Sunday, August 10, 2008

The Halfway Point

Tomorrow week four begins on I Hope They Serve Beer in Hell. We're 50% done with filming.

In reality, I've been working for Tucker officially since the tail end of April and been in Louisiana since mid June. The midway point of this project has long since passed, yet somehow it feels appropriate to take stock of my experience thus far. Over the past few days glancing at what I've written on this blog I barely recognize my own writing. Perhaps, because I've been so focused on the goings on around me I've yet to taken the time to self reflect on much of anything. So, dear reader, this post is for me. Don't worry, I'll return to the world of Tucker Max and the universe that revolves around him. It's hard not to. But for a brief moment and if for nothing else, my own sanity, I'm going to try and wrap my head around me.

As I type this I'm sitting outside the house on our porch. Near my right hand I have a beer and near my left a pack of cigarettes. Unluckily for me I've started smoking more than I should. Whether it's to take the edge off from working for Tucker or because on a movie set smoking is sort of a currency and culture or maybe just because I'm weak and crave an addiction- who knows? The fact is I used to hate smoking and now I'm in the midst of six week binge.

I just ran inside to grab a beer and found Tucker on top of some girl holding in her what looked like an MMA mount position. I really couldn't tell you the specifics, because to be quite honest I could give a fuck about MMA. This isn't because I don't appreciate the dedication of the fighters or the strategy or whatever Joe Rogan feels like spouting off about during fights. I get all that. I think I hate MMA because Tucker and everyone around him likes it so much.

Last night, best selling author Tim Ferriss visited us. I honestly had no idea who the fuck he was or what the fuck his shtick was. I knew Tucker loved him which made me predisposed to not like him. This isn't really a knock against Tucker, more that I am now more than ever tired of people who know everything about life and can tell me how to fix mine. I knew he had a book called "The Four Hour Work Week." I used to work for a management consulting guru, so immediately in my head I was thinking BULLSHIT. Even worse, Tim loved MMA. Great another Tucker clone who is spouting off loads of self help change your life spiritual lovey dovey intellectual masturbation. Wonderful.

And, thank God I was wrong. Here's a quick disclaimer- I've never read Tim Ferriss's book. I'd like to, but who knows- maybe I won't get around to it. I can tell you this much- Tim is a good person and an honest person and he treats people with respect. He sort of gives off the vibe of a man who was born a few generations too late. He speaks too many languages, studies too many fields and is dedicated to keeping his body and mind in pristine shape. A classic Renaissance man.

I've wandered. How the hell does Tim Ferriss fit in with my gut check? I don't know. But a funny thing happened last night. I asked for an autograph. I rarely, if ever, do this. (Don't worry friends and family, I will get around to getting you guys some signatures). But for me, autographs don't usually mean much. As an example- would I ask Tucker, Matt, Geoff or Jesse for an autograph? No. Would I ask for one for my sister? Absolutely. After getting to know someone well enough, I feel that asking for them to scribble on a piece of paper for me sort of denigrates that relationship. But then... last night I asked Tim to sign a copy of Men's Journal.

Men's Journal featured Tim in their newest issue, the cover actually. The article isn't anything unbelievable, they certainly don't extoll Tim as the next big thing. It's a typical piece- history, professional life, a general overview of who Tim is. The article I'm quite certain had nothing to do with why I asked him to pick up a pen. If I had to guess, I asked Tim for an autograph, because Tim reminded me of who I am.

Late last night I was driving Tim home. We had just watched an MMA fight and he had an early flight. We were just generally chatting, when the discussion drifted to why I had been choked out by Jeff. I gave him the standard answer I give everyone "Jeff was mad over something I said on Tucker's messageboard... etc." Tim looked at me and told me that if anyone had ever done that to him he would have thrown them in jail. This of course, is interesting, given that 99% of the population wouldn't even be able to get that close to Tim because he is an international kickboxing champion.

Before I continue on, I'd better get something out in the open: I've moved on. I honestly don't fret over the fact that Jeff choked me out or that Tucker filmed it and over 13,000 people have seen it on youtube. To say that it doesn't bother me at some level wouldn't be true, but to say that I wake up every morning dreaming of ways to get back at Jeff would be a great exaggeration. Jeff is an accomplished fighter, there is nothing I can do if Jeff or Tucker or any other student of martial arts feels like kicking my ass or choking me out. I suppose what bothers me is that Jeff is also a decent writer. Jeff and Tucker both knew, well in advance of conspiring to choke me out that I was not a fighter. Would it not have been more appropriate to just eviscerate me on the messageboard in kind? Maybe not. I don't know and at this point, it's water under the bridge. But by just showing me a glimpse of empathy, Tim showed me that at least someone understood.

This all seems a bit out of context given that I haven't outlined the ways in which Tucker and I interact. Tucker is a VERY smart man. He knows this and he makes sure everyone around him knows this. Tucker has ideas that are not only outside of the box, but seek to the destroy the box. He knows what he wants and will generally go to any lengths to ensure that his vision is carried out to his satisfaction. He has the potential to shake up the entertainment industry in very concrete ways. Also, Tucker can sometimes be very engaging and genuinely friendly to me. Last night around 4 o'clock in the morning Tucker joined me in the living room and we talked for a good 45 minutes about the film industry, my job prospects and ideas about innovating the way movies are made. He also took the time to give me some advice about women (which believe it or not was more than applicable at my young age).

This is Tucker Max.

However, working for Tucker is very much like working for two very different people. He does not hesitate to embarrass me in front of people I respect if he feels that I deserve it. He rarely if ever, exhibits any interest in me as a person. And while I get the impression that I've done a decent job at this point, I seriously doubt that I've met his expectations. I've had a few bosses that exhibit the above traits before, everyone has. I think what is most frustrating for me is that I think Tucker has little or no capacity for empathy. Tucker knows so much about so many different things that if you aren't on the same wavelength as him, he immediately categorizes you as undeserving of his attention (unless by him investing time in you he has something immediately to be gained). Of late he also he also has been infuriated with his other assistant Ian. While I'm glad that the red target on my back has moved, I know it could only be seconds before I've done something to earn his ire. This is good motivation for me, I bust my ass for Tucker 14 hours a day. But also a constant reminder of one of my favorite maxims, "
The true measure of a man is how he treats someone who can do him absolutely no good."

This too is Tucker Max.

A brilliant man who sits on the cliff of greatness, surrounded by the work and beauty of his accomplishments but would not take a SECOND to enjoy the view.

So I live and learn. I am young and stupid. Each day I come home wondering. Some days I feel fulfilled. I truly am blessed with a unbelievable opportunity. I've met interesting people, done wonderful work and truly am involved in my own little "Surreal Life." (How many of you have gone to a bar with two international porn stars?)

Alot of my friends ask me if I admire Tucker or if living with him is the craziest thing I've ever done. Yes and Yes- so far.

So, we're back to the halfway point and I haven't even had the chance to talk about most of what I wanted to talk about. I wanted to talk about developing relationships with the some of the creatives involved in this process. I wanted to talk about learning from Sean McKittrick and Nils Parker and our hilarious director Bob Gosse. But it's late and I have a 7AM call time tomorrow.

Already I do feel better though. Writing is therapeutic for me and perhaps the only time when I'm honest with myself. Or at least mostly honest.

Here's a few things I know for certain:

I still don't know what I want to do with my life.
I miss my family and friends.
This is a time in my life I will never forget.

I need to quit smoking.

9 Comments:

Blogger sb said...

Nicely done, Greg. That was honest and it was real, and it was fair, and perhaps most importantly it was - go on with your bad self - it was wise.

Keep it up.

3:31 AM  
Blogger Donika said...

Hi Greg,

That was really something, and very prettily, honestly written. I wish you all best, and have no doubt about your future success.

D.

6:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Tucker Max sounds like the d-bag he portrays himself to be in his writing. I guess if this doesn't work out and you don't find success, you can always sue Jeff and Tucker for whatever they haven't poured into the project. You should probably let them know that Viva la Bam has already been done. I hope they serve beer in prison.

I miss your musk.

Love,
Chavez

6:52 PM  
Blogger backwards7 said...

If two big guys, both trained fighters, decide that they're going to choke you and film themselves doing it, then I agree, there's not a great deal that you can do.

What you can do is stand up to them in the aftermath. You can press charges - you can show them in a firm and non-violent way that you have self respect and that their aggressive actions against you have consequences.

If you don't do this you're sending out a message to people like Tucker and that message is that they can walk all over you with impunity.

5:43 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I hate to say this Greg, but you are acting like a rape victim. Some rape victims try their best afterward to "move on" and reconcile their feelings toward the rapist. Frequently the rationalize that they somehow deserved it, or that the rapist was somehow entitled to have his way ("This is Tucker too" *gush*), or that they've "moved on".

Stop rationalizing it. He did something that will haunt your soul and your self-respect forever. He raped your esteem, and like a fat girl prop in a Tucker Max story, you're just going to drop your mouth and pretend it didn't happen.

Sue him. While I laude your honesty in writing, I am deeply disturbed by your willingness to become a eunich, or a fat Asian girl in the Tucker Max book of life.

2:58 PM  
Blogger Light said...

I'm not one for endorsing frivolous lawsuits, but you should sue.

I'm completely in agreement with the above comment.

4:39 PM  
Anonymous NoahFreedman said...

RIM

6:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

First go the the police station in Shreveport, or whichever police department has jurisdiction where the choke-out occurred, and file a criminal complaint.

Bring them the tape and the names, addresses, and telephone numbers of everyone present when it happened. Tell them you are willing to fully cooperate including testifying or doing anything else they need from you to arrest and prosecute these assholes. Tell them the ENTIRE TRUTH, including all context.

Next, find a lawyer. Get someone with a lot of trial experience who is willing to sue anyone possible, including "Deep Pockets" Darko. Find someone who is willing to work for a contingency fee arrangement. They get paid when they win; probably all their expenses plus 30-40% of the remaining total from the judgment/settlement. I'd go first to the largest personal injury firm in Shreveport; the one that probably advertises non-stop on local TV.

Do not write or talk to anyone about this incident again--especially the other side--except with the police or your lawyer present. Good Luck!

7:15 AM  
Anonymous Steve said...

You've got to be kidding me. This is a very honest, well-written piece, but I cannot believe how every commenter is outraged by you getting choked out.

I'm a fighter, so I'm definitely biased in that regard, but getting choked out doesn't hurt. It doesn't cause any injuries. You panic for a moment, you pass out, then you get up. We used to do this to each other in middle school. Another commenter said that you sound like a rape victim, and I agree; but you weren't raped. Not even close. Getting choked out is definitely a step below "getting punched in the face" as far as pain and injuries go, and nobody would go running the police the moment that happened.

I, for one, like the way you handled the situation. You didn't like it, but at least you've made an attempt to be a man about it.

And if this sentence is true ("He did something that will haunt your soul and your self-respect forever. He raped your esteem") then you need to seriously evaluate your life.

But again, this is a good post, and I hope you'll continue to write with this type of honesty; it's very interesting.

9:38 AM  

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