things i’ve learned from movies and tv

— Characters never shut doors. The only time they shut a door is if it’s a plot point. It’s like they didn’t grow up with parents who were concerned about heating/cooling the outdoors, or their parents enjoyed paying inflated electric bills. If bad guys are chasing me, I’m going to take an extra split second to close the door behind me so they can’t tell exactly which way I went.

— Ever since the success of Pirates of the Caribbean, any slightly disreputable character named Jack must have some association with alcohol and wear black eyeliner.

— The average teenager is incredibly erudite when writing in their personal diary, as opposed to their postings on Twitter, Facebook or personal, public blogs.

— Nearly everyone owns the exact rectangular, powder-blue plastic laundry basket that I do.

— Gunshots don’t hurt unless pain and/or death is a plot point. To avoid painful gunshots, don’t be an expendable character. Or, don’t be a main character who requires pain and/or death to move the story forward.

— You don’t have to train or even wear running shoes if you want to chase someone through miles of city streets or woods at top speed. Just go!

— You only lose cell reception if it’s a major plot point, otherwise your phone should work everywhere in the universe.

— Sustained screaming is the normal reaction to any emergency situation, and nobody remembers 911 unless it’s a major plot point. Corollary: see above.

— It doesn’t matter if you’re in another country, if someone is pawing through your desk drawer or closet, you will suddenly, silently, appear behind them.

— People enjoy creating awkward silences, broken only by penetrating, hurtful insight of each other. Witty retorts never come to characters at 3am but at perfectly-timed moments. Everyone remembers everyone else’s deep dark secrets in minute detail. Entire lives are shaped by 1-3 major childhood events involving the other major characters.

— Women fall in love with the men who annoy them most. They also fall in love with stalkers. It usually takes one hour to three days for a woman to fall in love for life.

— Prostitutes never have “normal” clients, they all seem to come from Planet Weird.

— Prostitutes have never had anyone in their entire lives who loves them other than a loser character. They also have zero standards, despite having been with countless men and likely seeing both the best and worst sides of mankind. This life experience leaves them in an emotional fugue state, in which they’re vulnerable to very lame pickup lines and no emotional depth from their hero.

— You can disappear for decades, return to your family, and get all caught up with about two pages of dialogue.

— The Strip in Las Vegas is only, like, one mile long and has over 100 casinos that change locations. Racing the Strip at top speed is so tempting since there’s never any traffic. It’s also really easy to land a plane on the Strip. Bothering with the actual airport is a waste of time because it’s so far out of town.

— The only time being in a car crash affects you is if it’s a major plot point or you’re expendable. That neck-snapping motion you see onscreen isn’t severe whiplash, it’s just a “jolt” and it never affects anyone.

— Whenever a phone rings, don’t answer it! Just stare at it in horror/wonder/surprise. Doing this allows you to psychically figure out who is calling you and why before you ever pick up the phone (with trembling hands, of course). You’ll never receive a phone call from a bill collector, telemarketer, appointment confirmation, wrong number or a relative who isn’t a main character.

— Settling into a new abode is easy. You live out of a suitcase and never unpack. Or mysterious beings unpack a 10-room house overnight and everything is in place.

— Special Wiseguy mention: making sure all the letters of your government agency name fall on either side of the doorway isn’t a concern. Just let that E hang out there and hope no one bumps their head on it. Go to 0:21 to see it in all it’s alphabet glory.

national geographic: sex for sale

Some of you are aware that I appeared on a National Geographic documentary that first aired in February. Now the rest of you are aware. Once again, my brush with mainstream media is generally negative. Eventually I’ll learn.

natgeo 2009

NatGeo spoke to me in April 2009 about appearing on their Taboo series. One of their episodes was going to cover sex work. Though I spoke for 90 minutes on the phone with Kate Witchard and emailed with her, they decided not to use me. This was right before I was beginning my travels and I pitched the idea to her, but she told me National Geographic wasn’t interested in following a working escort around the world.

Utter waste of time. I don’t take kindly to having my brain picked for free. (Shortly after, someone whom I suspect was producing the Belle de Jour series wanted to do that too so I quoted a price and never heard back.)

natgeo 2012

Last summer I was approached by NatGeo again. I was not interested. Daniele Anastasion, the producer, assured me this was a stand-alone documentary focusing on the US and the legal issues surrounding prostitution. After back and forth emails, I agreed to a 5 minute phone call that turned into 45. It seemed okay and I agreed to it. Of course they weren’t going to pay me a dime. (It’s a documentary! They wouldn’t do something so icky as pay for interviews!) No makeup provided either. But it seemed like it would be intelligent. It’s National Geographic, after all.

We settled on a shooting date. They weren’t thrilled about having to come to Dallas but since they weren’t paying me to show up anywhere else, Dallas was it. They wanted to shoot an interview — which was the point. They also wanted to shoot “B-roll,” which is silent footage that shows up in the background with interviewed voiceovers. This is where it started getting to be a bit much.

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tonight

Filmed in July, I almost forgot that it was real. But I’m going to be in a CNBC documentary on high-end prostitution. Sometimes I’m excited about it, sometimes not.

It airs tonight at 10pm. I don’t even watch TV and don’t have cable (I was given a TV, but my DVD player is still in storage in another state).

And it seems that the blog post I wrote about “Amanda Brooks” was prescient (thanks to a friend for the link).

FYI: The show will re-air a few more times over the month of November. Go to its web page for the schedule (link above).

more media lessons

In the “big deal for me” category, I was on Fox Business News live last Friday with David Asman (obviously this is an up-to-the-minute blog). And if anyone saw it, they saw my virgin TV appearance. See? I have NOT done everything before!

It wasn’t a bad experience at all. I was slated for five minutes starting at 4:40pm Eastern. I knew what they wanted to discuss and I rehearsed answers to possible questions. Well, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger was on right before me. I could hear him when I got miked up. He was somewhere on the California coast holding forth on the environment (no to oil drilling off the coast of California, yes to drilling in Alaska – what an environmentalist). He talked and talked. He wouldn’t shut up. He ate into my minutes. Like he doesn’t get enough press time or something.

My segment turned out to be shared with a guy who had run a New York agency before. He was very chatty. Guys are an extremely talkative species. But maybe it was his first time too. I don’t know.

We got about 3-4 minutes. Thanks Arnie.

But I did learn some lessons.

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