Temp X was recently asked to give the commencement address to the 2009 graduates of Emerson College. This is a decent honor (like most Emerson students, UT-Austin film school was my first choice), but I accepted it anyway. Following is a transcript of that address …
Ladies and Gentlemen of the Class of 2009:
If I could offer you only one tip for your future in Hollywood, skip the sunscreen. The short-term perks of a tan — the healthy glow, tantalizing bikini lines — have been proven time and again. The rest of my advice has no basis more reliable than my own meandering experience. I will dispense this nonsense now.
It's fun. Everyone in Hollywood is good looking. When poolside at the Roosevelt, tell the model wannabe next to you that you're a producer on CSI: Miami. Then see what happens. Bottle service helps.
There's no better way to keep your body in shape than doing abdominal crunches while talking on the porcelain telephone.
This town is full of people who get things they don't deserve. Some day, that person might be you. And then you can look down on the masses and mock them.
Keep your old bank statements. Throw away your love letters. Only one of these is beneficial in divorce court.
Parliament Lights. Marlboro Lights. Camel Lights. Any of them act as a fantastic appetite suppressant. Smoking makes you cool and it looks great on film. But don't smoke pot because it'll make you hungry.
Just tell everyone that your script is an homage to Chayefsky's Network, not a scene by-scene redo. (But hire a good lawyer just in case.)
Buy knee pads.
Maybe you'll marry, maybe you won't. Maybe you'll have an affair with the boss and get promoted. Maybe you'll accidentally get knocked up and have to have an abortion which your boss will put on his corporate AmEx and make you file the expense report. Maybe he'll go back to his wife because he can't afford a divorce in a communal property state especially in this economy.
Love is a relative term.
Whatever you do, don't ever stop self promotion. The key to success in Hollywood is convincing others of how great you are, even if it's not true.
Enhance your body.
If you see something sagging, bagging or dragging, it's best to nip it, tuck it, and suck it. If God didn't want you to get plastic surgery, he wouldn't have invented Dr. 90210.
Because it pays more than temping and you'll meet more Hollywood executives that way.
Read the directions.
Because your boss's iPhone won't program itself.
Read fashion magazines. Inner beauty is for ugly people.
Get to know your parents. Because once you become a big Hollywood star, you'll blow them off in favor of partying at the Playboy mansion.
Be nice to your siblings. They've got dirt on you that they'll happily to sell to the National Enquirer if you screw them over.
Understand that Hollywood friends come and go because if they can't do anything for you, they're not worth your time. Plus it takes way to long to get from Santa Monica to Los Feliz.
Live in Hollywood once, but leave before you get stupid. Live in Burbank once, but leave before you get bored.
Accept certain inalienable truths. Reality programs are here to stay. Movie studio execs are mostly lazy. And when you do, you'll fantasize that when you were young, TV shows had scripts and some movies weren't remakes.
Nothing will get you further in Hollywood than kissing ass. Differentiate yourself by ass kissing in different ways such as the Spider-man Kiss ("You produced Spider-man 3? I love when Mary Jane sings!") and the French Canadian Kiss (It's like a regular kiss, but without union difficulties and with a better exchange rate.)
Find someone to support you. Maybe they have a trust fund. Maybe…oh it's probably a trust fund. But hold on with a vice grip because it's easier than working.
Use hair extensions because they look completely natural. Make sure you use a nice epoxy when installing them.
Advice is a way to helping others. Don't offer it. Dispense "recommendations" that won't work, because you don't want someone younger and with a higher, firmer butt passing you on the final lap.
But trust me on the sunscreen.