How to maintain professionalism with co-workers, even if they include the most powerful man on daytime television

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People relate to celebrities about as well as they do to hundred dollar bills thrown into the middle of the road. No matter how stupid they end up looking, grasping to touch, grab or even breathe the same air, they will undoubtedly run straight into traffic to get their grubby hands on them.

So, naturally, while working in an industry which churns out stars faster than Becel pumps out tubs of margarine, I realized if I continued to pursue a career in the entertainment industry, I would eventually run into a celebrity co-worker in some form or another. I just didn’t think that I would run into them, literally.

yronairAs “celeb proof” as I claim to be, even I have trouble maintaining my professionalism when I’m looking at someone whose job description includes walking red carpets. On one of my first days on the set of The Young and the Restless at CBS Studios in Los Angeles, I was running around trying to deliver about a thousand scripts to the various departments and actors involved with the next day’s filming.

There are two stages at which The Young and the Restless tapes, so naturally there are two different doors with which to enter the “booth” (the booth is where people such as the lighting team, director, production assistant, technical director and executive producers sit).

Trying to be the knowledgeable intern that I was, I chose to use the door from the sound stage that was not in use and proceeded to make my way through the many sliding doors, when who should bust through the other door directly in front of me but Eric Braeden.

For those of you who don’t watch The Young and the Restless, Eric Braeden plays Victor Newman, the most powerful man in Genoa City and quite possibly even daytime television.

Seriously, the only rule I was told when I was an intern at CBS was to never – and I mean ne-ver – knock on dressing room 43D. Who does dressing room 43D belong to? Well that would be Eric Braeden, the man who has played the most important character, on the longest-running soap opera in the world, for about as long as I’ve been alive.

yrchairSo, Mr. Braden was walking in front of me, which was stressful enough because if he slowed down I ran the risk of literally bumping into him, and if he walked too fast then I’d have to open the door to the booth before it’s actually closed, which again would cause a rupture in the seamless movement of the greatest man on daytime TV, not to mention the taping of the show.

Somehow I managed to pace myself better than the Energizer Bunny in a triathlon, get through the sliding door and drop off my last script at the executive producer’s desk without disturbing Mr. Braeden’s personal space. At this point in time, I found myself faced with an important decision: either introduce myself to Mr. Braeden or turn around immediately and run the risk of him maybe noticing me scamper out of the booth to safety.

Take note interns: when you find yourself in this situation, whether it’s with a celebrity or not, either compose yourself enough to impress the pants off the person in question with a firm handshake and a logical sentence, or immediately do a 180 and sprint out of the area.

kateyr
Kate on the set of The Young and the Restless

I chose neither and decided it would be better to meander around with one of the producers until Mr. Braeden was done searching for whatever it was that he went in there for. Yes, that’s correct, I waited for the biggest star in daytime television to stand up and look directly at me before I blurted out some incoherent, grammatically incorrect phrase about being the new Canadian intern at large, which I can only assume he heard as I ran past him and out the exit door.

Well done, me. Instead of taking this opportunity to prove that interns can be professional, smart and intriguing people, I choose to perpetuate the stereotype that we’re all bumbling idiots intimidated by “celeb status.” What I should have done, and what I did a couple of days later, was stop, compose myself, take a breath and introduce myself properly.

Lesson learned: never be afraid to introduce yourself to co workers, even if they have their own fancy dressing room.

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About the author

Kate Morawetz is a recent Media, Information and Technoculture graduate from the University of Western Ontario. She interned at various media gigs in Toronto and LA, before landing her current job at MTV Canada in the Series & Developments department and continues to write about life experiences, the ever present media and generally about things that interest her via her blog One Curly Fry in a Box Full of Regulars. A self proclaimed connoisseur of man-ponies slash creativity junkie, Kate has an eclectic musical taste and enjoys reading, long walks in wooded areas, photography, writing, dry white wines and a good spinach & strawberry salad.