5 things I thought would be different when I left home

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It has been almost 10 years since I left home and went out into the wild, scary, unknown world of adulthood living. I feel like I was truly and utterly underprepared for what was out there, and had I known, I’d have pulled a jew-dude (TM) and stayed at home until I was thirty.

But just like with black, there’s really no going back once you have fled the familial nest.

I just had so many misconceptions on what I thought living away from my parents would look like.

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  1. “I can eat whatever I want!”
    Oh, oh…ohhh how I dream of the lovingly prepared home cooked meals of yesteryear. So angry and angsty was I, when a meal was NOT EXACTLY what I felt like eating, but instead an equal measure of vegetables, meat and grains. MEAT! Do you know how expensive that shit is?! What I would give, to have two middle aged people cooking for me three times a day…
  2. “I can stay up SO late”
    Want to know what I did Friday, Saturday and Sunday night this past weekend? Binge watched The Wire (because I’m about 15 years behind in my television programming at this point). I am a morning person, so around 10/10.30pm I start to fade fast. I used to think living away from my parents would be sooooooo wicked because I could just drink and party and watch movies all night long…Turns out my favourite thing these days is sleep. Yeah. I’m pretty cool actually.

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  3. “I do what I want!”
    So long as it doesn’t cost money. Seriously. Sometimes over the last few years I have had all of the freedom and none of the money (funemployed/between contracts) and other times I have had some of the money and none of the time (J.O.B). When can I have all of the money and all of the freedom? (right…right…when I rob a bank Oceans Eleven style…got it…have you guys SEEN that movie? It just came out recently in 2001)
  4. “I can date whoever I choose!”
    Remember when your parents hated that guy you were dating in High School and you were like IHATEYOUWEAREINLOVEyoudon’tunderstandmeGETOUTOFMYROOM! Yeah well. Turns out they were right. Man when I was single, I would have given my left ovary (she’s the gimpy one I suspect) for my parents to be hovering over my shoulder as I swiped like: “No. No. No. Yes Paris. No he will have a weird thing for feet. No. No. What about that nice boy from the coffee shop?” It turns out I just wanna date guys that my parents will like and not weirdo’s with spider-man face tattoo’s. Go figure.
  5. “I’m going to get a creative job and YOU CAN’T STOP ME!”
    In grade 12 when picking degree time came, my mother said to me: “Do a degree with the name of a job in it” and I laughed in her face as I applied for my Bachelor of Arts. I guess, if you were to squint your eyes, choke yourself a bit until no oxygen went to your brain and then smoked some meth – you could really consider my whole life one elaborate “Art”. “So what do you do Paris?” oh me? I’m Art. Yeah I studied it at University. In reality, life has been interesting in the working world (#noregrets) but I definitely find myself veering more towards the corporate world as I see all my fellow creatives struggling and think fucccckthatshit. Oh you live in a basement apartment with your sibling, sister and co-business partners and you work in a deli 3 days a week but your new album just dropped on myspace? Cool dude, Imma go over here and work on my excel skills though….

So many people I know have babies now. Literally holding an infant a week ago and thinking: “this adorable squishy baby girl is going to slam a door in your face some day.”

I wish I could go back ten years and slap some sense into my 17 year old self. Eat my free meals, get my free laundry, and remind myself that unfortunately…your parents were right. Uh! Gross.

What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger…or maims you horrifically for life

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I like that saying: “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger”(WDKYMYS). It sounds good, it’s inspirational. It makes you think “Heck, things were tough/awful/soul destroying – but I’m still here!!”

People have appropriated that saying into songs (looking at you Kelly Clarkson), put it on T-shirts, tattooed it on their bodies, put it over pictures of sunsets and posted it on each others walls when their friends have been dumped by jerk’s named Derrick (fuck you Derrick you meanie!)

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I like the expression, but I don’t know if I always agree with it.

Because sometimes things kill you a little bit inside and they make you feel weaker, they throw off your game.

Was Leo’s character stronger at the end of the Revenant after he got fucked up by a bear, watched his son get murdered, was left for dead and then had to crawl through the snow and shit of 1800’s Canada to Murder my future ex-husband/baby-daddy Tom Hardy’s character? (Oh yeah, spoiler alert… but seriously if you haven’t seen that movie yet get your shit together – it was nominated for and lost best picture like 5 months ago).

I mean…I guess he was stronger – like how calluses get stronger on the tops of your feet. But he was also weaker because he had lost his humanity, and he was a murderer murderer and he was gross (like a callus – see how I tied all that together? Yay Creative Writing Masters degree)

I wonder if people use WDKYMYS as a way to excuse awful situations they don’t know how to extricate themselves from?

I’d consider myself a strong person who has faced some challenges. Would I exchange them for an easy life where some of the shitty things didn’t happen to me? Yes of course! I’m not insane. Faced with two choices: an easy road and a hard, bush-basher of a path, I think most of us would choose the easy option.

But life doesn’t work like that, and there are plenty of things that will try to throw you off the plans you’ve made, a death in the family, a financial set-back, a painful divorce, an unexpected illness.

So I propose a re-word. “What doesn’t kill you makes you different” – because not all things make you stronger, and thats okay too.

You are not a failure if you come out of a near-death-esque experience and think: “well that fucking sucked” and you’re not stronger.

End of Thought.

 

Cool guys don’t look at explosions

This weekend in Ontario was a long one (thank you commonwealth) and because I am lazy and the weather is nice, I decided to have a movie marathon inside, rather than venture out into the sunshine.

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I’ve had a bit of a hunger for Action Movies since Saturday night’s visual expolgasm in the form of Mad Max Fury Road. Talk about edge of your seat action. That is the first movie I have seen since Avatar (which I saw 3 times in the cinema, fuck off haters – that shit was excellent) where I have walked out and thought, I need to see that on the big screen again…like right now.

But I’m poor and cheap tuesday is around the corner, so instead I turned to the library of movies available to me. I threw some popcorn on the stove (because I’m vintage like that) and settled down to the following movies (none of which I had seen before):

Die Hard with a Vengeance
Reservoir Dogs
Terminator 2

I like to pretend that there is only one guy out there who makes those movie bullet exploding packs (which google tells me are called Squibs – which is incidentally also the name of non-magical people born into wizarding families according to JK Rowlings Harry Potter….)

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And the guy who makes the squibs is like, “okay, how many bad guys you got getting shot?” and the Director goes… I dunno maybe… like 50? And so the Squibs guy is like “uhuh. And how many good guys you got getting shot?” And the Director scratches his head and then flicks through the script to see if there is a well-meaning black guy somewhere in there that gets shot in the line of duty and he goes: um… maybe like 3…4 tops?”

So the Squibs expert goes into his stock room and pulls out 3000 of the fake bullet suckers and goes “ok, these are for the bad guys” and then he pulls out 3 more and he goes “and these are for the good guys”.

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What I’m alluding to with my horrifically written dialogue above is that in all three of the movies I saw today and to some extent Mad Max on Saturday, the ratio of bad guy bullets and the amount of bullets our hero’s take, seem to be like 1000:1. I get that it’s an action movie, it is a bit of suspended disbelief, but honest to Betsy! I’ve never shot a gun in my life and I’m pretttttty sure I could have killed Bruce or Sarah Connors at some point with all the chances I had.

Another thing that really got to me today was how easily things exploded. Okay not Reservoir dogs which is a lot of talking in a warehouse, but Die Hard and Terminator Two?! I swear to god Bruce or Arnie so much as looked at a thing and it exploded. How much did they spend on pyrotechnics on those films? A bucket load I bet. Mad Max also had a lot of gratuitous fire and explosions, I suppose that is to be expected in a 2.5 hour long car chase through the desert. An utterly ridiculous and yet popular part of Mad Max was the guitarist propped by cables on the front of a vehicle in his red onesie, shredding a guitar that randomly spouted fire. There I was thinking: you’re telling me gasoline is extremely valuable in this apocalyptic world and that guy gets to shoot fire out of his guitar?! Okay… I guess… I mean… I’m no warlord so…

And the final thing that struck me, and it is something that the makers of Austin Powers joked about in The Spy who Loved me, why, oh whyohwhyohwhyohwhy must they always tell each other how they are going to kill each other. Why does John McClane tell the Germans when he’s coming up the tunnel behind them? Why would you do that knucklehead? Now they’re going to run, you dumb idiot?! Why does Vic Vega talk to the captured policeman. I didn’t know what was going to happen… But I knew somebody was going to stop him. Such ARROGANCE enjoying the moment, talking it out… just do it already!

I love action movies, don’t get me wrong. Maybe my brain was scrambled by watching too many in a row. They sort of started to feel formulaic, like you knew the explosions were going to happen, someone was going to end up looking bloody and beaten, and a character you liked a lot was going to fall into some dire situations.

But the part where I suddenly thought…okay well thats enough of that genre for a while, was The Terminator…being lowered into a pit of boiling… metal I guess? Giving the thumbs up as his final gesture…. Are you serious right now?

Bye bye – just kill me even though I admit I feel pain, and I got here from the future, but Nah, don’t send me back. It’s cool. Just melt me up. And the kids crying, and the mum looks distraught…. I just… hmmm.

Time for some Family Guy

When being a Receptionist sucks…

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2014 has been a pretty fantastic year thus far. I had the opportunity to go to Sundance Film Festival and Los Angeles, and when I got back to Toronto I had a number of awesome interviews for roles in the Film & TV industry (none of which eventuated into a job…but still! Interviews woo!). I then stumbled into a contract position at a TERRIFIC Film & TV company in a role I loved, and when that position was up, I told the company I would do literally any role they had going so as to stay in this multi-national Entertainment giant.

And Lo, a receptionist role was up for grabs – so I went for it.

While being a Receptionist is definitely not my dream job – if it pays the bills and I get to hang around cool people that may one day recognize my potential and hire me for other cool industry stuff all day, I say: why not? It’s better than sitting on the couch watching back to back episodes of Friday Night Lights (no it’s not, I wish I was doing that right meow!).

I’ve gotten to the point with this company though where I’m starting to really love every body here – and I wake up with a smile because I love going to work. The employees are fun and happy and everybody is in this business because they genuinely enjoy what they do (lets be honest… ain’t nobody in it for the money).

And yet…having said that… there are a few things I encounter on the daily which make me think:

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Here is a list.

1. Insane couriers…
Being a courier in this town is truly a calling/last resort. Why do I say that? Because haaaaaave you met Toronto?! This city gets down to the double negatives on the reg. Mother Nature is one bad bitch when it comes to this city by the lake. Most of the couriers bike our oh so important packages around. -15 + wind = you’re going to have a bad time. So I guess I shouldn’t be surprised when 75% of the couriers are batshit insane. From tragic life stories and clear social anxiety issues (I’m talking won’t look me in the eye/mumbling)  to: “look at this rash on my hand…what do you think?” (Hmmmm I think I need to douse this desk with hand sanitizer and/or light it on fire ewwww ew ew) I have met them all. I’ve had full blown disagreements with men old enough to be my grandfather because a box was actually 2.5lb and not 1lb as stated on the pickup slip. Listen dude, I’m just waiting til you leave so I can get back on Buzzfeed…

2. So my idea is…
Everybody has an idea for a Film or Television show – most people watch a lot of bad Film and TV and think that they could do better and while I’m not disputing that that is necessarily true – you can’t just wander off the street and sit down with someone to discuss your amazing idea. There is a process involved (that I’m still trying to work out myself!) and yet in come these uber confident wanna-be producers, with no meeting and nothing on paper – expecting…what exactly? If confidence and the balls to actually show up were all it took – you’d be in a corner office in no time. As it is…um I’ll take a message?

3. I want to be a star…!
The truth is that the company I work for does produce TV shows here in Toronto. Again, there is a process, there are casting directors, auditions, call backs, none of which occurs here. We’re the corporate office, not a sound stage or an agency. You can’t just drop off your showreel or headshot to me… I’m not sure what to do with it. Also, I’m answering the phones and sending the Fedex’s – does it seem like I have “pull”? Maybe… in how to re-arrange the contents of the fridge…otherwise sorry! Can’t help you.

4. How can I get in contact with…?
While I definitely recognize some of the faces that play in the loop of our shows (over and over and over and over and over…) I couldn’t name a quarter of the actors or tell you anything about them (except I’m getting sick of seeing butts and violence on repeat). This is not true of fans of the show – who assume (apparently) that we know them (intimately) and would willingly give up their personal information and details. Errr…. not so much.

#firstworldreceptionistproblems

No but seriously… go away so I can look at this Cat gif compliation

Free Advice: from people who don’t know but think they do, that you didn’t ask for

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Listen.

I think it’s really sweet that you’re interested in what I want to do with my life (be famous, marry rich, pop some kids, die at 99 while skydiving over the Bahama’s with my toyboy Tad) and that you’re taking the time to give me what you believe, is 100% bullet-proof advice.

You must think I’m a fucking. moron. that I haven’t had the brilliance of the idea you’ve just had that is SO simple. Buddy… why don’t you just show me how it’s done, since you’re the one that really knows.

Free Advice I have been given lately:

6. “You should join Alcoholics Anonymous, all the film and TV people are there!”
THANKyou random eastern European Man (and friend) who just paid for my (and my roommates) ice cream for no apparent reason (except that you wanted to talk to us.)
Your advice is so incredibly simple. To network effectively, I should just attend meetings where people talk about their substance addictions. GENIUS!

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His name was Robert Polson…his name was…

5. “You should think of yourself as a product, and put a post on Craigslist!”
Hell. No. Have you ever BEEN on craigslist? Wow. You thought you knew some quirky individuals. You. Got. Nothing. On craigslist. It’s like a High School were all the kids are the weird kids, the cheerleaders are into some freaky-deaky-shit and the Jocks are the guys who want to kiss and tenderly adore your feet (and will pay you $50).

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I get enough interaction with weirdo’s in my daily life – without having a way for people to contact me (more) through the anonymity of the Internets. Yeah-no. But thanks for the tip!

4. “You should Volunteer your Free Time and build contacts that way”:
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First off…what free time? The ten minutes a day I shower before I crash into bed? Or the 6 hours of sleep a night I’m averaging at the moment. Second off…DUH-FUCKING-DUH. If you’re at the bottom of the Film and Television food chain (like me and most of my friends) then you know that working for free under the term “internship” happens A LOT. That’s what we do, we exchange our time for experience and the hopes that some who knows someone who’s cat’s arch-nemisis’s bestfriends brothers girlfriends aunt’s gynecologists ex-wife will hire you.

3. “You should Stand on the corner and hand out Samples of your Creative Writing”:
Okay listen, I like you, but I kind of want to punch you in the mouth. Please don’t start a sentence addressed to me with the opening “You should Stand on the street corner and…”
Not only am I not enjoying the prostitute connotation here, but also, I will physically cross the road to get away from those Cancer/I’m a girl/Rainforest people who wave at you and go “Hey, how are you?” like they give a shit and don’t want me to sign some petetition.

“Me? I’m fucking terrrrrrrribbbbbl!!! Like, legit got cancer in all my orifices, suffering from severe abuse at home and crying myself to sleep every night because there are so few natural resources left in the world, and I personally have an evil personality disorder which makes me cut down endangered plants and animals in my sleep. But how are yoooooooou!?”

Stop trying to make Fetch happen. It’s not going to happen. And I am not going to stand on a corner trying to push ANY of my talents on ANYONE. Except you Tom Felton, you dirty-sexy Malfoy you. Wingardium my Levio-sa baby.

2. “You should just turn up to Production Companies with a Resume and ask to speak to the hiring Manager”:
As I may have mentioned (about 7501 times) I am currently temping to pay my bills, and usually I am put into Reception type positions. And I’ve worked in all kinds of offices, Mining, Financial type places, places that honestly could be Office fronts for the Mob (IDK) but also, Creative offices.

And the number of times people have tried to push their Resume’s on me (the girl with no clue) is too many to count (because I am lazy and can’t really remember). And do you know what happens to those Resume’s when people just show up? Straight into the bin (or shredder- depending on the fanciness level of the office).

HR managers get HOUNDED in this economy and are forever getting un-asked for Resume’s and follow up calls. When I worked at one Production company, they had a computer file with over 500 unsolicited Resume’s from people with varying levels of skill. They were courteous enough to keep them on file and if something did come up and they needed a Cinematographer or a Lighting Person, all they had to do was flick through the HUNDREDS of Resume’s. But I bet 9/10 it went to someone they already knew.

So forgive me for not following that delightful piece of advice.

1. “Strike up conversations with random people and let them know what you want to do, you never know who might be your lucky break”:

Starbucks guy: What can I get you today Mam?
Me: A Spiced Pumpkin Latte and a Job in Film and Television?
Starbucks guy: With Whipped Cream on top?
Me: Only if they pay me extra

Doctor: How are we doing today Paris?
Me: Well it burns when I pee, and also I’m looking for a job in Film and Television. Any ideas?

(Me, tripping over my feet because I’m clumsy)
Concerned Pedestrian: Are you alright?!
Me: (grabbing him by the lapels) QUICK! Do you know anyone hiring in Film and Television?

I think not.

Nope I think I’ll just continue as I am thankyouverymuch. Ranting on my blog, applying to jobs on LinkedIn, Mandy and MediaJobsCanada, and weeping softly into the tub of Ben and Jerry’s ice cream.

Don’t you know who I am? I’m Kind of a big deal! And other tales from my experience as a Guest List Bitch during TIFF

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For those of you just joining us today in the wacky, yet I’m sure we’d all agree, WONDERFUL world of Paris (that’s me), Jambo! And here’s the spark notes on the important info:

I am a 24 (almost 25-sweet-baby-cheeses-that’s-old) year old Australian who lives in Toronto, Canada, but who grew up in Asia, and I am probably definitely the most inappropriate, coolest, and most all-over the place girl you know.

I’ve also been looking for a real job (read: one with a steady salary, and or benefits) in Film, TV, Production, Advertising, Marketing, Social Media…look i’ll literally do anything creative you want at this point…you want me to dress up like a Monkey and clap my hands while hopping around the office singing, ok i’ll do it. Let me just update my LinkedIn….for a while now.

As such, I have been temping, which for those of you that don’t know (lucky straight into jobs after your degree bitches…oh so you did a degree with the name of an actual job in it?! That’s cool, me and my Bachelor of Arts and Masters of Creative writing will be chilling over here with the cool kids) is when you get hired on Assignments to do Reception, Data Entry, Help at Events… etc.

So two weekends ago I was asked if I’d like some weekend work at some parties for TIFF.

TIFF stands for Toronto International Film Festival, and like, don’t freak out, but it’s kindof a big deal worldwide. I used to live in Sydney, Australia and attended the SIFF and even I had hear of TIFF and even followed the head of TIFF, Cameron Bailey on twitter (more on him later).

So I love Parties and I love Film so I said, Hells yes. Sign me up.

And it was glorious.

Not only did I get to meet some lovely celebrities I also got to talk to the people that actually make shit happen in the world of entertainment, Assistants to big name producers, Agents, Finance people, Parents of stars (Daniel Radcliff’s dad is potentially the nicest and shortest British man I have ever had an interaction with, he told me Dan was always ditching him at parties…sigh).

Everybody sucks up to the guest list girl (I gathered) because the huge scary gorrilla like bouncers standing behind you are only listening to you. If you say they’re in, they’re in. If you say they aren’t on the list, then step aside please. They don’t give a shit who you are. They’ve been working all day as personal trainers/bodybuilders/guards and are on their third redbull. You do NOT want to fuck with them.

And everybody wants to get into the “cool” parties where the celebs, and free drinks and pretty women are. And that’s where I was. Little old me, behind a velvet rope with a clip board and a friendly Australian accent.

I love how you can learn so much about people when you’re suddenly observing them from a position of power. You don’t know these people, you don’t have to suck up to them. Okay sure I was flirting and being friendly (and I did get some potential contacts and business cards) but really I was doing a job. Finding a name on a list, and if it wasn’t there, sorry guy. You can spout as many names as you want, they don’t mean a thing to me.

Some particularly noteworthy incidents:

-The coked-up finance guy who got so close to my face i’m pretty sure spittle flew into it, while he was grinding his teeth and ranting. Sorry bud, we’re AT CAPACITY. And you’re right, I did let the Celeb in even though we’re AT CAPACITY because that’s what I was told to do so the paps don’t harass them. Just doing my job buddy, nope I’ve never heard of you. Tell me again how you don’t wait in lines.

-The wife of the guy who cut the trailer. Listen lady, I’m going off the list, I’m sorry that you and your husband aren’t on it (he was totally quiet and not making a fuss) and I agree, it seems unjust, but i’m just doing what I’m told. Go ahead and call somebody from the producers office. When I get an update, you can come in.

-The drunk, 40+ women (four of them) who tried to get in because they met such-and-such at the hotel and he told them to come. Uhhhhh nooooope. You can get as offensive as you like and try to grab the list, but this giant guy behind me, Brandon, he’s not going to like that so…

In contrast, all of the celebrities, directors and big deal producers I met were excruciatingly lovely. Not a bad egg among them. Almost all of them THANKED me as they exited. Thanked me. Like I really had anything at all to do with anything. I just stood outside in the cold with clip board. Some of them even had private jokes with me because I’d seen them a few times and also…i’m hilarious.

Cameron Bailey, Head of TIFF and who I’ve followed on Twitter for 6 years now, I couldn’t find him on the list because they had put his name back-to-front as Bailey Cameron. Me, being the slow ditz that I am didn’t recognize him and said “i’m sorry you’re not on the list.”

To which he calmly replied, “I think you might find that I am” before one of the party planners tore outside and said “he’s good! Thanks for coming Mr Bailey” before shooting me a dark look.

Life is not dull.

I’ll give you that much.

 

 

Money or Dreams

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This week has been tumultuous. I’ve been all up and down like a birthday clown coming off meth, and GEE WHIZ has it been fun for the people around me. Props to my boyfriend for not breaking up with me (thanks guy, you’re great), and props to my family for not changing their last names and going into hiding to get the F away from me.
The reason for the moody mood-ring emotional rollercoaster? Why, dreams of course. Splendid Rose-glasses-tinted dreams. The kind that mean you are like a bloodhound on a scent when it comes to jobs and opportunities and real life. The kind of dreams that wait impatiently in the back of your mind whispering:

“why haven’t I been realized yet? What are you doing? Every day you don’t do something valuable is another day closer to death.”

I like to imagine the voice whispering in the voice of Darth Vader, “psssh Paris, caaaaaw, what are you doing pssssh, cawwww with your fucking life pssssh.”
I digress.

So I’ve been temping here and there…whatever it’s boring… I mean it’s not that boring, I’ve worked in some cool companies, made some new contacts, you know the usual…and this week the Temp Agency (which has been excellent and kept me busy) contacted me and asked me if I’d be interested in being put forward for a job outside of the Creative Field. The role sounded like boring admin, but here’s the kicker… the money was excellent.

I had to have a good grapple with myself. I gave up a cushy admin position back in August to pursue my dreams of Film and Television. I’m young, I don’t really have any commitments, but HELLO it’s been exhausting scraping by each month. A part of me was really really REALLy attracted to the offer.

And then Darth Vader exploded in my head.

Literally, the Dark Side was calling me, but in this case the Dark side was the corporate world, the world of 9-5 and boring KILLMYSELF office politics. Stability. Health care. Benefits. All those words which must mean a lot at some point.
But not today, and possibly not tomorrow, and possibly not for the next few years.
It is stressful trying to keep a positive attitude about going after what you love (especially when a lot of other people seem to want it too), but there is also knowing in your gut when something is the right or wrong path to take. Do I want to wake up in ten years and realize that I’m unhappy? NO.

Would I rather keep slogging it out, working for free, getting involved with lots of projects and running myself ragged in the hope that I will get to where I want to be?
I think so.

But it is a tough balance, and on the days where I have to pay my rent, and phone bill, and internet and buy my Transport for the month and still try to budget for food and entertainment… well on those days I think about just taking a day job.
And then I remember that this my life and I only get one shot at it, so I better make the most of it…yada yada cliché, read them in Morgan Freemans voice. So I hoick up my falling down ratty old jeans, eat my stir fry for the fourth day in a row and keep going.

Because one day Money and Dreams might just go hand in hand.