Loser's Town Question #16 ~ Pressure

by Daniel Depp

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DeppInTheHeartOfTexas
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Loser's Town Question #16 ~ Pressure

Unread postby DeppInTheHeartOfTexas » Thu Apr 30, 2009 7:44 am

Pg. 198:

“With the makeup off you could see the fresh lines in Bobby’s face and the darkness under his eyes. He was unusually quiet and slow moving, seemed to drag himself out of the trailer and into the waiting car. Acting isn’t like digging ditches for a living and most of what you do is sitting on your ass, except whenever you’re sitting on your ass you’re aware of what’s at stake and what will happen if you can’t manage to do whatever magic it is they expect you to do. Nobody is shy about telling you you’re ******* up an $80 million picture. Conversely, you can’t believe a word they tell you if they tell you you’re good. In fact you can’t believe a word anybody tells you until it’s either a success or it collapses suddenly around your ears, and it is precisely this sort of anxiety that wears you down. Which was why at the end of the day hot new star Bobby Dye was slumping around like an old man.”

What are your thoughts on this type of pressure? Can you equate this to other professions in society or is it unique to acting?
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Re: Loser's Town Question #16 ~ Pressure

Unread postby trygirl » Thu Apr 30, 2009 9:26 am

I don't believe the pressure to succeed only exists for actors. The need to do well at our jobs is normal. We all know the saying, "growing old before your time" or "driving yourself into an early grave," because of the stress of working too hard. And though acting is nothing like digging a ditch, perhaps those employees feel certain amounts of pressure too. But I think some careers guarantee added pressure. Opening a movie is a little more taxing and so is a different type of job related pressure but pressure is pressure. The weight of a job well done is even greater when copious amounts of money are involved or lives hang in the balance. Maybe Bobby should take Johnny's approach to making films. He always said once the move was done, it no longer had anything to do with him. Although, Johnny wasn't afraid of failure and Bobby is no Johnny. No matter the job, if you want to excel, then you're going to feel pressure. The key is finding ways to manage the strain.
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Re: Loser's Town Question #16 ~ Pressure

Unread postby Betty Sue » Thu Apr 30, 2009 10:21 am

I completely agree with trygirl that any job can involve a certain amount of pressure. Those that involve being rated by the public (actor, ballplayer, author, entertainer, politician...) or involve life and death (doctor, EMT, nurse, soldier, military leader...) have extra stress built in, I think. Some of them are well paid for that pressure; some are not. Johnny is just amazing in feeling that he has successfully done his job when the movie is completed...period! This lack of fear seems to enable him to dive into a role and do the utmost with it with no second thoughts nagging him about how it might be received. To me this is amazing! A little pressure can help one do better at a job, but too much can be debilitating.
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Re: Loser's Town Question #16 ~ Pressure

Unread postby DeppInTheHeartOfTexas » Thu Apr 30, 2009 10:52 am

trygirl, I think you are right that anyone who wants to excel at their job is going to feel pressure and some people are definitely more driven than others! Johnny's quote came to my mind too, the one about being done with the movie once his part is over.

Betty Sue, politician was the first one that came to my mind. Mainly because someone running for office has such a large staff of people depending on their performance during and after the campaign and then of course if they are elected the responsibility to the public for their performance. I think the medical profession is a good example as well, talk about stress when you are dealing with someone's life and loved one. We are in the middle of standardized testing right now at school and the pressure is enormous on teachers and students to do well.
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming -

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Re: Loser's Town Question #16 ~ Pressure

Unread postby ladylinn » Thu Apr 30, 2009 11:44 am

I agree with what has been said before me. There is pressure in any and all jobs or tasks. It is true that some jobs carry more pressure and stress than others - but how one handles it seems to be the answer to success or failure. I like the way Johnny handles it - do his best while involved and then being able to walk away and shed the pressure and move on leaving the pressure to others. Can he or anyone be able to do this completely? It would appear that he can. Kudos to him if this is true - another way to sustain and remain in this competitive movie industry.

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Re: Loser's Town Question #16 ~ Pressure

Unread postby Liz » Thu Apr 30, 2009 1:46 pm

I agree with all of you that there is a certain amount of stress in every job, and that some people (like myself) put more pressure on themselves than others. And Johnny seems to be one who seems to handle the pressure very well.

The jobs that I think equate to the type of stress that Bobby feels are jobs where one's success is not necessarily based on one's performance but heavily dependent on factors out of one's control. Examples would be the two listed so far—politicians & physicians. In the case of physicians, they can do their very best, but people will still die. Another example would be sales or management. A manager is graded on the performance of his employees. And as DITHOT pointed out, teachers, are graded on their students’ grades and IMHO unreasonably graded on the standardized tests. Don’t get me started on that one. :soapbox:
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Re: Loser's Town Question #16 ~ Pressure

Unread postby deppaura » Thu Apr 30, 2009 3:26 pm

I guess if you are in a job or profession you truly "love" then you can better handle the pressure. Your purpose is sound. For some reason I am thinking of Star Chefs, people who deal in food. They talk about the love for what they do helping them get through the tough times. Of course there are different personality types. So important, or should I say lucky to find that perfect fit. It still doesn't stop conditions outside your control but maybe gives you better grounding and motivation in handling that stress. There seems to be good and bad pressure. A certain pressure results in creativity. It seems to me that Johnny is level enough to surround himself with good support to help endure the pressure. Family comes to mind.

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Re: Loser's Town Question #16 ~ Pressure

Unread postby gemini » Thu Apr 30, 2009 8:38 pm

I agree with everyone's point about most jobs are stressful because we all want to succeed. As for the Bobby Dye's of the world, I think being an actor can be stressful because much of the film is out of your hands. Your best performance could end up on the cutting room floor and someone else calls the shots. If the film flops the press usually blame the star power for not pulling it off. Your next job offer can be based on your last performance and you have to hope that someone else sees what you were trying to make come to life. When the reviews come out you must have thick skin. I have seen films I thought were good get terrible reviews because they didn't appeal to the writer. I sure don't have the temperament it would take to put myself out there or wait for the critique.
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Re: Loser's Town Question #16 ~ Pressure

Unread postby DeppInTheHeartOfTexas » Thu Apr 30, 2009 10:28 pm

Good point about the cutting room floor, gemini. That kind of goes along with what I was thinking about politicians. One sentence gone wrong or taken out of context and the opposition and the press are all over it.
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Re: Loser's Town Question #16 ~ Pressure

Unread postby nebraska » Fri May 01, 2009 12:01 am

Most of us can think of actors that were hot.....and now they're not, flash in the pan, here today and gone tomorrow. And not all of it was because they were bad actors.......all sorts of things can cause a career to go sour, from a weak script to lousy editing. But the "star" is probably the one with the most to lose if a movie fails. One bad movie could mean he ends up at a premiere asking the people waiting in line if they want an autograph. (DITHOT, that story haunts me. That is just tragic and sad!)

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Re: Loser's Town Question #16 ~ Pressure

Unread postby DeppInTheHeartOfTexas » Fri May 01, 2009 7:43 am

It was pretty creepy, nebraska! :-/
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Wow! What a ride!

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Re: Loser's Town Question #16 ~ Pressure

Unread postby deppaura » Fri May 01, 2009 5:46 pm

Been thinking about Whitcomb (question 13) versus Bobby, in the same world, but how differently they handle the "pressure", the difference in their personalities and motivations. Two guys in the same world, different views.

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Re: Loser's Town Question #16 ~ Pressure

Unread postby DeppInTheHeartOfTexas » Fri May 01, 2009 8:36 pm

deppaura wrote:Been thinking about Whitcomb (question 13) versus Bobby, in the same world, but how differently they handle the "pressure", the difference in their personalities and motivations. Two guys in the same world, different views.


Maybe a different perspective due to age and experience as well?
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Wow! What a ride!

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Re: Loser's Town Question #16 ~ Pressure

Unread postby Liz » Sat May 02, 2009 12:22 am

deppaura wrote:Been thinking about Whitcomb (question 13) versus Bobby, in the same world, but how differently they handle the "pressure", the difference in their personalities and motivations. Two guys in the same world, different views.

I thought about it a lot as I was reading it too. I was surprised at Whitcomb's point of view and his willingness to admit it. But I think his point of view is only natural.
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Re: Loser's Town Question #16 ~ Pressure

Unread postby suec » Sun May 03, 2009 8:12 am

Liz wrote:I agree with all of you that there is a certain amount of stress in every job, and that some people (like myself) put more pressure on themselves than others. And Johnny seems to be one who seems to handle the pressure very well.

The jobs that I think equate to the type of stress that Bobby feels are jobs where one's success is not necessarily based on one's performance but heavily dependent on factors out of one's control. Examples would be the two listed so far—politicians & physicians. In the case of physicians, they can do their very best, but people will still die. Another example would be sales or management. A manager is graded on the performance of his employees. And as DITHOT pointed out, teachers, are graded on their students’ grades and IMHO unreasonably graded on the standardized tests. Don’t get me started on that one. :soapbox:


Liz, I agree with so much of what you said here. I remember once upon a time being told that the difference between pressure and stress comes down to whether the person affected perceives the pressure as being something they can handle. It's when they can't, that it becomes stress. My own experience of it is that I feel stress when I perceive things as being beyond my control, or when I am put in a reactive situation rather than a proactive one. I just hate that and cope very badly with it. I also think, having experience of that, that the "burden of responsibility" brings a shocking amount of pressure. The description of Bobby is something I am fairly familiar with, though I don't have multi-million dollar movies resting on my shoulders. It does come down to the person's nature too and whether a person puts pressure on themselves. Being a perfectionist or caring a lot brings its own pressures. And some are prone to being vulnerable to pressure than others. It's also a question of how naturally calm a person is and what coping mechanisms they have.

Funny that this question should come up. This week, I have been coming to terms with the demands of my employers, which is why I haven't been here for a few days. I have to say I identify more with Bobby than I did. I too indulged in futile gestures of rebellion.
Last edited by suec on Mon May 04, 2009 6:41 am, edited 1 time in total.
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