Thursday, September 10, 2009

Hollywood Dictionary: Volume 14

I supposed I shouldn't be surprised so many terms in the Hollywood vernacular are essentially slightly modified sex terms. This is the town that invented the "casting couch" after all. But I'd wish people would try massaging the English language with a little more care -- maybe do it a little slower, be more delicate and recognize the sensitive areas. This way we can ultimately come together rather than just go off half-cocked and leave the others unsatisfied with the results.

Does anyone else here need a cigarette?

And with that, I offer the latest from the Hollywood Dictionary -- the Dr. Ruth Westheimer Edition.

Tentpole: To the general public, these are probably better known as "Blockbusters" or "Dammit Louise, you know I hate standing in line for a movie!" But in the finance department of WB, Uni Studios, Paramount and others, these movies are called Tentpoles because they prop up the company's annual revenues by bringing in hundreds of millions of dollars in ticket sales, merchandising and DVD sales to offset all the movies that made no money. Some studios do get excited too early about a Tentpole and they're stuck with a mess they need to clean up. These are called "Premature Tentpoles" (e.g., Speed Racer, Land of the Lost).
[Temp Diaries Alternative Term: The movie that saves Jeff Robinov's job every year.]

Business Affairs: Once an agent finishes negotiating their client's deal in principle with the producers, it gets passed off to Business Affairs to make sure they don't get sued (or if they get sued, they win). These people are lawyers who decided to avoid the stress and money that comes along with working at a law firm, and simply fill out Mad Lib-style contract from 9-6 and make $150k/year.
[Temp Diaries Alternative Term: Law-talkin' guys.]

First Position: Some actors (and periodically producers or writers) are in such high demand that they will work on two different projects at the same time. But unless you're so advanced that you can defy the space-time continuum and be in two places at the same time, one production has to win out for scheduling purposes. This is called First Position. So when Katherine Heigl tells Chandra Rimes that she just accepted a part as the lead in Zyzzyx Road: The Return to Nowhere, Chandra says, "Fine, but Grey's Anatomy is still in first position because we need you to be here while we slowly kill off your character."
[Temp Diaries Alternative Term: How about just taking one job so the rest of us can get a little work too?]

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Your dictionary is almost 100% correct. However, there is one minor error. Business Affairs Execs make $250,000+ rather than $150,000. Vice President-level Business Affairs Execs at the major studios make around $250,000 to $275,000. Senior Vice Presidents make somewhere between $300,000 to $400,000. Executive Vice Presidents make between $375,000 to $500,000. That's the rough range at the major studios. Minor production companies probably pay their Business Affairs Execs less. Of course, temps who work for these imbeciles still make between $10.00 to $18.00 per hour -- depending on each candidate's level of experience and proven ability to answer phones, make dinner reservations, fetch coffee and pick up dry cleaning.

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