I had an assistant who is a performance artist. A bright young man who graduated from a prestigious art school, I’d pinned some hopes on him going forward. I was hoping he’d help me bring the program to the next stage, help me expand to new venues, possibly run a workshop himself.
It disappointed me that he never replied to any of the short emails I sent him. I’d send him a promo, or a pitch, and there would be silence. He worked well in the workshop, and I paid him $40 for what looked like a good time, and towards future work together.
I thought to take him aside at the last session and hit him with a quick hypothetical:
You’re doing a show, and several friends are in the house, and at the end there is no applause, only silence. Afterwards you ask your friends why they didn’t applaud and they say, impatiently “we all know how talented you are, the show was great, why do you need our validation?”
I thought it would be a good way to make him hip to the sorrow of that persistent silence.
He had the last word, though; he never showed up for the final session. Nor did I get so much as a tweet from him.
I guess he really wasn’t the guy I was looking for.