My senior year of college was sent doing an independent study where I co-wrote, directed, and produced a television pilot with a partner named Ben. We spent hours upon hours upon hours working on the project and I consider it my thesis to Whitman as opposed to my actual thesis (a 25 page paper on the gender and genre constrictions that lead to the ultimate demise of Veronica Mars).
Once the pilot was finished, Ben submitted it to the two television film festivals in the nation; one in LA and one in New York. (I will write more about the actual pilot one day. The story that follows is less than serious)
We got into the Los Angeles International Film Festival and immediately made plans to go visit. We invited all of our major cast members to come down with us and were super excited. One of our leads, Alex, has a brother who is an actor down in LA and we both stayed with him for the festival. He was really great and drove us around and had zero problems dropping Alex and I off on Sunset Boulevard so that we could explore the area.
Right on Sunset, there’s a huge sign for the church of Scientology. Sure, it’s not Grauman’s Chinese Theatre but hey, it seemed exciting and there’s only so much you can do at Grauman’s in the afternoon.
I convinced Alex to walk over there with me. I mean, this is THE Hollywood Church of Scientology. That very sign could have turned Tom Cruise onto the money hungry religion. I had to see for myself.
Out front was a pretty girl sitting at a table surrounded by Dianetics books and a weird machine. There was a chair in front of the table and when I approached she asked me if I’d like to sit down.
Did I ever?!?!
She asked if I wanted to take their test and I eagerly agreed. She put two metal cylinders in my hands and told me to hold on tight. She then assured me I wouldn’t feel anything, which was a relief because this machine looked like an electroshock therapy device.
She then began to ask me questions and every time I would answer, she would watch the little dial. She asked why I was there and I told her about my television pilot and the festival. She asked about the making of it and whether it was nerve wracking to be attending a festival at such a young age.
As she got more and more frustrated (and as Alex stood there behind me and just looked on at this fiasco), her questions became increasingly personal. As someone who has never had a problem sharing personal details of my life, I answered confidently. Still, the dial wasn’t doing what she had expected. She was furious.
She finally gave it one last stab and asked me what I was stressed out about at that moment and I joked that I was worried her machine was broken. She didn’t think that was funny and sternly asked me to answer truthfully. So, I told her that the Los Angeles International Television Festival was a huge deal for me and I was nervous about how our pilot would be received at the showing the following evening.
She looked at the dial eagerly…
The lady was so exasperated, she finally gave up. She offered a DVD to me and encouraged me to leave. The cute, smiley, welcoming girl who had first greeted me had disappeared entirely. I might’ve been the only person to have sat down with her all day and it did not go as planned.
It wasn’t until recently that I looked into what Scientology really is. I obviously went to YouTube to uncover the mysteries.
After watching this hilarious video, I see now what she was looking for. Her machine is called an E-meter and was meant to detect Thetans. I, evidently, don’t have any. I had freed myself from Thetans. I am “clear” and must have a very high OT. I almost wonder if she thought she was being tricked by some higher ups in the Church. I have reached an OT level she could only dream of.
I am that awesome.
(The last night of my trip I went out in South LA with three Latino drag queens and met a drug dealer named Fernando who asked for my number and texted me flirtatious sweet nothings for a while. Good trip!)