Why People Create Drama and Chaos in Their Lives and What They Can Do Instead

A Preface for This Theory

For the last 4.5 years, I’ve been living and working in New York City. I work as a BackGround (BG) actor aka “extra”. You see the people in the BackGround of a TV show or movie? The couples at the restaurant, the friends at the coffeehouse, the pedestrians crossing the street? Yes? Well, you’ve probably seen me.

I laid in a fake cooler as a “stand-in” for a dead body for the show “Forever”. Am I claustrophobic. Yes, slightly. Was the cooler fake? Yes. It looked real. The back area of the cooler, near my feet, was just a curtain. Thank God.

A fellow actress summed it up well when she said: “I cross the street for a living.” Our job as BG actors is simple: show up, shuttup on set, be obedient. We show up to work. We shuttup on set. (The principle actors are mic’ed, we pantomime.) We obey the instructions of the PA (Production Assistants) as they tell us what to do … “go now” (cross the street).

Is this after school detention? No, it’s just holding.

For hours at a time, BG actors sit in “holding” (location where BG actors situate themselves between filming scenes). Holding is usually a church basement or church itself (in the pews) as they are empty during the week. Imagine after school detention meets summer camp for people of all ages meets a low security mental ward meets high school cafeteria and you’ll get an idea of holding. Sitting in holding and witnessing human behavior is what led me to this theory of “Why People Create Drama and Chaos in Their Lives and What they Can Do Instead”.

Holding as a petri dish of human emotions

I noticed that, generally speaking, there are a two groups of BG actors in holding.

The dedicated actors

This group spends time pouring over scripts, learning lines, practicing their lines with other actors, reading books on acting, typing their screenplays with their portable keyboards to their iPad or tablet, and making the most of their free time.

The bitter background, the backwash

These BG actors spend hours bitching about everything. Everything is a complaint. They’re usually led by some domineering angry female and her hunched-over army of white knights.

These BG actors have the simplest, most easiest job in the world. Show up, shuttup, be obedient. They have hours of free time to watch educational videos, watch NetFlix, Hulu, Amazon, YouTube, Vimeo videos, watch from hundreds of documentaries. They have hours of free time to read books and learn something they can put to use. They have hours of free time to write their screenplay, novel, draw up a storyboard for their movie idea. But what do they do? Bitch and moan and complain.

This was a set for “Members Only”, a TV show or movie, in upstate New York. This was the last night of filming in NY, as it was moving to California the next day. This was the back porch, with a swimming pool nearby, of a large house, with beautiful views of a golf course out back.

Cannibals versus Creators
These complainers are the cannibals. They are timeworms. They wiggle their way into the apple of your time and leave an empty spot. They are energy vampires. They are parasites.

These dedicated actors, or people who have some kind of passion, are the creators. They offer value to the world by adding value to their own life, through education and action, then adding value to the lives of others with their creation — movie, song, books, art, etc.

The Reason Why People End up as Cannibals
The Reason Why People Create Drama and Chaos in Their Lives

The reason why people create drama and chaos in their lives is this: They have not discovered and uncovered their passion. They have not discovered “what get’s them lit”. Because they have not discovered their passion, they have no purpose. Because they have no purpose, they are bored.

This boredom frustrates them to no end, so they do things that will prevent boredom and add excitement to their life.

They complain. They bitch. They moan. They see a crack on the sidewalk and fall into it and pretend it’s the Grand Canyon. They demand a helicopter arrive to save them from the crack. They major in the minors.

They create chaos and drama in order to add excitement into their life. Why? Because their lives are mundane and boring and predictable. And the drama and chaos they create brings that spark of excitement and unpredictability into their lives.

These cannibals want the same thing as creators — to have a life that’s interesting, unpredictable, exciting, maybe a bit dangerous and uncomfortable at times. They yearn for the feeling that “having a life like this” will bring them. However, they go about it the wrong way — by creating drama and chaos. Why? Because they’ve never discovered what “get’s them lit”. Until they do, they will remain cannibals, and the only thing they will leave in their wake is chaos, drama, and confusion, additional residue for them to look back towards and complain about.

Me on set of “Member’s Only”. Playing a preppy guy at a party. LOL.

What They Can Do Instead

The cannibals, the chaos-creators, the drama kings and drama queens, can ameliorate their behavior and change it altogether simply by discovering their own passion, their own purpose for living.

Everyone, you included, has a gift. Your main action ought to be determining what that gift is, and then asking yourself how you would like to use that gift, in order to add value to your life and add value to the lives of others.


Personally, I enjoy writing. Two years ago, I wrote a novel, ‘the rails’. I’ve written a few ebooks, some screenplays, and a musical.

Recently, I completed a screenplay that I’m super-excited about. ‘jordy’ tells the story of a homeless girl who roams the abandoned areas of New York City. I’m reading books on storyboarding and I plan to storyboard the entire screenplay. Riding the subways of New York City and Brooklyn and exploring these places excites me, and writing screenplays, is a natural outpouring from these experiences. So, writing is one of my passions.

What is your passion?

Find out.

If you do not know what your passion is, send an email, a text, or call ten people that you know. Ask them: “What do you think it is that I’m good at, that I have a natural inclination towards? And what do you think I can do with that, to add value to my life and the lives of others.”

Educate yourself.

There is a plethora of free resources online. Simply Google them. YouTube search your interest. You can learn online.

Grab the tools necessary to make your passion happen. For me, it’s a laptop. And tea. Sometimes, coffee. And it’s a keyboard, too.

Make the most of your time by discovering your passion, honing your passion, befriending others who are passionate, and taking action, immediate action to make your dreams real.

You can do it. Onward!

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