brinkster purgatory

Other than my love for movies and my Hungarian husband who wants to make them, I have nothing to do with the entertainment business. I have no desire to be a screenwriter, director, actor, or God forbid, producer. Unfortunately, because of my remoteness to the Hollywood world, I often feel inconsequential at parties and events around town.

So in an attempt to lend some sense to all of the posturing around me, I’ve come up with a word that epitomizes a fringe group that happens to comprise a majority of the movie universe: Brinkster.

Brinksters are those aspiring hyphenates who have yet to make it in "the industry" and are essentially, on the brink of fame, stardom or whatever you want to call it. Most people who live and work in Los Angeles— if not a brinkster themselves—have one in their lives.

Some brinksters are more obvious than others. The Hipster Brinkster, for example, ubiquitously prowls the east side. The One Trick Brinkster is the guy at Bob’s Big Boy in Burbank who broke through but never moved on. It's usually the writer who sold a screen play or a pilot, made some money, blew it on a hot car and is now back to square one without anything to show for it, save for a few credits on IMDB and an anachronistic vehicle. The Aging Brinkster is at once admirable and frightening. Think PA-cum-producer. The most bewildering in brinksterdom is the Offspring of a Famous Parent Brinkster. In a town based on nepotism if you can't rise in the ranks, how ill-fated are you.

The brinkster, regardless of his or her category, is an existential prisoner who’d make Sartre proud—or really angry. They are trapped in purgatory and no matter how hard they work or how talented they are, triumph is no guarantee. The uncertainty and lack of control of their future can drive the aspiring filmmaker and/or actor mad. Everyday they are slapped in the face with failure and there is no escaping the hell of witnessing the other person who made it.

The pathology of the brinskter is predicated upon the hope that tomorrow they can be the next big thing, coupled with the dread that in ten years from now they can be doing the exact same thing. The latter prospect involves a very grim and seemingly infinite struggle. To be caught between these two realities is catastropically confusing.

Brinksters roam Los Angeles as if they were shipwrecked and Hollywood is their Gilligan's Island. Despite the fact that they're in the middle of nowhere and have no control over their environment, they have forged a life that imitates what they would like to have, hence the arrogance. Just as they are getting cozy with their status quo, an opportunity comes around and disassembles their complacency. They rally their friends together and start making big plans for the future. And then, when they think they have finally arrived, they don't get their phone calls returned. You can go from being wined and dined at Musso and Franks to sipping milk out of coconuts again.

Existing on the periphery, it is hard to see your friends and loved ones preyed upon by this behemoth. But when you analyze instead of judge it, you can see that these ostensibly poor brinksters are at least doing something. Sure they are wholeheartedly selfish, but only in the noblest way.

Some brinksters, move back home, get office jobs become realtors, drug dealers or teachers. They let go of their dream because they were tired of barely getting by. And who could blame them? However, this fear of failure is what invigorates the zeal of the faithful brinkster.

True brinksters indeed have the most chance at making it. There will always be the close calls, could-have-should-have-beens, and flat out rejections, but one of these days they might actually get the green light or the part that will change their life, or at the very least, get them into Sundance. And remember, aside from those lucky enough to be born into the business, everyone who is famous today has been a brinkster at some point in their lives. I'd say those are pretty good odds.

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