Ali Davis (alidavis) wrote,
Ali Davis

Things I don’t quite want my name on

So I wrote this book. Sort of. Essentially it was a freelancing assignment, taken on a contract basis for a one-time payment. It’s an answer-questions-to-learn-about-yourself book, and it’s fine. There are some good questions, plenty of standard or OK questions, and two that actually make me smile. I’m pretty much happy with the content on the book.

What I’m not happy with is the intro, which one of the editors completely rewrote without ever so much as asking if I could take another pass at it. I wrote the intro back in Mid-January, and didn’t see or hear of it again until the editor sent me the lasers for final approval last Monday. And could I please rush? Because our production schedule had moved up.

The new intro is… not my style. Not my style at all, and, more important, it is not something I wrote. Not even a little bit.

They were, as my editor pointed out, well within their rights in rewriting my intro. I didn’t ask them to change it. But I did ask them to properly credit it to whoever had actually done the writing, or to a fictional relationship expert. or whoever. Just so the book didn’t go out with me, even by implication, taking credit for something I had so very clearly had not written.

My editor e-mailed back to say that “the publisher” wouldn’t have one name on the book and another name on the intro. I could either take my name off the book entirely and lose the book credit, or I could let it go as is.

I really thought about taking my name off the whole thing. But, hell, screw it, maybe the credit will do me some weird good one day. And I do realize how fortunate I am to be in a position to be bitching about my editor and my publisher. And, in the end, it was work and it was experience, and that’s the whole point.

In a similar vein (and indeed, emerging from a sea of similar rationalizations), my friend e-mailed me last week to alert me to the fact that she had just transcribed the trailer for the terrible, terrible movie I’m in. Good lord, is it bad.

Well, actually it looks OK, because this is L.A. and that means you can get actual film students to work on your independent film. It’s just the movie itself that is bad. My friend Carolyn came with me to the premiere, during which the movie pretty much lost its hometown audience. The second it was over, Carolyn turned to me and said “Now I know you’re going to be famous. Because this thing is going to come back to haunt you.”

And indeed, as bad as the movie is, my performance is pretty bad too. At best, competent. Looking back on it, I wish I’d just gone ahead and gone balls-out with it. Or something. Really, anything other than what I did. Which, I wish to stress, is not good. I am mostly cut out of the film, which means I get out with most of my dignity intact, but by no means all of it.

I had suspected that some of my scenes might be cut during the filming process itself. Not because of my performance, but because of my hairdo. One of my scenes was a catfight. The “costume designer,” who was also doing hair except for the actresses who immediately refused, decided to put me in an elaborate prom ‘do with cascading ringlets and, at a conservative estimate, 400,000 bobby pins.

“Oh, really?” people would say as they stopped by the tent, “for the fight scene?” Everyone but the “costume” “designer” picked up on the fact that a) everyone who saw the Prom Queen Fantasy ‘do immediately asked that exact question in those exact words, and b) they asked the question with the same rising tone of concern one might use for “You’re sure that’s not a rattlesnake?”

Because there was no way in hell that hairdo was going to stay in place during even a single take of the fight scene, and, since the scene itself and the scene it was continuous with were going to be filmed over at least two days (three, as it turned out), we all knew that there was no way in hell that hairdo was going to match. And it didn’t. Especially after the “cos” “tume” “design” “er” got fired in the middle of the process, and two completely different people had to try to reproduce the Hairdo of Waterfalls and Moonbeams on shooting days two and three.

I was always a minor character; she did not get fired because of me and my hair. She got fired because of things too numerous to even make it down the gossip chain. To give you an idea of how hard it is to get fired from an independent film, one of the actors got a DUI on the way to the set and still did not get fired,

And I may or may not have been (mostly) cut because of my hair. Lord knows there were plenty of other reasons.

So it’s bad, and I’m in it, and that was my choice, and in the end, I’m kind of OK with that. I wanted the experience and I wanted a screen credit and I got them. There’s my name, right on the movie. And there’s my name, right on the book.

My friends who are working actors don’t so much have a problem with that. It’s work, you take it, and it gets you to the next thing.

So I’m getting over it and getting on with the next thing.
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