I've gone on and on and ON here on Final Girl, on The Scare-ening, on the bus, and in my fucking sleep about Facebook and how that shit wears me down. Well, some of it gets me down. I'm not talking about that quiz you posted about what kind of bread you would be if you were a kind of bread. I'm not talking about that picture you posted of the dim sum you ate last night, although I do admit that I'm a bit baffled why the advent of cell phone cameras and social networking has led to the rampant documentation of what people are about to eat. I'm talking about the incessant LOOK AT MEs that fill up my feed every day- and yes I realize that I myself post plenty of LOOK AT MEs when I have new work somewhere. And yes I realize that because I do so, it makes me a bit hypocritical. It's something I deal with, this getting the word out about things whilst trying to maintain an air of non-douchiness.
As someone who's "in" and "a fan of" the horror community, I am fake cyber-friends on Facebook with many other people who are "fans of" or "in" the horror community on many levels, from the micro/no budget to the big budget. The creators, one hopes, are creating things. Facebook is a place to tell people about what you're creating. I count myself in that group. If you have a horror blog or website, you probably count yourself in that group, too. That's cool! Spread the word, and...
Oh, fuck it. Here's the point of all this: my keen skills of observation have led me to the following conclusion:
Facebook creates monsters.
I would like to get even more specific:
Facebook creates monsters out of indie horror actresses. Some actors as well, but mostly actresses.
Yes, I'm generalizing. And let me say this: I work with and know plenty of indie horror actresses who are delightful, who are not 10,000% ego, who simply like to act, and who conduct themselves with the utmost professionalism. I'm not talking about them. They manage to use Facebook as a tool to promote themselves, and they also manage to maintain their humanity.
But! Facebook has also given rise to an interesting and frequently obnoxious phenomenon wherein a horror website appears on the scene and they take to rampantly promoting a select few actresses. Taken individually, neither of these things (new website, actress getting press) is bad. Put them together, however, and it creates the social networking equivalent of an Ouroboros. You know, the snake or dragon eating its own tail. It's all eternal and shit.
Here's the cycle:
"We here at NEW HORROR WEBSITE just love ACTRESS! Here is a picture of her."
"Hey, check out a picture of ME, ACTRESS at NEW HORROR WEBSITE! I love NEW HORROR WEBSITE. They are the best."
(three hours later)
"NEW HORROR WEBSITE has an exclusive interview with ACTRESS! Read all about the movies she's attached to that are only at the script stage!"
"You guys, here's my interview at NEW HORROR WEBSITE. Oh NEW HORROR WEBSITE, I love you!"
This exchange serves both New Horror Website and Actress as follows: New Horror Website receives the meager site hits that a Facebook posting brings, and they also receive the undying "love" of Actress. Somewhere in the back of their brains, the owners/writers of New Horror Website think that if they give Actress enough attention, well...who knows. Maybe they'll fall in love for reals!
Actress, meanwhile, basks in the adoration. She feeds off of comments and little hearts and how many times she can link to something about herself. She begins to care mostly about the number of comments, the number of likes, her fucking imdb StarMeter, the pictures of herself posted everywhere. That thing called acting- or moviemaking- takes a back seat to getting the kudos for NOTHING. Actually, it's not in the back seat- it's in another car altogether. Actress morphs into a raging, roiling ego-monster, consuming hollow praise like so many Cheetos. She becomes a terrifying abomination, like the Broodmother from Dragon Age.
Okay, that analogy actually makes no sense whatsoever, but 1) I fucking love Dragon Age, and 2) mentioning it is an excuse to post another picture to break up all my rambling bullshit.
As a nobody who occasionally directs things, I should be thankful as my FB feed sorts people out into a few groups, like people I'd want to work with and people to avoid like a Broodmother. It's actually pretty convenient.
You know, I try to maintain an air of...well, certainly not dignity, but an air of...of...okay, I try to keep Final Girl out of the realm of bullshit and drama. While some of my colleagues do not shy away from raking the muck and calling a spade an asshole, I try to simply do my thing. I review stuff, I post pictures, whatevs. You like it, cool. You don't, also cool and I hope you find a better way to spend your time than visiting FG. But! Over the last couple of days there's been some Facebook fuckery that I want to call out because it's a prime example of everything I'm talking about- the ego-monsters, the incessant praise that creates the ego-monsters, and the such.
Even now, as I'm typing this out, my brain is going "Stacie, just forget it. It has no place on Final Girl. Save it for The Scare-ening, or just take your own advice and find something better to do. Why don't you play some Dragon Age? Yes. That will make you feel better, because none of this matters anyway." Well, hey- SHUT UP BRAIN.
So, there's this movie in pre-production called Prey to God. It's one of any number of independent horror films in production featuring genre veterans and genre newbies alike. Like most films that have yet to shoot, it's in a state of flux- scripts change, cast and crew change. This is the way things go in moviedom, and should be expected by everyone involved.
One of the actors attached- let's call her...oh, Actress Jessica Cameron, because that is her name...was dropped from the project. How should such a thing be handled by both the actress and the production, should they choose to actually address it in public? How about...professionally. How about something generic regarding "scheduling conflicts" and how everyone is excited for what comes next? That would be good. But this is the Age of Facebook, and Actress Jessica Cameron is a typical Facebook Actress. There is a sense of entitlement that stems from all the ego-stroking she's enjoyed during her postings about her career.
Unnnnnggggh I feel my brain telling me to shut up again. But you know what? She put this all out there and made it public. I'm just reporting on it! I'm just acting like a legit journalist here, right? SHUT UP BRAIN.
Rather than simply saying she was no longer attached to the film, Actress Jessica Cameron decided to post her audition video. She posted it so people will comment on her Facebook page and say things like "Oh, Actress Jessica Cameron, they were stupid to get rid of you! You are a genius, and also the best actress ever." This is the exact opposite of professionalism, and a good lesson in what not to do.
She goes further, however, and starts taking swipes at the production itself to save face:
Basically it just not a good fit for me now. I Love horror - but I love complex, detailed, intense characters. I am trying to avoid "hot girl, running through the woods" again. Its important as an actress to be doing work that you feel passionate about and to work with people that are at your level or better...See, the thing is: shut up. Just shut up now. Rejection is a part of acting. Rejection on varying levels is a part of most creative and artistic endeavors. Yes, it can hurt. You pick yourself up, you move on. Hopefully you improve and grow, or you ultimately find something else to do with your life. Making it seem as if the movie suddenly isn't good enough for you is one of those last ditch attempts at saving face, when in truth no attempt was needed. Posting your audition and following it with "I'm better than them anyway" is a risky defensive move considering that some of the actors "not at [her] level" have been working in the industry for 20+ years. Chances are they might just be at your level, or- gasp- maybe even better! Maybe you could learn a thing or two from people who have been professional actors longer than you've been alive...people who built careers with no one commenting on pictures they post on The Internet.
Again, though, this is the age of the Facebook Actress who is accustomed to incessant praise and coddling and "like"s. Criticism glances off her whitened teeth unheeded. Yeah, The Internet can be an awful place and the "this is stupid you suck"s of anonymous commenters can poop on your soul. But criticism, when it's coming from a potential employer, should maybe be given a bit more weight. Maybe bridges shouldn't be burned for the sake of a "They're dumb for not casting you" comment.
Where was I going with all this? I don't even know anymore. It just makes me so angry, this bush-league bullshit where everyone is an infallible superstar. Comments on a Facebook thread don't make you a good actress. An interview on a website doesn't make you a good actress. A photo session doesn't make you a good actress. You know what makes you a good actress? Good acting. So go do that, end of story.
And now I will listen to my brain and shut the fuck up.