You think you have a tough boss? Count your blessings. Unless, of course, you’re a card-carrying member of Hollywood Assistant Hell. Everett Weinberger was and lived to tell the tale in “Wannabe: A Would-Be Player’s Misadventures in Hollywood,” just issued in paperback by Buzz Books. Denizens traded war stories at a recent bash for the book.
Weinberger, 33: “There was an assistant who had to clear out her boss’ breast pump. And there was the assistant who had to collect stool samples of his boss’ dog, and then the dog died on him when he was taking care of it in his boss’ absence and the boss went ape----.
“I look at how I treat people now because I was once that assistant on the phone. A lot of people say, ‘I might have had a bad day,’ but I don’t think you should be allowed to take a day off from being civil. Yelling and screaming isn’t tolerated in other industries. In Hollywood, it’s acceptable behavior as long as you make money for the studio.”
A 28-year-old administrative assistant at an independent production company: “We get his coffee. We checked his daughter into dyslexic preschool. First you find her the school, then you get her into the school, then you get her a bus to the school. He’s really lazy and he doesn’t want to do anything, and I’m lazy and I don’t want to do anything. There’s a lot of ill feeling being generated, but he gave me a big bonus.”
A 22-year-old agency assistant: “Being an assistant is far being more than being an assistant. It’s a median between apprenticeship and servitude. An ignoble boss can subject an assistant to torment. But it’s largely the choice of the assistant.”
A 24-year-old producer’s assistant: “I was working for a feminist film producer who was very big on movies with strong women role models. One day she asked me to come to her house on a Saturday night and make dinner for her and a ‘consultant’ who was someone she was or wanted to be sleeping with. I knew it was wrong, so I told her I was a bad cook.”
(Oh yes. Did we happen to mention that Weinberger is back on Wall Street?)