A little while back, an incident happened in regards to a video that I’d posted at a popular networking site. It’s an incident that’s worth relating here, at the beginning of my WordPress entries, to give you an idea of the type of person that I am. (This is also here to serve as a warning: if you don’t like my tone, then don’t stick around, ’cause it ain’t gonna get any better. I wasn’t put on this planet to make you happy or to cater to your personal level of P.C., so either get over it or get lost.) Because you have to understand, there are two things you don’t piss off on this planet–one is a woman, and the other is a writer.
First off, a little background: I’m a former Navy photographer who is well-versed in photography laws and etiquette, to the point where even though I’ve been out of work for three years and submitting resumes everywhere that I can think of, I have not ONCE considered throwing an application at TMZ, the Enquirer or any other tabloid/paparazzi organization. I also do NOT have my own professional equipment, nor have I ever rented such equipment to visit other filming sites in L.A. (and in this town, you practically trip over yellow-and-black filming signs), and thus try to make money in that way.
So. This is what happened. I did someone a favor back in December 2009. Since I live in Los Angeles, an online fan of a certain actor in the U.K. (a fan whom I’d never emailed or met before) asked that I visit a nearby location where the pilot of a television show was being filmed; the actor was the lead in that pilot. Since I lived ten minutes away from the scheduled location shoot, I went along after doing my own thing downtown (ice skating), shot a tiny bit of video and took some photos with my cheap little camera, then left. Then I did the same thing the next week at another location. Then I combined the images and video, and posted them on the internet via a popular video site. Both photography/filming efforts were done on public property, in downtown Los Angeles, at a “safe” distance away (across a wide street or from a bridge) so that I wasn’t bothering anyone involved in the production, not even security.
Now… before I go further, understand that fans create their own rules about what is or isn’t ethical in their little fan world and God forbid you overstep their self-imposed boundaries.
So this was one of two emails that I received, out of the blue, from a user on the site (I’ve included her screwed-up punctuation and all, though I did take out the actor’s name): “sir there is a diffrence in taking a pic with his permission and stalking. he and his “guy friend” seem to trying to block their faces from you sir that should tell you something. everything and anything i watch on tv/movies/or utube are all fake made up images of himself (acting) that HE has sold his rights to; but no one gives you the right to go this far sir..you just gave the idea to all the other crazies out there of stalking him. if you did love [the actor] you would take this down sir.”
I wasted my gas money, my parking money, my time and my physical effort doing a favor for someone I’d never met. Then I shared those moments online with their little fan-world for the sake of praise, not condemnation. So, yea, I was pissed off. And this was my reply:
Dear (username not given to protect her stupidity),
Regarding your latest remarks… now, I could start this out with attacking you for being a shallow, selfish, deluded bitch who revels in misinterpretation and seems to enjoy attacking total strangers without provocation, wanting the whole world to do her bidding… but that would be rude. So let’s address this in order, shall we?
1. Thank you for spoiling the video for every other viewer that comes to see this and may wish to comment on it. Because of your own misinterpretations and rude remarks, I’ve had to change the setting to “adding comments has been disabled” because you have become a nagging nuisance with your “you should take this video down” remarks. Do you say that to every user who has posted videos of [the actor] from the U.K., when he was on the set of [his last TV show]? You SHOULD, if you’re going to be consistent in your criticisms and have some validity to your arguments (sorry, am I using too many big words for you?). Otherwise you’re just talking out of your ass and being rude. Or maybe that’s all you know how to do? Now, thanks to you, nobody on the entire planet will now be able to remark on the video. Good move! Proud of yourself? Is that a great power trip for you, nagging a total stranger over a single, short internet video? Does that make you feel better about yourself somehow?
2. YOU WERE NOT THERE. You were not in downtown Los Angeles on those days, either at the [hotel] or at Base Camp–and, I daresay, you have never been to Los Angeles and seen how the film world operates out here. Therefore you cannot pass judgment on me based on a few fuzzy photographs and a shaky video. You don’t know the lay of the land, what the streets are like, how they’re blocked off for filming, and how far away from the action I was actually standing! You jut found something to react negatively to because of your clearly possessive “love” of [the actor] (oh, and we’ll get to that a little farther down!). You were using this video as a selfish excuse to criticize and get on your high horse against me. Do you enjoy that kind of power trip?
3. I was not a lone photographer there. In fact, I was standing next to three professional paparazzi photographers with huge $3,000 lenses on their Canon and Nikon cameras; I just had a little point-and-shoot camera that fits in one hand. I was just another body (one of ten, if you must know) standing on the bridge overlooking Base Camp, and just another body at the [hotel] location, too; the street was packed with pedestrians and traffic. And here you are, trying to blame ME for what you see as “[the actor] and his ‘guy friend'” (by the way, that’s called a P.A. or “production assistant”–learn the lingo before you go shooting your mouth off next time!) turning their faces away and trying to block shots? Which they were NOT doing; my camera simply caught them when they were turned away and conducting normal actions or conversations. Oh, but I’m SO sorry my timing was off in taking my shots. and thus I upset your delicate sensibilities and MADE you misinterpret what you were seeing!
4. I was there for LESS THAN AN HOUR at both Base Camp and the [hotel]. If you want to take out your fake anger on someone, aim it at the paparazzi who were there ALL DAMNED DAY taking photographs. If you want to throw the word “stalker” at anyone, how about at the fans who stood at ground level, in the cold (yes, if you were there, you’d know it was cold!), waiting for [the actor] and watching him ALL DAMNED DAY, desperate to get an autograph or a photograph or to shake his hand and look him in the eye. I dropped by, took a couple of shots, hung out for a bit talking to the paparazzi, then went away. And I should be villified for that? (Oops, sorry, there I go using those big words on you again!)
5. I took my photos in the course of my day, while I was downtown doing something else (ice skating, if you must know). This was no special trip for star-gawking; I certainly didn’t go downtown to watch [the actor] eat lunch. I just happened to show up at that time. See, here’s where your ignorance comes into play. I live in a Los Angeles zip code, less than ten minutes from the heart of downtown, and this was hardly an inconvenient visit for me. In other words, I didn’t go out of my way to get any of these images… contrary to the paparazzi who were there specifically for that task. One or two of them even drove all the way out to [another location shoot], which is a good hour drive from Los Angeles, just for those golf course images. THAT is stalking, you moron. And “stalking” is NOT a word to be used casually, as a joke or as a conversation piece–it is a legitimate, threatening legal term. Use your words and choose your words wisely and, oh, yea… look them up so that you fully understand them when you use them!
6. [The actor] is not uncomfortable with casual, distant media attention. If you go and look at the paparazzi’s pictures on Zimbio, Rex Features or Getty Images, then you’ll get a better look at how he was standing and facing them on many occasions. There were many times where he was outside of his trailer when he didn’t need to be, for example. At one moment while in Base Camp, [the actor] even stood and looked directly at us for a good ten seconds… only my cheap little camera wasn’t working properly and I missed the shots. He was actually POSING for a bit, and staring right at us. Do you think he’s unfamiliar with fans and professionals taking his picture or something? He was safe, protected by security and/or other people on the location shoots, and he actually made the effort to face the cameras. But again, you were NOT THERE and you wouldn’t know that, would you? But thanks EVER so much for being judgmental anyway!
7. Learn to spell, use punctuation, observe proper sentence structure and try to conduct a civilized conversation with solid language rather than BITCH and MOAN about something you THINK has happened. There is absolutely nothing in your uninformed, whiny paragraph at the top of this note that can be upheld as a logical argument.
8. These photos and this video was done for free internet sharing and fan purposes. Go and look over the images taken by the professional photographers that day, and then take your fake fan anger out on THEM. They’re the ones that have the professional camera equipment and actually GOT PAID for those photos. There have not been and will never be any profits from this video, not even via Google AdSense. The paparazzi, on the other hand, are getting either money and attention every time you pay for or click on a photo site, or buy a tabloid magazine… so by giving them such attention, YOU are encouraging the kind of rude and dangerous behavior that is stereotypically attributed to them. YOU are one of the reasons that the paparazzi have clashes with celebrities and caused accidents, injuries and even death. Every person that does not leave the tabloids on the shelf or keep their hands off online paparazzi pictures encourages such behavior, so either accept your part in the practice (I have) or lead a noble life and eschew all connections with such tabloid/TMZ nonsense.
9. Regarding your remark, “if you did love [the actor] you would take this down sir.” Love?!? Where does “love” come into this ANYWHERE? I don’t know the man; I admire his acting, his choice of roles and I like his technique… but LOVE? Are you REALLY that delusional to use that word? Have you met him? Are you a friend or a family member who can claim genuine “love” for him? No. You’re just a fan, nothing more than one of millions of [the actor’s] fans in the world. You’re not special. You’re not the love of his life. You’re only another person with a computer, numbering in with those who claim to “love” him and want to marry him and have sex with him and have his children and so on… which isn’t love, it’s possession. And what you’ve done in attacking me is “staked your territory,” so to speak–you want to take up the noble pose of being a fan who is defending their hero. Well, good for you. Now why don’t you go out and get a life in the real world, huh?
10. Leave me alone. That’s my final message to you. I don’t know you, I don’t want to know you, and someone like you that chooses to make a judgment call against a total stranger based on one little piece of evidence is not worth my time or anyone else’s. You’re looking for an excuse for a fight–plain and simple. Well, now you have got just what you wanted and the world knows you to be a judgmental, possessive fan. Happy now?
Oh, yea. In closing… do your research. I’m not a “sir.” Less than one minute of looking at my other videos should’ve clued you in on that. Now kiss my ass and back the f– off. We’re done here.
Was that wrong of me? I think not. But I despise it when people make irrational judgments on others and proceed to condemn them based on their one-sided view of things… more on that in future posts.