Friday, July 31, 2009

Hollywood Execs: They're Worth Every Penny

Just when I thought TV execs had settled on only remaking shows and movies from the 1980s, they throw me a curve ball. Let's welcome back the Rockford Files to NBC. Now where's my cookie jar so I can shoot myself.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Viva la Revolucion!

Comrades. Patriots. Fellow nobodies. Hollywood is broken.

I come to you with this truth not simply point out the obvious, but to galvanize your support to fix it.

For too long we have
toiled in the mail rooms, on the loading docks and at the reception desks. We've lied for our boss. We've ignored obvious EEOC violations. We've endured the unnecessary wrath of Hollywood executives because we share a common goal -- to make movies and TV.

But it is time for a change. We've tried working within your system. We've played your games. But it has been all for naught. We're doing the same mind-numbing work -- rolling calls, making lunch reservations and printing scripts -- as when we started and haven't received so much as a whiff of the creative opportunities we'd been promised. And now you deliver the final insult. I speak of the impeding pay cuts for our brothers and sisters at William Morris Endeavor Entertainment.

That's right my fellow hourly cogs - Pay cuts!!

It has come to light that the many assistants at the newly formed WME2 will have their pay slashed in the coming days. At the same time gas hovers around $3/gallon, they are implementing pay cuts. While the Consumer Price Index jumps 2.7% in the first half of 2009, our colleagues in the Hollywood underclass face pay reductions ranging from 20%-35%. Some will face an hourly rate that's a paltry $10 (or perhaps $11, depending on if you believe Darling Nikki or Defamer) per hour. And on top of that, they're essentially mandating 50-hour work weeks.

I ask you, "Is this just?"

The answer is as obvious as the plastic surgery on Demi Moore's...err...everything. "No." This is wretched behavior exercised by the ogres who run this town.

Ari Emanuel and his cohorts at WME2 will say that this is just resolving the pay disparity between the Endeavor assistants and those from the newly-acquired William Morris. Or perhaps they'll say it's a cost cutting measure in these rough economic times. But I say "ca ca poo poo."

Do the math.

After layoffs, William Morris brought along only about 100 agents (and their assistants) as part of the merger/takeover. Whatever cost savings is achieved by slashing the pay of the lowest of the low is a pittance compared to the salaries of WME2's top management and certainly compared to the construction costs of the new WME castle...errr...headquarters. And I'm certain WME2 management never even considered leveling assistant pay through increases rather than decreases.

We cannot and will not stand for such blatant disrespect. I ask you all to join me in solidarity in a non-violent protest. Make "Che Equis" the background on your computer. Print up the logo and put it on your bulletin board. Or grow a wispy mustache. Send a message to "The Man" and let 'em know we are strong, united and can bring this town to a halt if we want to. So they better start respecting us now before it's too late.

Pacem in Terris

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

The First Runner-up in the "Melrose Place" ad campaign

By now you're probably aware that Hollywood has chosen to barf up another show it only recently swallowed -- Melrose Place. (Gotta stay thin!) The show, which focuses on life in the Hollywood fast lane, was a huge hit in the 1990s. While fictionalized, I have no doubt that a goodly portion of the show was based on the reality that accompanied 5% unemployment, a surging advertising market and endless consumer spending.

Times change, but apparently network execs didn't notice. Based on previews and promotional materials, MP: 2009 appears to ignore 9.7% unemployment, a surging home foreclosure market and a sputtering consumer spending.

But that's why I'm here. I recently too a stroll down to the real Melrose Place and came up with a more apt ad campaign to replace "Tuesday's are a bitch"...

8450 Melrose Place

8459 Melrose Place

650 La Cienega @ Melrose Place

8432 Melrose Place

8422 Melrose Place (closed after only 11 months)

8408 Melrose Place

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Enter Sandman

I remember the first time I fell asleep at work.

I was a year out of college and was working at a public affairs firm in Washington, D.C. My client -- a major drug manufacturer -- needed help getting the FDA to approve an osteoporosis drug. As the junior member of the team, I was relegated to the bullshit work. On this day, this meant reviewing hours of video of old women talking about bone density. It's as dull as it sounds.

The combination of a raging hangover and countless interviews of seniors saying "My hip"-this and "Constant pain"-that finally caught up with me. Somewhere around hour #3, I nodded off. I was probably only out for a few minutes, but when I woke up and hadn't been fired, I made a deal with God. Because he/she/Oprah made sure no one caught me snoozing, I'd never do that again. That pact worked...until last week.

It all started innocently enough. I went in my friend's office during lunch, reclined on the couch and flipped on the TV. It was a replay of the Dodger game when Manny Ramirez hit a pinch hit grand slam to win it. Maybe it was Vin Scully's velvety delivery. Perhaps it was Tryptophan from my turkey sandwich. Or more likely it was the hours of temping boredom that preceded (and would follow) lunch. But whatever it was, I fell asleep.

I have only vague recollections of what happened for the next 90 minutes. I remember around 1:55 p.m. my friend jostled me, said she was leaving and told me get back to work. I recall deciding to lay there for a couple more minutes. Then I remember nothing until I woke up and it's just shy of 3 p.m. Of course everything after that -- running back to my desk, panicking and apologizing to God -- was as clear as can be. That's an adrenaline rush for you.

So I return to my desk and expect a thrashing or a firing. But what happened? Nothing. No one noticed. My boss took a long lunch and none of my co-workers noticed (or cared?) that I was MIA.

Never have I been so glad to be an invisible cog in Hollywood.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Ben Silverman Quits -- Nikki Finke gets scooped by NYT and TMZ! [write thru #9]

By now, we all know that Darling Nikki "overslept" Hollywood's biggest news item of the year - the demise of Ben Silverman at NBC. Turns out, she had a list of excuses to choose from. Here are some of the others she considered using:
  1. My dog ate my computer.
  2. The check from Penske already cleared.
  3. I'm still recovering from my vacation.
  4. My alarm clock didn't go off.
  5. Traffic on the 101 sucked.
  6. I can't get good cell phone reception in Los Angeles.
  7. 13, 999,998...13,999,999...dammit. I lost count. Time to start over.
  8. NBC doesn't really count.
  9. You try typing and patting yourself on the back at the same time. It's not as easy as it looks.
  10. Two words -- hung over.

Feel free to add your own and post them in the comments section.

Ben Silverman Quits -- Nikki Finke gets scooped by NYT and TMZ! [write thru #8]

[Note to Nikki: Re-running press releases is not the same as journalism.]

As of 8:25 a.m. PST.
  • Word count of copied/pasted press releases re: Ben Silverman: 1378 words
  • Word count of original Nikki Finke content: 80 words


Ben Silverman Quits -- Nikki Finke gets scooped by NYT and TMZ! [write thru #7]

It took you more than an hour and the best you could do was copy & paste a press release? And Nikki, PR reps have been known to lie. Ron Ziegler, Nixon's press secretary was known as "Zieg-liar," so don't be so surprised.

As of 7:49 a.m. PST.

Ben Silverman Quits -- Nikki Finke gets scooped by NYT and TMZ! [write thru #6]

Airlock Alpha? And in a related note, Airlock Alpha just sold for $14 million to Roger Penske's kid.

as of 7:38 a.m. PST

Ben Silverman Quits -- Nikki Finke gets scooped by NYT and TMZ! [write thru #5] Who are these people?

Hey Nikki, "Thug this."

as of 7:30 a.m. PST.

Ben Silverman Quits -- Nikki Finke gets scooped by NYT and TMZ! [write thru #4]

As of 7:19 a.m. PST, add the LA Times, AP, Variety and others.

Ben Silverman Quits -- Nikki Finke gets scooped by NYT and TMZ! [write thru #3]

Now the Chicago Tribune, CNBC, (who?) and the Business Insider (what?) have beaten Darling Nikki to the punch.


[as of 7:07 a.m. PST]

and from Deadline Hollywood, the lead story is...

Ben Silverman Quits -- Nikki Finke gets scooped by NYT and TMZ! [write thru #2]

Nikki was scooped by the Woodward and Bernstein of American Idol, Ryan Seacrest. And worse, it was on his Twitter page. At least Paula didn't get it first.

[Note: 7:01 a.m. Still nothing from Nikki.]

Ben Silverman Quits -- Nikki Finke gets scooped by NYT and TMZ! [write thru] of 6:50 a.m. PST, still nothing. During that time, the NYT wrote another story, the Hollywood Reporter covered it, New York Magazine did too AND the press release came out. We're waiting...

and then there's Darling Nikki...

Ben Silverman Quits -- Nikki Finke gets scooped by NYT and TMZ!

All of the following screen shots were taken at 6:35 a.m. PST. Nikki got beat by TMZ? TMZ! I'll let the New York Times slide, but TMZ?! Come on babe. Stop counting your money and at least write a "Breaking News" item and say "More to Follow." Tsk Tsk.

and Nikki wrote this...

Friday, July 24, 2009

Tattoo Your Computer

You'll be the coolest Temp in the office. Just "right-click" on the image and select "Set as Desktop Background." Or, if you're feeling bold, get it inked on your stomach, right below your homage to Tommy Lee and his "Mayhem" tat.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Celebs: They're just like us -- only better looking and dumber

"I only drink champagne. 100 calories in a glass, and I'm good."

Convicted DUIer Khloe Kardashian explains her strategy for getting drunk while dieting
Us Magazine (7/11/09)

Yesterday: By the Numbers

Yesterday offered little excitement. The person I'm working for came in, had a 4-hour meeting and went home. This left me with little to do. But somehow I can still itemize everything. Maybe it's more than I thought...

2 - Total phone calls
35 - Weight (in grams) of the maple & brown sugar oatmeal package I was told was not for communal consumption despite the fact that it was in the kitchen next to the coffee maker.
3 - Boxes of WB promotional stuff I delivered to another building.
1 - Number of rear view mirrors in my car broken while moving these boxes.
18:08 - Length (in mins.) of "Cygnus X-1 Book II: Hemispheres" from Rush. A great time killing song.
4 - Postings on the UTA joblist I applied for.
0 - Number of interviews I expect to get as a result of these applications.
$5.43 - Amount of my bowl of chili (including tax) from the WB cafeteria.
- Approximate times I checked my email for something, anything encouraging.
1 - Individually wrapped pieces of red licorice consumed (those were communal).
2 - Crappy scripts I read.
0 - Scripts of my own that I worked on.
5:02 p.m. - Time (PST) at which I started watching the Obama press conference on
90 - Degrees (in Fahrenheit) when I left my office in Burbank at 6 p.m.
$140 - Gross pay for my efforts
12 - Number of ounces of Newcastle beer I drank after work (thanks Bruce!)
72 - Number of ounces of Newcastle beer I would have liked.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Celebs: They're just like us -- only better looking and dumber

“Our first day back was Wednesday and it was — I’m going to keep saying this because I hope it embarrasses them — a 17-hour day, which I think is cruel and mean.”

Katherine Heigl endearing herself to Grey's Anatomy producers.
The Late Show with David Letterman via People (7/20/09)

Non-NDA Violating Gossip

Picking the right movie role can make or break your career. On the "make" side, Cameron Diaz went from a nobody in The Mask to making $20 million/film in eight years. On the "break" side, Elizabeth Berkley's career hasn't been the same since taking it off repeatedly as Nomi Malone in Showgirls. This brings us to today's non-NDA violating gossip item...

Which pair of gossip page frenemies both passed on the same damsel-falling-for-a-fanged ogre movie role only to have it snatched up by the newest teen queen?

Ain't blind gossip fun? Feel free to post your guesses.