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Tips For People Who Hate Parties
#1
In two days, I am attending some hoity-toity gathering in Los Angeles. It is not black tie, and there is no indication of a dress code. It's going to be open bar, heavy appetizers, and a number of medium-to-low-level celebrities will be there.

The thing is, I fucking hate parties. A friend of mine got me in because it is a fund-raiser and she wants to mix, mingle, and network, and we both care about the cause. But this will be far outside my comfort zone. 

These will be ambitious people, some well known to TV viewers, others well-known for other reasons. I am not well-known, but I could not care less about that. What I care about is not coming off as a loser in an environment that I would rather set my hair on fire than attend. But, I am obligated, so I need help.

I saw the party space, and there is nowhere to duck out of sight. It's like one of those artsy fartsy galleries with wall space for paintings, a large open floor in the center, and a bar at one corner. 

Jesus. I feel like the dweeby teenager I was decades ago when I would go to a party and feel like a complete misfit.

Anyone have any tips on how someone who has social anxiety (me) can survive a party fund-raiser where many of the people there will be Type A actors, directors, scientists, and politicos, all without embarrassing myself? 

My biggest worry is that someone asks "What do you do?" The thing is I took some time off to write a book, but I am nowhere near the point where I can comfortably pitch anything to a Hollywood-type. I am seriously considering faking a life just to get through this. I haven't decided between international man of mystery, or a Russian oligarch. 

Of course, I jest. But I am the opposite of a schmoozer. I detest schmoozing and bragging about the new script I'm writing, or the audition I'm attending, and the whole fakeness of the L.A./Hollywood actors scene, which will be in full swing at this soiree. 

I am thinking about being the questioner, the interviewer, and constantly taking the focus off me to get these vain men and women to talk about themselves the whole time while sparing me the nervousness of talking about myself. 

I can't even drink to calm any nerves because I will be driving. 

Anyway, any help will be most appreciated. 

TL DR - I am going to an upscale Hollywood-type party fund-raiser in L.A. and I need tips on surviving the night without feeling like a total loser.
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#2
Well..I don't know how much my advice works lol. I'm kind of a loser compared to the type of environment you're describing, not well known either, ironically thinking too about writing these days. What I DO have however, is a decade of experience in client services, aka "professional bullshitting". Now, I don't like to give that type of advice, but without lying, which is usually picked up on real quick unless you have a talent for it, you can bullshit with a smile and confidence a lot better if you exagerate the truth.
For example, I just quit my job to accept another one and I didn't want to reveal it to my current employers (because they pissed me off). So, I told them I was considering going back to school (which is true, it just won't happen because I can't pay for it) in context with everything that's happened to me, to study and care for children who have been victims of abuse (which is also true) and that I had the opportunity to find a job in a connected domain (....it's an insurance job in disability, but you know,...insurance, disability, injured, sick....lol).
So it's not lying...it's exagerating the truth.
In that respect, you can always say you decided to apply yourself to a career you never had the time to devote yourself to in the past, which is writing, not tv writing or scrip writing, but novel writing. Which is very true. You can mention you've written somethings before but this is your first professional effort (also true). Also, what I find is that celebs or A-type people are usually full of ego; use it. Flatter them (even if you don't care) by telling them any advice they have, or suggestions they have, are welcomed and appreciated. Flatter their intelligence by asking them for input and if they have anything to say or suggest, say yes (Stephen Cannell mentioned in an interview once that when you're listening to a pitch, even if you totally HATE it, you never say no) and listen with great intent, ask questions, pretend you're interested. Who knows, you might actually hear some things that ARE interesting.

Also, nothing preventing you from networking yourself. I'd actually try and talk to some tv screen writers (bound to be some, right?) and again, flatter their ego, play dumb and ask them tips and tricks, how would you do X type of story, etc. They might actually give you some good tidbids and since Hollywood is about connections, you might make some that can help you along your own projects.

Anyway, I hope this helps. I know how you feel, without having social anxiety myself, I have let's call it "social impatience" lol. I'd hate going to one of those also, I'd rather be in a divey bar shooting the shit with some friends over a beer or 10. But you know, while you're there, try to make the best of it. You got the right idea, smooch them, they'll think you're the greatest guy in the world. Without lying, stretch the truth and play the guy that is real interested in offered advice. You can take a shower or throw up the next morning ;-)
I don't know who'll be there, but there are a few actors whom I think are particularly brilliant I'd want to meet. Like Sly Stallone, who basically made himself his own fame by writing Rocky himself and selling it at the time, that takes a lot of brains. Couple of others. Try to seek those people out you know and admire from Hollywood, who knows right?

Hope it helps man, good luck!
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#3
(04-30-2018, 10:50 PM)Richard_39 Wrote: Well..I don't know how much my advice works lol. I'm kind of a loser compared to the type of environment you're describing, not well known either, ironically thinking too about writing these days. What I DO have however, is a decade of experience in client services, aka "professional bullshitting". Now, I don't like to give that type of advice, but without lying, which is usually picked up on real quick unless you have a talent for it, you can bullshit with a smile and confidence a lot better if you exagerate the truth.
For example, I just quit my job to accept another one and I didn't want to reveal it to my current employers (because they pissed me off). So, I told them I was considering going back to school (which is true, it just won't happen because I can't pay for it) in context with everything that's happened to me, to study and care for children who have been victims of abuse (which is also true) and that I had the opportunity to find a job in a connected domain (....it's an insurance job in disability, but you know,...insurance, disability, injured, sick....lol).
So it's not lying...it's exagerating the truth.
In that respect, you can always say you decided to apply yourself to a career you never had the time to devote yourself to in the past, which is writing, not tv writing or scrip writing, but novel writing. Which is very true. You can mention you've written somethings before but this is your first professional effort (also true). Also, what I find is that celebs or A-type people are usually full of ego; use it. Flatter them (even if you don't care) by telling them any advice they have, or suggestions they have, are welcomed and appreciated. Flatter their intelligence by asking them for input and if they have anything to say or suggest, say yes (Stephen Cannell mentioned in an interview once that when you're listening to a pitch, even if you totally HATE it, you never say no) and listen with great intent, ask questions, pretend you're interested. Who knows, you might actually hear some things that ARE interesting.

Also, nothing preventing you from networking yourself. I'd actually try and talk to some tv screen writers (bound to be some, right?) and again, flatter their ego, play dumb and ask them tips and tricks, how would you do X type of story, etc. They might actually give you some good tidbids and since Hollywood is about connections, you might make some that can help you along your own projects.

Anyway, I hope this helps. I know how you feel, without having social anxiety myself, I have let's call it "social impatience" lol. I'd hate going to one of those also, I'd rather be in a divey bar shooting the shit with some friends over a beer or 10. But you know, while you're there, try to make the best of it. You got the right idea, smooch them, they'll think you're the greatest guy in the world. Without lying, stretch the truth and play the guy that is real interested in offered advice. You can take a shower or throw up the next morning ;-)
I don't know who'll be there, but there are a few actors whom I think are particularly brilliant I'd want to meet. Like Sly Stallone, who basically made himself his own fame by writing Rocky himself and selling it at the time, that takes a lot of brains. Couple of others. Try to seek those people out you know and admire from Hollywood, who knows right?

Hope it helps man, good luck!

The gathering will have actors, at least one film 
director, some voice over talent, probably a politician or two, some scientists, and the usual hangers-on and people hoping to pitch their script to said film director despite the fact that it is a fund-raiser for a cause. (I am being deliberately vague. Maybe afterwards, I will post who was there.) 

I would also have to feel out the room to determine if talking about writing will be appropriate. For all I know, everyone will be discussing the cause, and not their careers. (What? Actors not talking about themselves? What is this utter madness I am hearing? lol)

Anyway, your post was actually helpful. Instead of seeing it as something to dread, see it as an opportunity to BS. I am also the type to choose the dark dive bar with little but the glow of the TV illuminating the beer glass. But it will probably be club soda for me.

I think I have been awash in my own dread about this thing. And maybe what I need to do is visualize the party as something silly, or something less intimidating.
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#4
(04-30-2018, 11:20 PM)Case Wrote: The gathering will have actors, at least one film 
director, some voice over talent, probably a politician or two, some scientists, and the usual hangers-on and people hoping to pitch their script to said film director despite the fact that it is a fund-raiser for a cause. (I am being deliberately vague. Maybe afterwards, I will post who was there.) 

I would also have to feel out the room to determine if talking about writing will be appropriate. For all I know, everyone will be discussing the cause, and not their careers. (What? Actors not talking about themselves? What is this utter madness I am hearing? lol)

Anyway, your post was actually helpful. Instead of seeing it as something to dread, see it as an opportunity to BS. I am also the type to choose the dark dive bar with little but the glow of the TV illuminating the beer glass. But it will probably be club soda for me.

I think I have been awash in my own dread about this thing. And maybe what I need to do is visualize the party as something silly, or something less intimidating.

Well, mind-frame is an important part of these types of things, I think. While not being on the par, I've been at a few social functions in the past with big wig company directors and the like and what I find is "keep it light, keep it fast" usually works. Even if you don't feel that happy or confidence, you just don't show it and take a "désinvolte" or laid back attitude for it, taking it with a pinch of salt. Maybe read up on the actual cause to at least be able to discuss the basics of it and thinking of a reason why it's important to you (even if it isn't lol) will help you make it through. Also, one of the things I like to do is when you get saturated (if it happens) over there, find yourself a corner to retreat and regroup a few minutes; like a small garden, a balcony, some place where, hopefully, you can get a breather for a few minutes by yourself if the going gets to rough or you're feeling to spent or something.
But yeah, viewing it as something more laid back will help you to feel better about going, at least enough to not look like someone super stressed or that really doesn't want to be there. Plus, well....I imagine there's free food and stuff, so what's not to like? I'd be there just for that if I could LOL ;-)
Good luck man!
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#5
Update: So, I went to the shindig and it was less nervy than I expected.

But before, it was a goddamned nightmare. lol I mean, holy anxieties, Batman. I had butterflies all day long. Enough nervous energy was passing through me that it would have recharged by phone. I needed to meditate to calm myself down and it actually worked.

This was a political fund-raiser for a congressional candidate who has support in the Hollywood community. The most famous celeb there was Joss Whedon. He spoke to the partygoers about the candidate, and was surrounded by people, so I didn't get to talk to him, but I got a campaign poster with his signature on it. There were people from Star Trek shows, The Walking Dead, The Expanse, a bunch of scientists, and normal people.

Anyway, it was the usual cliquey social thing. Most people stayed with their group, but my friend and I got to talk to John Billingsley, who played Dr. Phlox on Star Trek: Enterprise. He is such a busy guy working to feed the homeless and inspire political action. We never spoke a single word about Star Trek, which I liked.

But my big takeaway from this whole experience is the importance of calming my mind beforehand with meditation and mindfulness because that worked for me big-time. 

I still don't like parties and feel like I really only survived this one.
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#6
(05-02-2018, 07:13 PM)Case Wrote: Update: So, I went to the shindig and it was less nervy than I expected.

But before, it was a goddamned nightmare. lol I mean, holy anxieties, Batman. I had butterflies all day long. Enough nervous energy was passing through me that it would have recharged by phone. I needed to meditate to calm myself down and it actually worked.

This was a political fund-raiser for a congressional candidate who has support in the Hollywood community. The most famous celeb there was Joss Whedon. He spoke to the partygoers about the candidate, and was surrounded by people, so I didn't get to talk to him, but I got a campaign poster with his signature on it. There were people from Star Trek shows, The Walking Dead, The Expanse, a bunch of scientists, and normal people.

Anyway, it was the usual cliquey social thing. Most people stayed with their group, but my friend and I got to talk to John Billingsley, who played Dr. Phlox on Star Trek: Enterprise. He is such a busy guy working to feed the homeless and inspire political action. We never spoke a single word about Star Trek, which I liked.

But my big takeaway from this whole experience is the importance of calming my mind beforehand with meditation and mindfulness because that worked for me big-time. 

I still don't like parties and feel like I really only survived this one.

Hehe, Congrats! Happy it went well!

And DAMMIT. Dunno if you saw my avatar logo, but of all the people in the world I would want to talk to....lol.
I totally would have marked out and gotten thrown out of the party for stalking Joss Whedon ;-)
I'm happy it went well dude, hopefully you get unexpected returns from it along the line!

MIGHTY FINE SHINDIG! ;-)
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#7
(05-02-2018, 10:22 PM)Richard_39 Wrote: And DAMMIT. Dunno if you saw my avatar logo, but of all the people in the world I would want to talk to....lol.
I totally would have marked out and gotten thrown out of the party for stalking Joss Whedon ;-)
I'm happy it went well dude, hopefully you get unexpected returns from it along the line!

MIGHTY FINE SHINDIG! ;-)

Yes, I did see your avatar and the quote you wrote. I actually considered PMing you, but felt like I'd be just bragging, and I was hesitant because I do not like to name-drop. I did get a pic of the more famous people at the party, so here it is: 

http://imgur.com/gallery/5KrlwHe

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#8
(05-03-2018, 11:50 AM)Case Wrote:
(05-02-2018, 10:22 PM)Richard_39 Wrote: And DAMMIT. Dunno if you saw my avatar logo, but of all the people in the world I would want to talk to....lol.
I totally would have marked out and gotten thrown out of the party for stalking Joss Whedon ;-)
I'm happy it went well dude, hopefully you get unexpected returns from it along the line!

MIGHTY FINE SHINDIG! ;-)

Yes, I did see your avatar and the quote you wrote. I actually considered PMing you, but felt like I'd be just bragging, and I was hesitant because I do not like to name-drop. I did get a pic of the more famous people at the party, so here it is: 

http://imgur.com/gallery/5KrlwHe


LOL Damn, pic site is blocked at work lol.

Ah well. I'm just jealous in a good way, if there's one thing I'd like is to share a beer with Joss Whedon, or Nathan Filion (or coffee, whatever they drink) and just probe their minds, get to know them, learn how they function, how they get their ideas, brainstorm. As an amateur writer myself, having the chance to probe a known director or actor's mind, who are renowned for their creativeness and talent, well I'd be charmed and hopefully could sponge some of the "aura" off for myself Big Grin
Actually read something about Firefly the other, about how Whedon and Filion are very much against a revival...and I TOTALLY agree lol. Fine series as it was, the fact it was cancelled before it had time to fizzle out and the brilliant movie afterwards adds to the mystic and preciousness of it, but there's so many ideas left in the world I'd love to just shoot the shit with them Smile
I'm not one much to feel offended by anything, wouldn't have seen it as bragging. And even if I did..what's wrong with a little bragging now and again? ;-)
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