Continuing the series
With this week’s topic “Never pose with booze”.
As we approach the end of 2021, I wanted to take a moment to say thank you to everyone who reads this blog week after week, to all my colleagues who are the most helpful bunch on the planet, to my clients who let me keep doing this work that I love, to my agents and managers for always being positive and supportive, and especially to my family and friends who have been very supportive over the last year. I am grateful for each and every one of you. Thank you for a stellar year, for reading my ramblings here, for allowing me to corner you into watching the short films I have been a part of and for generally being there for me.
No matter what or how you celebrate, I’d like to say “HAPPY HOLIDAYS” to all of you! I wish for a happy, successful (however you define success) and joyous New Year. I look forward to sharing with you my successes and struggles in 2022 (2020 too? YIKES, let’s hope not!). My wish for all of you (and for myself I suppose) is that no matter how good (or bad) 2021 was for you that 2022 will be noticeably better.
It may be ironic
I’ve got myself a list of topics to write about each week, and it’s just ironic that THIS topic came to the top three days before the biggest drinking day of the year. Enjoy your New Year’s Eve celebration, but please be safe and don’t drink and drive!
You’ve got less than a week, BTW
I’d also like ot point out that as it is now (as I write this) December 28th, you have only three days left to come up with New Year’s Resolutions that you can abandon by February 1st. For me, I will resolve to lose weight next year, but since we’ll likely have a feast on New Year’s Day, I will abandon mine on January 1st. I prefer to be efficient.
On to the topic at hand
OK, now that we have that out of the way, let’s talk abut this week’s topic “Never pose with booze”.
I’m not a fan of this word. My kids will tell you that I tell them all the time “Never say never”. Never is a LONG time and you never know what could happen in the future, so I will caveat this topic to say, “Don’t pose with booze if it is not for a specific purpose”.
It seems silly to avoid posing with a drink in your hand. Almost everyone who is “of age” (and let’s face it, many who are not) have enjoyed a beer, a glass of wine or a cocktail at some point. Maybe at many points. So why in the world is it a bad idea to pose doing something nearly everyone does?
Let’s start by looking at how alcohol affects a person’s body and behavior. We all know, or have been told, that excess alcohol consumption can have major negative effects on health. This is not a blog for a 12 step recovery program, so I’m not talking about alcoholism. However, if you or someone you know has a real drinking problem, stop reading now and reach out to someone for help. Start with Alcoholics Anonymous and get the help you need. For family members reach out to Al-Anon.
It’s a brain thing
Alcohol consumption influences your brain. Big revelation there, eh? What happens is alcohol interferes with the communication pathways in your brain affecting the way your brain works. It has a tendency to lower inhibitions, increase aggression and generally make people act in a way they probably would not when sober. Clinically this is described in this way: “…alcohol impairs the information processing needed to inhibit response impulses–the abilities to foresee negative consequences of the response, to recall inhibiting standards…” (Steele CM, Southwick L. Alcohol and social behavior I: The psychology of drunken excess). Again, we pretty much all know this.
We make bad decisions
In short what alcohol does, or at least can do, is create an environment in our brain where we have a tendency to make poor decisions. Everyone has a story about a drunken friend who did something stupid or got themselves in trouble. Maybe you (well, not YOU, but someone you know) got arrested for a DUI. Maybe you said something to your family you regret. Maybe you vomited on your boss’s shoes in the parking lot of the club (that’s a story for another time). MAYBE you don’t even remember doing it!
How do you define a bad decision? Well, generally speaking we compare a behavior against some social norm or standard. If you are acting in a way that is against or contrary to a social standard, we say that is bad behavior, or making a bad decision. Drunk driving isn’t bad because you could hurt YOURSELF as much as because you can hurt others. It goes against society, and against an established standard (of not doing things that hurt other people).
Studies show that people who have been drinking act against standards more often when the conflict with standards is the greatest. In other words, you are MORE likely (when drinking) to behave badly when the “conflict” with social standards is the most extreme. So, if it is a small mistake, you probably won’t make it…but if it is a HUGE mistake, well, that’s where you are more likely to go.
This is a phrase artists hate to see. For us, this means your client has the right to use your voice or image forever without compensating you. It happens, but we don’t like it. The problem as it relates to posing with booze these days is: It is in perpetuity. Thanks to the internet and in particular social media, no matter what you do, it will always be there. And people can (and will) find it. People like prospective clients and employers. You can’t delete the internet.
Let’s face it, this industry is all about relationships. As I’ve said before, many times relationship is more important than talent (at least marginally). I’m not suggesting someone with no talent can work consistently if they are good at relationship, but a very talented butt-head will work less than a less talented great person.
Guilt by association
I’m sure you’re familiar with this term. When you have a relationship with someone people will “relate” their behavior with you. No one is going to want to work with someone whose social media is loaded with pictures of themselves doing drunken things. Everyone has seen pictures of drunken celebrities doing dumb things. And we could all name some folks whose careers took a deep nosedive after doing dumb things while intoxicated.
And negative press, while still press, is not the kind you want as a performer. If all your pictures feature you with booze, when you finally do make a mistake, it’s not gonna be good for your career.
Times TO pose with booze
Getting back to the “never say never” idea, there are sometimes when posing with booze would be acceptable. For example, if you are in a production that features booze, or you play a character that is an alcoholic…it wouldn’t be terrible to pose with booze. Or should you book a gig to advertise some form of alcoholic drink, then you HAVE to pose with booze. The key here is it is not YOU who is doing the posing, it is the character you are portraying.
At the end of the day
No matter where you are or what you’ve been doing, when someone pulls out a camera, put the glass down. Of course, as we’ve talked about, if you’ve been drinking already you are less likely to follow this advice.
Alcoholism (and addiction in general) affects nearly every family here in the US in some way. It is a horrible disease that breaks up families, causes pain to the alcoholic and nearly everyone around them. If you or someone you know needs help with addiction for alcohol or any other substance, reach out to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) right away to get started on recovery. Remember that withdrawal from alcohol and other substances can be dangerous, even fatal and should be monitored by healthcare professionals. You may not be able to do it yourself, but you CAN beat addiction.
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