Scared Straight... to business school

Last night I turned to MTV in hopes of catching the new Brittney Spears video or another one of Serena Altschul’s incisive investigations into the behind the scenes hijinx at a 98 Degrees concert, only to come across the biggest scariest black guy I’ve ever seen screaming at a teeny little white boy. Turns out I was watching Scared Straight: 20 Years Later. 12 or so young males with light criminal records were brought into a maximum security prison to be yelled at by the inmates for an hour with hopes of scaring them away from a life of crime. The show must have been given some special censors’ exemption because there was every swear word you can think of flying around that place.

And in watching this, I decided it would be a good idea to have the same program for high-school acting students thinking of moving to Los Angeles.

I’d take three of my fellow struggling-actor friends, Todd, Shannon, and Daryl around to high-schools across the country. We’d ask the teacher to leave, bring the kids onto the stage, and take turns going at them:

STEE: What’s your name?

GIRL: Montana.

STEE: I can’t hear you, bitch.

GIRL: Montana.

STEE: Montana. Let’s see. Says you played Elizabeth Proctor in the Crucible last year here at school.

GIRL: Yes.

STEE: Were you good?

GIRL: The school paper said-

STEE: What did you say you little bitch! The school paper thought you were good!? That don’t mean shit in LA. You gonna walk into ICM and show them a review from the fucking Weekly Cornhusker?!

TODD: That’s right, dog.

SHANNON: Tell that ho bitch the real deal.

STEE: Look at me when I talk to you! You’re gonna get to LA all happy and shit. Thinking your shit’s gonna be on Buffy next week cuz your cute and shit.

DARYL: Speak it Stee.

STEE: Thinking your ass is gonna be on Enter-the-fuck-Tainment Tonight talking to Leeza Gibbons and shit about your "art" and how "challenging" your latest role in the new John Travolta movie is?

GIRL: I don’t know.

STEE: That’s right, you don’t know you little ho! Your ass is gonna be waiting tables at Acapulco’s on dollar margarita night, going home to your skanky little apartment where you’ll wonder why the development assistant at New Line who you gave a handjob to last night in the bathroom of Bar Marmont hasn’t called you yet and then work on an audition for a non-union student video project in which full nudity is required but you’ll do that shit "cuz it will be really good tape for my reel"!

GIRL: (crying) Yes sir.

STEE: And true this: the best you can hope for is to get in some shitty little play at some shitty little theatre where the fucking cast outnumbers the audience. Do you want that!!!???


STEE: Break them off something, Shan.

(I sit down. Shannon gets up.)

SHANNON: Sit down bitch. You, "leading man" guy. Get your pretty-ass up here. What’s your name boy?

BOY: Mark.

SHANNON: Mark. You think you’re hot shit, huh? Let’s see, you played Stanley in Streetcar. Good the fuck for you. I bet the ladies all swooned for you, huh?

BOY: I guess.

SHANNON: Get leading roles and shit cuz you’re "foxy", right?

BOY: Yeah.

SHANNON: Foxy’s a good word. But now check this word out: "temping". Get real used to that word cuz that’s what you’ll be doing with most of your time. You like acting, huh? Well get ready to like faxing and collating and filing motherfucker.

TODD: Tell that bitch-ass.

SHANNON: You come to Hollywood you best hope you don’t run into my ass, cuz a bitch like me will eat you alive. You know how many pretty motherfuckers I know out there? Guess how many of them are straight? I ain’t saying youse gay or nothing but everyone will think you are. You go a couple years with that temping shit and auditioning for the occasional soup commercial, and then one day you’ll be all vulnerable and shit and some dude will step to you and ask you if you want to be in a movie. Next thing you know you’re starring in Sargent Rick’s Boot Camp Part 7, and you won’t even get your SAG card out of it!!! Do you hear me motherfucker?!

(Mark runs from the room.)

DARYL: Yeah, you better run sucker.

(Shannon sits down. Todd stands up.)

STEE: Testify, brother.

TODD: You, funny boy. Get up here. What’s your name funny pants?


TODD: Quinn. I know your type. You see, I was just like you once. You think you’re all funny and shit, huh? You’re Mr. Funny Boy all cracking jokes. I bet you get to play all the funny sidekick roles and shit, huh?

FUNNY BOY: Yeah, I guess.

TODD: Run home and watch The Ben Stiller Show on tape and think John Henson was "brilliant" on Talk Soup. You watch Mr. Show, huh motherfucker!

FUNNY BOY: Sometimes.

TODD: Yeah. You all cutting-edge, huh? Some observational humor and shit. A healthy dose of cynicism, right? I bet you’re all wry and shit, making people laugh and getting ladies cuz even though you’re not that great looking you’ve got a "really magnetic personality", right?


TODD: And you think you’re gonna get to Hollywood and maybe get on a sitcom as the funny co-worker with the observations and "did you ever notice…" and shit. Get all Chandler on our ass, huh?

STEE: Tell him.

SHANNON: Sho-nuff!

TODD: You know how many OK-looking cynical funny-boys there are in LA?! One million! You think I’m fucking wit choo? Look at me. I was the same way. And yeah, I’ve made a few bucks, I ain’t gonna lie to you. But you think I’m playing a funny Chandler office boy? Do you!!!

FUNNY BOY: I don’t know.

TODD: You know what I do, punk? Do you!?

SHANNON: That’s right!

DARYL: Punk his ass, loc.

TODD: I do commercials, motherfucker! They have me jumping around like a monkey selling shit like a motherfuck. Just last week, I did a commercial for an auto web site.

STEE: That’s right!

TODD: And you know what I had to wear? They dressed me up in a key suit. I was a motherfucking key, boy. A big-ass stupid Styrofoam motherfucking key!

(Todd begins to cry. So does Quinn. I stand back up.)

STEE: Alright. So in motherfucking closing, we’d just like to say if you ignore our goddamn warnings and come to Los Angeles any the fuck way… be sure to check out our comedy group every Saturday night at the Lillian Theatre. Only five bucks. Thanks.

This is where I let Larry King take over my body for a few minutes.

…people seem to be in a panties-in-a-bunch uproar about these recent journal awards. Having just tentatively joined this community and admittedly having much less emotional stake in the entire thing, I find it quite interesting that people are so worked up over these things, these journals, whose readership seems to range from the low tens to mid hundreds. Put it this way: more people read the cafeteria menu at my old elementary school every day than read the most popular of these journals. To therefore get hung up on what is the definition of journal vs. diary and whether or not the judging is fair and who should be eligible for these awards seems to me to be a topic deserving of no more time than it’s taking me to write this paragraph. Furthermore, if one should ideally not write an online journal with the audience in mind – why put it online? And lastly, a person who would deem to make proclamations and strict rules of what online journals should or should not be shows himself to have the adventure-quotient of a dairy cow. Loosen up. Run with scissors or something...

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