Many people think being on a television series is a wonderful and exciting thing, and besides who wouldn’t want the adoration of fans, photos and signing autographs, right? There is a dark side to television and when one really weighs the pros and cons of being a public figure there is a very slimy, dark, dank and dirty underbelly fans never see. We have been conditioned by the media to think being featured in on TV is a great and wonderful thing, and yes there are some distinct advantages, but this article is about the non-glamor side of the business and the price one pays for being on TV and in the public eye, may actually outweigh the advantages of being on TV.
Little bit of a background story first. I was always interested in the movie business and as a child, with my father being the head ranch manager for a famous Texas businessman and his Presidential partner – Lyndon B. Johnson and the Johnson Ranch just outside Johnson City Texas, I was accustomed to all types of famous TV and Major Motion Picture Icons around me as a little fellow. Roy Rogers, George “Gabby” Hayes, Audie Murphy and many others, were always around the ranch and events held at the ranch. I found they were just real people with really cool jobs (some time I will share the story of the goat who rammed me and busted my nose open and Gabby Hayes scooped me up, stopped my crying and took me to my Dad. But that is for another time).
On my mothers side of the family (my folks were divorced when I was still young enough to breast feed), being in Carmel, California I was further exposed to Clint Eastwood (BTW, did you know Clint Eastwood is a ANAGRAM for – Old West Action?) and over the years my mothers bit parts in his “Play Misty For Me” movie and then “Rosemary’s Baby”. Although to read some tabloid stuff about me you would think I WAS Rosemary’s Baby! LOL.
To further drive my love of movies, TV and the whole creative process I got a unaccredited background part in a Jose Ferrar, Jackie Chan, Kristine DeBell and Mako Iwamatsu movie which was Jackie Chan’s first US movie after Enter the Dragon. My fondest memory of being on set was seeing how they could make daylight at nighttime with powerful lights. I was amazed with the technology involved in filmmaking.
To make matters worse, I married a TV/Radio Talent later in life and we had a son and in his mothers’ line of family are notables such as Humphrey Bogart, Peter Breck of Big Valley and now his sisters are doing their first film projects and my son has done his first film project as well (see photo – handsome guy isn’t he?). So as you can see, this whole TV/Film stuff runs deep within our family lines.
Seems fascinating to some, but the real story is can become very personally handicapping and sometimes debilitating.
NOW FOR SOME OF THE DIRTY UNDERBELLY
When I became an adult my passion for TV led me into production, into being an Agent, then being the one on camera and then behind the camera. All the experience was both exciting and valuable. I loved being on morning TV News with Fox News and I particularly loved having a syndicated coast-to-coast radio show (I adore talk radio) and a coast-to-coast TV Series with a live studio audience was great fun as well. I have always loved meeting the fans who support ones TV efforts, for without fans there is no TV job.
But, …. (Yep that dreaded “but” – here it comes) there is an unseen price to pay and here are a few real time personal examples:
- Long time friends you grew up with and love and cherish drop away once they see you on TV regularly. Some assume you are now “not the same person and have gone Hollywood”. PRICE PAID: Loss of long time friends and school buddies.
- New friends. There are tons of these, but many of them are “fair weather friends”, meaning only there because you are on TV and them hanging out with you makes them feel as if they get attention. But, let your series go off air (as all TV series and roles do) and they are gone to the wind as well. PRICE PAID: Way too many fair weather friends”.
- You go to the auto repair shop, get a quote and then leave your vehicle. You give the clerk your credit card and ID for the credit card and leave. When you come back at the scheduled time and get the bill you see it has increased by 100% or more. You inquire, they make excuses and invariably this sentence is uttered by the clerk and store manager, “Well you are a TV star and you can afford it, what are you a cheapskate?” and then you have to weigh the “price gouging” versus “the inevitable bad press that can come from arguing over the bill and them calling the local tabloid to offer a “slimy story”. You just pay, walk away and never go back there again and wonder if you can ever trust any service provider in the future. PRICE PAID: “You’re a star and you can afford it!” (Even if you are not a “star” at all but just perceived to be one since you work on TV).
- You hire a staff writer for your technology company (even though you are on TV weekly coast-to-coast you have a real business as well). The staff writer is habitually late, not a very professional employee and just does not take the job as serious as you want. You fire them. The, using your name now, they go get a new job for the local tabloid magazine, and guess who they write about to build their new career? YOU, that’s right. Now you not only have a fired, non-performing employee, you just created your tabloid nemesis that builds their career off of bashing your career. PRICE PAID: You now wonder if you can trust ANYONE at ANY time.
- THE WORST ONE- Very large man (size and stature) who is a fan on TV sees you driving down the highway. He copies down your license plate info then checks online and finds your home address. He then begins to stalk you and shows up in your gated community and professes his “manly love” of you and wants to make you his personal “love puppet”. Boy what a nightmare! Between police help and such you finally get rid of the stalker and try to gain some personal privacy and security. This was the source of my name change from my birth name I used on TV, to a legal name change so I could do maneuvers to protect online records, just as most people in movies and TV do, i.e., Thomas Mapother versus Tom Cruise. PRICE PAID: Family security, privacy and living with a dangerous felon stalker who can pop up again at any moment.
This list could go on and detail the effect on your children, people who work in your home, workmen who visit your home and find out “it’s you!” and on and on and on.
As for me, I have learned to live with a certain portion of it, since I started so young being in and under the “publics eye”, but one still never fully gets used to it. You have to make hard decision about which is more important: (a) your personal privacy or; (b) your mission and goals in life. It is most certainly is not all it is cracked up to be.
OTHER SECRETS and The POISON POSSE!
Even though this article does have a decidedly negative tinge to it, I am a wholehearted supporter for “if you are on TV and in the public eye, you should be reachable by the public”. After all the public is really your boss when you are on TV, so IF you do not honor your fans, your fans go away and when the fans stop watching your career is over (a double edged sword for sure). Here are some points to consider.
- I have always encouraged the Lagina Brother’s to engage with people in social media and be reachable, but if you really look at the comments on the History Channel’s fan and show site, you would find for every two to four positive “great and we love you comments” are negative “this is fake”, “you guys are stupid”, “I can find that treasure by now” and the ever present “Your show is faked and rigged” comments. I often wonder what would possess someone to watch a series, and then look up the fan site only to post negative comments? Get a life, right?
Who intentionally wants to subject themselves to negative comments when one out of every three people you engage with potentially wants to take a shot at you? Or tell you that you are an idiot and tell you they can do what you do, but better? Why subject yourself to that punishment, rudeness, personal attack, scrutiny and ridicule? Almost everyone’s nature is to shy away from ‘personal attacks” as a form of self-preservation.
- 2. But there is a second side to the coin. Battling the Poison Posse fort he good of the masses. Remember the period in a toddler’s life called the “terrible twos”? Well in the adult world there are people who never left the terrible twos behind and it followed them into their adulthood. They want the attention of others even if they have to throw tantrums as an adult. These are the “tainted trios” otherwise know as the “POISON POSSE in the business”.
For every hater (1 – first individual) that posts or starts a rumor, there is a fool (2 – second individual) that spreads the unfounded rumor and there is also an idiot (3 – bringing up and forming the trio) who accepts the rumor as truth.
So attackers come in threes. To be in the public eye you have to understand these things come in threes and they participate in “hate mongering”, and even though these guys come in threes, there are infinitely more people reading, watching and learning who are not one of the 3 Part Hater-Fool-Idiot Package and do not engage in membership in the Poison Posse. As a public figure, the others (reading, watching and learning) are your audience and you have to make sure you are available and reachable to those people who are the real people who just want to learn, share and be part of the process or the grand adventure.
- Here is how the comment and message cycle goes when you are in the public eye and reachable (these are my real numbers and real comments): for every 20-25 comments (depending on how a particular episode went the ratio is 20/25 to one – meaning one negative direct message comment to 20 to 25 complementary comments). The comments trend like this: “great job”, “love what you do”, “love the series”, “you have a cool job”, “tell Rick I am in love with him and want to marry him” or “by where I live can I hunt for lost history or treasures?” and then invariably will roll in the one negative nelly with “your clothes look stupid”, “you think you are all hot sh-it”, “You wear stupid boots”, “you’re the fat Indiana Jones” or “You’re a grave robber and you deserve to be locked up or killed!” (Yes there are some very weird death threats for the weirdest of things).
Once again, things can get out of hand when you become a person featured on TV.
Try this one: Driving down the road, someone recognizes you and they could be friendly, but there are some that see you as a target. Those who target you, zoom around you in traffic to get ahead and then slam on their brakes to try to get you to hit them from behind in hopes they can sue you. Not pretty at all, but it comes with the territory.
In closing? Now that I have shared some inside secrets and the dirty underside, why would anyone want to be on TV and subject themselves to all this kind of gunk and junk?
There are only three reasons:
- Professional actors – it is how you earn you paycheck. It’s a job.
- Fame and Notoriety – some need the attention and adoration.
- Part of the over all far-reaching goal plan – it is something you need to agree to do to get to the meaningful and greater end game.
As for me, I fall into Category Three. The end game is being a catalyst in bringing about historical change, correcting false history and getting young minds interested in the outdoors and exploring. Yes, one could accomplish this same goal by going to schools and speaking to classes of 40 to 50 at a time, but the most people you can reach in a year is about 7000 minds hungry for knowledge.
However, go on TV with a great story and message and you reach 2,000,000 to 3,000,000 hungry minds EACH AND EVERY WEEK. So you can see, the real key is REACH. Your message has to reach millions and millions to become a movement and reach critical mass, if you want to bring about change.
My message? Everything you were taught about history is wrong!
The government, politicians, ruling classes and the Church has hidden the truth about our collective history from each and every one of us. We ALL know the Christopher Columbus discovery of America is total horse hockey, but yet each year in schools and on TV we keep getting hit the same historical sci-fi. It is brainwashing; it is unforgivable and it should be changed as fast as possible.
Our mantra? Fight For Truth.
The only way we are going to get the truth about history out is to fight for truth. It is NOT going to be academics and educators who change history and get it corrected. You know why? If they start teaching and sharing the truth THEY WILL GET FIRED for going against the status quo and they will loose their jobs and their retirements. So change WILL NOT come from the sources you expect to be giving and teaching the truth in the first place, it will only come from the public who cares about banding together and creating a voice to be reckoned with, that FORCES change of the system.
As for the haters and those who are part of the Poison Posse (the 3 Part Hater-Fool-Idiot Package) here is how your cycle goes. When you post hate, statically research proves you hate your life, you have no goals or ambitions, you are jealous of others success and for you the dragging down other people is a way of life. Since you only know how to hate – here is the cycle you will go through:
- As a hater you will always hate.
- You will find other people and issues to hate on in order to feed your need for hate
- Your life will continue to be a miserable mess with holes left unfilled
- Your joy only comes from hating on others, but as those “others” move on and continue to succeed and innovate, your hate will only consume you more and that is sad.
For those who want to make a difference, which is someone like me:
- I will continue to innovate and create
- I will continue to search out history and work tirelessly to get history corrected
- I will continue to use all media platforms to reach like minded people
- When the Poison Posse rears their heads, I will know it is because we are making a difference, creating waves and forcing change of an outdated and no longer acceptable system of hiding history and forbidding truth.
- The Poison Posse will always be a small number, but as for my team and I, we will not stop until we have gathered millions upon tens of millions of like-minded people who want to change the world. As we walk hand in hand into the history books and know we brought about change and a better world for our future generations, people will only remember those who put themselves out there, took the public shots and criticisms and attacks in the name of a grand adventure and a life with purpose. And sadly, no one ever remembers the hater’s names; they all fade away in misery.
Want to join us on a grand adventure? Want to change the world for the better? Want to make a difference in life? Then keep helping us Fight For Truth while we work tirelessly in getting the message out – History has been recorded wrong and we need the truth about history. Will you join me?
AFTER THOUGHT: Decades past I always said “you can tell the true nature of a person by how they act when driving. If they are road bullies and the people who get to a merge, but straddle both lanes to make people merge BEHIND THEM, even though the merge land is 2 miles up, you have seen those types. Those are the people who have no control in their real lives, so they try to control others with their actions on the road.
Now in a world of Social Media we have new indicators to be able to tell what a person is really like. Do they post hateful comments and hate on people? It is telling of their true nature as a person. There will always be haters.
As for tabloid press and far-fetched rumors?
There will always be those who spread the “rumor mill version” of my name change or my tech company going down, but I JUST HOPE they do not find out about me, the transvestite Bigfoot and the hamster with duct tape; then there really will be a big story about me! LOL