Money Talks


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Ew Gawd, I can't believe they make me listen to this shit.

Today I attended not one, but two scholarship orientation seminars. In this program, in order to apply for a scholarship you have to attend an orientation seminar. The first one was for general scholarships and the second one was for a scholarship specializing in comedy and my understanding was that both orientations were mandatory.

The first seminar was fairly basic: a description of the online application, a delineation of the deadlines, clarification about what materials could be submitted, etc. It was largely information that I was familiar with, but it was good to hear it all in one place. The second seminar was less about the application and more about the life of the scholarship’s namesake: Jack Oakie, a comedic actor from three same era as Charlie Chaplain. This seminar included a screening of Chaplain’s film “The Dictator” which I’d never seen before and was glad that I’d had the chance to see it on the big screen. I didn’t know anything about Jack Oakie either, so all in all it was an interesting and productive day. I quite enjoyed it.

I also hated it.

The problem with orientations is that half of the people who go to them already think that they know everything. They like to sit behind me and claim this loudly as if it helps them to save face for having to bow to the bureaucratic whim that forced them to attend in the first place. I do my best to ignore them, which is difficult and I make a mighty effort to not think less of them for it, which is virtually impossible.

No. I take that back: it actually IS impossible: at least for me.

I’m very sorry that someone demanded an hour or two of your time in exchange for considering you for a scholarship. I’m sorry you had to go to a seminar in order for someone to give you money, thousands of dollars of it, so you could go to classes that take place in a movie theater.  I’m very sorry that you’re so unbelievably gifted and savvy that it was a waste of your time to sit quietly and listen to some step by step instructions that us lesser mortals might need to apply for those scholarships that you, of course,already have in the bag. I’m so sorry that learning about the life and career of someone so successful that they are dispersing their leftover assets by funding student films is SO onerous to you that you won’t even sit through a completely free screening of one of their films without snark and whines.

GAH!

Leather up and learn how to take a goddamn windfall.

I don’t claim to be a genius. I don’t think that I’m better than any of this shit. And if I do, I try to at least keep my mouth shut and listen patiently. If I already know it then I can review it.  If I don’t know it then I might learn something. You know, because that’s why I’m there in the first place: to learn stuff.

It’s just good kung fu: mastery through practice, and I  happen to think that mastering the art of navigating bureaucracy and politics is worth learning without being snotty about it.

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~ by Gwydhar Gebien on January 31, 2015.

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