Wednesday, March 4, 2009

What's Your Type?

It seems nowadays that everybody has taken some sort of personality test. Whether it was a career-oriented quiz given by your guidance counselor or a proficiency/placement exam you might have taken to 'find your perfect job,' you know what I'm talking about.

In the entertainment industry, it's much simpler as there seem to be just two types of people. For ease of reference, let's call them lines and squiggles.

Squiggles are the folks that most people associate with the entertainment industry. They have an almost pathological distaste for the rules of civil society. They are the more-than-fashionably-late, lampshade-wearing folks you don't introduce to the folks at your day job.

Lines are the people that you wouldn't figure are entertainers. They like goals and schedules and show up on time, whatever the commitment. If it weren't for their predilection for the arts, they might be extremely successsful and happy - but most likely, they are in a cubicle near you.

Squiggles say things like, "don't box me in," "it's for the art," and "you'll never know my pain" with wreckless abandon. Most of their sentences end with exclamation points.

Lines are more cautious and concerned about maintaining relationships. They try not to offend, grin and bear many awkward situations and seek to find common ground.

Lines are often irritated by squiggles, and squiggles hate lines. While squiggles seem to feel that lines dilute and weaken the arts, lines are often frustrated by the gaping voids of time and ancillary drama added by squiggles.

Both sides have valid points, but can't we all just get along?

If you haven't guessed yet, I'm more of a line than a squiggle. I have a day job and actively shield my co-workers from my extracurricular exploits, but I love the creative outlet of entertainment. I might actually be a third type - maybe a circle? - as I feel that I have significant traits of both. Not surprisingly, I prefer to work with lines and surprise them by acting like a squiggle.

However, in my experience, it is the mix that truly makes things work. Lines working with lines tend to produce films that are leaden and dull; squiggles working with squiggles make projects that never get done or are so 'heady' that only the individuals involved can enjoy them.

Squiggles and lines can bring a lot to a project when they work together: squiggles are unbridled and sometimes uncover new arenas to explore, and lines add balance, perspective and make sure the project actually gets produced.

I secretly suspect that apt lines (or 'circles') are more likely to get further ahead given their inclincation toward efficiency and the industry's surplus of squiggles. As I hinted in my last post, I've been facing a lot of distractions lately: in February, the major distraction was a month full of unbalanced squiggles. I might get into that more later - if I'm not too much of a line not to...

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