Why I'm Not A Star

It's been a while since my last post. Other stuff has been eating the time.

The safe work has been same as ever, from spotty to busy, with no clue as to why it goes one way or another, but that's entertainment, I guess.

The latest news of note is that last week a man called me from somewhere in the East, introduced himself as a producer, then asked if I would be interested in being in a reality TV show. It went to voicemail, where every call from unfamiliar out of state numbers goes --- too many human and robot phone solicitors these days.

After I heard his message, I texted back, thanked him for asking (always flattering to be asked), then told him he probably wasn't interested in paying my rates, but offered to put him in touch with other industry people who might be more amenable.

Mentioning "my rates" usually throws cold water on things like this. I learned earlier; other independent producers have contacted me in the past with grandiose plans, all involving safecracking. However none of the plans involve paying someone like me. The unspoken part of the plan is that the person they approach is supposed to swoon over a chance to be "on TV" and therefore wouldn't dream of blowing the big chance at fame by asking for pay. I've been on TV, and while it's interesting (at first) and certainly different from my usual workday, it's not profitable.

Independent movie and TV producers are legion. Unless they've really got it knocked, most don't have budgets for anything beyond bare bones essentials. They conceive and execute their productions "on spec," which is to say on speculation. This requires putting their own time and money into their productions before the fact. Once they have it finished, they try and sell it to a TV channel. If nobody wants to air it, they're out whatever it took to produce it.

It can't be easy, but you can see why they don't pay anyone but staffers. The good part for them is that the American public is so brainwashed by lifelong media manipulation that the average person is willing to swim in shit if there's a chance it will be televised.

Another outfit that asked for my participation was Mythbusters. It was a few years ago, when they did that show in which they tried to test whether or not the premise of a recent popular safecracking movie was viable. (It was the movie where the safe got filled with water, then the crooks detonated explosives in the water, using the physics premise that since water can't be compressed, something has to give).

I declined, because I didn't want to be giving safecracking lessons to the world at large, especially not as an unpaid entertainer.

For the record: Despite the big buildup the Mythbusters narrator gave about the guy who does the show's tech research, his research, technique, and execution (at least with respect to the safe blow-up) were deeply flawed. There actually was a series of real, successful and unsolved safe burglaries back in the 70's that inspired the movie. A long time ago I attended seminars put on by one of the (real) investigators.

I wasn't alone in spurning the Mythbusters gig. I talked with people around the country (all competent, established safecrackers) who had also been approached for that Mythbusters show. They all said no for the same reasons I did. Mythbusters went ahead anyway. They found someone from somewhere who was willing to be their unpaid expert consultant, along with a safe or two, which I'm guessing they also didn't pay for.

Maybe other Mythbusters gigs address reality, but my point here is that despite the bogusness (is that a word?) of it all, their audience is generally far less knowledgeable than they were. Viewers therefore loved it.

Which of course validated it, no matter what I think I know.

Ken Dunckel


fish said…
Man....you were one day away from being purged from my favorites list!

Welcome back! Lets hear from you a little more often!
safecracker said…
Thanks for that! I've resolved to be more active than I have in the last several months.
Ken Dunckel
Anonymous said…
Just discovered your site/blog and have been reading it for two days straight now, awesome stuff!!

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