This blog explores the history of Phoenix, Arizona and a little bit of Los Angeles and San Francisco, California

How Hollywood people talk, and how to figure out what they really mean


I love LA. Even though I haven't lived there for years, I still visit often, and have many friends there. And while I was never involved with show business, or "Hollywood", believe me, a lot of people in Los Angeles are. And they talk a certain way, which I call the "DVD extras talk".

Now don't get me wrong, I'm not making fun of these people who work in the industry. Very few of them have steady jobs - they may get paid a lot, but when the project is over, they need to start looking for the next one. And that means that they never, ever, say anything bad about anyone else. Well, not directly. If you know how to listen, it's clear enough. It always follows the pattern of praise, then hesitation. Here is an example.

"I loved working with with (name of person). They're just super-super nice. Very professional" (this can go on for a while). If the person stops there, then you have actually heard someone saying something nice about someone that they genuinely like. If there's the hesitation, get ready for the real story. And it's always a hesitation (never, ever a "but"), and then some oblique comment like, " and they're real sticklers for accuracy!" or "they're always on the set real, real early!" And at that point you have just heard as close to a complaint as Hollywood people do.

So, when I listen to my Hollywood friends, I wait for the hesitation. Everyone is always described as "super-super nice" at the beginning. If the statement ends there, I understand. If there's a hesitation, and a continuation, I understand that, too. That means that the person is terrible, and no one in town really should work with them, or hire them.

Welcome to Hollywood!


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