Thursday, October 29, 2009

My life in Hollywood sucks because...

My life in Hollywood sucks. How do I know this? Yesterday I interviewed for a short-term gig answering phones (yes, they required an interview for that) and didn't get the job!

Yep. That's pretty bad considering my educational background, work experience and comfort level picking up a telephone receiver and saying "Hello."

But that got me thinking, it might be fun to know how your life in Hollywood sucks. At the end of the day we can all compare who has it worst. Misery loves me company.

So use the Comments section below to finish the sentence, "My life in Hollywood sucks because..."

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Halloween -- Temp Diaries style

Halloween is almost here!

For those making real money, Halloween is a laugh riot. It's an opportunity to party and spend your disposable income on elaborate outfits mocking celebs-du-jour (e.g., Balloon Boy, Octo-Mom, Jon and/or Kate and/or the Eight). But for those of us earning $11/hr, Halloween and Trick-or-Treating is basically begging for our next meal. Furthermore, our Halloween costumes tend to be scaled back (or the same as last year's). Until now.

The Hollywood Temp Diarie
s -- the source behind the somewhat-ballyhooed Brown List, the Il FACA Film Festival and Un Café Andalou -- is happy to provide you your very own Nikki Finke mask (see below). You too can dress up as Hollywood's second-favorite blogger and scare the piss out of any entertainment executive. All you need is a printer, a pair of scissors and some string. Then just wait for the fun!

Following are some suggestions on ways to maximize the fun of your new Darling Nikki mask:
- Tell your boss Nikki was passing by and wanted to talk about the pathetic gross for your last movie. Immediately slip on your mask, walk back into the office and...POW! Watch the hysterics and/or palpitations.

- Grab the Ari Emanuel look-alike from in front of Grauman's Chinese Theater. Then head over to CAA, put on your mask and walk through their mausoleum yelling, "Mommy and Daddy are home!"

- While in full Nikki regalia, walk into Jay Penske's office and tell him you want your $14 million now -- in cash.
Now go out and have some fun. Happy Halloween!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Fortune magazine is Stupid

Seriously folks. What in the world were you thinking putting Silverman in your "40 under 40"/ hottest rising stars in business? He's a moron who drove one of the most successful networks in history right into the toilet. That's not being controversial, that's being incompetent. Living off of translating...errr...buying Ugly Betty and The Office does not a genius make. For more evidence, please refer to any of these postings.

Hollywood Execs: They're Worth Every Penny (even if it means buying out their contract)

First off. I'm a Temp. I know some of you think I'm some exec by day who moonlights as a blogger. The pay stubs you see are real. They're are mine. (Yes that's $236.25/week!) I have no access to ad sales reports or revenue projections. I don't even have a designated parking spot. I'm the most expendable person in Hollywood.

But somehow, I (and I'm sure many of you) figured out a year ago the Zucker/Silverman strategy for running NBC was idiotic at best and suicidal at worst when we saw Zucker's comments in Fortune:
..."I can't imagine doing this with somebody else...We're not judging Ben by ratings, and I'd rather be a more profitable No. 2 or 3 than a less profitable No. 1."
Jeff Zucker, NBC Universal President & CEO
Fortune (10/27/08)
Mercifully Silverman is gone and his reign of stupidity is over. They replaced him with Jeff Gaspin who today told TheWrap, "while we think we need to produce economically, the goal is not to manage for margins."


It's about time that someone with part of a brain is running that "network."

Even if Gaspin's statements are true, one major problem remains. He still reports into Jeff Zucker. Yes, the same Jeff Zucker from before. The one who would "rather be a more profitable No. 2 or 3 than a less profitable No. 1." And this philosophical conflict will always be decided by the following statement, "I'm your boss. Do as I say." However, I have a solution.

Jeff Zucker, please quit. For the sake of the network and the thousands of people it employs, go away. You're the George W. Bush of the entertainment industry. You took something that was in pretty good shape and drove it right into the ground.

Seriously. Go home. Play golf or canasta. Clean your rain gutters. Do anything. Just make sure it has nothing to do with management or operations of NBC or any of its sister networks. Let Gaspin run the place like a network again. Mr. Immelt, perhaps you should intervene because I doubt he'll pay attention to me.

If this works out, NBC might just recover, flourish and make a bunch of good programs -- preferably scripted.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Stupid Interview Questions -- The Ghost of Elisha Gray Lives

You don't know who Elisha Gray is. But that's what makes the Hollywood Temp Diaries so great -- it's fun and educational. The aforementioned (and regrettably named) Mr. Gray is part of the Great Harmonic Telegraph Controversy. Or simpler put, "Who really invented the telephone?"

You see Gray and Alexander Graham Bell were in a race to develop the most important invention of the century. Records show specs for Bell's phone concept arrived at the U.S. Patent Office February 14, 1876, a scant two hours before Gray's. But this is where it gets fishy. Gray's documents offered the detailed specifics that Bell's did not have. Enter Patent Office employee (and also regrettably named) Zenas Wilber. For some paltry amount, Wilber sold details of Gray's documents to Bell, and also inserted this information into Bell's patent application.

And the rest is history. Bell ended up with everything. Elisha Gray ended up being part of my blog posting.

This all brings us to today's stupid interview question, courtesy of one of my loyal readers...

"Have you ever answered a telephone?"

(Stunned silence)

And don't get me started about Antonio Meucci.

If you have a stupid interview question to share, please send it to or put it in the "Have I Got News" box to the left. All submissions will remain anonymous.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

What has Temp X been up to?

Hi. It's me. Temp X -- hero to the underemployed. I realized that the last month of postings have been a little...well...thin. I haven't written a song in a while. There haven't been any guest columnists. And my publishing schedule got cut back to one per day.

But there was a reason, and it had nothing to do with limited job opportunities.

The fact is, I was busting my hump on a movie script. This left little time to create the postings you've come to enjoy from the Hollywood Temp Diaries. But good news! Today I finished the first draft, so my schedule now has a huge gap in it. I'd love to fill it with work, but my pimps don't seem to be calling. So once I get bored playing Wii, I'll return to posting my usual drivel.

Thanks for reading.

Hollywood Execs: They're Worth Every Penny

Do we really need another show telling us to put down the Twinkies and to go for a jog? Apparently the answer is "Yes." The Hollywood Reporter provides us with the latest news:
NBC has ordered a companion series to its reality hit “The Biggest Loser” starring tough-love trainer Jillian Michaels. The network has picked up eight episodes of “Losing It With Jillian” from Reveille in association with Empowered Media.
I have this theory -- and it's only a theory -- that part of the reason Americans are so fat is they watch too much TV instead of exercising. Luckily NBC is doing their part to shove the entire country off their couch by putting on unwatchable programs like this one.

Perhaps NBC isn't so bad after all? I've lost five pounds since Leno moved to 10 p.m.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Hollywood Dictionary: Volume 15

So much demand for another edition of the Hollywood Dictionary. Here's the latest. If you have any terms you'd like defined, please send them along. I'll be happy to help.

Honey Wagon -- According to Urban Dictionary, "Honey" can be slang for heroin, cocaine and a bunch of -- dare I say -- less appropriate interpretations for the purposes of this blog. So one might think this term is Hollywood speak for a trailer or alternate facility where over-paid talent could a) do copious amounts of coke or other narcotics or b) do copious amounts of copulation. But you'd be wrong, just like your ill-fated attempt to determine what "Double Banger" means. Turns out a "Honey Wagon" is a toilet. What a bummer.

Weekend Read -- A trick question, right? No one in Hollywood can read. Thus, whatever a "Weekend Read" is, it has nothing to do with "weekends" or "reading." Duped you! Turns out just enough Hollywood execs passed Hooked on Phonics: Volume 1 that their bosses give them scripts to read for homework. Then, like a book club Scottsdale, the whole crew gathers together the following Monday morning for a few cocktails and discusses possible staffing ideas for the next great, needless remake. This week: A Star Is Born.

Base Camp -- As Sir Edmund Hillary and his trusty sidekick Tonto knew, any major expedition requires a place to stop, re-energize, eat, sleep, poop and map out the next day's events. Those who climb Mt. Everest just happened to do it a 17,700 feet. Hollywood has "base camps" too. This collection of trailers and tents are for the cast and crew of Dinner for Schmucks (or whatever the project), the food consists of Red Bull, bagels and licorice and base camp is often in the unforgiving terrain of Bubank. Leave it to Hollywood to take what could easily be called "the office" or "work" and make it sound like an athletic achievement (see "Rolling Calls").

Thursday, October 15, 2009

It didn't take long for some enterprising person to exploit the Brown List

Well, I now know the reason Nikki's in such a hissy about the Brown List. Turns out she was compiling her own list of Hollywood power brokers based on a flawed methodology ("I am the judge. It's my list!"). Rather than being happy for my momentary success, she's cheesed off that I stole her thunder.

This relationship is never gonna work. Nikki, I think we should start seeing other people.

[Former Marketing Exec says: Tell Elle you changed the name of your site four months ago.]

Stupid Interview Questions -- The Return

So it's been a while since I ran this feature. The primary reason for the delay -- massive unemployment creates fewer interviews. But recent attention to my site brought in a gaggle of new readers who have their own stories to share. I thank you for these anecdotes. It saves me from sharing that the most exciting part of my unemployed yesterday was buying stamps. DANG IT! I just don't know when to stop talking.

Back to the matter at hand. As we all know, the vampire craze is annoying, predictable and sure to implode in a fashion similar to the Pet Rock Fad of 1975. But that won't stop Hollywood execs from asking stupid interview questions...

“If you were dying of thirst would you drink blood?”

Wow. I bet you didn't see that one coming. The potential employer wasn't Stephanie Meyer. Nor was it by Rupert Murdoch, who has been known to dine on the blood of young women...oh that's his wife Wendi Deng? Well anyway, there's still no legit excuse for this one.

If you have a stupid interview question to share, please send it to or put it in the "Have I Got News" box to the left. All submissions will remain anonymous.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

I'm pathetic -- I know and I'm sorry.

I'm gonna let you in on a little secret -- Nikki Finke and I have been dating for the last 14 months. Normally our relationship is great. She's a wonderful person, with a warm, generous heart (and surprisingly good at Wheel of Fortune). Sure we have our rough patches, but so does every relationship. However, after seeing the outburst on her site yesterday, I thought I owed everyone an explanation.

Nikki and I are having a bit of a lovers' quarrel right now. Anger displacement is a funny thing and I'm sorry it spilled out onto the Internet. The truth is she peeved I'm going on a "Guy's Trip" to Vegas this weekend and she wanted to go to the Calabasas Pumpkin Festival. But what was I gonna do? We got comped at the Mandalay Bay where my friend is a high roller. If you were me, you'd do the same thing. Vegas or wading through mud for pumpkins? It's a no brainer.

Well, we talked about it last night, and Nikki and I are gonna look into couples counseling. But between my limited health insurance and her low-grade agoraphobia, the options are limited. If anyone happens to know a therapist who does house calls for cheap, let me know. I'm sorry to that you had to witness this. Please forgive us both.

Or this could be about the time I took her to a Foo Fighters show and had them play this song for her.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

The Brown List 2009 -- The Results

The day you all wished for, but thought would never happen, is here. The Brown List 2009 is complete. I want to thank everyone for their nominations as well as Sister X for designing the cover art and Adam B. for reminding me how to use a PivotTable. The report is below or can also be downloaded at the official Brown List website (

Brown List 2009

Monday, October 12, 2009

Hollywood Execs: They're Worth Every Penny

Think back to December 2008. It was before the promised halcyon days of the Obama administration. Before NBC had completely mailed it in. Before the digital conversion that forced millions of Americans to go out and buy energy-sucking flat screen TVs. And before California's seemingly endless adventure through double-digit unemployment. Are you there now? Good.

Back then, I delivered a blind gossip item in my "Worst of 2008" about a potential TV show that would star a certain imprisoned athlete. Out of respect to The Temp's Blood Oath of Secrecy, I didn't reveal anything further about it, even when promised riches beyond my wildest imagination ($13/hr!). But that's out the window because the other day BET announced The Michael Vick Variety and Dog Killing Hour®.

Congrats to Bob Johnson and BET for doing their part to kill television.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

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

"In certain circles, we're treated like royalty. We' the Kennedys."

Gossip Girl's Penn Badgley indicates that he's either delusional or his fans are morons.
Us Weekly (9/29/09)

The Hollywood Temp Diaries Tabernacle Choir presents: "Accounts Receivable"

I can't tell you how many times I've been walking down the street when some random passerby yells from his 1982 Camaro, "Geez, Temp X. I love your site. And I really love the songs you write. But I want to hear it, not just read it. Is there anything you can do for me?"

Of course there is.

Today I offer the first of what will hopefully be many (provided I don't get sued and can get more free studio time) musical numbers as sung by the Hollywood Temp Diaries singers -- James Calvert, Miki Yamashita and Gabe Dell.

Just click on the play button and sing along. If you don't know the lyrics, I've posted them below.

By Temp X

Doin' expenses
Clearly, I'm livin' the Hollywood dream.

Calls I am rollin'
Copyin', Faxin'
Don't tell mom this is what I've become.

Tempin' away my life in Accounts Receivable
Wondering why I even have a B.A.
Some people claim that it's Hollywood to blame
But I know, it's cause I have hope.

I don't know the reason
It's past pilot season
I didn't get cast to work on a show.

Why aren't I related
To Brian Grazer?
It would sure be better for my acting career.

Wastin' away my life in Accounts Receivable
Wondering why I even have a B.A.
Some people claim that it's Hollywood to blame
Now I think...I need bigger boobs.

I saw it on Craigslist
Acting only for credits
Just what I need, more deferred pay.

My landlord's been askin'
Why did my check bounce.
I told him Endeavor pays 9 bucks an hour.

Tempin' away my life in Accounts Receivable
Wondering why I even have a B.A.
Some people claim that it's Hollywood to blame
But I know, I'm givin' up hope.

Yes and some people claim that it's Hollywood to blame
And I know, it's my own damn fault.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Great Moments In Product Placement History

Today's moment comes from the 2007 post-apocalyptic blockbuster I am Legend. In this scene, Dr. Robert Neville (Will Smith) needs to fuel up one of the many Fords he drives during the film. As Neville believes he's the last man on earth, he decides the best place to go is the Mobil station on Manhattan's Lower West Side...

Although the one thing that concerns me is that Super Unleaded at this future Mobil station costs $6.95/gallon. Isn't there an Arco anywhere near there? You'll save at least five cents per gallon. He probably gets reward points.

News from Outside Hollywoodland

It's good to step outside the Hollywood bubble every once in a while. Not only can you take a couple days to forget about runaway production, remakes galore and whatever is currently crushing your entertainment industry aspirations, but it also gets you back in touch with how the other half lives.

The insularity and self importance of Hollywood can get in its own way. We forget most people don't care about overnights for Accidentally on Purpose or management changes at Universal. So for those of you who were not lucky enough to spend part of your October in rainy Milwaukee, I can share what the rest of the world (or at least the Upper Midwest) is concerned with...

BRETT FAVRE -- The once and future retiree took on his former squad in what was among the most-hyped football game since Super Bowl XLII (or 42 for you non-Roman speakers). In the end, the Methuselah Vikings beat the Green Bay No Offensive Linemens. The game wasn't as close as the 30-23 score would indicate. But if you're craving some entertainment industry tie in, the game was the highest rated show in the cable TV history (15.3 rating/21.8 million viewers).

Actually that's pretty much it. It was Brett Favre 24/7. As of 7:08 a.m. PST, it's only another 2,170,323 seconds until the rematch at Lambeau Field. Go Pack Go!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Disney News: From the Anonymous Tip line [Part 2]

Turns out my source was right on and Rich Ross took over the spot that Dick Cook was kicked out of. I'm sure no one will give credit where credit is due. But screw 'em. We all know where you found this out first.

I'm still waiting for my $14 million. And remember, if you have good dirt, the Anonymous Tip section is on the left side of the page.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Guess where Temp X is today...

Due to family obligations, Temp X is out of town today and will be unable to document broken dreams, needlessly self-important Hollywood executives, crappy sequel ideas, poor decisions by network executives, job rejections, embarrassing mistakes from Nikki Finke, sub-par comedy or desperate pleas for agency representation until tomorrow. In lieu of all these things that you've come to expect from the Hollywood Temp Diaries, I offer a song you won't be able to get out of your head for at least a few hours. It is also a context clue as my location. Come find me and win a free bottle of Blatz.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Temp X has an interview on 9/29. Which of the following is the likely outcome? [Note: All of these outcomes have happened to me at least once before.]

Following are the survey results as well as the results of the interview.
  1. The interview is "postponed" and never rescheduled. -- 11%
  2. They hire someone "better looking." -- 8%
  3. I'm rejected based on having "too much experience." -- 18%
  4. I never hear back after the first interview. -- 46%
  5. The person I interviewed with gets fired. -- 14%

The result of my interview is in. I DID NOT get the job. But more importantly, did you guess the right reason why Temp X didn't get hired? Let's review what happened.

Today I received an email indicating that while [Company Name Redacted] appreciated my interest, they hired someone with more experience (hmm...). So you can deduce that choices #1,3,4 and 5 are the wrong answers.

If you guessed, they hired someone "better looking" you'll be right. Congrats to everyone for playing. Time to call my pimp.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Great Moments In Product Placement History

Time for another...

(You were supposed to imagine that with an echo)

In this scene from the 2001 film Ocean's 11, Danny Ocean (Clooney) convinces Linus Caldwell (Matt Damon) to join plans to knock over three Las Vegas casinos. Lucky for us, we have both Michelob and Budweiser signs to remind us that the scene takes place in a bar -- because the establishing shot of the bar's exterior might not have helped.

And in a moment of marketing prescience, George Clooney became the voice of Budweiser in 2005. Talk about your synergy.