Thursday, March 18, 2010

One Degree

I’m stalking Kirstie Alley. Before you get the wrong idea, let me state that I’m not a celebrity chaser.

During my career in retail I’ve had the chance to wait on the likes of Chris Rock, Sonja Sohn (who hit on me), Richard Belzer, Carmelo Anthony, Michelle Kwan, a few Ravens, and just about all the Spanish-speaking Orioles from 1999-2005

Sure, I would go home and tell my boys about my encounters; and inevitably, they would complain about my refusal to collect any of their autographs. My excuse: celebrities are just regular folx and likely prefer to be treated as such, especially when they’re just trying to buy some film.

¿So, why Kirstie? Well, in the seemingly never-ending process of preparing my novel, Killing Lilith, for publication the discussion in my writing group occasionally turned a possible movie adaptation. When pressed about who I would like to see play Lilith, only one actress came to mind: Kirstie Alley. I fell in love with her depiction of the Vulcan Saavik in The Wrath of Khan, and fell in love with her, personally, during her portrayal of Rebecca Howe in Cheers. Despite her weight gain at that time, she was still incredibly beautiful—perfect for the role of an overweight, former Jewish American Princess on with suicidal tendencies.

At the time her name came up, she was promoting Fat Actress and Jenny Craig, and losing weight at a rapid clip. She’s not going to put all that weight back on for the role was what I heard. Otherwise, there was general agreement that a big Kirstie would otherwise be perfect for the role. Knowing of the potential failings of dieting, I figured she was likely to put the weight back on, anyway. I find the fact that I was right bittersweet. I cheered for her when she went on Oprah in a bikini, but breathed a sigh of relief when it came out that she was struggling again. (Update: Since originally writing this piece, Kirstie stole the show at Dancing with the Stars and, yet again, has lost lots of weight. No worries. If they can make Ian Colm look like a Hobbit, They can make Kirstie look heavy.

Now that I’m in the final stages of polishing my manuscript, I find myself thinking, once again, about a potential movie adaptation. (I realize I’m jumping the gun considering I don’t even have an agent, yet.) Having the vanity required of a writer who wants to break through I feel my novel, once complete, will be top caliber literature. I know I'm cocky, but I was born during the Year of the Cock, after all. It is not a completely egotistical statement. I’ve had enough folx I respect tell me how good it is, including producer David Kirschner, who brought us Chucky, the homicidal doll from Child’s Play, and Fievel the mouse from An American Tail, as well as producing Curious George and Miss Potter. Naturally, I believe a movie version would have Oscar potential. Imagine what it would do for typically stigmatized overweight women, not to mention Kirstie’s career, if she were to get an Oscar nod for her portrayal.

The obvious problem in all this, other than the fact that most writers lose creative control of their projects once a studio decides to turn a book into a movie, is that I don’t know Kirstie, at least not personally. In comes Twitter, the social network that forces you to summarize your ideas into 140 character synopses. Kirstie, being the savvy self-promoter that she is, turned to Twitter to rebuild and energize her fan base and promote her new reality show, Kirstie Alley’s Big Life as well as Organic Liaison, a weight loss program she helped develop. Naturally, I saw it as an opportunity to attempt to attract her attention, hence the stalking.

What I find most thrilling isn’t so much that I can chat with Kirstie directly—which is not necessarily the case considering I might have creeped her out, resulting in her possibly blocking my tweets—but the fact that Twitter has turned the concept of Six Degrees of Separation on its head. As you likely already know, the Six Degrees theory is the idea that we are all only six folx away from anyone in the world. Say you want to meet President Obama. You likely know someone who knows someone who knows someone who knows—you get the picture. Now, with tools like Twitter, you can go straight to the source.

Technology is breaking it all down to one single degree. Granted, when it comes to celebrities and other self-important bigwigs the chances are you’re tweeting an assistant or PR type. But in some cases, particularly in Kirstie’s who tweets about diet, her lemurs & even during her appearance on The Late Show, the person on the other end is the one you hope it is.

¿So where do we go from here? Depends. Lots of us, myself included, enjoyed Facebook until we were inundated with the constant stream of status updates from “friends” that were barely friends when we knew them. Although I’ve accumulated nearly a thousand Facebook friends, many who I have known personally or at least met, only a small core actually notice when I’ve posted something new. Even fewer read it, which is a shame considering my writing can be entertaining, funny and insightful, and I only make money if folx click on the ads on my blog or my column on The Urban Twist. I also have a Twitter account, but few of my friends are even on Twitter. They likely feel that Facebook takes up enough of their time.

That might be where it stands right now, but I reckon once they get tired of wasting time on Mob Wars & Farmville (or for the rest of us, get tired of requests to join Mob Wars & Farmville, etc.) you might eventually see a migration to the stripped down, no nonsense network Twitter has to offer.

Time now for my own social network experiment. As I mentioned, I’ve had no success getting Ms Alley’s attention, yet. Either she thinks I’m a joke, or I’ve spooked her into blocking me. Considering how in touch she stays with what's written about her, I hope this blog entry will finally catch her eye. But you can help. That’s why I tagged all of you. The other phenomenal thing about building social networks is the potential power it gives you to “spread the word,” as seen by the Twitter fueled protests in Iran and elsewhere. My challenge to you is this: help me get Kirstie’s attention. Open a Twitter account, if you don’t already have one, follow Kirstie (While you’re at it, you might as well follow me, right.), and let her know that The Word Pimp has what might be the opportunity of a lifetime. ¿Why not? You’re just one degree away.

And if the day ever does come that I’m standing on a stage in L.A., music playing, being handed an Oscar by some lovely starlet, I promise to step up to the microphone and thank you all.

If you would like to receive news, updates & excerpts from my novel, be sure to "like" the  Killing Lilith Facebook Page.


Leslie F. Miller said...

1.) I applaud this post and adore your writing.
2.) I don't know you at all, even though we are FB friends.
3.) To have a friend, you have to be a friend. I post blog entries once a week (well, when I'm feeling good), and you haven't commented. It doesn't mean I won't, but it means I will do a few gives, and if you don't visit, you're outta here. ;-)

Anyway, I love the post, and I read it because I saw her on the news last night, something about her slim-down stuff being connected to Scientology.

4.) Get an agent. Stop polishing and start looking. Now. I had barely put my graduation tassel on my rearview before I was pitching mine. Don't make another edit. You're either prolonging agony or delaying success.

The Word Pimp said...

Thank you very much, Leslie. It's surprising that our paths have yet to cross considering we've traveled in some of the same circles. I'll do my best to be a good friend. I now follow you & added yours to my reading list. I'm almost there. Opinion has been that my protagonist needs to be a little more sympathetic. That goal is about done.