I was twenty years old when I moved back to New York after living on the road as a runaway teen. No high school, no college, no nothing. Just a dream of becoming a movie star and a brief stint panhandling in Providence, door-to-door sales selling stolen merchandise in Miami, and most recently, delivering pizzas in Boulder, Colorado while studying acting at a community college that accepted my GED.
But the acting classes in Colorado wouldn’t cut it anymore, it was time to get my big break. Wasn’t sure how to do it, but one thing was for sure: I had to stand out.
Little did I know that trying to stand out as an actor would land me millions of auditions with no jobs, but it would be how I learned to truly do great marketing.
My girlfriend who I’d been squatting around the country with that I met in juvie, well, at Hidden Lake Academy (same shit), had just fucked her boss in my car. To get back at her I had an affair with our neighbor DeEna, a cocktail-waitress-slash-actress-in-the-making from Mobile, Alabama. Point is, after a tumultuous breakup, with no friends around me, nothing but my thoughts and my ambition to become a movie star, I moved to Manhattan (from Queens) to go to work.
I hired some flashy, name-brand photographer to take headshots. The photos sucked so I photoshopped them till you could barely recognize me then made up a phony resume. I wrote all about how I’d been doing community theater all my life even though I’d only performed one scene from Fight Club at a community college in Boulder. With my arsenal at my side, I started sending them out.
Sent out hundreds without one reply.
Okay, what can I do?
I’ll get blue envelopes. That’ll make me stand out. So I started sending out the same headshots and resumes, but now in blue envelopes. Got a few more replies. But I needed more. What else? Oh I know. I’ll get ridiculous paper and print an insane cover letter on it and add that to the blue envelope. I can also use gold ink to write the addresses.
Within five weeks I had seven agents and managers sending me out for auditions. Unfortunately, I flunked every single one, either because I sucked or cause I was zonked out on Xanax. Either way I’m the only actor to ever not get a job on Law and Order.
So I thought: I know what to do next. I’ll produce my own plays that position me in just the right light so that I can choose the roles that’ll make me look like a star. Then I’ll use some creative invitations–make ’em look wild–to get big agents and managers to show up at opening night.
So the first show I produced? Tape. By Stephen Belber. In the movie adaptation, Uma Thurman played the female character. So guess what happened? Uma Thurman’s agent showed up to see who I cast to play the chick.
She wasn’t there to see me, she came to see Blaire (the chick). But the next morning I woke up to an email. It was the damn agent manager woman, and she writes to me:
“Not sure if you have representation, but I would love to be your manager.”
It felt like I was getting ten blow jobs at once. I couldn’t believe it worked. It FUCKIN worked! At the time, I thought it worked cause I was a brilliant actor, I never thought that maybe I got the opportunity cause I ran a creative marketing campaign. That was my foray into the world of guerrilla marketing…
But there’s quite a bit of chaos to tell you about before things shape up to where they are today.
Did you know it’s illegal to project your logo onto the top of the tallest building in Hollywood during rush-hour traffic from the back of a Uhaul? Yeah, me neither. But the LAPD showed up in their helicopters and tried to throw me in jail. Turns out that kinda thing is frowned upon.
Anyway, that’s for a later chapter. For now, I want to tell you about how I completely lost control of my marketing ideas until I ended up with the biggest win and loss of my life.
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