Monday, April 27, 2009

Free Market Charisma

This was the last weekend of YOU CAN'T TAKE IT WITH YOU at the West Valley Playhouse, and I miss it already. It's rare that you can get a whole cast of five to get along without someone attempting to devour someone else over ego issues; this was a cast of eighteen and we are all still pals. I love you guys, man!

At the cast party last night I wound up under the nominal spell of an actress who wasn't in our show. I have to admit I'm smitten by her looks and charm. Now that I'm at work and not in her presence I'm able to think again; and it occurs to me that this woman, who picks up paying gigs around town often enough, is a perfect free-market capitalist.

She is a girl who has recognized that she has a considerable stock of charisma. It's a natural resource that she has developed and that she is the only supplier of. If you are in her position you learn to separate your self from your image. Her image is available for sale. She'll allow you to take pictures or act in your show, and in exchange you give her money. Some of it she invests back in the image, for headshots and makeup and gym memberships and acting classes; the rest is profit-taking.

The predictable downside of this business model is that L.A. is swimmin' in charisma. You can't swing a dead cat in this town without hitting a unique beauty. There is a beauty glut in this town and has been for over a century. If my actress friend decides she wants to charge more for her image a producer has only to decide that maybe another actress with slightly less charisma but a much lower price tag would be preferable.

This endless supply of cheap beauty goes a long way towards explaining why there are so many smokin' hot particle physicists in movies, compared to real life. If diamonds were cheap enough perhaps every engagement ring would weigh half a pound.

Anyway, as bad as it is for individual actors like myself, the system works and I can't argue with it. So if the administration starts dangling bailout money in front of SAG, I urge them to turn it down.


wamk said...

Steve Buscemi?

How do explain him?

Danielk said...

Buscemi IS uniquely charismatic, it's just that he looks as though he's been dead for three weeks. In fact, he kind of proves the rule because if you decide you need to cast a part with a Steve Buscemi type, I defy you to find a cheaper alternative Buscemi.

Publius said...

I'll bet Buscemi has left a lot of warm casting couches throughout H'wood!

Or, maybe he's bribed his way on screen?

He's an alien with mind control abilities?

He's a figment of our imagination?

What were we talking about again?

Danielk said...

See, after that first scenario, the image froze in your head and left you unable to think. Be more careful next time!