Wednesday, November 26, 2008

What I am thankful for

Every hack newspaper columnist in America will write a column about what they're thankful for this Thanksgiving season. Not to be outdone, and because I couldn't think of anything better to write, here's the list of things I'm thankful for...

Ben Silverman...If it wasn't for you and your gross incompetence, I wouldn't have material for a good 20 percent of my postings. Good luck with that Rosie O'Donnell variety show. It can't do any worse in that time slot than Knight Rider.

Spherion...My main pimps. I'm on pace to make $20k this year, and I can thank them for about $12k of it.

YouTube...For having any music video I want, any time I want. On that note, how about some Ratt.

My co-worker...For just saying the dumbest thing ever. God, I wish I could tell you. But then my cover might be blown. Just laugh for about the next half hour. It'll accomplish the same thing.

Warner Bros TV...For always having leftovers from the weekly staff meetings. But please speed these meetings up. All your assistants are hungry.

Canon...For making copiers that don't jam. Did I just say that? Ugh. I've been temping too long.

It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia...For proof that sitcoms aren't dead, they just need strong writing, interesting characters and funny stories. Hmmm. What a novel idea!

Hunter S. Thompson...For teaching me that writing drunk is a skill that requires a lot of practice.

Mac...For developing an operating system that doesn't crash while running a virus scan.

That prick who robbed me...For not shooting me.

Dog X...For keeping my feet warm.

Bill Fox...For offering the best advice ever for an aspiring comedy writer, "Think of all the people you know and make fun of them."

Brick Tamland...No reason. Ok, maybe a couple reasons.

Hollywood Executives...For being oblivious to your own idiocy.

You...If it weren't for you, my loyal fans, I'd be writing this blog any way, making no money and...wait a second....Screw you guys! You've done nothing but sponge off me...Fine, I'll let it go.

Me...For just being my normal, self-absorbed genius.

Happy Thanksgiving! Oh, and if you're a Temp, you won't get paid for these days off.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

See yesterday's posting

I still feel the same way today, especially after reading this article from Variety.

On the plus side, my unemployment check came through yesterday. At least I won't have to deal trying to get through to a EDD rep when the shit really hits the fan.

Monday, November 24, 2008

An Open Letter To SAG

Federally-mediated talks between the Screen Actors Guild and AMPTP (the producers) broke down this weekend after contract negotiations failed. Rather than revisit the discussion, SAG is lining up to authorize a strike vote.

Temp X is none too pleased with this turn of events. So following is an open letter to SAG. If you don't agree, start your own blog.

Dear SAG Leadership:

You're a bunch of Jackasses.

That felt good. Everyone repeat along with me.

You're a bunch of Jackasses.

Ok, now I'll explain why.

We're less than a year removed from the WGA strike that put a lot of us on unemployment and you've decided it might be time to strike again.

I'm not a member of your union. I'm not an actor nor do I ever care to be one. So you probably don't care what I have to say. But I can assure you that all your assistants do. All the people who answer your agent's phone and manage their schedules do. All the people who read the breakdowns (that's industry speak for possible work), get you resies at The Farm and make sure your latte has Splenda and not Equal do.

There's no union for Temps and Assistants in Hollywood. Our job stability is balanced on a tripod of our hard work, the economy and labor relations. And you're looking to break a leg when one is already very wobbly.

There are hundreds of thousands of people who rely on this industry to put food in their dog bowl (for their dog, we just eat the leftovers from staff meetings), get quarters for their laundry and pay for the cheap beer.

You did nothing for nearly four months (or 29% on the Dow Jones if that helps). Now you're in the worst possible bargaining position and decide it's time to play hard ball? This is logic you'd normally associate with the Bush administration. But you've apparently co-opted it. Bad decision.

May I make a simple suggestion. Review the agreements from AFTRA, the DGA, the WGA and just photocopy them and sign. If it's good enough for them, it's good enough for you. Need I remind you that TV viewership in the delicious 18-49 demo is down 13% from last year in no small part thanks to the Writers' strike. Ratings declines means fewer ad dollars, smaller pay checks and fewer jobs. If ratings go any lower, you'll all be replaced by dramatic prairie dog and I'll have to go back to work for a mutual fund company.

No one wants that. Please settle this dispute now.

Happy Monday,
Temp X

Thursday, November 20, 2008

And now Maya Angelou with the traffic report

So I'm on my way home yesterday and who should I see with her arm extended and thumb pointed skyward, but periodic contributor to the Hollywood Temp Diaries and national treasure Maya Angelou.

I wasn't in much of a mood to write last night. But lucky for me, Maya was. Trapped on I-10 between 26th Street and La Cienega she began to scribble furiously in her note pad. When I dropped her off at her destination (which was curiously near the Pleasure Chest), she handed me what she'd written. "It's the least I could do," she said. What a woman.


12 lanes slicing though
Culver City
Bisecting sprawl from
I dream of being home
On the couch,
Watching Jeopardy!
Potent Potables for $1600.

The Christopher Columbus Highway
Jacksonville is 3500 miles hence

At our current
15 days with no stops
even for
or Lodging.
Barely faster than Horatio Nelson Jackson did in 1903.

Horns are useless instruments of noise. I wish there were
Noise Statutes. Right Danny?
I blame
His moustache,
Non-existent methane pockets and
Special interests.
Killing the
Subway to the Sea

How low can the speedometer go? Is the engine
A traffic jam for what?
A Clippers game!
Nothing makes sense in Hollywood.
It never will.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

What temp agencies SHOULD test you on

Temp Pimps put every candidate -- regardless of education or work experience -- through a battery of needless tests before sending them to their John. Know how to format a spreadsheet for the Mexican Peso? 5 points. Can you run a macro on MS Word? 5 more. Figure out where the error is in the following and you might be worth of tempdom...

$ cat main1.c
=pragma CCOD:script no
int main(

int argc, char** argv )
printf("Temping Rules!\n");
return 0;
$ chmod +x main1.c
s ./main1.c

The fact is you don't these skills as a Hollywood Temp. Your Pimp should test you only on the skills below, as they are totally demeaning or create the illusion that you're busy (thus helping you avoid the demeaning work). Learning how to sublimate your anger helps too.

Furniture Transport and Arrangement -- This skill requires the strength of Hercules, the speed of Mercury and the balance of a Flying Wallenda. Here's the test, it's 10 minutes until the staff meeting and you need to move 50 chairs into a conference room that's only designed for 25 (per the Burbank Fire Code). Think you're good at Tetris. Here's your chance to put it to the test.

Email Refresh -- Ever since potential employers started requesting interviews by email rather than calling, I've found my "Check My Inbox" click count has gone through the roof. Or perhaps it's a consequence of my desire for human contact? Temps need love too!! I probably checked my email 100 times yesterday. Can you top that count?

Web Looking -- There are more than 100 million websites. Assuming your work day offers you 32,400 seconds of computer-gazing inactivity, how many sites can you view during the allotted time? Are you the Usain Bolt of wasting time? Or, like convicted felon and U.S. Senator Ted Stevens, do you think the Internet is a series of tubes -- thus rendering any efforts to waste time...well...a waste of time.

Name that iTune -- Most assistants have iTunes installed on their computers. They usually play it to drown out the crying of the person one cubicle over. As for the test, set the play list to "Shuffle" and see how long until you can "Name that iTune." [Note: To add a degree of difficulty, only shuffle the following bands -- My Morning Jacket, Good Charlotte, Panic at the Disco and Taking Back Sunday -- and see if you can tell the difference.]

Predict the end of the print out -- If you know you're making 6 copies of a 118 pages script (one for your boss's office, one for your boss's home, one for the development exec, one for legal, one for the assistant's files and one back-up because someone's gonna forget their copy at Les Deux) that means you're printing 708 pages. High speed copiers are quick, so count along as each page spits out of the machine and turn around exactly when it's done. If you're wrong, start again. It's only a couple of trees you're killing.

Sergeant Hartman Drill -- Want an assignment at CAA? You'll first need to survive the a reenactment of this scene from Full Metal Jacket before qualifying for this $12/hr gig. Welcome to the Death Star Private Pyle. Drop and give me 20.

Monday, November 17, 2008

More crap coming soon to a theater near you

Hollywood movie execs have stopped trying to do anything creative, so I'm just gonna follow their lead. No witty repartee. No stories from my youth. Not even anything made up. Just a list of announced remakes soon coming to your multiplex.

(For a list of other remakes soon to be clogging your theaters, click here or here or here.)

Karate Kid -- Nepotism doesn't exist in Hollywood. So take comfort in knowing every actor, director or writer who gets a gig that you didn't is actually very talented. It has nothing (pause...Excuse me while I hold down some bile) to do with...who...they're...(gag) Anyway, Will Smith's kid is gonna play the lead in this needless remake. I'll say this, if 11-year old Jaden Smith can make the love story part convincing, maybe he deserves this role. But I doubt it.

The Warriors -- Proving that not all remakes come from the early 1980s, this 1979 martial arts cult classic is getting a spit polish courtesy of MTV Films and Tony Scott. I've never seen it, so I can't even offer some scathing analysis. Ok, just one. It'll suck.

Greatest American Hero -- "Look at what's happened to me. I can't believe it myself." I've become another Hollywood remake (I know, it used to be a TV show, but close enough). Sadly William Katt will be unable to join the cast as he's too busy reprising his role as Richard Sullivan in the direct-to-Cinemax classic Distant Cousins. Oh, and before you greenlight this, remember that Mystery Men lost $35 million and The Meteor Man and Blankman made only $8 million.

Footloose -- Metrosexual hero of the moment Zac Efron (sorry Ryan Seacrest, your throne has been usurped) is set to star in this remake of the 1984 Lori Singer vehicle. Will we soon play "6 degrees of Zac Efron?" Will Kenny Loggins resurface on the soundtrack? Nobody puts baby in a corner.

Friday, November 14, 2008

The Dreaded Christmas Cards

Do you hear that? It sounds a little like a whale's mating call but with more sniffling. That's the sound of Mom X and Dad X crying because of what I'm about to write.

My parents did their darnedest. They made sure my education was top notch. They moved to good school districts. They sent me to accelerated programs, SAT prep classes and the second best college in Chicago. They spent many nights helping me with math homework (until I got to Algebra 2, at which point they were useless). Heck, when my fifth grade class had a balsa wood bridge building contest, Dad X gave me book on roof trusses so I could learn about structural engineering. (FYI -- The bridge held 70 pounds and I came in second place).

But after all that education and preparation for the real world, reading volumes of books on urban development, German history and the Nixon administration, I've been reduced to to this tedious but critical skill in Hollywood -- mailing Christmas cards.

Trust me, I'm as sick about it as you. A couple years ago I worked for someone who mailed cards to 1,400 people. That's like sending a card to one out of four people in Wasilla, Alaska. It was a trying moment in my Hollywood "career." But like death, taxes and a new SAW movie every Halloween, Christmas cards are an unavoidable task for a Hollywood assistant.

Following are tips on ways to make this dark period of your life go by as quickly as possible. So turn on some music, relax, pour some whiskey in your coffee and dive in. It'll be over before you know it...

  • Use each field in the database for one item only (e.g., first name, city, zip). Do not combine the recipient's first name and last name into one data field (e.g., "Elisabeth" and "Hasselbeck" versus "Elisabeth Hasselbeck").
  • Make sure your mailing labels are big enough for all the address information. Avery 5260s (the ones your office is most likely to have) are usually good for four lines of information. So after putting in the person's name, title, company and street address, your label is full. Consider eliminating or consolidating non-critical information or getting different labels.
  • Don't lick each envelope. Instead, use a glue stick. This will prevent your tongue, breath and salivary glands from revolting against you. Before you seal the envelopes, make sure to cover your work area with paper (I prefer a thin cardboard). This will prevent your desk from getting covered with glue.
  • Use moisturizer. I know it sounds like that speech about using sunscreen, but I'm very serious. After handling a few hundred envelopes your finger tips dry up and are less likely to protect yourself from very painful paper cuts.
  • Show your boss a sample before you assemble all of them. Hollywood executives are a finicky bunch, so it's best to make sure they know exactly what it's gonna look like. Otherwise you'll end up doing this twice.
  • CAA moved to 2000 Avenue of the Stars a couple years ago. If anyone still has them at 9830 Wilshire, please update their contacts.

Now let us never speak of this posting again. My college diploma is laughing at me.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Meet the new mascot!!

The Hollywood Temp Diaries recently rolled out its official mascot -- Temp X. But I soon realized I didn't give it the introduction that such a momentous occasion deserves. So here's a little Q&A to answer any questions you might have regarding the newest member of the family...

Why did you make an official mascot?
Every Hollywood website has one. Heck even Perez Hilton has some ridiculously cartoonish character with pink hair who whores himself out to anything with a wallet. So I figured why not jump on this money train.

What do you plan on doing with it?
I plan on merchandising the hell out of it. $12/hr just barely covers rent and dog food (for Dog X, not me). Soon everyone in Hollywood living just above the poverty line will be wearing "Temp X" shirts ($79.95 + tax), drinking from "Temp X" coffee mugs ($49.95 + tax) and dining on my line of "Temp X" bagels ($34.95/dozen) stolen from craft services over at CBS Radford.

What inspired the design?
Temp X is a combination of the Pringles potato chip guy and the character from the Zoloft commercials. The rationale is that these two comprise the diet of the average Temp.

Am I missing something, or does Temp X have no arms?
Uh oh.

Is it an optical illusion, or are Temp X's ears crooked?
You are correct. This is based on an article from the Journal of Audiology about the adverse events resulting from spending too much time on the phone (e.g., rolling calls). To summarize, when you hold the phone to your head, your ear moves a little. Normally the skin's elasticity would recover and your ear would move back to its natural location. The problem is that telephone receivers emit a small percentage of high-frequency electromagnetic waves that can damage the skin's ability to bounce back (like when you run your underwear in the dryer too many times). Over time and/or through concentrated usage, the elasticity of the skin around the ear can be damaged to the point that the ear will actually sag.

Is the mascot male or female?
All Temps and Hollywood assistants are emotionally and spiritually neutered by virtue of their job rendering this question impossible to answer.

What happened to the cow or whatever the other one was?
The Shaven Yak got hired as an executive at NBC. He has everything they're looking for, an empty head, plastic features and no understanding of what makes for good television.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

NBC: Where logic goes to die

..."I can't imagine doing this with somebody else...We're not judging Ben by ratings, and I'd rather be a more profitable No. 2 or 3 than a less profitable No. 1."
Jeff Zucker, NBC Universal President & CEO
Fortune (10/27/08)

I know I've goofed on Ben Silverman a couple times (28 to be precise). And he deserves a lot of blame for the failures at NBC, but the above quote illustrates he's not the only nincompoop over in Universal City. Jeff Zucker, you're about to get yours.

Before everyone gets in a hissy, I understand that NBC is part of GE. I know publicly-traded companies must produce for shareholders each quarter. Maybe balance sheet issues dictate this strategy (or performance clauses in their contracts)? And I'm certainly not so naive as to ignore that it's "Show Business" rather than "Show Non-Profitness." But Zucker's statement illustrates exactly the problem at NBC -- a focus on short-term profitability versus an urgency or focus on returning to #1.

So which is the better approach? Is it best to produce a profitable show with 2nd or 3rd place appeal? Or is it better to develop shows that cost a little more (assuming such things are mutually exclusive) but deliver in the ratings? Consider the following:

1. Higher-rated shows beget higher ad rates. Higher ad rates beget a more eager ad sales department (commissions & bonuses are fun!). A more eager ad sales department begets more ad sales. And more ad sales beget more money.

2. A top-rated show can bolster the ratings of those around them. As proof I offer Veronica's Closet. This show, which could easily be described as crap, succeeded because of its lead ins (Seinfeld during season 1, Fraiser in season 2). It became a Top 10 staple (commanding higher ad rates, bringing in more money, see step 1). Then it moved from Thursday to Monday, was surrounded by average programming and its ratings fell off a cliff.

3. Shows that only do ok in the ratings (like second or third place in their time slot) typically don't last as long as those that do well (duh!). The long-term success of a show can deliver huge dollars as the show advances in age. Need an example? The series finale for Friends got more than $2 million for each 30 second spot and drew 51 million people.

4. The Price of Turnover isn't free. Finding successful TV programs is not easy. Even good shows fail (see Arrested Development). But why make things harder by being satisfied with average but profitable shows? Average shows have a shorter life expectancy. This means you have to replace it (unless you're the CW and decide to sell the time instead). Every time a show fails you start the development process again. You're gonna have to take pitch meetings, deal with agents, negotiate contracts, build the sets, hire staff and all that other stuff that ain't free. Methinks it's easier just to give the stars a raise than deal with the rest of this.

5. Let's role play. You're a successful producer, actor or writer. One day Steve McPherson and Ben Silverman both call and give you the same offer for your services. Do you pick the network that offers you the best chance of success through better lead-in programming and a larger total audience? Or do you go to the network that's routinely in fourth place.

6. Syndication may be dying, but it ain't dead yet. Just ask the folks at 20th Television who are gonna make $350 million from "How I Met Your Mother" I know NBC and NBC Universal Television Studios (the best acronym ever...N.U.T.S.) are different entities, but they're both run by Ben Silverman. Better shows (not just more profitable ones) make more episodes. More episodes mean you've got critical mass for syndication.

But what do I know? I'm an unemployed Temp.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Il Festival di d'Arte Cinematografica di Assurdita' -- The Winners

Since the only things left are a vat of popcorn "butter" and former Chicago Tribune movie critic Michael Wilmington, it is my honor to announce the conclusion of the first annual Il FACA film festival. The Board of Governors and the Selection Committee are extremely grateful to all those who participated, but as with any competition there can only be one winner. So without any further delay, may I present to you....

The Winner of the Foglio della Presenze Dorato and recipient of a $50 iTunes gift card which has been sitting on my kitchen counter since I got it in lieu of an actual job...

by Josh W.
60 Frames Productions

First runner-up and winner of a knock-off Nalgene water bottle from Warner Bros. Office of Corporate Responsibility goes to...

by Hobie T.
Orrazib Productions

Second runner-up and winner of an official movie poster for SPEED RACER (which grossed $93 million worldwide on a $120 million budget) goes to...

LIFE OR DEATH [Note: Alex has taken his movie down from YouTube.]
by Alex F.

Thanks again to everyone who participated. Below is certificate that recognizes you as a "SELEZIONE UFFICIALE." Feel free to print it out on really nice paper and frame it. It'll make you look important, which is all that matters in Hollywood.

Il Faca Certificate
Get your own at Scribd or explore others:

Friday, November 7, 2008

Cheap Movie Rentals

Unemployment is at a 14-year high. The stock market is rapidly circling the inside of the U.S. economic toilet bowl. And George Bush has another 74 days in office until Obama can immediately turn everything around. Times are tight. Too tight to even rent a movie for a moment of escapism, right? Maybe not.

Due to the popularity of my "Catching a Movie for Cheap" posting, I now have cheap places to rent movies. The crack research staff at the Hollywood Temp Diaries has scoured everything between Fairfax High and The Grove to find inexpensive movie rentals. And remember, you can write off those rental fees on your taxes. Just call it "professional development." Of course that assumes the Federal Government hasn't already seized your property in a socialist takeover and taxes are just a distant memory. Good luck!

Work at CAA (2000 Avenue of the Stars, Century City) -- The Death Star has hundreds of movies on their intranet. For what purpose, I'm not sure. NMP. And to think, they blocked Yahoo! Mail because they think you'll waste too much time on it. Show your boss which is the bigger time suck, have some fun and watch Titanic. Three hours and 14 minutes later you'll all but forget why your boss threw a stapler at you. SPOILER ALERT: THE BOAT SINKS.

Los Angeles Public Libraries (multiple locations) -- Nothing says fun on the cheap more than free movie rentals. All you need is a library card and the patience to deal with government workers and a smattering of homeless. But the payoff is spectacular. They have thousands of movies to choose from and a lot of them are good.

Beverly Hills Library (444 N Rexford, Beverly Hills) -- Same thing as L.A. libraries, but in true Beverly Hills fashion, they make you pay to rent the movies.

Hulu -- The perfect site for your inner Roger Corman. Hulu, which is Chinese for "Legal YouTube," offers the a great collection of B-movies and straight to DVD cinematic fare. Wanna watch Hercules in New York or the 1972 Tom Selleck vehicle Daughters of Satan? Or perhaps you've been craving something with Dirk Benedict. You're in luck as they have Body Slam which also stars famed midget Billy Barty and Match Game panelist Charles Nelson Reilly. Hulu also offers something they think is interesting and I find dumb, clips of real movies like Dazed and Confused, X-Men and Animal House.

Amoeba -- If you're making the big bucks (more than $12/hr), you probably want to splurge every once in a while and go to the theater. I have a better solution, go to Amoeba (6400 W. Sunset Blvd) and buy a new or used movie on DVD. It's less than a ticket at the Arclight, and when you're done, you can make copies and sell them to friends.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

The Reject's Guide to Unemployment

Having worked only five days in the last three weeks, Temp X decided today to file for unemployment. This is actually the second time this year your hero has done so (grrr..writers strike). The truth is the job market has dried up due to a bad economy complicated by the yet-to-be-resolved SAG negotiations.

As a public service to everyone out there who will soon join Temp X on the unemployment lines, the Hollywood Temp Diaries offer you a rundown of what to expect while filing for your government issued handout...

1:15 p.m. -- A Google search for the phone number using the keywords "'Employment Development Department' Hollywood" results in 9,180 hits. Hopefully this isn't some sort of evil trick on behalf of the State to confuse me out of my money.

1:22 p.m. -- I find the web page that offers instructions M.C. Escher would be proud of --

1:22:05 p.m. -- A perusal indicates no actual phone number, but I can apply online. As I recall, it's actually a lot easier than talking to someone (go figure). Sadly this ease is short lived.

1:26 p.m. -- I look up the requirements for unemployment. They are particularly vague. For anyone wondering here are the rules. Let's see if I qualify...

To be entitled to benefits you must be:

  • Out of work due to no fault of their own. (Nailed it!! Lucky for me it doesn't say "Out of work...but you can't blame those idiots at SAG for screwing around for the last six months.")
  • Physically able to work. (I just showered, so that's a 'Yes.')
  • Actively seeking work. (I'm gonna assume "For the last 2 1/2 years" counts as "Actively.")
  • Ready to accept work. (I'm gazing lovingly at my phone. That qualifies, right?)
1:39 p.m. -- I go to the instructions page. Everything is in very tiny print. As I'm not wearing my glasses, I click the button I can read "I accept these conditions." I probably should have read the conditions. But realistically, what could they take from me?

1:40 p.m. -- Three easy "Yes/No" questions. Cool. I'll be done in no time.

1:41 p.m. -- Dammit. It appears because I applied for Unemployment in the last 12 months, I have to call. Grrr.

1:43 p.m. -- The URL for my denial is As I'm a bit sensitive about my current employment status, I only hope that the "Reject" portion of the address is a verb and not a noun.

1:45 p.m. -- I now have all the phone numbers. And because I am so magnanimous, I shall share them with all of you.

EDD Telephone Numbers

English 1-800-300-5616

Spanish 1-800-326-8937

Cantonese 1-800-547-3506

Mandarin 1-866-303-0706

Vietnamese 1-800-547-2058

TTY (Non voice) 1-800-815-9387

1:46 p.m. -- I wonder why "Cantonese," Mandarin" and "Vietnamese" are not written in the characters of their respective languages. Something smells funny here.

1:47 p.m. -- Dog X needs to go to the bathroom. (That wasn't what smelled funny.) I've been at this for 33 minutes and resolved nothing.

1:55 p.m. -- Dog X is a few pounds lighter. I saw my celebrity neighbor while I was out. He's a lead on a network comedy and no, it's not Charlie Sheen. I wonder if his show is hiring.

1:57 p.m. -- I call California unemployment. It's a strangely comfortable moment, like putting on an old sweatshirt or drinking that same cheap beer you did in college.

1:58 p.m. -- I press "1" because I speak English (which I thought was the point of dialing the "English" number). I will not fall victim to their mind games, or will I?

2:00 p.m. -- I enter my Social Security Number over a phone line that is certainly being monitored through though the NSA's warrantless wiretapping provision. Someone now has 12 credit cards and a sub-prime mortgage in my name.

2:02 p.m. -- The robotic voice (or was it Cindy McCain?) asks me how much unemployment would pay me per week if I were to receive it. Stephen Hawking has a better chance of solving the Grand Unification Theory first. They're messing with my head.

2:03 p.m. -- Unable to answer the question, I return to the phone queue and am immediately told, "Due to a high volume of calls we are unable to help you at this time. Please call back later." I thought 2 p.m. on a Wednesday was a good time to call. I will try calling the Spanish line.

2:07 p.m. -- My broken Spanish gets me past the phone tree (Senor Jurado would be so happy to know his teaching paid off). The computer voice warns me I have a 7 minutes wait time. I start to enjoy Musak's quasi-funk.

2:13 p.m. -- The music ends. The phone rings once. Then silence. I'm waiting until some one talks to me or I get a dial tone. Plus I have nothing else to do.

2:15 p.m. -- Someone talks!! She's a real person and her name is Sonya. Se begins to speak to me in Spanish. I respond by immediately telling her "Good Afternoon." She says "Hello."

2:17 p.m. -- Sonya offers a sobering economic outlook by simply saying, "I've been working a lot of overtime."

2:25 p.m. -- After answering a the same "Yes/No" questions as before, I'm approved! Back on unemployment. I'll get about $6/hr. California state minimum wage is $8/hr. They've duped me but for some reason I appreciate it. Just don't ask me to whitewash a fence.

Monday, November 3, 2008

When Bad Ideas Happen to Good People

I'm afraid it's come to this. After 3 1/2 years of failure in Hollywood I've attempted the worst "Discover Me!!!" strategy in show business history. What I did Friday is so embarrassing, so absurd and so sad that I'm almost too ashamed to admit it. But the alternate topic (a musical number for High School Musical 4: I Flunked Calculus) was way more dull, so you're stuck with this.

Please do not laugh. Do not chortle, chuckle or giggle. I will neither accept a snicker nor a guffaw. Even a polite "tee hee" will be frowned upon.

"So what did Temp X do?" you ask. "Sleeping your way to the top isn't that bad. People do it all the time."

I should be so lucky. No, I...I used...Facebook. And here's how...

Armed with a list of major network development executives, I searched the social networking site to see which of them had Facebook pages. For each network suit that did, I would send them an invitation to be my "friend" with a note saying:
"Being a temp in Hollywood sucks. Read my blog and feel better about yourself."
You're thinking, "That's a terrible idea. What could you possibly thing this would lead to?"

In my own warped world I believed the following would happen:
  1. With their curiosity piqued, the network executive would accept online friendship from someone named Temp X and immediately begin reading my blog. (Perfectly logical so far, right?)
  2. Three hours and 74 postings later, the executive decides they love my material/voice/grammar so much that they must have me.
  3. In whirlwind of agents, lawyers, lunches at Nobu and nosey calls from Variety, I get signed to a seven-figure development deal.
  4. I have a show on the air by Fall 2009.
  5. I show off at my high school reunion (and hope they don't know another alum is making a movie with Spielberg).
I feel dirty. I've resorted to online telemarketing to get discovered. I'm Ron Popeil. I'm the person who wanders the Third Street Promenade with a clipboard asking you to join organizations that make Greenpeace look like Haliburton. This is the lowest point in my Hollywood "career."

My non-Hollywood friends often ask me how long until I give up on my show biz aspirations. Two years? Three years? I respond by saying I'm not setting a time frame, but I'll know when it's time to give up. I fear I've put the first nail in the coffin of my Hollywood adventure.

One a side note, I recently received the largest one-week paycheck since moving here. Net total...$599.41.