Narcissists, let’s face it, are really annoying people. For instance, have you ever known someone who perpetually interrupts during conversations, is frequently late for appointments, doesn’t return phone calls/emails, and always expects you to pick up the tab? Now, if you told that person that they were a Narcissist, they would probably either laugh and think it’s absurd, or, they would get put out that you would say such a thing. If they have deeper issues, they may even get ugly. They would have this reaction because they lack the ability to see beyond their own thought construct.
When a Narcissist thinks, they think in terms of “How is this going to affect me? I wonder what they’ll think of me? Did they notice my hair is shorter? I don’t care what they want, I want this. I am going to win this negotiation one way or another, so you might as well give in.”
Ask any hair stylist in Beverly Hills and they’ll tell you that show business is full of Narcissists. The whole obsession with things is Narcissist driven.
That’s why all these show biz types are obsessed with out Jonesing (my word) the Joneses. What else would drive the need to such outrageous conspicuous consumption as warehouses full of high end, custom luxury car collections, and multiple residences large enough to serve as five-star hotels. Any thinking person can come to the conclusion that this is not about necessity but rather of screaming out loud: “LOOK AT ME! LOOK AT ME! SEE HOW SUCCESSFUL/POWERFUL AND SEXUAL I AM!”
I mentioned sex on purpose because Hollywood (and New York, et cetera) are full of wiry short men who literally have their hard-ons for occupying the biggest corner office, flanked by a runway-worthy assistant trained to have the treacly phoney attitude. The message here is “I don’t have to be nice, I’m more powerful than you are and I can fuck whoever I want because of it.” Dealing with extremes, you have the O.J. Simpson and Phil Spector (murdered Lana Clarkson, see below) cases, both involving the dark side of Narcissism, which is the Sociopath personality.
A strange sidebar is that in a fringe way, I am an acquaintance of Punkin Pie (her real name) who was Lana Clarkson‘s real life best gal pal. Punkin Pie was the VIP Hostess at both The Roxy and Crustacean, where I was introduced to her by a mutual friend.The weirdness doesn’t end there. Punkin Pie referred Lana to me as a potential client and as soon as I took one look at her and the resume, which was littered with what I’ll nicely call “soft porn”, I said right to her face, “Sorry, it’s a pass for me.” Her desperation was palatable as she all but pleaded with me to sign her. She was a nice person and I wanted to help her, but I wouldn’t work with anyone who wasn’t legitimate (meaning, no funny stuff on their resume). I was sad, but not surprised to hear of her death.
If you want a career with longevity in the entertainment industry, you would do well to steer clear of Narcissists. They are also the types that would steal your script, take your credit and glory, or sleep with someone to get ahead. (Ahem.) My best advice is that if you find yourself in a business deal with one that you protect yourself. Get everything in writing. Follow up every conversation or meeting with a short email reiterating what was exchanged, agreed upon, whatever. If it’s appropriate, and it usually is, have at least a boilerplate agreement drawn up with a clear delineation of responsibilities for each party. This is always a case of forewarned is prepared.
To shift gears, here is a bit of the upside for dealing with Narcissists in the biz…Ready? They are almost always also prone to have OCD. So, in other words, they are perfectionists and fanatics about details. I worked for a well-respected producer who was such a stickler for detail that he would literally line up the paperwork on his desk in this military worthy elaborate system. This level of precision was what made him successful, it didn’t hurt that he is also extremely smart. It was my experience working in production and later in development in LA that a lot of producers are Narcissists. They excel at micro and macro management. Needless to say, the acting community is devoted to them. Narcissists are so accepted in the business that we have shows like HBO’s Entourage and films such as The Player.
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