Thursday, June 19, 2008

Living With Tucker

The last time I wrote on this blog was a little over a year ago. Since then, I've graduated and begun a new adventure that warrants writing about. My posts should be much more frequent- you'll see why. I suggest as a primer for this particular adventure you familiarize yourself with the film I'm working on and the blog of the producer I'm working for- (

Welcome to my life living with Tucker Max.

I am sitting in an Amtrak train leaving Dallas TX. I’ve just gotten off the phone with my father who is now officially worried about me and frightened by my employer and worst of all I’m coming down with a cold. I am probably four or five hours away from Shreveport, Louisiana, that is assuming I get there today. If and when I arrive I will be living with bestselling author and internet celebrity Tucker Max.

Inevitably, it is best to start at the beginning. Which, of late, usually involves people looking at me and going, “How the hell are you working for Tucker Max?” Or, in some cases laughing at me and calling bullshit. I actually prefer this response as it usually involves a lot less of the same question. There are only so many times I can answer “Yeah, pretty much” to the question “Is he like how he is in his stories?” Although at this particular moment, since I’m stuck on a fucking train soon to be stuck on a fucking bus, out 400 bucks and not sitting in Shreveport drinking a beer (which is what I’m guessing Tucker is up to right now), I’d probably answer “No, he actually is a closet homosexual.” Or since, as my friends have told me via text message, Tucker updated his website to announce that he has seen fit to give away my room in the house, contented to see me and another assistant compete for it to amuse him, I may in fact respond, “He’s a closet homosexual and I think he has Hepatitis.”

I am still ahead of myself. How did I end up here?

Back in Los Angeles I am (or was I suppose) a member of a fraternity at Loyola Marymount University. This particular fraternity had well earned the reputation of “party frat, animal house, alcoholics, etc.” I loved it. Great guys, great times, not too serious. However, this level of debauchery did not lend itself to the essential act of “getting shit done.” This led to numerous confrontations with the school and a general apathy among members. As a senior this past year, I noticed that we really had done jack shit community service wise for about 2 and a half years. In an effort to alleviate the school’s concerns that we were a bunch of degenerates, I scoured the internet for community service ideas that were “appropriate.”

A quick history- I found Tucker’s website in high school and like most guys in high school thought it was pretty damn funny. I never bought his book, but snuck peaks at it in bookstores. I glanced at his message board infrequently, finally got around to registering a name, but after looking at the general discourse (notable exception: Member Boobie Thread) decided I had better things to do.

So, it was during one of these infrequent visits to the message board that lightning struck. I remembered that Tucker had used to hold “Tanked for the Troops” events across the eastern U.S. The general premise behind these fundraisers being that the more alcohol Tucker and his fans purchased at a bar, the more money the bar would donate to our injured troops via charitable organizations. Great idea for my fraternity, especially given that one of our members is a Marine. I emailed Tucker asking if I could use his logo in the hopes of attracting more people than the local LMU drunks for our event. He said of course and I planned the event at a local dive. The event went as well as it could have (Tucker initially said he might show up, but I think had second thoughts when he realized LMU was no USC size wise- although I happen to believe LMU chicks are hotter) and that was that. I emailed Tucker one last time thanking him for his help and offering my services (inasmuch as they are as a film student grad) for his new film. I didn’t expect a response and didn’t get one.

Three weeks went by; school went on, my party life style reached new heights as I realized that my last few days as a worry free college student were slipping away. One day I booted up my inbox and saw Tucker’s name, which, believe it or not, is still very surreal to me. It was a simple message- “I think I have something for you. When can you meet?”

I was stunned. I honestly had no idea what he could possibly want. My immediate thought was that he needed an extra hand to do some computer work. This was good news. I do web design on the side for some extra cash and getting to work with Tucker even via email would be fun for a few months. If nothing else, I could say I met the guy and who knows maybe get an autograph. I quickly emailed him back “Whenever” and we set up a meeting.

We met a coffee shop somewhere in East Hollywood (I think, I know jack shit about Los Angeles geographically, even after living there for four years). All I know is that it was a coffee shop that any pseudo screenwriter/producer would comfortable in. I pulled up to the parking lot and got out of my car and immediately noticed someone who I thought was Tucker talking animatedly on his cell phone. I gathered up my resume, folder and pen took a deep breath and started to walk to the coffee shop. I waved to Tucker to let him know I was there and he simply told me to grab a table inside and sit down. I sat down ordered a drink and waited. I jotted down notes nervously, just to pass the time, keeping my head on a swivel. After about 25 minutes or so, I saw a guy I recognized, or who I thought I recognized as an actor. Couldn’t place him, but I knew he’d been in something I’d seen. He was followed by a typical “Entourage” style posse dressed as “hip, Hollywood artists” that made me want to choke them. (A quick aside, I don’t dislike actors, in fact I very much enjoy the collaborative process of directing- I DO however, hate actors who are in this business for the wrong reasons and think they are God’s gift to mankind. I’d rather listen to Celine Dion on repeat than a self important actor talking as if people give a shit.) I couldn’t tell anything about this particular guy, other than I thought his friends looked like douchebags.

Another 20 minutes roll by. I fidget a bit, but I’m not going anywhere- it’s going to take at least an hour and a half before I even consider heading home. As I’m pondering ordering some food, Tucker appears, throws his bag down on the table and informs me he is taking a piss. I don’t even think I got out a hello.

After a few minutes, Tucker sat back down and I introduced myself and listened to him as he explained what he wanted- essentially someone who could shoot and cut behind the scenes footage of his new movie. I offered my resume, but he didn’t even glance at it informing me that “If you can’t do the job, I’ll fire you. I’ve lived enough in the world of resumes, if you say you can do it, than do it.” The details were simple- Tucker would fly me out to Louisiana, I’d live with him and get credit for being the producer and director of the behind the scenes material. Pretty good deal, I told him I was in. Later, I met his ex-girlfriend Erin, who is wonderful. I’m sure I’ll write more about her, but suffice to say, she has a kind and pleasant demeanor and is a very interesting ying to Tucker’s yang.

Several weeks went by and I compiled a budget for Tucker, the first of which was god-awful and Tucker thankfully gave me a second chance. I began to order equipment and wrap my head around the idea that I would be moving to Louisiana. I made preparations to quit my job – a great job I might add, my favorite thus far. All the while I corresponded and met up with Tucker I began to get two separate impressions of him. He was brutally honest and not hesitant to call me out when I fucked up. I have many emails filled with colorful phrases to describe how Tucker felt about me on these occasions. Coupled with this sentiment I got the impression that he was obsessed with his movie and that he often felt I was taking up too much of his time. His emails are always short and terse, his text messages even more so. It is quite easy for me to imagine on some days that Tucker genuinely does not like me. On the other hand, he had taken a hell of a chance and even in one short exchange, offered me encouragement. And to top it off, he wanted me to live with him. So who knows? I’ve had tough bosses before, great bosses before, assholes, friends you name it- just never one quite like Tucker.

So here I am sitting on my Amtrak train, an hour away from Longview, Texas where I will board a bus headed for Shreveport. I just sent a text message to Tucker informing him that I was in buttfuck Texas on a train, headed for a bus and arriving around 10.

His response was a typical “Ok.”


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