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14 May 2007

Advice on a crazy scheme, plz. [More:]Awhile back, I mentioned that my dream job would be to work for a minor celebrity (a guitarist/singer/actor/disk jockey) in some capacity, even as a gofer, if that's what it takes to get my foot in the door, even though I do honestly think my knowlege and skills could be valuable to this gentleman in his current venture.

However, I haven't managed to find a way to contact this guy in a way that I know will reach him and what to do or say to impress upon him that he needs to have me working for him.

Crazy scheme? Sure, but what the hell. Any ideas, cats and kittens?
Show up and start working. When they ask who you are, say, "I'm here to help." Say "Crafty" sent you at first, get on a first-name basis with everyone your first day, then on subsequent days pre-empt any exchange by saying, "[NAME], great to see you, what do you have for me today?" Eventually they get used to you, then after a month you say you're still waiting for your first paycheck, should you re-file your paperwork? They won't have a record of your hire, but by that point you'll have established yourself well enough to name your job and salary. Never stop working, and if you do, only take smoke breaks with your boss.

Or you could hire one of those airplanes with the banners to broadcast a pithy, ingenuous message of specific employability to all the city, and wait for the call.

Goodyear blimp?
posted by Hugh Janus 14 May | 09:57
I was going to say something similar but more along the lines of the "work for free then when he becomes dependent on you, you can ask for a very nice salary." I like Hugh Janus' idea better though. Go with that.
posted by LunaticFringe 14 May | 10:10
HJ & LF: I don't even know where the office is, except that it's in the city. I could just go from building to building till I find it.
posted by jonmc 14 May | 10:12
Either you buy into the idea of six degrees networks ("small world phenomenon"), or you don't. If you don't, I won't waste time trying to convince you, so ignore this comment, and focus on other suggestions. I will say that the filters for people wandering in off the street in most organizations are pretty stiff. If you're not an experienced and successful pitch man, the front door is a hella steep learning curve. Good luck.

If you do buy into small world, I'll observe that the key to making such networks work for you in this situation are to:

1) Identify not only the shortest chains of contacts between you and the person you'd like to contact, but as many credible alternatives as practical. The most efficient set of connections may not be the most practical, or the most productive. It's just the shortest.

2) Develop a simple, straight forward request, or short set of requests, to intermediate members of any contact chain to move your request along. Basically you need to persuade 3 to 6 intermediate people, who may not know you from Adam's left ox, to help you get in contact with your target on lightweight FOAF style recommendations, and you need to tell them how to do that. Preferably, you need to tell them that in under 2 minutes, and ask of them only 2 minutes of their time to move your request along the chain.

3) Intelligently and creatively work the contact chain(s). People in FOAF networks generally like to know how things went, if they were helpful, but don't want to know that they weren't. Since most people who do you a favor, are willing to do you another if you appeared grateful in the first place, it's effective to find short ways of telling people who were only partially helpful, that they did help you, while taking full personally responsibility for any failure of the network to get your message through. Credit and praise the efforts of others consistently and creatively, blame only yourself for any failures to achieve your goal, and stay positive.

If your request/project is truly crazy, the contact chains will probably filter it in one or two steps. If it isn't, your message stands a pretty good chance of getting to your target, in my experience. There is really nothing sinister about this, as it is just the way Columbus got his ships, and Chester Arthur got to be Vice-President. Be cool, be interesting, be innovative, and be willing to work your networks to get your chance, and you very well might.
posted by paulsc 14 May | 10:16
You could always just set up and man a glory hole at Times Square with his name on it.
posted by Hugh Janus 14 May | 10:21
I've never been very good at this sort of thing myself, I'm afraid. Maybe try the direct approach? Find out the company address and send him a cover letter and resume explaining your interest and referring him to your music blog and see what happens? Follow up with a phone call, if you can find a number? I know Sirius Radio lists job opportunities, too. Might turn out to be that "foot in the door" you're looking for. I agree you would be a valuable asset to anyone in the music and/or writing biz.

(You mean you might be leaving the porch soon? ; )
posted by Pips 14 May | 10:34
My brother started out doing "gofer" stuff in LA. Event security, door work, etc. He moved up the ladder, and ended up getting offered (and turning down) a position in Michael Jackson's entourage.

He ended up running the parking operation for the Lakers, and had an office about 50 steps from mid-court in the Forum. (It was very cool to go there on comp tickets during the Showtime era, anytime I was down there.) When the Lakers moved to Staples, his job got a bit worse. He now works for a contractor, rather than Jerry Buss. He still is responsible for parking, but his office is off-site in a parking garage, and he has other duties, such as personally delivering parking receipts from the Rose Bowl and other places.

So Jon, if he could parlay some meager opportunities into this it seems like where you live, with your wit and communication abilities, you could make something happen.
posted by danf 14 May | 10:51
A friend of mine made such a pitch to a local minor celebrity (bass player for a fairly well known musician) and the guy took him up on it, as a personal assistant. He was able to pretty quickly make the deal work into the black with money saved by more attentive hotel and travel bookings, dealing with subletting the house during tours, etc.
posted by StickyCarpet 14 May | 11:11
jonmc: Meet Renfield.

"Ren already had a huge collection [of Alice Cooper props] and an encyclopedic knowledge of Alice BEFORE he even met him. It is because of this that he got the job in the first place."

If I remember correctly, Ren already had some experience in the touring side of the rock biz. So first, the guy you want to work for has to be making enough money to afford a personal assistant, and second, he has to not already have a personal assistant. Finally, I have met Brian and my first impression was "This is NOT someone I would want to mess with".
posted by mischief 14 May | 11:22
I also had a roommate once who had this thing for the poet Charles Bukowski. Even before meeting him she said that she was going to marry him.

She ended up doing just that, and now pretty much makes her living being his widow.

This business plan might not be applicable to you, but it shows that stuff like this happens.
posted by danf 14 May | 11:28
Well, Bukowski was easy. All ya had to do was show up with a six-pack. : )
posted by Pips 14 May | 14:09
I hear Jack Daniels, video poker, and amphetamines works the same way on Lemmy.
posted by Hugh Janus 14 May | 14:23
Actually Pips, knowing Bukowski was a horror show. .
posted by danf 14 May | 15:59
I can believe that; I've read just about everything he's written. I have no illusions. Or maybe I do. I imagine he was much more charming in his books than in person. Still, I remember I was sad when he died; I'd always wanted to meet him.
posted by Pips 14 May | 17:36
I should mention that bone of my writing heroes, Lester Bangs, came over to Buk's place with a case of beer and midway through their binge manged to get Bukowski to ask 'is that guy OK?' which is no mean feat.
posted by jonmc 14 May | 17:39
What are your favorite author websites ? || This rocks.