Monday, June 30, 2008

Interpreting a Job Posting

Congrats to the newly-minted class of 2008. Once you finish your post-college European backpacking trip (with a prolonged stop in Amsterdam -- wink wink), you'll need to get your ass a job. This can be a daunting task. For those pursuing a career in Hollywood, take special care because job postings out here look pretty much the same. This is why Temp X has interpreted a typical job posting for you. Look out for certain buzzwords because in Hollywood, no one ever says what they mean (except me).

Happy job hunting...
Individual (cog) will handle typical office duties (by typical, it's really atypical duties and things the EEOC would have a field day with) and must have outstanding administrative skills (no thinking, just doing) -- phones (push button, then talk), scheduling, note-taking, typing ("The quick brown fox jumped over the lazy Agent"), travel booking, etc. (pick up dry cleaning, plan parties you won't be invited to); must be proficient in the following software (because your boss isn't): Microsoft Outlook, Excel (won't need it), PowerPoint (won't need this either), Word; should be a super organized, highly efficient, professional, & trustworthy (boss has a mistress) self-starter who's eager to participate in development/production (this is the "Carrot" of which you will never taste) and able to complete tasks in a fast-paced (drug-addled) environment; should have common sense (ummmmm), thick skin (boss is a jerk) and sense of humor (so as to avoid crying). Production, agency, studio or network background is a plus. (former CAA assistants only)


Friday, June 27, 2008

Temp X discusses the troubled SAG negotiations

Neither Temp X nor his trusted sidekick Dog X want another strike in Hollywood. Following is a "Videtorial" (video editorial. pretty clever, eh?) on the subject.

[For an explanation as to how we got to this point, click here]

video

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Hollywood Dictionary -- Part 2

Hollywood operates at a breakneck speed. In fact, things happen so quickly that it took only 20 years to make the fourth "Indiana Jones" movie. Because of this pace, words and phrases are truncated all the time. I offer to you more from the Rosetta Stone that is "The Hollywood Dictionary."

"Can I have him/her return?" - Short for "Can I have him/her return your call?" which is then short for "The Hollywood executive you're trying to reach is talking to someone more important than you and/or is ignoring your call. When he/she is ready, I will dial the phone for for him/her (as this person is above such labor-intensive tasks) and discuss, albeit briefly, whatever you want."

[An amusing anecdote: When Temp X moved to LA, he was "rolling calls" with his boss. The assistant on the other end said her boss was unavailable and, "Can I have him return?" To which Temp X asked, "Return what?"]

P & TY -- Short for "Please and Thank You." You'll often see this in a blast email asking other assistants for help doing something that the requester could easily obtain on his or her own. Such an email might say, "Does anyone have the phone number for Fox Television? P & TY." One of these days Temp X is going to send a response that says "N & YL" (No, and You're Lazy).

Rockstar Assistant -- There's no term in Hollywood that makes less sense than "Rockstar Assistant" -- not "Prequel," "Director's Cut" or "Ankles." Yet it's used all the time ostensibly to describe a hard working assistant. (Run-on sentence alert!) How there is any connection between someone whose life is a party infrequently interrupted by performing in front of thousands of adoring fans and an assistant for an egomaniac Hollywood agent who would sooner quit than offer an ounce of praise is beyond me. Or perhaps a better question is would a record label promote their star as "A PowerPoint-Savvy Musician?"


Poached -- 1. An effective way of cooking foods for both hot or cold service, not only does it produce healthy food but it enhances flavor. It can, however, require considerable skill and judgment particularly with complex shallow poached fish dishes. 2. Something that requires no skill or judgment -- stealing high-profile staff or clients from a competitor, as in the sentence, "CAA just poached UTAs top four agents as well as Jim Carrey and Will Farrell."

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

SUMMER TRAVEL IDEAS

Haven't figured out where to take the family for the summer road trip? Just find out that Walley World doesn't actually exist? Want to celebrate high culture while dining on a plate of deep-fried cheese? Here are some ideas from the Hollywood Temp Diaries Travel Section that will fit in nicely with your $13.50/hr. job:

Bronze the Fonz -- (August 19, Milwaukee, WI) -- The show that birthed Laverne and Shirley, Mork and Mindy and Joanie loves Chachi will have its coolest member (no, not Scott Baio's penis) honored with a statue. The reveal of the privately-financed bronzing of Arthur Fonzarelli is part of a day-long celebration of the show that made Milwaukee famous. Mr. and Mrs. C, Ralph Malph, Potsie and, of course, the Fonz are scheduled to appear. Ron Howard will not attend as he will be picking up his dry cleaning.

Lebowski Fest -- (July 11 - 12, Louisville, KY) -- Celebrate the Coen Brothers movie you've seen 100 times. But this time do it in Louisville, a place you'd never go to otherwise. Enjoy bowling tournaments, White Russians and trivia while calling each other "Dude." If only they had a "Pee on Someone's Rug" or "Get Blown by Tara Reid" contest. As it's the 10th anniversary of the movie, this could be an extra fun one...and what have you.


Rocklahoma -- (July 10 - 13, Pryor, OK) -- If Lebowski Fest isn't cool enough for you, get in touch with your inner White Trash by rocking out with 30 bands that are all 20 years past their prime -- unless you live in Pryor, where they are just breaking on the FM dial. In a quick scour of the show's line up, Temp X realized he'd seen the following bands play live already: Ratt, Bret Michaels, Dokken, Living Colour, Kingdome Come, Kix, Queensryche and Tesla. Not sure why that matters to anyone, but what the heck.

If none of these ideas work, and you don't have cable, there's always hulu.com, which now offers full episodes of The Daily Show, The Colbert Report and
Lost in Space. Or you can just read the rest of my blog? Yeah, I'd rather do something else too.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Sitting on the Bottom of the World with HST

During March 1983, famed Gonzo Journalist Hunter S. Thompson spent a few days working for a major Hollywood talent agency during what is easily their busiest time of the year - Pilot Season. For those unfamiliar, Pilot Season is the casting/production of TV shows that have been picked up to be shot as pilots. Based on testing and non-linear factors, a pilot that is deemed successful, will get picked up to become a series. Following is excerpted from an article he wrote for Rolling Stone (R.S. 474, July 8, 1983) entitled "Sitting on the Bottom of the World."

I've been working fifty-two hours straight. Until about 20 minutes ago my attorney and I have been subsisting on Jolt Cola spiked with diet pills, a bag of muscle relaxants I'd picked up in Tijuana (a.k.a. "The Happiest and Saddest Place on Earth") and albuterol for when I have to walk upstairs. But our supply is out (I suspect that rat-fink's been pinching. He denies it.) So he's breaking into every agent's office looking for inevitable piles of coke, amphetamines or, as a last resort, grass. He better get back soon before the uppers and downers in my system collide creating a perfect balance such that I'm straight for a few minutes. If that happens, I'll steal his car and leave the poor bastard here. This is the pilot season I'd been warned about.

After sending out the 300th submission to a mindless Steve Cannell show (for as much as Peppard fires guns the Lebanese Army would sell the Golan Heights for, I'd like to see just one person die!) I needed something fast to ensure my heart won't crawl out through my nose. I was about pour a case of Liquid Paper into a bag and breathe deeply when my attorney returned with an armful.

His teeth started talking before he did. But the gist is he'd found some low-grade coke (fucking Columbians are cutting it with baby powder), something that he purported to be mushrooms but smelled like bat guano, a fist-full of Valium and a quart of Jack Daniel's. Clearly we weren't at CAA -- they'd have better drugs than this.

"What the fuck is this? You were gone for an hour and you couldn't even find Maker's Mark?"

He pretended I'd hurt his feelings. The truth was he'd bogarted some amyl nitrate and was starting to tweak. I hate that I can't trust my attorney, but I poured us each a coffee cup full of Jack and proposed a toast.

"May we never have to do this again. May no one ever have to do this again." I'd seen kinder working conditions at a Nike factory in the Shandong province. But for some reason, thousands of idiots straight out of NYU film school flock to Hollywood every year to take abuse from agents with the paranoia of Nixon and the logic of Lawrence Eagleburger.

I grabbed some pills, washed them down with "whiskey." In about 417 seconds (call it instinct, or practice), I knew I'd be alert enough to simultaneously book, un-book and rebook a meeting while making sure The Troll has his lunch date set at The Farm. I haven't worked this hard since I beat a couple of Mongols outside of Fresno.

Why would anyone work for these Ghouls? It's as if logic stopped inside the Bermuda Triangle of freeways bordered by the 405, the 101 and the 10. S&M is one thing. But this agency world clearly defied the logic of Darwin, Newton, Jesus and Dylan. I swore the agent I was working for had fangs for teeth and scales in place of skin. He insisted it was bad orthodontia and psoriasis, but I knew better. I knew his kind. The greatest trick the Devil ever played was convincing the world he didn't exist. I don't fool that easily.

Fuck. The phone won't stop ringing. If those glorified hall monitors at La Guardia security detail hadn't confiscated my Remington 870, I'd put a bullet right between the 4 and 5 buttons. It's him. The Chief Ghoul is calling.

"Yes, your lunch reservations are set." Bastard.


I took the Raiders plus 5 last weekend and those miserable frauds didn't cover. Stabler had 3 interceptions and fumble. The only one who played worth a shit was Alzado. But he's so amped up on juice, it's hardly fair. I swore I could see the blood pulsing through his imitation Popeye forearms.

Whatever pills I took are making this Hart to Hart spin-off look watchable. Maybe there is an upside to working at an agency. I should ask my attorney where he got the pills. And while I'm at it, I'll check his pockets for those muscle relaxants. I know they're there.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

GET SMART -- What's gonna be the weekend take for this $82 million film? (THE RESULTS)

$40 million +
4%
$30 - $40 million
56%
$20-$30 million
26%
$10 - $20 million
8%
Less than $10 million
4%

Looks like you guys had it pegged as "Get Smart" took in $39 million.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Live from the Tempies -- A musical number

The world longest award show (probably so long you forgot it was happening) continues with a little musical from West Side of LA Story. So without further adieu, here's "When You're a Temp."



BIFF
(spoken)
I love being an agent. Don't you? Why do something yourself when you have a Temp?

CHIP
(spoken)
Good point. Hey Temp! Get me a new Diet Coke. This one's too fizzy. And then for lunch I want...hey who said you could look at me?

TEMP X
(singing)
When you're a Temp,
You're a Temp all the way
From your first small pay check
Signed by CAA.

When you're a Temp,
They do what they can
And the agents abuse you
This really blows, man!

You're always alone
You're never respected
You're worked to the bone
You're really rejected!

You're stuck making coffee
With a capital C
They won't let you forget
Till they cart you away
When you're a Temp
You're forever
A TEMP!

BIFF
(spoken)
You think we can get that Temp to take out the trash?

CHIP
(spoken)
Yeah. But get him to balance it on his head.

BIFF
(spoken)
Oooh. That's good. And after that, have him wash your car!

CHIP
(spoken)
Yeah! First let's take a three-hour lunch at Katsuya.

TEMP X
(singing)
When you're a Temp,
You're the scum of the earth,
You're the low of the low,
And below afterbirth.

When you're a Temp,
You're the Biggest Los-er,
Worse than Caroline Rhea,
Worse than Helen Rop-er. (look it up!)

BIFF
(singing)
Some day they'll quit?
Or rise up and rebel?
Nah, those poor suckers, Temps
There's no chance in hell.

GROUP OF TEMPS
(singing)
That's what you think,
We're smart, not just slaves.
For Temps are still people
We'll get you one of these days.

We're here to write scripts
Or perhaps direct
We're all college grads
We de-mand respect.

Here come the Temps (Yeah!)
And we're gonna beat (Not really. Will you rep me? Read my script?)
Every last buggin' agent
At the whole buggin' street
On the whole!
Buggin'!
Ever!
Lovin'!
Street!



Wednesday, June 18, 2008

The Fleeting Expletive

Temp X didn't hear from his pimp today (Well technically he did, but only to offer a long-term gig in a medical research office!?) So instead Temp X wrote and took a nap to relieve an unexplained headache. As a reward, Temp X scrambled what was hiding in his refrigerator for dinner, nestled into his couch and rooted against the Lakers.

Well, the Lakers lost. And that's fine. But not all is glee in Temp X's world. For the broadcast was marred by audio hiccups -- also known as the muting of the dreaded FLEETING EXPLETIVE.

A quick refresher. According to Wikipedia, a FLEETING EXPLETIVE is "a verbal profanity or visual indecency or obscenity expressed or shown during a live broadcast." Fearing fines from the FCC for airing FEs, networks use a delay to clean up the airways. The problem is it screws up a broadcast as we saw last night.

Following is a rough transcript of ABC's interview with Celtics' star Kevin Garnett moments after winning the NBA title:

MICHELLE TAFOYA
Kevin. You've been a 12-time All Star, league MVP and now you're an NBA champion. How does it feel?

KEVIN GARNETT
Well Michelle [fleeting expletive deleted not actually uttered by Kevin Garnett followed by the seven second delay rebuilding in time to protect us from one more fleeting expletive which is deleted] and for my Momma and everyone back in Chicago and South Carolina. We did [one more fleeting expletive deleted that cut into Garnett's remarks].
That was basically the interview. So because someone said "poopy diapers" or "nose goblins" or one of the seven evil words, we missed it. Maybe his response was about "giving 110 percent" of something, but if the tears streaming down his face were any indication, it was more likely filled with actual emotion. You know - real "Reality TV."

I know this isn't about Temping, but think about it. Actually, let's have an expert on this subject explain these words aren't a big deal and that FCC chairman Kevin Martin should worry about something else. (While it pains me to write this, the following is "Not Safe For Work." I hate irony.)



I'm not a Celtics fan. I'm just a TV fan. This was a one day rant. I'll get back to talking about idiots in Hollywood tomorrow. But for today I had to talk about the idiots in Washington who make it difficult for the idiots in Hollywood to do a half-ass job.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

THE SPIN-OFFICE

Variety confirmed yesterday some of the early details about the spin-off of the top rated (well, in NBC terms) show The Office. The big news is they signed a guy I've never heard of (Aziz Ansari) from a show I might have heard of (Human Giant). Here are a couple guesses as to how they'll use Ansari and what the new show will look like...

The Predictabl
e
Ansani runs a Dunder-Mifflin call center in Bangalore. Stereotypes ensue. NBC forgets (or knowingly copies?) the 2006 and 2008 movies Outsourced.

Office 2.0

Having suffered the embarrassment of Ryan and his double dipping, Dunder-Mifflin hires management consultants to fix their web strategy. Ansari's character offers a combination of Dwight and Michael. He runs this small account with an iron fist (trampling all over the junior execs) but is a wimp when it comes to dealing upper management. Kinda reminds me of my old boss [Name Redacted].

The Couch-Centric (a.k.a. -- The Stanley Show)
Stanley settles his lawsuit against Dunder-Mifflin that emerged from Michael's ill-conceived "fake firing" (Season 4, Ep. 12 -- "Did I Stutter"). Of course, Stanley finds out that the only thing worse than working is not working.

This is a three camera sitcom about a man, his free-spending wife and his attractive teenage daughter. Stanley's neighbor (played by Ansari) is an overly earnest Amway salesman who continually tries to get Stanley interested in joining the sales force and date his daughter. Think Married with Children but with more disposable income.

The Odd Couple Redux

With Ryan in jail and awaiting trial, Dunder-Mifflin promotes Jim and Dwight to be co-heads of the Northeast Region/New Media. The problem comes when Dunder-Mifflin forgets to tell the two they will be splitting Ryan's salary in addition to his job responsibilities. But for these two, there's no turning back.

Pam dumped Jim after falling for Hirishi, a gender-neutral art student. Dwight lost the derby for Angela's heart. With no reason to stay, a promotion (but pay decrease) awaiting, the two decide split a 1 bedroom in Manhattan. Ansari plays the building superintendent and doubles as Dwight's wingman/Battlestar Galactica viewing buddy. Jim slowly becomes addicted to Quaaludes after picking some up on a trip to Mexico.

Alien Invasion
Ansari plays a space alien named Nork with no fashion sense and a penchant for wearing ridiculous suspenders. In an episode called "My Favorite Norkan," Nork threatens to take Jim back to his home planet as an example of a human/victim of capitalism. Nork's plan is foiled by Toby (back from Belize) because he can't produce an H-1B visa.

[Note: I've already registered all these ideas with the WGA, so don't think of stealing them.]

Friday, June 13, 2008

Stupid things happen all the time in Hollywood. Which one of these really happened?

[Thanks to Jane Doe for her story. If you want to submit your own, tempdiaries@gmail.com .]

1 -- Every assistant knows the drill when a client shows up for a meeting -- go to the lobby, greet them with their usual drink order and tell them it'll be a few minutes while the agent finishes sucking up to/berating/back-stabbing someone else (you don't tell them the last part, of course). But this executive has a specific set of instructions -- know each client's drink and MOST IMPORTANTLY serve it with your left hand. Left hand? The exec's logic is simple. If you hold the coffee in your right hand, it makes your palm sweaty. And on the off chance they offer a handshake, "I don't want my clients shaking your sweaty hand."

#2 -- Assistants like (well, don't LIKE "like," but HAVE TO "like") to go in to the office on weekends and catch up on a few things. The plus side -- the phone doesn't ring, you can listen to your tunes and most importantly, wear a t-shirt and jeans. Or can you? On one Saturday, this assistant donned a t-shirt from a movie that starred a high-profile ex-client. This wasn't a problem until a partner happened to pass by her desk. Not liking the reminder of the lost revenue (oh, did I mention it was his client?) he told the assistant to go home and to never let him see her wear that shirt again.

#3 -- After taking a day off to nurse a bad cold, this assistant returned to her desk, groggy and wishing she was still in bed. While sorting through everything from the previous day, her boss called. "How are you doing?" the boss asked with heartfelt concern. JUST KIDDING. The boss said nothing of the sort and began by berating the assistant for work the temp did. As the phone conversation continued, the assistant felt a cough coming on. Not wanting to miss any of the exec's instructions, the assistant said, "Excuse me," moved her headset out of the way and cleared her throat. The boss's response? "Oh my God, do you need to go home? Because I don't have the patience for this."

SPOILER ALERT

The masses have spoken and we have a TIE!!

Left-handed Coffee -- 44%
Get that Shirt Outta Here -- 11%
Stop Coughing, I can't Concentrate -- 44%

And the correct answer is...

#3 -- Stop Coughing, I can't Concentrate. You guys are starting to catch on (either that or Hollywood execs are voting?)

Thursday, June 12, 2008

The Unknown Perks of Temping

On the surface, Temping looks like a tough way to get discovered in Hollywood. You're treated lower than the guy who delivers Variety late three times a week (printing delays, again). In fact, you're actually lower on the totem pole (and easier to replace) than the Xerox machine. But as a wise man said once...

When life gives you lemons, make lemonade. And then pour in about three shots of vodka and you'll have a nice refreshing summertime drink.


So there's an upside to temping? The daily curiosity about who you're working for, whether it's at $12, $13 or $14 an hour can be fun. But there's more! Here's one of Temp X's big secrets revealed.



Temp to Network -- Over his time in this Hollywood sub-sub-culture, Temp X has worked for studio heads, programming executives, high-powered agents and senior HR staffers. These are normally the most inaccessible of the inaccessible. But when they ask what your story is, have it down to a few sentences, be engaging and don't be a shy. If someone opens the door, don't let the screen door be an impediment. Walk in. Temp X has secured interviews with TV shows, production companies and even got to pitch a couple shows as a result. Clearly none of them succeeded as I'm writing to you guys (no offense), but it's better than nothing.

Temp to Research -- It's not eavesdropping. It's not spying. It's simply the smart thing to do. If you want to write, read everything you have access to. Learn what's selling, learn what's not. This theory applies to everything, but as I don't care about directing, producing, casting, etc. you'll just have to figure this one out on your own.

Your References Help Sell You -- If you're a good temp, not only will they'll bring you back when someone has a "doctor's appointment," but they'll offer to be a reference. The higher up your reference is on the Hollywood food chain, the greater the likelihood you'll get an interview. It gives you a name to drop in your cover letter, or if you get that far, your interview. A well-known reference can go a long way toward your chances of escaping Tempdom.


Temp to Figure Out What You Want -- If you don't know what you want to do in Hollywood, you just know you want to do something, temping can be a great way to find out. Think you want to work in development? Ask your pimp for gigs there. Considering being an agent? Sell your soul, practice fibbing and then get a temp assignment there.


Sure making $400 a week before taxes blows chunks. But remember, if you're an assistant you're making the same amount. So you might as well learn something from it too. I could go over the downside to temping, but I think I do an adequate job of doing that every other day.


And that's...

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Outside the Bubble

Temp X knows he spends all too much time thinking about Hollywood -- his screenplays, his blog, finding an agent (hint!), television. Well, as many of you know, Temp X is taking his first vacation in years. And I just wanted to report from outside the Hollywood bubble and how I've been able to successfully escape any thoughts of Hollywood.

Yesterday Temp X took his first surfing lesson. There's something fantastic about climbing atop the board, wading out into the ocean and wiping out for the first time. But sadly the outing ended prematurely as he got stung by a jellyfish. Fortunately Temp X remembered the episode of FRIENDS when Chandler faced a similar pain and he had Monica pee on him. Oh, Crap! Thinking about Hollywood. Ok, I'm sure that's just a one-time thing.

With an arm recovering (vinegar substitutes well for pee), Temp X went back to his hotel room only to hear an infectious tune emanating from the television (maid left the tube on). It was none other than the theme to Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me. As the credits ran, Temp X realized he'd temped for the production company. He remembered that day, not so fondly. Dammit. Thinking about Hollywood again. Alright. That´s surely the last time.

So finally Temp X went to an ocean-side bar. No interruptions there. Just beer, an appetiser and miles of sand would occupy his thoughts. Finally freedom. That all held true until...Lakers-Celtics. The epicenter, ground zero of Hollywood for the night. And worse yet, the Lakers won. Will this vacation never end!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Crap that might just come to a theater near you...

For those unfamiliar with the business side of Show Business, here's a brief primer. Starving writers write scripts on something called Spec (which I believe is short for Speculum, but I could be wrong). Once they're done, they take the Spec to their agent who, in turn, has their assistant send it to a bunch of production companies and ask them to buy it. If someone does, the movie-making process commences.

Not all specs get bought. So it's a risky venture for a writer to spend 4-6 months writing a script not knowing if there's gonna be a payday at the end. But writers don't mind doing all this work with no guarantee and that the actors make all the real money.

Anyway, here's a list of Specs that have recently been sent out to production companies. I've included my analysis and predictions too.


DUTY
LOGLINE: Austin, a charismatic slacker, inherits the community pool with his beer-bellied, party friend Lawrence. But when the local elite tries to take it away from them and the town, they must rally the troops to save the pool and summer!
SMELLS LIKE: CADDYSHACK in a swimming pool.
PREDICTION: Look for Andy Samberg (SNL) to play Austin and Blake Lively (GOSSIP GIRL) to play his improbably hot girlfriend. In the theaters for 2 weeks in April 2010.


BAD ROBOT
LOGLINE: In the not too distant future, a workaholic is replaced by a life-like robot designed to do his job. In order to win his old job back, he poses as a robot to get the same position at a competing company.
SMELLS LIKE: Honestly, I don't really care, but if pressed -- SMALL WONDER.
PREDICTION: The project's name will change or risk getting sued by J.J. Abrams. The reality is it won't get sold, so it doesn't matter.


THE COMMUTER
LOGLINE: An unassuming New York City accountant is suddenly forced to track down and identify a murder witness onboard a crowded commuter train, or else his wife and daughter will be murdered.
SMELLS LIKE: An average day on NYC public transit (hey-o!). But seriously folks, it's sounds like RANSOM with one more person.
PREDICTION: Diane Lane, John Cusack and Elle Fanning (Dakota's younger sister) star in this $60 million film. It'll be released to critical malaise, but break even domestically and gross another $30-40 internationally.


MAN CLUB
LOGLINE: A shy married man moves to a new town and joins a secret club to make friends. When he discovers the guys are all a bunch of overgrown frat boys who blindly follow their outlandish leader and tries to leave, he finds out that no one leaves "Man Club."
SMELLS LIKE: OLD SCHOOL meets FIGHT CLUB meets any Ben Stiller movie.
PREDICTION: Memorial Day weekend 2010. Jack Black as the leader of the Man Club and a just-famous-enough TV actor (Jon Cryer -- TWO and a HALF MEN?) in the lead role. Expect $30 million opening weekend and after the dust settles, a world wide gross of $110 million.


FAMILY TIME
LOGLINE: When his grandfather makes a dying wish for Hank Schafter to spend more time with his estranged family, he finds himself magically unable to leave their sides until he learns what family is all about.
SMELLS LIKE: IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE meets A CHRISTMAS CAROL. Honestly sounds a heck of a lot like one of those Hallmark made-for-TV movies. Can Wilford Brimley play yet another wise old grandfather?
PREDICTION: Christmas 2010 on Lifetime or CBS, whichever network's demographic is still alive.


JUROR #2
LOGLINE
: A high-concept thriller about an average guy who gets placed on a jury for a murder he committed.
SMELLS LIKE: I'm just wondering about the concept of average guy who murders people.
ANALYSIS: Major re-writes.


COACHES
LOGLINE
: Four guys reclaim their glory days by coaching their high school football team, and learning a thing or two from the kids along the way.
SMELLS LIKE: BAD NEWS BEARS
PREDICTION: Heavy drinking, several shots to the groin, smelling salts...and that's just to stay awake during the movie.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Stupid things happen all the time in Hollywood. Which one of these really happened?

#1 -- It's a cruel reality that Hollywood assistants sometimes don't control their own fate. Huh? You see when a Hollywood executive is let go (released, laid off, sacked, you get the point), that usually means the assistant is out of a job too. But layoffs beget one fun thing...the Going Away Party...or do they?

Recently a Hollywood exec's contract wasn't renewed (interpret as you will) and his assistant faced the same fate. At the exec's going away party, he gave a "Good Bye" speech and thanked everyone except his soon to be unemployed assistant. Not a hint. Not a mention. Nothing. If it's any consolation, the assistant does get to file for unemployment.


#2 -- Nothing's wrong with an agent who's a pet lover. It actually proves they have a human side. But it takes a special Hollywood exec to humanize a pet while simultaneously dehumanizing their assistant.

This high powered 10 percenter (great, now I'm talking like Variety. Ugh.) brought his cockatiel to work after a trip to the vet. The bird was free to roam around the office, finally nesting on the guest chair. This wasn't a problem until the agent called in the assistant to take dictation. The assistant, knowing this was going to take a while, asked if she could move the bird back so she could sit down. Annoyed at the this question, the agent responded, "The chair is taken. You CAN stand and write...can't you?" Turns out the assistant could, whether she wanted to or not.


#3 -- What's more American than fresh-faced youngsters selling Girl Scout Cookies? Samoas. Trefoils. Thin Mints. And we all know that parents sometimes help their kids sell boxes to their co-workers. But this studio exec took it to a new level when she sent her assistant to the commissary during lunch to boost sales. Since everyone knew who the assistant worked for, people realized it was a good career move to buy a few boxes. Well by the end of lunch, this assistant had orders for nearly 400 boxes of Girl Scout Cookies. No word on whether the assistant got a merit badge for this.

SPOILER ALERT


And the audience picked

Goodbye whatever your name is......28%

The bird is using that chair.....23%

Sell, sell, sell!!.....47%



And the correct answer is...

#1. Goodbye whatever your name is. Yep. It seems impossible for someone to be that rude, but don't forget, this is Hollywood.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Hollywood Haikus

They were so popular the first time, we've brought them back. So crack out your Zen Garden, cram yourself into the Lotus position and escape to a better place.


Underpaid? Lips sealed.
Overworked? I dare not speak.
CAA life stinks.


Friday - 9 p.m.
I'm still at my desk toiling.
My boss? Out drinking.


Note to message board,
"ISO - UTA list."
I need a new gig.

*********

Oh poor "Speed Racer."
Should have been PG-13.
Wrong demographics.


Eddie Murphy with
Eddie Murphy? Not again!
"Meet Dave"...umm...I'll pass.


Please settle your spat
SAG and AMPTP.
The writers' strike sucked.

*******

Angie's still preggers.
Twins are soon joining the brood.
Don't ask E.T. when.


Oh, Denise Richards.
What's "Complicated"? Reading?
Sure makes acting tough.

***********

Smart shows, we miss you.
Arrested Development,
You died way too soon.


Temp X is snippy.
Lashing out at everyone.
Time for vacation.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Plotting to take over Hollywood

Delusions of grandeur aren't anything new to Hollywood. In fact, vanity and self importance fuel this town just as much as cocaine and overpriced (but expensed) lunches. How else can you explain the self-congratulatory programming known as the Oscars, Emmys, Day Time Emmys, Golden Globes, People Choice Awards...well you get the point.

During lunch yesterday, [NAME REDACTED] and Temp X hatched a scheme to take over Hollywood. Here's how it went down...

INT. MEXICAN RESTAURANT -- MID DAY

TEMP X is at a booth awaiting his friend's arrival. While reading the menu, a group of midgets sits down at the table behind him. (An homage to Fellini or just dumb luck?!) Moments later, his friend NAME REDACTED shows up wearing cut-offs, a sweatshirt and sunglasses. This is her second day of unemployment following the dissolution of [COMPANY NAME REDACTED] scripted program division. The waiter arrives moments later.

WAITER
Can I interest you in...?

NAME REDACTED
(interrupts)
Margarita on the rocks, extra strong, no salt.

TEMP X
(equal urgency)
Negro Modelo.

WAITER
(taken aback)
Gracias.

The waiter leaves.

TEMP X
How's the job search?

NAME REDACTED
Well, I got the UTA list and I'm on some message boards and...(long pause)...You know what? This is bullshit. I'm not going back to being anyone's assistant. Been there. Done that. I want to produce. You want to write. Let's get a production company going...

TEMP X
Uh, the only thing we're qualified to do is what we're already doing. And as you're unemployed and I can't get a full-time job, this does not bode well.

The waiter returns with the drinks. NAME REDACTED takes a sip of her margarita. Her eyes instantly water-up.

NAME REDACTED
Wow, that's strong!

TEMP X
Lucky you.

NAME REDACTED
I know!
(beat)
So let's start a production company.

TEMP X
With whose money? I made $400 last week and...(introspective drink and pause)...Wait. Screw it. You're right. I'd rather bomb out aiming high than bomb out through modern day indentured servitude. So, you got any rich friends?

NAME REDACTED
No. Do you?

TEMP X
Uhhh....A friend of a friend runs a hedge fund.

NAME REDACTED
What's a hedge fund?

TEMP X
I don't actually know. I think it's a bunch of rich people looking for legal places to put their cash.

NAME REDACTED
Oh cool. And they'd give us money?

TEMP X
I don't know. Maybe.

NAME REDACTED takes a long draw from her margarita.

NAME REDACTED
Is it hard to get money? We've never made anything. Well, I made stuff in film school and you've...uhh...done those YouTube things.

TEMP X
Yeah, that is a wrinkle, eh? But we're smart and have good ideas. So we're half way there, right?
(beat)
Hey, did you see they're making a movie of "The A-Team."

NAME REDACTED
I know. And "Escape From New York"...again.

TEMP X
And "Point Break 2."

NAME REDACTED
Is it me, or are the only things that get financed are remakes, sequels and shows from the BBC?

TEMP X
It's not just you. Lower risk. Built in audience. I guess. It's either that or people are just lazy and figure no one will notice.

NAME REDACTED
But we don't want to remake anything.

TEMP X
Hell no!

NAME REDACTED sucks up what's left of her drink and looks up solemnly.

NAME REDACTED
Think anyone will give us money?

Long, awkward silence fills the conversation. The waiter arrives.

WAITER
Are you ready to...?

NAME REDACTED
(interrupts)
Margarita, extra strong, on the rocks, no salt.

TEMP X
(equal urgency)
Negro Modelo.

THE END

[Post Script - This is actually from EASTENDERS, episode 206. It is a lot less work to drop in a piece of the script and Americanize the names.]

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

UTO -- Unintended Time Off

Temp X woke up this morning without an assignment from his Pimp. Sometimes that moment of employment uncertainty is brief. Sometimes it lasts a little longer. And sometimes (like today) it lasts all day.

So what does an unemployed college graduate with years of work experience and desire to write professionally do when it's 75 and sunny? Just what you'd expect...

5:50 a.m. -- Temp X's dog (Dog X) wakes him up as he does every day at this time. [Notable exception: The day after Daylight Savings Time ends, when he wakes Temp X up an hour earlier.]

5:50:01 a.m. -- Temp X instructs Dog X to go back to sleep. After a combination of coercion and good, old-fashion denial, it works.

6:45 a.m. -- Dog X wakes up again. In a blur, Temp X gets out of bed, feeds Dog X, goes to the john, takes Dog X to the john and wonders how Indiana Jones 4 made any money this weekend.

7:01 a.m. -- Temp X turns on the Today Show in time to watch Tim Russert speak political gibberish about pledged delegates, super delegates and flame-resistant delegates. The gist is that Hillary Clinton is screwed.

7:05 a.m. -- Meredith Viera nods politely (having understood nothing) and throws it over to Al Roker who is live at Uni Studios discussing the fire. Roker tells us nothing new.

8:00 a.m. -- Temp X stares at the phone. His Pimp still has not called. Unless things change, it's gonna be UTO (Uninteded Time Off).

9:16 a.m. -- Temp X gives up on the prospect of a gig today. Shower? Nap? Regis & Kelly? Ok, shower. Guilt sucks.

9:30 a.m. -- Temp X screws around with the official Facebook page. It looks pretty much the same afterwards.

Noon -- Temp X goes to his favorite donut shop to work on his cutting edge-break-the-mold-but-still-appeals-to-mass-audience-and-I-can- change-it-if-you-want-to-buy-it pilot. [Note to agents: I've already got a couple other ones done. Lemme know if you want to see them.] He orders an apple fritter and a decaf with lots of sugar.

3 p.m. - Sugar rush turns into sugar crash and Temp X goes home and takes a nap.

4:30 p.m. -- Temp X awakens to find drool on his pillow (his own) and no calls about work tomorrow. He struggles to come up with an idea for the blog.

5:14 p.m. -- Temp X farts.

5:14:04 p.m. -- Temp X turns on the fan.

5:15 p.m. -- Temp X checks email. He finds out a script called "Mr. Break Up" is circulating. The logline: "It's about a guy who helps people break up." [Insert your own joke here. It's really easy.]

5:59 p.m. -- Temp X wonders why his Pimp hasn't called him all day. Has he found someone new? Am I getting too old? Too fat? Where's my Xanax?

6:00 p.m. -- Quittin' time. Temp X is not sure what he's actually quitting, but whatever it is, it's time.

And you thought your day was fun.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Copyright Infringment Theatre

(from toothpastefordinner.com)

And don't forget, the answer to last week's quiz is posted below.