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Small Fame

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Aug. 7th, 2012 | 05:50 pm

Laugh, and the world laughs with you
                          - Ella Wheeler Wilcox, Solitude

________________________________

Our episode aired again, two weeks ago.

I know this because every day, people have been talking in low tones about ten feet from me,

“Ask!”
“No, you ask!”
“It’s her!”
“It’s not her!”

I know this, because people I have never met have been walking up to me and saying,

“Saw you the other night!”

and

“Hey, was that you crying on TV?”

Yes.

Yes, it was.

And I have a prepared answer, which is, “Thanks! Noted Canadian Financier is a terrific partner, we love working with him!”

They remember that I cried, and Series Bad Guy yelled at me, and sometimes they even remember that we won. We won! We won a giant chunk of money to build our dream show, an indoor theatrical circus that tours to big venues and shows up in the season ticket brochure and keeps us all employed for forty weeks a year!

And for a while, that dream became real. We built the show. I bought an Olympic-size trampoline and a 24-foot box truck and a lot more insurance. The cast learned their lines and their acts and we got a couple of standing ovations and put up a website and got an agent.

But then the economy tanked. And we realized we cost as much as Stomp, but no-one wants to book an eighteen-thousand-dollar show they’ve never heard of, and the price can’t drop unless a single gig becomes a tour and conserves on travel. We got tired of having to completely re-rehearse the show from scratch every time we got a gig, and after six gigs in three years we came to an amicable dissolution with our agent.

We’re still working. Separately. Small shows, festivals, solos and duos and trios at corporate events. Making a living doing what we love, as we all say. But it’s not The Big Show.

And I’m still trapped in time, that episode from 2009 where I get yelled at and then I cry and then I win.

I win.

And for the audience, the story ends there, and I’m that girl from Reality Show, that girl who cried on TV two weeks ago, that girl who’s crying on TV still.

I want to explode, I want to say, “Stop asking me!” or, “We failed, OK?”

I can’t.

I can’t be ungrateful that they recognize and remember, that they are happy for me and happy to feel like they know me. Happy to come to the smaller show I’m doing now and enjoy it.

And in the end, isn’t recognition what I want? Money can be made a lot of places. Art can be made in a room alone. But if someone said to me, you will be fed and housed and clothed and supplied and have all the time you need but you can never, never sign your name, I would turn them down. I would forage scraps from the garbage and write in the corner between French fry basket grease immersions and send my work out into the world, proclaim I made that.

That’s what I do. I sign my name and take a bow and sometimes cry in front of millions of at-home viewers. And the price of public victory is (sometimes) private defeat.



________________________________________
whipchick has just been pitched to yet another network as a reality show host. You think she'd learn...


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Comments {20}

Kristen

(no subject)

from: pixiebelle
date: Aug. 7th, 2012 10:55 pm (UTC)
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Pitching a reality show concept? How cool! I would love to do something like that. I'd actually love to go on Survivor or the like one day, I just need to get in shape ;)

Great piece! And it's true too?

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whipchick

(no subject)

from: whipchick
date: Aug. 10th, 2012 12:59 am (UTC)
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Yes, it's true!

Someone else is doing the new pitch - they want me to host their show, which is cool to be asked, even if nothing comes of it :)

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The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors

(no subject)

from: halfshellvenus
date: Aug. 8th, 2012 12:42 am (UTC)
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I can’t be ungrateful that they recognize and remember, that they are happy for me

That's the kind of bind that always gets you-- that people are enthusiastic about something on your behalf, and don't realize that it didn't work out the way you'd envisioned. It would be unkind not to respond to that, even if it rubs a little salt in the wound every time.

I hadn't realized you had actual reality TV in your past. I'm also happy you won, back then, even if it didn't "stick." :)

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whipchick

(no subject)

from: whipchick
date: Aug. 10th, 2012 01:01 am (UTC)
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Thanks :) In an interesting universe-granting-what's-needed note, I did TV and radio today about my years-old win, so hopefully that will be a little snowball towards more recognition and bookings.

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alycewilson

(no subject)

from: alycewilson
date: Aug. 8th, 2012 10:39 pm (UTC)
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I so want to hug you right now. You know, I've been watching "Shark Tank" lately in late night, and I often wonder about the fate of the people who get the backing (and also those who don't).

I hope you know that you are immensely talented, and while one opportunity may close, I'm sure another will always open.

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whipchick

(no subject)

from: whipchick
date: Aug. 10th, 2012 01:03 am (UTC)
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Thank you!

Shark Tank Kevin is the guy I describe above as Series Bad Guy - he's also on a Canadian version of the show, which is what I went on. Let me just note that as scary as he is on TV, he is ten times scarier in person.

Not sure how true this is for the US version, but in Canada, a lot of the people who "win" don't actually close their deals - you still have to go through due diligence, and a lot of people can't pass the financial disclosure. And sometimes the money-giver backs out after a change of heart!

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alycewilson

(no subject)

from: alycewilson
date: Aug. 10th, 2012 01:21 am (UTC)
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That doesn't surprise me. Sometimes they make deals -- especially Mark Cuban in the American version, which I've been watching -- that make me wonder. Shark Tank Kevin is often so mean to the people who are pitching their ideas that I wonder how he sleeps at night. I think I'd rather sing in front of Simon Cowell than pitch an idea to him!

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notodette

(no subject)

from: notodette
date: Aug. 9th, 2012 03:31 am (UTC)
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Good luck!!!!

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whipchick

(no subject)

from: whipchick
date: Aug. 10th, 2012 01:03 am (UTC)
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Thanks :)

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Myrna

(no subject)

from: myrna_bird
date: Aug. 9th, 2012 08:54 pm (UTC)
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There's just no end to your talent! One door...another window...what an interesting life!

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whipchick

(no subject)

from: whipchick
date: Aug. 10th, 2012 01:03 am (UTC)
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Thank you :)

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Small Fame

from: anonymous
date: Aug. 11th, 2012 12:15 am (UTC)
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Yikes, I had no idea it was like this from your side of the fence.

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whipchick

Re: Small Fame

from: whipchick
date: Aug. 14th, 2012 08:22 pm (UTC)
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It's hard to not be ungrateful :)

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Laura, aka "Ro Arwen"

(no subject)

from: roina_arwen
date: Aug. 12th, 2012 11:39 pm (UTC)
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Intriguing! Now I want to know what Reality show it was, LOL. Something on the order of "America's Got Talent?"

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whipchick

(no subject)

from: whipchick
date: Aug. 13th, 2012 02:28 pm (UTC)
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Here's a "Where are they now" episode from the show we shot -

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JiSQ6BopVIk

We start around 17:54, where they're talking about our investor and how he's more prone to actually do deals. Our original episode was from 2009 :)

We did do AGT, too - I wrote about that in an essay called "reality" the week of The Straw That Stirs the Drink. You might be interested in the comments I got from other performers who've done that show - it was pretty eye-opening :)

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Laura, aka "Ro Arwen"

(no subject)

from: roina_arwen
date: Aug. 14th, 2012 06:33 pm (UTC)
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That's pretty awesome - thanks for sharing the video!

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(Deleted comment)

whipchick

(no subject)

from: whipchick
date: Aug. 13th, 2012 02:28 pm (UTC)
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Here's a "Where are they now" episode from the show we shot -

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JiSQ6BopVIk

We start around 17:54, where they're talking about our investor and how he's more prone to actually do deals. Our original episode was from 2009 :)

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Lose 10 Pounds of Ugly Fat...  Cut Off Your Head.

(no subject)

from: n3m3sis42
date: Aug. 13th, 2012 02:14 pm (UTC)
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You cried? Funny, it doesn't fit with my image of you. Thanks for sharing this piece of you. :)

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whipchick

(no subject)

from: whipchick
date: Aug. 13th, 2012 02:30 pm (UTC)
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Well, I had been being yelled at with TV lights in my face for 45 minutes :) I'm a stress crier, though it takes more than it used to! I don't know if you recall my Straw That Stirs the Drink piece about reality TV (different show) but for me part of the victory of that experience was not crying when a judge got a whole audience to boo us :)

Here's a "Where are they now" episode from the show we shot -

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JiSQ6BopVIk

We start around 17:54, where they're talking about our investor and how he's more prone to actually do deals. Our original episode was from 2009 :)

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Lose 10 Pounds of Ugly Fat...  Cut Off Your Head.

(no subject)

from: n3m3sis42
date: Aug. 13th, 2012 02:31 pm (UTC)
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I do remember your Straw piece - I was a little confused when I read this one because I'm like, "uh, that's not how the other piece made it sound"! Haha. :D

I'm a stress crier, too. Totally understand. Also an anger crier. Because crying when you're trying to get someone to take you seriously TOTALLY helps. SO FRUSTRATING. Haha.

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