You Can't Refuse
WARNING: I'm in ramble mode. Not rant, exactly, just ramble...
How long does it take to bolster somebody's ego before you're off the hook?
A few years back I was
snookered into asked by the VEEP of an indy studio to create and moderate an "official" forum for a syndicated television show called Relic Hunter. The show starred Tia Carrere in a knockoff that was part Tomb Raider (pre Angelina Jolie film) and part Indiana Jones.
It was a cheaply produced show from the people who later brought us Andromeda, but it nonetheless garnered its following. I was a fan, but not a HUGE fan until after getting involved on that level. Don't even ask how I ended up that connected to a Canadian television and movie studio because I'm still a bit fuzzy on the details, myself.
Now all of this work was, by the way, done strictly as a volunteer. I didn't get a penny, though they did send me a couple of things from their vaults over the years. I have a Relic Hunter sheepskin-lined vest, for example, which was used by crew members. I have a Mutant X baseball cap that won't fit my fat head nor even come close. And I still wear my Andromeda shirt every winter because frankly, it's one of the most comfy, warm things I have.
Meanwhile, back at the ranch...
Through all of this, I was working with the webmaster for Fireworks Entertainment, aforementioned indy studios. For the most part things were very professional, though toward the end of the series the webmaster's stress levels were beginning to show and the messages he posted to those of us on my hand-selected team switched to "Hugs and much love," which had all of us kind of scratching our heads and saying, "WTF?"
I had already quit once previously, but they literally came and begged me to come back. Turns out the person they put in charge (and the reason for my quitting in the first place) was out on the board, as a moderator, gleefully recommending that the world at large demand for the (conservative almost to the point of being a prude) male star to appear in his altogether in an issue of Playgirl. And that wasn't a tenth of it, but you get the general idea. Her behaviors on the board didn't exactly smack of professionalism.
My response at the time was a list of demands meant as a brush-off. I didn't think the studio would take it seriously - but the next day I woke to discover I was in charge of the thing and my partners in crime (which I'd named as part of my "demands") were all comparably endowed with powers. I'd never even given a direct answer before they handed me the "keys."
Fast-forward a few months later - I asked the webmaster to put the thing out of its misery after it was finally announced that the show had folded. That announcement came just a few days before my mother died, at which point I was in no mood to deal with yet another onslaught of tasteless idiocy that seems indigenous to those message boards. I thanked him (via email) for his patience with the idiots and I went on my merry way.
It was maybe four or five months after THAT that I got an email from someone with a legitimate inquiry and concern, and forwarded to the webmaster. (The studios were marketing the show via DVD and it was related to that.) Turns out, he'd just been relieved of his job and was understandably despondent. I emailed back virtual support and offered to stand as a reference and offered to get ahold of some people I knew at a couple of the networks in the US, if he wanted to stay in the biz.
Within a short while after that I started piecing together a whole lot more of the story. Apparently this guy was a kid, early 20's, and zero support net even with his family. I kept my word, connected him with the right folks at the networks and so on. But a few weeks after all of this went down, he came back to me and asked me if I'd help him on a new project he and some friends were cooking up, one that he figured was a way to make money. The deal was I'd basically do the moderator thing and would probably eventually help with other web projects, ultimately for pay.
I more or less smiled and replied, "Sure, kiddo, I'll help your little project." I wasn't holding my breath, needless to say.
Well, the project did happen, though the web end of it never really took off in the direction he was originally planning. Now it's undergone several mutations and is out to compete with MySpace and its ilk. Not my thing, obviously, and when I get emails asking me to do such-and-such, I kind of cringe. I am NOT a twentysomething single, and the whole mentality there is way out of my sphere of reference. For what it's worth, the page is WebSocials.com. If you have dial-up, don't bother. It'll take you an hour to download the flash-heavy page.
No, I haven't gotten paid - I actually felt like what little I've done thus far doesn't warrant it. I have a profile there but I don't participate because 1) I'm well past the twentysomething stage and 2) I'm nowhere near Toronto, ON, Canada. The references to local hot spots are lost on me and what I think of as tasteless and vulgar is the expectation for that generation. I did promise to do a blog or two and I need to do that, but sheesh...
I still hear from the kid from time to time and I'm glad I was able to bolster his ego when he needed it, but while normally I'm loath to cut someone off, this project is just not my cuppa tea. I don't feel like I'm really contributing anything worthwhile to the effort, and I would rather bow out gracefully without losing connection to the kid. Unfortunately I'm not sure it's possible to sever the line to one without severing the line to the other.
This isn't meant as an actual complaint, because I'm very flattered he asked to include me in the project. And he seems like a sharp kid who probably WILL go places. After all, he got a job at a TV/movie studio very young and parlayed getting fired into a viable web business - but still...
Before - After
In the grander scheme of things, no soul can truly be replaced. Each one of us has a place in the universal tapestry. We each contribute our own color and texture. When one thread is snipped too soon, it distorts all the threads around it. Other lives can unravel and tear. If the wrong thread is ripped away, the whole fabric of life becomes dangerously fragile.
- LeiLani, aka Radiogurl aka Bright Opal (1957 - )