What An Asshole

This entry doesn’t have much of a point. I usually try to have a point.  Today, fuck it. I might get my ass handed to me for this one, but oh well, I’m almost done with this school anyway.

One of the “perks” of going to the “top film school in the fucking universe” is that we get “industry professionals” to come in and tell us how little we know.  So yesterday in my [CLASS WITHHELD], we had this guy come in who is, admittedly, a very successful [SUBJECT] director.  We’ll call him Manly McAsshole.  He was basically an “if they mated” between Buffalo Bill from Silence of the Lambs and The Situation. You just know he’s stared at himself in the mirror saying “I’d fuck me. I’d fuck me so hard” a time or two.  Then he takes off his armpit-stained wifebeater and flexes.

One of the first and most consistent points he had was how little we knew.  Fine.  We’re students, that’s why we’re here, to learn, and we don’t have as much industry experience as you do.  But he tried to use examples of personality, do you make mistakes?  He asks one girl what time she got up this morning, assuming she probably got up around noon.  She got up at eight to go to ballet class.  Was her head in the game, he asks? Yes, very much so.  Bad example, he moves onto another guy.  This guy hadn’t slept since the day before. Another bad example.  But the point is that he works hard, way harder than we do! And his work is important, because he often works with [NAME DROP BIG RAPPER] and [NAME DROP CRAZY BITCH].  When we are “kids” we can get away with making mistakes.  Because, you know, when you’re twenty you’re incapable of making mistakes that can have repercussions for the rest of your life.

This pissed me off because he assumed everyone in the room was a) an undergrad with b) no life experience. My friend, Matt, sitting next to me, used to teach in England.  He’s lived in several countries, and speaks several languages.  More than half the room were grad students. Some almost his age. One dumb bitch that I know of has children (to clarify, she’s not a dumb bitch because she has kids, she’s a dumb bitch because she’s a dumb bitch).

I… I just can’t even put it into words. My words are not aptly describing what an asshole this guy is.  I am frustrated with my literary impotence.

Another thing he did was congratulate himself on what a dumb, annoying fuck he was when he was in college. Firstly, he was too dumb to get into USC without getting his [ESTABLISHED HOLLYWOOD BIGSHOT] mother and [NAMEDROP PRODUCER] to write him recommendation letters.  Goddamn, what an entitled piece of shit.  Didn’t claw his way up from the no-connections bottom like we did.  He didn’t get along with any authority figures.  He watched weird shit and Fellini and shunned the Hollywood elite, and made weird fucking short films that everyone hated because they didn’t “get it”.  Not because, you know, they sucked.

He then proceeded to shit on his classmates who were more successful than he was.  This guy may have success, but he “makes shitty movies.”  This guy might have directed Brick, which was “alright” bit everything else he’s done is “complete shit.” But most of all, we should worship this motherfucker, because he “tells it like it is.”  And we won’t get that from anyone else in this town.

Yeah, “like it is” from your white male entitled Hollywood perspective, you useless piece of shit.

[NAMEDROP]

He talked for over two hours.  Matt and I kept looking at each other in horror, starting to wonder if it would end.  When we were finally, mercifully, allowed to go on a break, we were stunned into silence for a while, stumbling to the elevator before I blurted, “What an asshole!”  We bitched for a long time, walking away from the cinematic arts building for no other reason then to get away from the stink of Asshole.  The Situation, if you will.

I realized two things:

1) I couldn’t remember anyone I’d met who’d graduated from my program who wasn’t an entitled prick.

2) His success was contingent on his confidence and egotism.  A lot of people probably hated him for it.  But some people are drawn to arrogance, like moths to a flame, and eat that shit up.  He wasn’t that talented.  His videos are okay, but he had never done anything great.  His videos were firmly adequate at best. Firmly.

3) The entire class, especially aforementioned dumb bitch, ate that shit up.

My friend Matt does not like “USC people”.  One time I tried to get him to explain it to me, and he had a difficult time with it.  I get it now, though.  Dumb Bitch brought up the fact that each individual class at USC cost us nearly 500$ a pop.  I don’t think it’s quite that severe, but it’s still a sickening thought to think that not only for that money I was sat and condescended-to by an arrogant asshole who gets by in this business by virtue of his entitlement, but that I paid for it! Dumb Bitch was very happy with this thought; she considered this particular class “well worth the investment.”

I knew I was probably not going back to USC next semester, as it’s just to finish up critical studies requirements to get the expensive piece of paper (and I already have an expensive piece of paper in bloody cinema studies).  I don’t want to invest in the school anymore; I want to buy property while the gettin’s good.  My directing professor for my thesis, who is actually respected and successful without being an entitled prick whose mommy already works in the industry, told me that there wouldn’t be any harm in packing my things up and heading out and pimping my film rather than staying.  But this, oh god this, this confirmed it. I felt like Matt and I were the only people in the room who were aware of the tremendous asshole in front of you, god’s gift to the Jersey Shore. In the words of the great Will Ferrell in one of his greatest performances, “I feel like I’m taking crazy pills!”

I don’t mean to seem like I got nothing from USC; I got plenty. Plenty! I don’t know if it was worth the money, but I don’t regret it. That said, I’m done, if for no other reason I don’t want to get the brainworms like some of these people ostensibly have.  What an asshole.

Watch out, New York.

  • Ugh. You showed more self restraint than I would have. I would have just stood up and left while he was talking.

  • Good for you Lindsay, and good luck!

  • Well, then. Good luck with pimping your film, then. It’s a great piece.

  • Nobody

    Hard to imagine anyone in NY being less of an asshole. I think it may just be the industry.

  • Yeah, the local asshat contingent runs rather deep around here. But on the positive, this is perhaps the sign needed to cast off, and seek your fortune with your work. To future plans!

  • Bri

    I’m so sorry that you had to deal with something like this, Lindsay. Do what you feel is best for you. You know you have a lot of supporters out here who are willing to help you out as much as we can. There are a lot of us out here (some who have met you, most who haven’t) who would like to see you succeed.
    Be well.

    -Bri

    • Thank you Bri! I’m sure we’ll meet again!

  • SAI

    Here Fucking Here, Dudette!

    I’ve been having my own similar, yet not so similar frustrations with college, it’s very freeing to know not only does someone share that frustration (And called a diploma exactly what I do to boot!) but it’s someone I reasonably respect and admire to boot.

    -S.A.I.

  • Wow I love this entry. Douchebags like that are the reason I decided not to study for filmmaking. I know this will sound really cheesy but follow your heart. You don’t need a expensive piece of paper to be successful. Whatever you do, stay away from dumb bitches and pricks like those. 🙂

  • Thomas

    this is one of my greatest fears about my university education. Now I’m studying theatre production but I’ve had similar experiences with professionals from both film and stage so i know why it would make you want to walk away. besides with the tgwtg fan base you have a good springboard to get your movies seen and hopefully not hated for the lack of Nella.

    Best of luck,

    a fellow struggling artist

  • Daniel Duval

    Why not just drop this asshole’s name if he got you so riled up?

    • Because I’m sure he’s the type who does google searches of himself.

  • azadams

    That is really depressing, Lindsay. However, it’s great to hear that your thesis came out great and I wish you all the luck with it and your future career.

    (By the way – longtime watcher/NC fan and first-time commenter. Love what you do! Keep up the good work!)

  • Seth

    The tweet referencing this post worried me, but it seems like you do have a plan. Very good luck to you!

  • Brandon Evans

    I know what you mean – I am third generation at USC, but I legitimately REFUSED to go here because of the obvious entitlement and superiority all the USC grads I knew felt. Once I saw the CS Games program I kind of had no choice though… at least MOST of the CS people seem less assholish : Oh well, as we say, gl;hf Post-USC!

  • Artist machismo is one of the great plagues of the art world. Some artist finds a nugget of success and proceeds to tell other up and coming creators that they should not even bother because the art world is just to “hard core” for them.

    I believe these people, including the man you speak of, are really just threatened by younger people being more talented than they are. So they boast and try and kick them down.

    A real artist with something to impart would instead give students new insights to help them unlock their potential and talents.

    In short, this guy sounds like a dumbass and you were right to marginalize his importance.

  • Sandy Schaefer

    Yeesh, sounds like your class got a visit from Michael Bay’s cousin.

    Ah well – it also sounds like you have the right idea to me: say goodbye, go enjoy your own career, and… get the hell out of that town.

    • I’ve met Michael Bay. Bay was much, much classier than this guy.

      No lie.

  • Jason Crutchfield

    So did you get his number? But in all seriousness, good luck, and remember, get up early, keep your head in the game, and be sure to name drop a lot.

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  • Creature SH

    Holy fucking shit on a syphilis cracker. It’s one of those things… You know, when you are technically fully aware of how a business can be overrun with tremendous assholes, but it only really hits you when you hear of a concrete example. Or, in your unfortunate case, bear witness to one. I applaud you for walking out of that place when it got too douchy in there. I’m convinced that you’re going to make it, anyway. You strike me as the kind who just does.

    Without connections.

  • Simon B

    Hey Lindsay,

    NChick fan here, love your work, and hope to see more from you in the future. 🙂

    As to Assholes in the movie biz, Screw ’em. They make shit like Baby Geniuses 2, and those shitty “Movie” movies.

    On a tangent, I actually held out hope for Vampires Suck, until I saw a clip in a TV spot, where a fart joke, which can be great if done subtly, was instead grossly overused. Talentless hacks, who needs ’em?

    Not you. Or me, but that’s another story. This is starting to sound wrong, I’ll just stop. Bye! 🙂

  • Best of luck, Ms. Ellis. L.A. will miss you.

    I’ve learned that many a college is a lot like high school is this regard: Once you’re out, everything you did there to establish reputations and clout is largely meaningless; No college student remembers their SAT score, no college grad hangs onto the sucking up they did to arrogant profs. Only douches like the one you describes glorify that kind of crap.

    Also, that old saw “It’s not what you know, but who you know” still tragically plays itself out in the entertainment industry (or nay industry for that matter). Luckily, people still break in from the outside, without having to curry favor with higher-ups, or fellate mantanned, rock-stupid asshats who think they’re talented and witty because they’re undeservedly rich, and because their army of weakling, suckling wannabe Yes-men have spent so much time stroking their massive egos that they don’t think of anything but themselves…

    Sorry. I’ve just met too many of those people in this town.

    Best of luck to you.

  • Yoel

    That’s pretty frustrating to deal with. I had to go through something slightly similar not too long ago but not on the same level. I wish you the best of luck and look forward to what you put out. Take care.

    NY welcomes you 😀

  • Raj Bhosley

    Let me guess: He’s not an artist, he’s an Artiiiiiiiissste!

  • Ethan

    I kinda have an inkling as to who this guy may be, but I won’t say his name. My guess is he sticks to the standard cliches of pretty, unattainable girls; massive expensive product endorsements; lyrics written on walls or something; excessive makeup, at times; and artists mugging for the camera like they have a zit that can’t be popped.

    Sounds like you should fix your Catholic Robot and re-program him to go all No. 5 on his ass!!

  • How dare he make fun of Rian Johnson! He made Brick and The Brothers Bloom! I really do hate entitled pieces of shit like that. I’ve met a couple of ‘my shit don’t stink’ people in the industry, but nobody to that extreme.

  • Erin

    Man, maybe you should’ve gone into animation dude. We’re so much cooler than the production folk and I knew zippo people in my program that came from an entitlement background. Most were kids like me and you.

  • Thomas

    Obvious sexism in this question is obvious, but: Have you run into any/many female USC-film old grads that are the same class of douche that this guest lecturer was? I understand dumb bitch was eating the guy up, but you seem to be jaded enough to let it roll off you. Is the sheepskin really that worthless, and do you really think that you’ll turn into the same sort of entitled idiot if you get it?

  • jake

    i am a musician so i have to put up with arseholes all the time, it comes with the territory because the only people who get far are the cocky pricks who think the universe revolves around them. its not about talent anymore its about confidence and unfortunately the “higher ups” confuse confidence for arrogance.

  • Jack

    You made a good movie, so fuck that guy.

    • And likely better than anything they’ve made. A Word choked me up!

  • Are there many things more obnoxious than people who think they “tell it like it is”? I submit that there are not.

    You will find your own way and do awesome things. You rock.

  • Ryan Lucchesi

    For what it’s worth, I think your decision is sound. Get out there and pimp your film. 🙂 Speaking of which where can I find it?

  • I’m in art school at the moment, in Photomedia.

    I write fiction and take photographs not just because I enjoy working in those mediums but because they’re among the cheapest mediums I could find to work in imaginable.

    I’m pretty young and naive, I was pretty sheltered as a kid, but hell, Lindsay, you might find this amusing, but I once got into a fight with Germaine Greer over the question I asked her about “What would you say to a man who wants to repair the sad and sorry state of his gender if all we have to look to is Fight Club?” – what I meant to say to her under that pressure was “Why has a work on the scale of The Female Eunuch never been written to explain the other side of the fence?” but she shot me down and it was pretty brutal, she called me a “BOY” and a “conscientious eccentric who is up to mischief.” – THAT IS SO GOING ON MY AUTOBIOGRAPHY BOOK QUOTE SOME DAY FOR THE BLURB.

    What I’m saying is, I’ve worked damn hard to keep my dream of being a writer/photographer alive – mainly because I couldn’t imagine myself doing anything else as a dream job. People in the past have given me crap for being autistic, but I didn’t let that get to me. I’ve spent long hard nights looking for companionship online and found some of the finest men I’ve ever met without actually meeting them. In one instance I prevented a suicide across the God-damn Pacific Ocean over IM because I couldn’t drive to his place over water from Australia.

    But maybe I’ll be okay. The creative industries I’m working with seem like they’re looking up down under, instead of getting worse for me in the digital age. Like Ian Malcolm once said: “Life… finds a way.” – which is the most overlooked quotation from Jurassic Park you’d ever find from that damn movie.

  • cekma

    I’m born and raised in NYC, lived in L.A. for awhile now back working in the film industry in N.Y.C.

    It’s tougher to get in here but man is it so much of a better environment.

    L.A. sucks.

  • God i was thinking of aplying to USC after uni… maybe i’ll just stick to LFS (London Film School).

    You seem like a very driven person, and i trust you will make it to where you want to be 🙂

    (Also do what you want with NChick, you just need to not engage with haters because they will always exsist.)

    • I wouldn’t say it’s not worth it; it is the best film school in the country (supposedly), if not the world. I guess I’m just wanting to get out while the gettin’s good.

  • Joshua Anderson

    I’m pretty sure I ran into the exact same guy while I was in school, and it led to the exact same outcome. I didn’t go to USC, but I went to a more technical-based college in the area to study Digital Video. A man very much matching your description came in and talked to us about how much he knew about everything, and that none of us could expect to get any work unless we learned to do things exactly as he did.

    I left the school the next semester. They really need to stop sending guys like this to talk to students. I wonder how many film-school dropouts are directly caused by “I’ll be damned if I’m turning out like THAT asshole” reactions.

  • Jake

    Stories like this make me glad I decided to study film at KU instead of one of the large expensive “fucking awesome” film schools like USC

  • anneris31

    Speaking as someone who just transferred from a college where I paid way too much money to be patronized and told how worthless we as students are on a daily basis simply because we haven’t graduated yet, I empathize. It really does suck when you have no choice but to endure assholes like this all for the sake of education.
    A friend of mine went to USC for a semester, and he commends you for your self-restraint, which he is embarrassed to say he didn’t have. 🙂 We’re actually wracking our brains for all the directors this could be, and we’re going through his A-List of Famous Assholes that he’s met trying to figure out which one it is.

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