Existential Crisis (eg-zi-sten-shuhl krahy-sis) -- 1. The psychologic panic and discomfort experienced when a human confronts questions of existence (e.g., Believing that one's life has no purpose or external meaning.) 2. A condition brought on by Temping in Hollywood.
As much as I try to forget junior high, I distinctly remember one day at PJHS. It was the day we took the "What are you gonna be when you grow up" test. My teacher (pushing her shocking red muu-muu to the limit) waddled around and passed out questionnaires asking our interests, skills, likes and dislikes. From that, she would add up the scores and tell a room of 13-year olds their fates.
Shawn was told he would be a fireman. Kelly was destined to be an accountant. Derek -- the only 8th grader with a full moustache -- said he didn't need the test because he was going to be a "gigolo." (He probably is.) While I don't remember what the test told me, I can be sure of one thing, it didn't tell me that I was going to be a Temp. The test was wrong.
There's something perverse about being a Temp in Hollywood. You're below "expendable," as that would require recognition of your value. No. It's far worse. Temps like me are nothing more than a perforated sheet on the limitless paper towel roll in CAA's bathroom. While some people might use you and throw you out, you can just as easily be replaced by evaporation.
Friends and family often congratulate me on my decision to change careers and attempt to do what I love. And I do love writing. It's a joy. It's a puzzle. It's a release. But the reality is, right now, I'm doing what I hate. I hate copying scripts. I hate answering phones. I hate the intellectual black hole I live in Monday-Friday between 9 a.m. - 6:30 p.m. But I know I have to do this to get anywhere in this town.
Perhaps my crisis isn't representative of the rest of the Temp or Assistant world, but I think it is. I've seen you in the copy room or at your desk wondering when your idealized version of Hollywood, became your realistic version of Hollywood, which finally became your pessimistic version of Hollywood. But you persevere. And for that I admire your strength, your conviction and your desire to succeed in this town. You are my role models.
I realized I could leave Hollywood today and the only proof I'd have I was ever here is a $132 ticket for jay walking in Burbank...