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Old 08-04-02, 10:17 PM   #1
Daniel Forlano
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Post "Fame" Without Fortune

note: I have posted this subject under Festival and Pitch Ethics because I think it is an ethical question.

I had just finished a show in downtown Boston when a representative from the Columbia Braodcasting System (popularly known as CBS) approached me to ask if I wanted a ten second commercial slot.
Well, okay, I thought, but please continue.
The representative said I would just say the line 'Hello, my name is _____ and I wake up the the Early Show every day.'
She spoke real fast. I had no idea where she was going with the whole thing and "the line" went past me in a blur so I inquired, 'You want me to say a line from my show?'
'No,' she said, 'say the line.'
'I'm sorry, what's the line?'
She repeated the line.
'Oh,' I say, 'That IS the line.'
'Yeah, will you do it?'
'No.'
She was disconcerted,'This is a 67 million dollar time slot that will be aired nationally. Why don't you want to do it?'
'Because there is nothing that I do from my show that I am offering to the commercial.'
She quickly cuts in, 'What do you want to be famous for–What do you do?'
'I am a comedy juggler.'
'Then why don't you want to do it?'
Silence.
'Will you do it?'
'No.'
She stormed away faster than I could see.

From her perspective I am insane because if I am juggling on the street with a huge crowd then why on earth would I turn down juggling for millions.
From my perspective she is insane because if CBS will spend millions of dollars on a commercial and they aren't going to offer me anything to do it then why would I do it.
I can see how she might think street performing is doing something for nothing. But by the same token if I am worth nothing by their standards then why should I think I'll be worth any more by doing the commercial on their terms. Does TV make people famous? Or do famous people appear on TV? In other words doesn't one create success by letting the world know they are worth something? They wanted a juggler and the public would have seen a juggler. Someone, somwhere might say, 'Oh, look at the juggler on TV.' But if CBS wanted me with a capital M, Me, then they would have thought we'll need to pay Him so He will be on TV. If I did part of my show then I would create the reason for someone who saw me to form a more important opinion of me like, 'Oh, that was cool, I like him, Who is he? where is he?' But I think that's a stretch. CBS knows as well as I that if I am offering something of value to me that they will need to pay for it. At least then without the "fame" she referred to I would have something to invest in my future. But she was asking me to do a job for her for nothing, that is, to think of myself as worth nothing.
When she left I was insulted. I don't watch the Early Show and I don't just juggle. I have a lot to offer that I give to audiences in person every day in an atmosphere I find fulfilling. Had she added the shallow sum of 250,000 dollars to her shallow request I would have done it. But she didn't and I said 'No' And I feel good about it. Already I have gained more than she had to offer.
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Old 08-04-02, 11:01 PM   #2
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"Does TV make people famous? Or do famous people appear on TV?"


Interesting question, but an an all too easy answer ... Yes, to both.

You see people all the time (here in LA, especially) that are famous (in some peoples eyes) just because they are on TV. And, of course, those that are famous and do appear on TV because of their fame.

“The medium is the message”, McLuhan’s famous quote, visited this point. Basically it says that fame is the result of the new scale that is introduced into our lives by this new technology, in this case TV. But I guess at one time there were no books or no street shows either eh?

(side note) Not true! Street shows are indigenous to every culture ... I was surprised to find out!

But you know, if you ask me ... a guy with more fame than I deserve (and I sure as hell didn’t get it from TV) ... I would’ve done this:

Gee, I’d love to ... by the way, I’m union. (heh-heh)
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Old 08-04-02, 11:59 PM   #3
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Hey everyone, check out my spot on the CBS Early Show tomorrow morning!
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Old 08-05-02, 12:15 AM   #4
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Smile

Go to bed!
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Old 08-05-02, 12:31 AM   #5
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Daniel... your sort of lame angry, you play a good sort of bitter been everywhere game but you are an angry midsize fish with a good line in angry condesension in a puddle that can be measured in what keeps a contact lense moist.
ask yourself who gives a toss before stupidly presuming anyone does?
Have a nice day and good luck with with your obviously overpoweringlingly successful comedy career.
Surprised you have time to be a next to nothing guttersnipe.
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Old 08-05-02, 05:34 AM   #6
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Martin,
surely vitriol is best kept in one's bile glands, it will always pay out on your sphincter when it escapes.

[ 08-05-2002: Message edited by: Peter Voice ]</p>
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Old 08-05-02, 09:53 AM   #7
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'Hello, my name is Martin Ewen and I wake up the the Early Show every day.'

-----------------------------------------

Daniel, I'm just kidding. I probably would have done the same thing, but they didn't ask me.

This is off topic, but...

I get the same feeling when people come up to me on the street when I'm obviously setting up and start asking, "When are you starting?" And I tell them I'll start as soon as I get set up. But they have a sense of urgency... Like I'm there solely for the purpose of entertaining THEM, right NOW and if you don't start juggling right away, they're going to call up my boss and tell him I'm not performing.

I'm not your circus monkey. I am not a trained seal. I don't perform on command.

A woman walked up to me the other day after I had an entire edge and was introducing myself and whispered into my ear, "We're here from out of town and we have an exchange student with us from Scotland and we we're hoping you could... you know... pick him out of the crowd and do something with him... you know... we want him to remember Boston. Do you think you could pick him?" This was in front of about 50-60 people. I had to stop what I was saying to the audience and address this woman and I looked bad telling her I was "kind of in the middle of a show and gee, I'll see what I can do." She completely interrupted the show.

Urgh. People don't think. They assume you're there to serve them. And, yes... TV stations always walk right in, without asking, to the middle of your circle and film away. They get a shot of you doing something, get a shot of a kid laughing and then push their way out of the circle... sometimes with a wave goodbye, sometimes not. They NEVER come back and follow up, ask your name, take your card... To them, you're A (any) street performer, juggler, magician, clown, whatever. You're not YOU, Stitch, Jim, etc. That's the way it is. They just want the SHOT.

I'm glad you said no.

Jim
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Old 08-05-02, 11:52 AM   #8
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I know your kidding, Jim, so was I in my reply. (Um, isn't that what the smiley is supposed to clear up?) Thank you for clarifying one of my main points, i.e., jugglers are people and should be presented as such.

I don't wan't approval. I imagined what I would feel like if I simply gave her the shot and she walked away. I've been there and it didn't feel good. Saying no felt good. That's the story.

I don't want to perpetuate the "generic juggler" that we see everywhere. I am a performing juggler and a lot of people I look up to and respect are performing jugglers, but most of all they are people with names, individuals with something unique to offer and they offer it through the medium of juggling and performance. Audiences members who watch a show especially enjoy it when they can empathize with the performer. The woman from CBS did not want me doing what I do best (that is, connect) She just wanted someone to juggle. When she first asked me to do the shot I thought there was a line she liked from the show that she wanted me to say. That impressed me. When I realized she only wanted me to plug her show, that she didn't want to plan something witty or intelligent, that she only wanted to exploite my juggling and leave, then, I felt bad. Sorry, doesn't suite my taste.
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Old 08-05-02, 06:58 PM   #9
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Does anybody watch The Early Show? Who did they end up exploiting?
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Old 08-05-02, 08:02 PM   #10
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vitriol Indeed, some evenings I just get skewered on the big spite stick, and perch there uncomfortably rambling (me!)
I woke up this morning and flew immediately to boston and headed to Faneil hall and apoligised to Daniel who is an extremely nice fellow who immediately forgave me with good grace pointing out wisely that being nasty was unfortunately an inate part of my character and everyone knew that.
Daniel was there and so was Gazzo and PeterP.
I am humble and contrite and must go now to be good to people (massage a leper or something)
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Old 08-05-02, 09:42 PM   #11
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very tall of you martin
good move?
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Old 08-05-02, 11:06 PM   #12
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very gall of you Gazzo
good movement?


P.S. You're an imbecile!
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Old 08-06-02, 07:41 PM   #13
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GET A GRIP

There is another way to view the media----AS YOUR PARTNER AND FRIEND. YES, they get what they want and YOU benefit as well. It's a WIN---WIN SItuation.

The old saying NO PRESS IS BAD PRESS is true.

I have been on TV, Film, Radio, and in Print many times and EVERY TIME is has helped my business (pocket) tremendously.

I have done spots on most TV Networks, been shown while in Parades, have the Media attend my Press Conferences regularly, done an "At Home with Sunshine" interview for National Public Radio, and had a crew from Comedy Central fly 3000 miles to do a special on me.

EACH AND EVERY TIME has resulted in MORE MONEY IN MY HAT and people from all over the world comming up to me in many different cities and saying "I saw you on ______show".
You were great and droping money in my basket.

I'm here to assure you if you view the Media as your friend,
(i.e. --- don't flip them off verbally), your career as a performer will benefit greatly.

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Old 08-07-02, 12:11 AM   #14
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[quote]Originally posted by Sunshine:
<strong>I have done spots on most TV Networks, been shown while in Parades, have the Media attend my Press Conferences regularly, done an "At Home with Sunshine" interview for National Public Radio, and had a crew from Comedy Central fly 3000 miles to do a special on me.</strong><hr></blockquote>

Yes, but do you actually "Wake up to the Early Show every morning?"

...and if you don't, don't you think it would be awfully silly to parrot back those words to a TV camera, in your costume and in character simply for the benefit of a billion dollar entertainment conglomerate? What good is it going to do you? They're not going to say your name or give you credit. And they're not asking you to do it because you're SUNSHINE, they're asking you to do it because you're dressed like a clown. The situation Stitch was talking about was NOT an opportunity to be on TV as "Stitch," it was the exact opposite.

What did Comedy Central fly 3000 miles to interview you for? Was it a Daily Show segment?

Jim
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Old 08-07-02, 12:31 AM   #15
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For what it is worth, every opportunity is just that, an opportunity. You never knows ahead of time an opportunity it will pan out or not, but you can be sure that it won't if you don't embrace it.

If pride gets in your way of doing the spot, then step aside and let someone else do it, but I would be careful not to condemn others for their choices.

In some respects, any press is better than no press, moniker or not.

Steve

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Old 08-07-02, 05:15 PM   #16
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Screw it. I agree with Steven. Be exploited and then exploit them. Tell your circle of influence, your friends and family, etc. that you introduced "The Early Show". Sure other performers like us know that it's nothing but bullshit but they're sure to Brag to their friends that Daniel was on the early show. It's just hype, and might lead to someone taking a chance and hiring you or maybe hearing your name a second or third time and then they hire you. It gets people talking about you. A little promo never hurt especially if you have a good show to offer to back it up.


Cheers,
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Old 08-08-02, 01:42 PM   #17
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Hey!

(God I just love all these so-famous entertainers that use nothing but anonymous handles and don't even provide an email address on an performers bulletin board, but are ever-so-happy to give their .02 cents.)

Legitimate tit-for-tat, IMHO, is when the tv person is willing to provide me with their contact info and agrees, in advance, to provide me with the full rough copy of whatever it is I have taken part in. I have been told that the edited copy is considered copywrited and that I should not expect this (although I somehow usually manage this copy as well).

The obvious "hit and run" tactic that Daniel is describing is little better than paparazzi work and should never be supported. But that's just me.
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Old 12-27-04, 07:28 PM   #18
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It would be a "million-dollar spot" if they actually offered to post your name, web-site and phone #.... Otherwise, they are just using you for their own advertising, and you are absolutely right to refuse to do it. Media coverage does help the business, but only if it's about YOUR show in context of TV segment or newspaper article, say, an article about festival, parade, local street performers etc...If you are just a 'colorful character" endorsing their goods - it'll not help you, you might end up looking like a dork...

I have another problem with media - I find my pictures, sometimes taken by a photographer, sometimes just downloaded from my web-site, on whole bunch of festival booklets - and I am talking about festivals I was not even invited to work at! Do they actually have the right to do it? I understand that when I am working on the street, I am a public figure, and they have the right to take my picture, but it's kinda unethical to use it for promotional purposes without my consent....Is it actually legal?
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Old 12-27-04, 08:11 PM   #19
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Default here's a question for your question...

Irina, imagine you owned a women's clothing shop... and one day you were able to photograph Julia Roberts walking down the sidewalk just as she went past your front door (or at the beach, or a terrasse cafe, or coming out of church...) Would you then be able to use this image in future promotions for your shop??
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Old 12-27-04, 08:16 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally posted by Irina
I have another problem with media - I find my pictures, sometimes taken by a photographer, sometimes just downloaded from my web-site, on whole bunch of festival booklets - and I am talking about festivals I was not even invited to work at! Do they actually have the right to do it? I understand that when I am working on the street, I am a public figure, and they have the right to take my picture, but it's kinda unethical to use it for promotional purposes without my consent....Is it actually legal?
Yes, and no. From a copyright prospective, yes, it is legal for them to use photos that they have taken of you in any way the please. As to the ethics of it, I would say that it is not that clear. If you do not own the copyright to those photos (aka taken by some random photogropher), what right do you have to say how they can or can not be used?

The laws of some states (mostly CA) allow you some control of your image, though recent federal rulings leave the legality of those laws in doubt. The federal law that many performers relied on to claim (c) to their public works was thrown out last year.

It is (in general) not legal for them to use the photos off your website without permission (fair use applies, but sorting out what is and is not fair use is beyond the scope of this post).

Hope this helps.

Last edited by Circusnews; 12-27-04 at 08:19 PM.
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