Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Temp X discuses the WMA/Endeavor deal

Hollywood has been abuzz the last few days as the needlessly long adoption of William Morris by Endeavor finally concluded. The level of hysteria by the upper levels of Hollywood probably hasn't been this high since the AOL/Time Warner deal nearly 10 years ago. And reporters were all atwitter [Note: This does not mean Twittering, which they also did] as it gave them something to cover other than the recently announced remake of Ice Castles.

And then there's what it means to the rest of us - the barnacles. Here's a brief recap of the merger from my end of the Hollywood spectrum...

April 27, 2009
2:48 p.m. -- I get an email from about four different message boards telling me that the WMA/Endeavor deal is done. They all have links to either a Variety, Deadline Hollywood or The Wrap article.

2:48:01 p.m.
-- I delete these emails and go back to filling out my unemployment form.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

The 2006...err...2009 Summer Movie Preview

I woke up this morning with a nagging feeling that I've been here before. Some call it Deja Vu. Others call it psychosis. Perhaps they're both right. I couldn't put my finger on it until I sat down to write today's posting. And then, once the sugar drink disguised as decaf kicked in, it came to me - it's 2006 all over again.

I know you're thinking, "But the Bush Administration is out, Saddam Hussein is dead and the stock market is in the tank. How can any of this remind you of 2006? Have you gone mad? Has unemployment finally seized what's left of your brain?"

No. It was looking at the list of movies set for release this Summer that did it to me. These all all sequels, prequels or (let's be honest) repeats of movies that came out in 2006.

So without any further ado, here's my summer movie preview (a.k.a. "Been there, done that.")

Wolverine (May 1) -- Perhaps it's because I was too busy reading MAD magazine when I was a kid, but I'd never even heard of X-Men until the first movie came out. Now they can't stop making them. I'd make a Hugh Jackman sideburns joke, but that's lazy writing and so 2006, 2003 and 2000.
Prediction: See you again in 2012. And if my prediction is accurate, that'll be the same time my Papa John pizza/promotional tie-in will be delivered.

Angels & Demons (May 15) -- The Tom Clancy of Catholicism -- Dan Brown -- turns his lesser-known book into a more-hyped movie. Tom Hanks reprises his role as Dr. Robert Langdon (not to be confused with Connecticut dermatologist Dr. Robert Langdon) to solve the origin of the universe or some equivalent nonsense.
Prediction: Not to be outdone, Disney will sign Nicolas Cage for National Treasure 3: European Vacation. Angels & Demons will make $400 million and the Pope will be pissed.

Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian
(May 22) -- The closest most of America's youth will get to a museum this summer is seeing this movie. But that's ok, our 8th graders are closing the science gap on those pesky kids from Slovenia. Until then, let's just keep on cheering, "We're #11!! We're #11!!"
Prediction: Animated dinosaurs equals box office gold.

Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs (July 1) -- Climate change is all the rage these days. Priuses (or is the plural of Prius just Prius?) have taken over for the SUV. Duke Energy just tried convincing 60 Minutes they want to be a clean energy company. And I think I saw someone in L.A. riding a bike the other day. So what could be more appropriate than reminding us of days before holes in the ozone layer, melting polar ice caps and the green NBC peacock than Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs. If the U.S. agreed to the Kyoto Protocol perhaps these movies would finally stop.
Prediction: More animated dinosaurs equals slightly less box office gold.

Bruno (July 10) -- Gay Borat is back in funniest homo-erotic movie since Top Gun.
Prediction: Someone will sue Sacha Baron-Cohen because they were too dim to recognize that perhaps the guy with neon pink lederhosen and a full camera crew might be part of a joke. The question is, will it be Ron Paul. The movie will make $100 million and SBC will invent a new character based on Ted Haggard.

Cher- ( If I Could )Turn Back Time

Monday, April 27, 2009

Having fun while 1 out of 9 people are unemployed

The economy sucks right now. I haven't heard a word from my Pimp in more than two weeks. So if you're in the same boat as I am and you need to find ways to fill your day, here are a few ideas that are fun and cheap.

Getty Museum -- ($10 for parking; Free admission) -- Los Angeles will never be confused with the cultural capitals of the world. But the Getty does its part to help you forget, if only for a moment, that the most creative thing this town offers today is a cheap remake of Fatal Attraction. Sure there are parts of the Getty that make a Roy Lichtenstein look like a Renoir (still photos of donuts are not art), but the Getty is an amazing facility with great views and fantastic art. So shove a bunch of your unemployed friends into your Jetta and spend the day feeling culturally superior.

Griffith Park Observatory -- (Free admission) -- Yes. I know they filmed the pivotal scene for Rebel Without a Cause there. And yes, I know that that the movie's three main characters died young and under strange circumstances. But for a moment, let's pretend there are things that might just happen outside Hollywood. For example, the Solar System. The Observatory reopened in 2006 after a $93 million renovation, so there's tons of stuff to see including a statue of James Dean and...errr...well, just go look.

Scrabble Group -- (Free) -- Get your ass beat soundly by the Janette, the 89 year-old hostess, as she plunks down words like "illapse" (v. to fall or glide) and "mewling" (v. to cry weakly). Or play Temp X and you'll win. Either way, it's fun way to work off your hangover. The next two sessions are 5/9 and 6/13 from 1 - 4 p.m. at the Los Feliz Branch Library, 1874 Hillhurst Ave. Bring your own board and tiles.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

To the Ladies and Gentlemen of the Class of 2009...

Temp X was recently asked to give the commencement address to the 2009 graduates of Emerson College. This is a decent honor (like most Emerson students, UT-Austin film school was my first choice), but I accepted it anyway. Following is a transcript of that address...

Ladies and Gentlemen of the Class of 2009:

Sunscreen sucks.

If I could offer you only one tip for your future in Hollywood, skip the sunscreen. The short-term perks of a tan -- the healthy glow, tantalizing bikini lines -- have been proven time and again. The rest of my advice has no basis more reliable than my own meandering experience. I will dispense this nonsense now.

Sleep around.

It's fun. Everyone in Hollywood is good looking. When poolside at the Roosevelt, tell the model wannabe next to you that you're a producer on CSI: Miami. Then see what happens. Bottle service helps.


There's no better way to keep your body in shape than doing abdominal crunches while talking on the Porcelain telephone.

Be jealous.

This town is full of people who get things they don't deserve. Some day, that person might be you. And then you can look down on the masses and mock them.

Keep your old bank statements. Throw away your love letters. Only one of these is beneficial in divorce court.

Smoke cigarettes.

Parliament Lights. Marlboro Lights. Camel Lights. Any of them act as a fantastic appetite suppressant. Smoking makes you cool and it looks great on film. But don't smoke pot because it'll make you hungry.


Just tell everyone that your script is an homage to Chayefsky's Network, not a scene by-scene redo. (But hire a good lawyer just in case.)

Buy knee pads.

Maybe you'll marry, maybe you won't. Maybe you'll have an affair with the boss and get promoted. Maybe you'll accidentally get knocked up and have to have an abortion which your boss will put on his corporate AmEx and make you file the expense report. Maybe he'll go back to his wife because he can't afford a divorce in a communal property state especially in this economy.

Love is a relative term.

Whatever you do, don't ever stop self promotion. The key to success in Hollywood is convincing others of how great you are, even if it's not true.

Enhance your body.

If you see something sagging, bagging or dragging, it's best to nip it, tuck it, and suck it. If God didn't want you to get plastic surgery, he wouldn't have invented Dr. 90210.

Lap Dance.

Because it pays more than temping and you'll meet more Hollywood executives that way.

Read the directions.

Because your boss's iPhone won't program itself.

Read fashion magazines. Inner beauty is for ugly people.

Get to know your parents. Because once you become a big Hollywood star, you'll blow them off in favor of partying at the Playboy mansion.

Be nice to your siblings. They've got dirt on you that they'll happily to sell to the National Enquirer if you screw them over.

Understand that Hollywood friends come and go because if they can't do anything for you, they're not worth your time. Plus it takes way to long to get from Santa Monica to Los Feliz.

Live in Hollywood once, but leave before you get stupid. Live in Burbank once, but leave before you get bored.

Drink heavily.

Accept certain inalienable truths. Reality programs are here to stay. Movie studio execs are mostly lazy. And when you do, you'll fantasize that when you were young, TV shows had scripts and some movies weren't remakes.

Suck up.

Nothing will get you further in Hollywood than kissing ass. Differentiate yourself by ass kissing in different ways such as the Spider-man Kiss ("You produced Spider-man 3? I love when Mary Jane sings!") and the French Canadian Kiss (It's like a regular kiss, but without union difficulties and with a better exchange rate.)

Find someone to support you. Maybe they have a trust fund. Maybe...oh it's probably a trust fund. But hold on with a vice grip because it's easier than working.

Use hair extensions because they look completely natural. Make sure you use a nice epoxy when installing them.

Advice is a way to helping others. Don't offer it. Dispense "recommendations" that won't work, because you don't want someone younger and with a higher, firmer butt passing you on the final lap.

But trust me on the sunscreen.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Happy Birthday to the Hollywood Temp Diaries -- You're 1!

Technically, the Temp Diaries turned 1 on April 11. But I was too busy wondering what the hell happened to my life and fighting with my health insurance provider to notice. But let's take a moment to celebrate.

So much has transpired since that fateful day that some unnamed Hollywood exec walked into my office du jour and complained of irritable bowel syndrome that it's hard to keep track of it all. Knight Rider came and went. Speed Racer came and went. GE, Viacom, Time Warner and Disney lost a combined gazillion dollars in market capitalization. The national unemployment jumped from 5.5 percent to 8.5 percent (currently California unemployment is 11.2 percent). Ah, Bush administration nostalgia. In good news, during those same 365 days, Valerie Bertinelli lost a bunch of weight, whitened her teeth and bought a cute bikini.

So take out your kazoo, party hats and streamers and celebrate the key numbers in the year that was for the Hollywood Temp Diaries.

253 Total postings
252 Times I thought "Writing a blog is a real pain in the ass."
10 Amount (in dollars) I paid to register
30 Amount (in dollars) I paid to sponsor the Temp Diaries Beer Pong team
0 Games my Beer Pong Team won (love you guys anyway)
2 Postings with reference to the 1980's TV show Riptide
40 Times I've made fun of Ben Silverman
41 Times Ben Silverman deserved it
3 Dead people who wrote for my site (Plimpton, HST, Rice)
2 Times people who don't know I run this blog told me to check it out
18 Times I was too lazy to post (a.k.a. Copyright Infringement Theatre)
13 People who have unsubscribed from the UTA joblist
9 Number of times people in Pakistan have read my blog
9 Number of times people in Wyoming have read my blog
8 Number of naked pictures sent from obsessed fans (just kidding, it's zero)
4 Times I tried writing a writing entries under the influence
331 Days between my prediction of Hollywood's demise and the SAG deal.
1 Number of new Temp Pimps I registered with in the last year
0 Number of times that new Pimp called me
37 Terms defined in the Hollywood Dictionary
1 Terms in the Hollywood Dictionary that makes sense ("Producer")
$5,380.50 Year-to-Date Earnings (you know how much I made last year)
0 Number of job offers I've received in since starting this blog

Monday, April 20, 2009

SCOOPEDJA -- Turnover at Endeavor

Word around the campfire is that Susan Solomon and Brian Lipson were let go from Endeavor.  If my sources are accurate, I've scooped Darling Nikki again.  If not, I'll follow Nikki's lead and congratulate myself on not running a rumor by actually running the rumor.

The day I almost gave up...

A recent perusal of my "Sent" emails revealed I've applied for more than 500 jobs since moving to Hollywood. When I'm lucky, the applications result in an interview. If I'm really lucky, I'll find out I'm simultaneously overqualified and underqualified for this position. Regardless of my standing on the capabilities spectrum, the result is the same. Someone else gets the job. I end up calling my Pimp again.

I always figured if I worked for a place enough times (because they kept requesting me), I'd be on the inside track should a position open up. Not sure why I believed that as it hadn't proven itself true before. Optimism has always been a shortcoming of mine.

The following is an IM exchange between your hero and a friend after finding out optimism is for suckers.
Temp X: how pissed am i allowed to be? [Company name redacted] hired someone.
Temp X: i didn't even get called in
FRIEND: what???
Temp X: yep
FRIEND: for [name redacted]'s job?
Temp X: yep
FRIEND: very pissed
FRIEND: that's extremely rude and wrong
Temp X: i'm so angry. i've only spent [a lot of time] there and told everyone there i'm looking for work
FRIEND: i can't believe you didn't even get an interview
Temp X: nope. nothing.
In true Hollywood fashion, they called me to Temp for a few days before the new employee was to start. The surprising part...I wasn't surprised at all.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

More crap coming soon to a theater near you...

The name Lesley Brown probably doesn't mean anything to you. And that's ok. She's a footnote in history as she's the first woman to have a child through in vitro fertilization. In 1978, Mrs. Brown gave birth through a planned Caesarean Section to her daughter, Louise. Last year Lesley and John Brown celebrated Lesley's 30th birthday alongside her husband and 2 year old son. This is all truly a marvel of modern science.

But leave it up to Hollywood to try to one-up history. In the next 9 months, Hollywood will deliver not one but two romantic comedies (The Backup Plan and The Baster) about a beautiful woman who gets artificially inseminated only to have wackiness ensue amidst morning sickness. But let's break them down and see whether these movies are Identical Twins (like Benji and Joel Madden) or Fraternal Twins (like Ashton Kutcher and his twin brother Whatshisface).

Movie Star
The Backup Plan: JENNIFER Lopez
The Baster: JENNIFER Aniston
Analysis: Both got their start in TV (Lopez on In Living Color, Aniston on Friends) and their movies have a lifetime gross in excess of $700 million.
Result: Identical Twins

Male Lead
The Backup Plan: Alex O'Laughlin (most likely)
The Baster: Jason Bateman
Analysis: Both actors are cute, have dark hair, blue eyes and were on shows that had cult followings (O'Laughlin on Moonlight, Bateman on Arrested Development). And most importantly, neither will steal the show.
Result: Identical Twins

Method of Artificial Insemination
The Backup Plan: Catheter
The Baster: Turkey Baster
Analysis: The catheter is a proven method of conception while the turkey baster procedure appears to be urban lore (if not completely unsafe).
Result: Fraternal Twins

Ironic Twist
The Backup Plan: She finds Mr. Right just after finding out she's pregnant.
The Baster: The genetic father is her best friend who did a sperm switcharoo. Does he become Mr. Right?
Analysis: Good God, who writes this crap.
Result: Fraternal Twins

Likely Conclusion
(I've not read either script)
The Backup Plan: Mother, father and child live happily ever after.
The Baster: Mother, father and child happily ever after [Note: This resulted from audience testing that rejected the first ending where Bateman's character was locked up for being super creepy for the sperm switcharoo.]
Analysis: Like you couldn't see this a mile away.
Result: Identical Twins

Final Analysis In a nail biter, The Backup Plan and The Baster are more like Identical Twins than Fraternal Twins. Lucky for us, Nadya Suleman isn't a studio executive.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Hollywood Dictionary: Part 9 -- A Very Special Episode

Today is "A Very Special Episode" of the Hollywood Dictionary. In TV terms this means turning a show that's supposed to be funny but isn't into a show that's not supposed to be funny but is. For the Hollywood Dictionary "A.V.S.E." means defining one word, over and over and over and over again. This can only be one word. The word that everyone in Hollywood uses to describe himself/herself. I know this because even I -- Temp X, King of Hollywood, Hero to the Underemployed -- have described myself as such. That word is PRODUCER.

No one knows what "Producer" means and there are countless ways to define it. It's the occupational equivalent of "Fugeddaboutit." It can be defined as any of the following...

Producer -- The son of a Saudi oil sheik and with a net worth of $3.2 billion. This person drives an Audi R8, goes to Sundance, Venice, Toronto, Cannes, Tribeca, SXSW and E3 but never actually attends a screening because he's hung over from P. Diddy's party. When his father threatens to cut him off (a relative term) if he doesn't start making movies, he options the rights to a random graphic novel he saw at Comic-Con. After throwing $10 million at Robert Rodriguez to direct it and Gerard Butler to star, the flick makes $500 million and spawns three sequels and a spin off.

Producer -- This person has already made it in Hollywood as an actor but wants to prove they're more than a modern day Christian de Neuvillette. So in exchange for one more season on a show that'll typecast this person for life, they're given this title but with no real power. It's like an honorary doctorate or Ambassador to the UN. The truth is the EP is paying this person more just to stay away.

Producer -- This person wears a uniform of a blue blazer, an over-priced vintage concert t-shirt (today it's Motley Crue's "Theatre of Pain") and True Religion jeans. He also has well-groomed facial hair, a faux-hawk (FYI -- that's so 2007), drives a BMW 325 and spends too much of his parents' money at the pool at The Roosevelt. He has recently perfected the art of the man hug.

Producer -- This person is just smart and convincing enough to bullshit enough people to look at their project. Never mind that they have no cast, no studio, no distribution and no financing. All it takes is one person to believe this lie. Then the real selling can begin.

Producer -- This person does the boring and tedious work the other producers have neither the time, interest nor intellectual capacity to do. This includes activities like developing the creative direction of a project, working with writers, determining cast and crew, creating a marketing strategy and figuring out budgets.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Sugartits -- The Epilogue

As you'll no doubt recall from last week, the Hollywood executive I was working for was having a terribly difficult time determining who to hire as his new assistant. Clearly I was not in the running because the shape of posterior didn't say "I'm perfectly capable of doing the same job I've been doing for you for the last month." And if the dimensions of my badonkadonk weren't problematic enough, I didn't offer that dreamy "come hither" look when I printed out and delivered his call sheet.

So I was left simply to witness him agonize over what to do. One had "bedroom eyes" while the other had a better looking rear. He pondered and mulled. He cogitated and ruminated. His analysis made Sophie's Choice look easier than that of a North Korean voter. But he persevered. And then, in an epiphany that can only be compared to Archimedes early understanding the correlation between mass and volume, he'd reached a decision. So I will tell you in his exact words of his conclusion:
"I picked the blond. What's her name again?"
The Socratic Method, as always, delivers the goods.

[Note: Socrates was found guilty of corrupting youth and was put to death by drink hemlock.]

Monday, April 13, 2009

Grantland Rice at the Hollywood Assistant Beer Pong Tournament

Retired New York Herald Tribune sports columnist Grantland Rice happened to be passing through Hollywood this past week. And out of courtesy to the Hollywood Temp Diaries, he covered the 5th Annual Hollywood Assistant Beer Pong Tournament. What follows is exclusive coverage of the event...

Outlined against a neon-tinged April sky, the Three Horsemen rode again. In dramatic lore they are known as Famine, Pestilence, Destruction (Death was working her second job and couldn't make it). These are only aliases. Their real names are Harrison, Ross and the Unnamed Ponger. They formed the crest of the Hollywood mudslide which fought bravely at the El Guapo Cantina Saturday evening as hundreds of inebriated, underemployed assistants gazed, nay, were mesmerized by the ongoings at the Beer Pong Table of Destiny.

A mudslide cannot be contained. It must be channeled, like a steer en route to slaughter or a beagle to a bath. When this mudslide of ping pong parabolic resplendence begins, all in its path -- from the weakest intern to the strongest coordinator -- must take shelter or risk demolition from this roster of lowly Temps.

Team Spyglass sent their finest crew into action, an aggressive organization that threw with grace and poise of Cynthia Gregory among a sea of pachyderms. But when Coach X rushed his Three Horsemen to the pitch, they fought with the mettle of a 1,000 brave warriors. Achilles himself could not have staged a braver battle, one of nerve, desire, determination and drunkenness.

The clash offered nearly an hour of a disquiet reminiscent of a Fred Perry v. Gottfried von Cramm match at Centre Court. Like the brave cowboy breaking a stallion, it delivered a whipsaw of violence, aggression and, ultimately, beauty not seen since hurler Mitchell Steven Williams.

Team Temp Diaries struck first with a lob from Ross that squarely and purely, disrupting the peaceful meniscus of his foe's Miller Lite. But Spyglass's combatants Karla "Quiller" Quiboloy and James "Mr. F" Finnigan were none to rattled. And with eyes of fire and flammable breath, Mr. F beamed the white orb into Temp Diaries cup.

Back and forth they went like the Hatfields and the McCoys. Two teams of rugged individuals intent on destroying the other. But only one could triumph.

And then the moment came. With everything hanging in the balance each team had only one cup standing. "Quiller" calmly eyed her shot, narrowing her eyes with dangerous intent. And like a hummingbird, the ball shot out of her hand straight and true. Directly into that final cup. For it was all over. Team Spyglass had triumphed leaving the Temps to wonder what might have been.

History has a curious way of remembering things. Bill Buckner's error in Game 6 was not the Red Sox end in the 1986 World Series. For they also squandered a three-run lead in Game 7 en route to another crushing defeat. During the New York Knickerbockers 1970 title clincher, Clyde Frazier scored 36, but people only remember Willis Reed limping on to score those first four points. The same will be said of this match of beer pong heavyweights. It's not who won or lost, but how remarkably the game was played.

Never has mud been so beautiful.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Meet Team Temp Diaries

This Saturday is the 5th Annual Hollywood Assistant Beer Pong Competition. And for the first time in history, the underclass of Hollywood (the Temps) are represented.

I have spent $30 of my hard-earned money (that's 3 hours of toiling at CAA) to finance Team Temp Diaries. This team of ne'er-do-wells will deftly and elegantly throw ping pong balls at half-full glasses of beer in a form reminiscent of Northwestern University beer pong legend Joe Davis. I encourage all of you to go cheer on Team Temp Diaries and/or distract the other teams. Whatever helps us win.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

6PM ~ 2AM

El Guapo Cantina

7250 Melrose Avenue

And now, let me introduce the roster of champions...

NAME: Harrison Bohrman
REAL WORK: Co-produced "Bomb It" a documentary about graffiti artists.

NAME: Boxcar Ross
PROOF OF UNDEREMPLOYMENT: University of Illinois graduate
FAVORITE QUOTE: "Every shot is thrown with bad intentions. There's never been anybody as ruthless. I'm Sonny Liston. I'm Jack Dempsey, there's no one like me - I'm from their cloth. There's no one that can match me. My style is impetuous. My defense is impregnable, and I'm just ferocious. I want to eat your heart."

NAME: Withheld
BEER PONG POSITION: First Alternate Ponger
FAVORITE BITCH-WORK MEMORY: I once had to complete an entire online traffic school course for my boss’ wife, who ran a stop sign, no doubt in a hurry to get to the country club. And, I wasn’t even getting paid.
TV CHARACTERS MOST SIMILAR TO ME: Monica Geller, Diane Chambers, Liz Lemon (However, she's a successful writer...)
SOMETIMES I WISH: I worked in the White House. Then at least I’d be getting a government pension.


Wednesday, April 8, 2009

NBC's March of Idiocy Continues...

I haven't shat on Ben Silverman in more than a month. Lucky for me, he never stops doing stupid things. And this time he's hit the jackpot. I offer you their "Best" Worst Greenlight decision since Knight Rider (or about a half dozen other shows). Enter Dorothy Gale:
A modern update of the classic "Wizard of Oz" finds a young Kansas woman trying to make it as a single girl in the strange land of Manhattan and dealing with, among other things, a wicked boss.
Not quite ripping off Ugly Betty or Devil Wears Prada, this one is sure to suck terribly. How long until it takes over Kings new Saturday night time slot.

Hollywood Dictionary: Volume 8

Ockham's Razor - a principle attributed to the Franciscan friar William of Ockham - states that "the simplest explanation of two competing theories is usually the correct one." In Hollywood, it's the opposite. The simplest explanation "is usually really convoluted and completely nonsensical. But that's what happens when a bunch of cocaine-addled executives attempt to act like Noah Webster."

And with that, I bring to you the newest entries to the Hollywood Dictionary.

Mixer -- Hollywood is all about networking. To achieve great heights in this industry, you better get yourself connected to as many people as possible. Important executives do this at award shows, premieres or at rehab. Since the rest of us don't get invited to or remanded to these, we have to mingle where we can. So we go to mixers. Mixers are cheap liquor-soaked events where assistants congregate, bitch about their bosses and network with other people who have no power whatsoever. Occasionally a recently promoted assistant will attend such functions. They are easy to spot because throngs of people sucking up to him/her.

Other Side of the Hill -- In New York City, they call them the "Bridge and Tunnel people." In Chicago, you're referred to as a "708er." The snobs from every major city have derogatory terms for people the hicks from the suburbs. In Hollywood, it's no different -- and that term is "Other side of the Hill" to refer to people who live in the San Fernando Valley. You might hear in the sentence "No, she hasn't hit it big yet. She still lives on the Other side of The Hill." [Note: This is not to be confused with "Over the Hill" which simply means you're too old to work in Hollywood. That age is currently 27. ]

Drive On -- While this sounds like something your boss might do TO YOU with his new Porsche Cayenne to test out the all-time 4WD, it's really just a permission slip to get on to a studio lot. For those of you who can't afford cars (which is pretty much every assistant), you'll get something called a "Walk On."

Monday, April 6, 2009

SCOOPEDJA -- CAA memo to clients

I don't know whether this actually was from a CAA agent to his clients or not. But the content seems accurate, it's chock full of corporate buzzwords (e.g., "paradigm shifts," "cablers," etc.) So take it for what it's worth. While Darling Nikki might chastise me for running such unverified info, I just follow her lead.

**The following was written by an Agent from CAA to his clients. He described the situation succinctly.

"I know a lot of your are getting antsy to get out more, and frankly many of you are in a tight financial pinch; as such, I wanted to describe to you all the current climate in LA and the factors influencing the current environment.

-SAG STALEMATE: Since the SAG contract expired on June 30, 2008, there have been few to no STUDIO feature films (this does not include companies such as Lionsgate and the Weinstein Company who are not in AMPTP and as such have completion agreements). Some analysts say there are up to 200 feature films on hold. Around September, we started to see a mass movement of film actors to TV projects. Many of my "name" actors have done one-day guest stars (this is very typical right now), and we are seeing a number of Guest Star level actors doing CO-STAR roles. Remember from November of 2007 to March of 2008, due to the Writer's Strike, again there were no feature films shot. So for the film actor, there has only been 4 months of work in the last 17 months.

THE BOTTOM LINE: Due to the lack of studio feature film production, BOTH film and TV actors are now competing for a limited number of jobs in the episodic and pilot environments.

-PILOT SEASON: During the Writer's Strike of 2007-2008, Studios adapted and used the void to eliminate pilot season as we know it. Gone are the days of hundreds of pilots. In fact, this year, there are only 67 pilots to have registered for production - of which only about 35 have been green lit for production.

http://www.variety. com/article/ VR1118000479. html?categoryid= 3284&cs=1& query=
pilots+casting+ 2009
<http://www.variety. com/article/ VR1118000479. html?categoryid= 3284&cs=1& query
=pilots+casting+ 2009>

And this year, due again to a sagging economy, studios and networks believe that by committing named stars to their projects, they will receive more money from this year's up-fronts from ad agencies. They are banking on star power to leverage better buys at the all important UPFRONTS. So, stars and pop-stars like Richard Dreyfuss, Chevy Chase, Brittany Snow, Elle McPherson, Rebecca Romijn, Ashley Simpson, Scott Caan, Skeet Ulrich, and proven TV talents like Kelsey Grammar, Eric McCormick, John McGinley, Joel McHale, Jenna Elfman, Donald Faison, Maura Tierney, Peter Krauss, Craig T. Nelson, Dax Shepherd, etc.... You do the math, 37 pilots... top stars being sought...

-TV: While TV has been steady, again due to the conflagration of film and named actors doing Guest Starring roles, we have seen a horrible trickle down. Many Guest Stars are now doing Co-stars and Co-stars/Developmental Actors (those with less than 5 primetime credits) frankly are not getting seen much. One CD recently told me that she had over 25 women who would be
considered 'working actors' going for a co-star role.

BOTTOM LINE: Again, due to the abundance of name and working actors, many less-developed actors are not even being seen right now.

-ECONOMIC IMPACT I - THE EROSION OF QUOTES/RATES: There are really three major impacts to actors during this economic crunch. First, we are seeing the erosion of quotes. Due to the availability of so many talented actors, CD's and Producers are in the driver's seat in negotiations. When they say, "well we got someone else who will do it for less", they ain't kidding. I have spoken to a number of my peers who have confirmed this erosion of pay for their actors. In short, right now, quotes are eroding and for many, the minimum has become the maximum pay.

with the end of this stalemate, Hollywood will get back to normal. I have to say, that I am not one who necessarily believes this. First off, due to the economic conditions, most studios have lost their millions of dollars from hedge funds; and European, Asian and Middle Eastern money has dried up. Even Stephen Spielberg has had to beg, borrow and steal to get his company financed .... And it wasn't anywhere near what he originally asked for. I believe that, even after the SAG stalemate is over, there is probably not enough money for 50 Studio Feature Films to be done right out of the gate.

BOTTOM LINE: While this will help us move towards normalcy, it will not be the cash cow some people think it will be. One side note, is that I expect that more formulaic projects will be down out the gate as Studios will be less likely to take significant risks since most of these projects will be financed by both the studio and their investors. In short, you will see more Iron Mans, Animation, and SAWs... they are money in the bank when you factor in ratios, etc.

-ECONOMIC IMPACT III - OVERALL STATEMENT OF ENVIRONMENT: It is important that everyone follow the economic conditions closely. I know it is easy to be skeptical over the studios, networks, cablers, production houses, show runners, etc, losing money, but it is a cold-hard fact right now. These entities are truly in a difficult spot. If you have read much lately, there have been dramatic cut backs at every studio and network, from firings to asking show runners to cut between 2-7% of their budgets (not to mention the 25+% cutback shows like the Sarah Silverman were asked to swallow recently). Furthermore, these networks and studios are largely owned by conglomerates who have lost in the billions over the last 6 months. When I attended NATPE in January, all the talk was how to get 'thinner.' Everything is getting tight. Budgets, Marketing, Staffing, etc., and this will undoubtedly impact the actor. Also, the foreign sales market (where much of the TV and Film money is made, is being hit hard by the erosion of the US Dollar. So these entities are not able to recoup the costs they were in better days by the
one-time explosion of the foreign markets.

BOTTOM LINE: The economic conditions are forcing the industry to be as 'thin' as possible.

-COMMERCIALS - INDUSTRY AND ECONOMIC IMPACTS: One analyst said last year, that 2008 was the worst commercial market since maybe 1974. I would not argue with this. Think about it: three of the top products/services for ad agencies are banks, cars and other financial services - all of which were struck down in 2008/early 2009 by this recession. This was confirmed when news struck that even the Super Bowl did not sell out advertising this year.
The good news is that the advertising industry tends to be one of the first ones to be negatively impacted by a recession, but one of the first to grow as the recession moves to an end as advertisers of products want to start accumulating market share before the turn of the economy. Another impact relates to the overall conditions of the TV/FILM/PILOT situation. Many strong actors have made enough money on TV/FILM, etc so that they have not had to do commercials in years. Due to the last few years and the lack of work, many top actors are now back in the commercial market; thus again, causing a logjam in casting.

BOTTOMLINE: The economic slowdown has caused a dramatic decrease in ad sales and the lack of work has caused more actors to re-enter the commercial market.


Okay, so that is where we are today. You know me, I try to always call it straight as I see it. So, I am not going to sugar-coat this either. I anticipate that 2009 will be a tough year overall for actors (and agencies). First off, the economy will not likely get straightened out until at least the 3rd to 4th quarter of this year and so all the factors above will remain in place through most, if not all, of 2009. Secondly, until the labor situation gets straightened out, we will not be seeing dramatic amount of film production, and this seems to be dragging along as well (as we enter
the 8th month of the stalemate - it was announced today that SAG is thinking now about taking AMPTP to court for anti-trust violations). But again, even if it was finalized, there is not enough investor money to see the film production level normalize and increase for most, if not all, of 2009. Also, since movies cost around $40 for two (tickets, popcorn, etc) - this is not a recession proof field anymore. During our last significant recession, there were few choices for guilty pleasures to get away from the stress of our times - so many people flocked to the theatres. NOT SO THESE DAYS, one can go to the web, TV, cable (not around in 1974, 1982, 1988 much), Video Games, Netflix, RedBox (movie for a $1). So studios are probably not in any big rush to make films - as people cannot afford this once cheap diversion - better to divert for a few bucks to all the many other sources of guilty pleasures. OKAY, so that didn't sound like good news...

-The good news is that there are some paradigm shifts occurring that make 2010 -2012 look like it might be one of the most prolific times in Hollywood history. Due to technological developments, there are more platforms being developed than ever. The internet is driving millions of new viewers each year. Zillion is going to transform the way we view advertising. For those who don't know, it has recently been unveiled by the maker of Real Player and the 'mouse.' It is a system that makes you watch ads before downloading movies (they already have 14,000 Titles ready for download), TV, other forms of entertainment to your TV Screen. However, the consumer can choose the products they want to see (let's say you go retail clothing and watch a
Macy's ad and love the jacket; you can immediately click on the ad/jacket and go directly to their website where you can buy it). Also, you earn points by watching the commercials that you can use towards purchases. Furthermore, SONY and others are now selling TVs that wirelessly connect to your computer, so you can download TV/FILMS at anytime from your computer
(websites like Hula, Netflix, etc) directly to your TV. In short, technology is making more platforms which will require more content than ever. Also, Cablers are all embracing doing
scripted shows, some have up to 5 shows this year... again, more content is needed and thus MORE ACTORS!

-BOTTOM LINE: More platforms = more content = more actors! So as long as SAG/AFTRA can protect your rates and jurisdictional issues, there will be more good compensated work than ever in Hollywood by 2010-2012. "

From this point forward, I shall be known as "Sugar Tits"

Ian Faith: They're not gonna release the album...because they have decided that the cover is sexist.
Nigel Tufnel: Well, so what? What's wrong with bein' sexy?

-"Spinal Tap"
Hollywood is a town based on aesthetics, both sorta manufactured and really manufactured. This is nothing new. One need look no further casting for the 2003 film Monster where it made more sense to "ugly up" the former model Charlize Theron than to cast an actress who was never named Sexiest Woman Alive by Esquire.

But as I've learned over the past four years, this desire for beauty extends well beyond casting movies and TV. It is firmly a part of many organizational staffing decisions. How do I know this? I've been told more than a few times that I don't have the right "look" for an assistant position. A leading agency told me I was too old for the job. A prominent Cable Network told me another candidate was much "easier on the eyes" before giving my candidacy the boot. And last week I received the latest explanation/newest addition to the EEOC Hall of Fame as to why one of the female candidates will likely get the gig...
  • "I just can't decide who (of the female candidates) has the nicer ass."
  • "Do you know that term 'Bedroom Eyes?' She has those."
I now know where my weaknesses are. But I CAN do something about them. So this morning i went to the gym, spent 30 minutes on the elliptical and then did squats. Later today, I will get colored contacts. This is the year I get a full-time job. I'm sure of it.

Friday, April 3, 2009

SCOOPEDJA -- Scooping Nikki Finke again

The - home to shows and web content targeting girls ages 13-14 - has just begun major layoffs. Instead of covering this, Darling Nikki is letting us know for the umpteenth day in a row that the WMA/Endeavor deal isn't done yet. Yes Nik, we knew that. Next thing you'll tell us is that the sun will likely rise in the east tomorrow and that there's unrest in Iraq.

Let's see how long it takes for Nikki Finke to cover this sad news. I'm posting this 2.15 p.m.

The countdown is on.

NFSC (Nikki Finke Scoop Count) = 5 since 12/08

Update (4/4/09): Nikki is posting Jay Leno breakdancing, but nothing about the lay offs. Keep up the good work.

Update (4/5/09): A viewer recommended a much more clever headline, so I've modified the article slightly. Nikki, on the other hand, hasn't posted a thing.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

So what if 'The Ten' grossed less than $800,000? We'll do it better and attach Owen Wilson to play Moses.

There is a "Family Friendly" version of today's posting being simulcast on

Hollywood executives are only good at two things: needlessly remaking old material and acting like God. So when offered the opportunity to contribute to, it seemed only appropriate that I -- Temp X, King of Hollywood and Hero to the Underemployed -- employ these same concepts in my maiden posting.

Following are the holiest of holy imperatives -- the 10 Commandments -- if a Hollywood executive were to re-make them (and don't put it past them, as they've already re-made classics like Psycho, The Manchurian Candidate and a few hundred other movies) to accommodate their sliding scale of morality and self-importance.

Mazel Tov.

God Says: I am the LORD thy GOD.
Hollywood Executive Remake: I am the LORD thy God.

God Says: Thou shalt have no other gods before Me.
Hollywood Executive Remake: Unless it's Rupert Murdoch, Sumner Redstone or Robert Iger, take a message. Oh and where's my Venti, Soy Caramel Macchiato?! Have you heard a fucking word I said?! Where's my lunch today?

God Says: Thou shalt not take the name of God in vain.
Hollywood Executive Remake: Thou CAN say "Shit," "Piss," "Fuck," "Cunt," "Cocksucker," "Motherfucker" and "Tits" when yelling at your assistant. However, Human Resources has informed me you CANNOT say "God Damn It!" because it discriminates against those who practice polytheistic religions including Hinduism, Wicca and whatever Madonna is in to these days.

God Says: Remember to keep the Sabbath holy.
Hollywood Executive Remake: Thou shalt not do drugs, cheat on your spouse or violate the terms of your DUI probation on Saturdays, unless you didn't go to sleep the night before. In this case, it's technically still Friday.

God Says: Honor your father and mother.
Hollywood Executive Remake: Nepotism kicks ass.

God Says: Thou shalt not murder.
Hollywood Executive Remake: Anyone below me on the "org chart" shalt not watch Swimming With Sharks nor get any ideas from said film. Other prohibited films include Office Space, The Player as well as certain scenes from Fight Club and American Beauty. Viewing Secretary is permitted and encouraged.

God Says: Thou shalt not commit adultery.
Hollywood Executive Remake: Thou shalt commit adultery, especially with that hot new intern in marketing.

God Says: Thou shalt not steal.
Hollywood Executive Remake: Thou shalt not steal unless the idea is really good, offers sequel/spin-off possibilities and/or has extensive merchandising opportunities. Suitable examples include Paul Blart: Mall Cop/Observe and Report, Wife Swap/Trading Spouses, Antz/A Bug's Life, Finding Nemo/A Shark's Tale and Benjamin Button/Forrest Gump.

God Says: Thou shalt not bear false witness against your neighbor.
Hollywood Executive Remake: I'm not really feeling this part. Maybe we just leave it for the deleted scenes or the box set.

God Says: Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's house, thy neighbor's wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbor's.
Hollywood Executive Remake:
Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's Aston Martin DBS because you have a perfectly nice Prius that your new girlfriend -- the eco-warrior with D-cups in a Size 2 dress -- makes you drive even though you can afford the $260,000 dream car.

God Says: N/A
Hollywood Executive Remake: More is better. Watchmen was 36 minutes better than Iron Man. Since I have eleven commandments, I'm better than God. But you already knew that.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

It's Hunt-the-Gowk Day!

The Scottish call it "Hunt-the-Gowk Day." The French call it "Poisson d'Avril." In Latin America they call it "Tu Stultus Es." But here in the good old USA we call today April Fool's Day. And there's no town with more fools than Hollywood. If you need proof, look no further than NBC remaking the reality show ABC bombed out with "I'm a Celebrity...Get me out of here." Yep. It'll be like shooting fish in a barrel today.

Following is a list of pranks you can pull on your boss. Just remember to say "April Fool's" at the end so you do
n't get fired. Now run in to your bosses office and say...

"I real admire your ethics. What do I need to do to be like you?"

"Spearmint Rhino is on the phone. They wondered if you still want to leave your tab open since it's already been three days." [Note: This doesn't always work, as sometimes it's true.]

"I really like it when you stare at my cleavage. Can you do it some more? And don't forget about my butt. I've been doing the elliptical 30 minutes a day."

"The latte maker at Starbucks is broken."

"You have to give up your iPhone because we signed Kyocera to a multi-year marketing consulting deal."

"They're reassigning coverage and you now only get to work with Lionsgate." (or if your boss is in TV, replace Lionsgate with NBC.)

"You know what? Don't bother hiring me. I'd rather Temp because health insurance and paid vacation seem like too much of a hassle."

"I just saw your wife at lunch with John Mayer." (or Paris Hilton, depending on sexual preference.)

"I just sold my script to Warner Bros without an agent for $600,000 against $1.2 million. Yeah, that's the same one I've been trying to get you to read since 2007."

"Mandatory drug testing starts today."