Monday, November 30, 2009

Call For Entries: 2009 Il Festival di d'Arte Cinematografica di Assurdita'

Tomorrow's the deadline. So get your entries in before it's too late. Try to top my entry, Paranormal Inactivity.

It is with great pride that I officially open the Call For Entries for the second annual Il Festival di d'Arte Cinematografica di Assurdita' sponsored by the good folks at The Hollywood Temp Diaries.

Il FACA is a film festival for the poor, starving Hollywood artist who is just trying to get noticed but may not have the financial resources to enter one of those high-falutin' contests like Cannes, Sundance or Toronto.

I invite you to participate in this most exciting (and most certainly real) event. For all the details, go to The deadline for submission is 12 noon on December 1, 2009.

Who knows, maybe you'll win the much coveted Va'Fanculo Hollywood -- Foglio della Presenze Dorato and the accompanying prizes ELVIS: The Ed Sullivan Collection and the pilot for Viva Laughlin?

Good Luck and Good Movie!

Temp X

P.S. Here are last year's winners. And yes. I know that the dude who came in third place took his movie down. His loss.

The Internet Perfected

Lost in Stanford's recent wipe out of USC was this moment of marching band brilliance -- "A Tribute to Joe Francis."

And just to prove I'm not some Stanford grad rubbing it in, I present to you "The Play."

If only my college had a real football team (or marching band). But I went to Northwestern.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

My Holiday Gift To You...

[Only a few more days to get your ideas in. Have a great Thanksgiving.]

Ah 2009. We are soon to bid you adieu. How we won't miss your massive layoffs, limited income and programs like The Beautiful Life: TBL. But we're not there yet. There are still five more weeks until Hollywood shuts down for whatever God-fearing holiday Madonna picked to celebrate this year.

Under normal circumstances, this is an easy stretch. You await a bounty of overpriced cupcakes or exotic liqueurs from clients you forgot existed. Then you spend your work days moderating your sugar high with shots of Drambuie. But these aren't normal times. You need to look busy or risk getting "right sized" for Christmas.

Everyone has their own tricks for looking busy during this slow period. So let's share them. In the box below labeled "My favorite way to waste time at work while looking busy is..." just enter your ideas/tips and hit "Submit." Provided I get enough suggestions, I will share a new one every day during December until the holiday break begins. I recommend you use these ideas to give off the appearance of indispensability. It should stave off that unwanted visit from HR until at least January.

[Note: As with the Brown List, your entries are completely anonymous. I couldn't track who you were if I wanted to.]

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

PETA does officially hate me

Apparently PETA didn't like my photo of Dog X. I'm glad I didn't use my back-up choice.

Deleted scenes from the Hollywood Temp Diaries

I haven't had any work in six weeks. So writing the Temp Diaries is a bit tougher when you have no Temp work to write about. Lucky for me, I have a backlog of entries that didn't make the grade and/or was too lazy to finish. Periodically I'll dust them off, make a few changes and post them as filler content. Think of it as the "Deleted Scenes" on your DVD reissue of Logan's Run. Like these "Deleted Scenes," you'll soon realize why it didn't make it the first time.

[The following was originally written August 10, 2008]

I didn't write today. I haven't written for about four months. Sure, I have this blog, but I mean writing scripts -- things with act breaks, scene headings and characters based on me.

Since moving to Hollywood, I've written numerous specs, pilots and movies. I'd love to send them to agents, networks or production companies. But agencies don't accept unsolicited submissions. Nor do networks. Nor do production companies. You gotta know "people" to get the scripts in the door. And regrettably, I've yet to meet these elusive "people." I suppose I should leave my apartment more.

It's hard to motivate yourself to write when there's no guarantee of any pay off. Heck, I'd settle for someone to tell me I don't have a chance. That way I can get on with my life. Writing the first few scripts is fun, it's just everything after that is somewhere between daunting and unrewarding.

This may not make a lot of sense to anyone outside Hollywood. So for those of you I offer this food-based analogy...

Let's say you want to make gourmet pizza for a living. So you lock yourself in your apartment for a few months creating what you believe is the perfect pizza. This pie has it all -- goat cheese, baby spinach, pine nuts and a crust to die for. (Let's call this the Arrested Development. )

Confident in your creation, you ask some friends what they think. After a couple of bong hits, they tell you, "Dude. This is the best pizza in the history of man! Can you hand me the lighter?" You're riding high (no pun intended) until you leave your apartment. That's when you see all your neighbors have the same idea and are installing a woodfired ovens, buying pizza stones or reverse-engineering a pie they just bought from Mozza.

But you persist. You send pizzas to Wolfgang Puck, Gordon Ramsay and Mario Batali in hopes they'll hire you.

Three weeks later, the mailman returns your pizza in a grease-soaked box that's been rubber stamped, "We don't accept food from strangers."

You take a different approach -- sending pizzas to the sous chef, the line cook and even the dishwasher hoping to entice one of these malnourished, underpaid underlings to try a slice. If they like it, you hope they make semi-orgasmic noises drawing the attention of the head chef. It doesn't work because the assistants are quickly fired for making noise.

You then an appeal to the executives at Little Caesars. The problem is these people didn't know goats had udders, think it's immoral to eat spinach fetus and question whether pine trees have genitals. They want something simple, offers mass appeal and won't cost a lot. They want a cheese-like substance, red sauce and seasoned "meat." Let's call this pizza the According to Jim.

So in one last gasp, you go the YouTube route and give your stuff away right outside of Spago. Your "logic" is the hoards of people gathered for free snacks will pique the curiosity of Mr. Puck. He'll try a piece, and, before you can say "Prego," you'll be running the show for his entire homemade pizza line.

The reality is his Wolfie's helicopter drops him off on the roof, so he never even sees you or the crowd you've amassed. You end up broke, hungry and wondering if Domino's is hiring delivery people. They aren't.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Stupid Interview Questions -- Nostalgia Edition

Hi. Temp X here. If my postings have seemed snippier than usual recently, it's because I haven't had work in six weeks. I tend to get restless and angst filled when I don't have structure (and income) in my life. Plus it's tough to write about life as a Hollywood Temp when I have no Temp work to write about. I'm doing the best I can. So please bear with me until 2012 when economists predict the job market will make a full recovery.

For now, let's reminisce about the days of yore. Think back to when you'd actually get job interviews. Sure, you weren't hired. But at least you could tell your parents you were a final candidate before asking them important questions like, "What's the best way to dodge creditors?" or "Is shoe leather edible?"

The down side to interviewing is figuring out the right answer to ridiculous interview questions like this...

"Why is a manhole cover round?"

For those wondering, the correct answer is, "So Ninja Turtles can use them as weapons."

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.

Friday, November 20, 2009

BREAKING NEWS!!!!!!!!!!!!


Thursday, November 19, 2009

Great Moments In Product Placement History

Even shows I like deserve to get skewered for shameless product placements/production subsidies. Today's G.M.I.P.P.H. comes from last night's episode of Glee. In the episode "Ballad" Finn Hudson (Cory Monteith) is having trouble expressing his feelings to his pregnant girlfriend. The lunkhead doesn't understand sperm actually needs to enter the woman to get her pregnant and his best friend is the father. But that's a conversation for another time. So Finn does the only natural thing -- he sings to a MacBook Pro a playing a (QuickTime?) video of the sonogram.

The only thing that could make this worse (or better if you're Apple) is if he'd recorded this using GarageBand 2009 and then played it back on iTunes.

I'm a Mac. And I'm a PC. And I'm the winner of this week's (cue echo) GREAT MOMENT IN PRODUCT PLACEMENT HISTORY!!!


This was to be the cover of my forthcoming autobiography (contingent upon HarperCollins agreeing to the seven-figure advance I suggested in an unsolicited communiqué). But seeing as that someone else picked a similar cover design and title, I guess I'll have to go back to the drawing board.

This just isn't my week.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Desperate times call for desperate measures

I'm aware this is a complete rip-off of the old National Lampoon cover. Since there's no such thing as a new idea in Hollywood, why not join the party?

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

If only they'd listen...

This show idea sounds awfully familiar. Where have I heard this idea before? Oh right. Pauly Shore pitched this idea to [network redacted] five months ago. But that's not it. I recall hearing about it a year before that. If only I could remember who told me that idea...

Copy of Totally America

Now the real question is, should I be mad at the people who rejected my idea along the way or should I be scared that the two other people who thought of this are Pauly Shore and Bob Saget?

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

I often wake up and feeling a little...underwhelmed with my appearance. But I shower, shave, dress and appear like any contributing member of society. I'm sure you do the same, whether you're an assistant in Hollywood or a social worker in Harlem. We're not glamorous. We just employ normal grooming habits.

But I had no idea that my appearance and that of my 9-5 brethren is despised by the upper echelon on Hollywood. Or at least Mariah Carey can't stand it. Here are Mimi's thoughts on dressing as a normal person for her role in Precious...

“I felt completely rancid!”

If dressing up as a normal person makes you feel that bad, it's nothing compared to how we felt after watching Glitter. Oh, who am I kidding? No one saw Glitter.

Monday, November 16, 2009

What's not quite journalism and not quite advertising?

Why, it's Deadline|Hollywood!! Buy an ad and get your press release run for free.*

I know. Some people hate when I make fun of Nikki. I'm sorry. But she had the nerve to call me "an anonymous snarker...[who] is self admittedly neither a Hollywood insider nor responsible journalist." I take offense to her use of the term "snarker," which according to Urban Dictionary is either:
  1. The art of snarking is retrieving golf balls, that where [sic] played out of bounds.
  2. A person that sniffs or snarks seats.
Let the record reflect I would never steal golf balls. And as for sniffing someone's newly-vacated seat, that's just depraved. On the subject of my journalistic ethics, all my newspaper instructors, editors and former co-workers would agree. I have no idea what I'm doing.

Of course the ones I know have said the same of you.

"And that's not all! You'll get this free follow-up article that shamelessly recites your corporate tag line while shitting on a competitor I already hate. And you'll get this gorgeous set of steak knives..."]

*I have no tangible proof it was a quid pro quo. But I will say the similarities between much of the press release and the article she ran are remarkable.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Brand Confusion 101

Lost in all the excitement of the last week was this little tidbit of programming genius:
"The hour-long live-action series Tower Prep and Warner Horizon Television's Unnatural History are to join the lineup of Cartoon Network in January 2010."
Yes, you read that correctly. Cartoon Network will soon be airing live-action shows. As we learned back in June, the term "live action" means that characters are played by people not drawings. This presents an inherent branding issue for Cartoon Network which, if I can deconstruct the name of this 17-year old station properly, is a Network airing Cartoons.

Of course NBC still calls itself a "Network," so I suppose it could be worse.

TOLDJA! Of course everyone knew this was gonna happen, so it hardly counts...(Part 2)

My second most obvious prediction has come true (after Heather Locklear returning to Melrose Place) -- Craig Ferguson beat Jimmy Fallon and won the 12:30 a.m. time slot for the first time ever.

How is it that we're all smart enough to figure this out, but those hired to do so can't?

Ben Silverman's legacy of stupidity continues.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Hollywood Execs: They're Worth Every Penny ( least for now)

Good news kids! There won't be another needless dance show after least for now.

Turns out ABC decided the unholy trinity of Kathy Griffin, famous dance scenes and D-List celebs wasn't as compelling as it sounds and sacked the show. Variety reported ABC "was having a difficult time finding celebs to participate in the show during the holiday season." Whatever gets the job done.

Here's hoping "Holiday Season" extends through MLK Day, Presidents' Day, Casimir Pulaski Day and any other holidays ending with "Day" or that contain vowels or consonants.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

nothing compares 2 werk

Little Known Fact: Before becoming an international music sensation, Prince temped in Hollywood in the mid-1970s. It was during this recession and period of intermittent employment he wrote a song that became the basis for #77 on Billboard's "Greatest Songs of All Time." I recently came into possession of this song and have posted it here for you. Push the play button for the backing track and sing along. [Tip: You should start singing 10 seconds in.]

it's been seven hours and fif-ty days,
since u took your werk away.
i sleep every night and sleep all day,
since u took your werk away.

since you've been gone i can't do whatever i want.
i can't buy whatever i choose.
i can't eat my dinner in a fancy restaurant.
damn, nothing, I said nothing can change this awful news

'cause nothing compares,
nothing compares 2 werk.

it's been so boring with nil 2 do.
i just watched Allen Funt.
nothing needs me 2 take a shower today.
tell me Hollywood, why you're a cunt?

i apply 4 every dopey job i see,
but i won't get interviewed.
i went 2 the shrink, and guess what she told me,
guess what she told me.
she said, "boy u better move nice and soon.
oh, u need a pill.
and here's your bill."

'cause nothing compares,
nothing compares 2 werk.

all the money that u paid 2 me,
went straight 2 rent.
but soon December is due.
i know that werking 4 u, baby, was sometimes hard.
but i need a new pair of shoes.

nothing compares,
nothing compares 2 werk. (3x)

Monday, November 9, 2009

My entry for the Il Festival di d'Arte Cinematografica di Assurdita'

Good Monday.

It's only a scant 22 days until the deadline for the 2009 Il Festival di d'Arte Cinematografica di Assurdita'. So consider this a pleasant reminder.

Following is my entry in the Il FACA film festival. Paranormal Inactivity is a thought-provoking film about an unemployed temp who occupies his time by awaiting the arrival of ghosts, goblins or a call from his Temp Pimp (whichever comes first). If you saw Paranormal Activity, you'll understand this deeply moving film. If you didn't, this will probably be the last time you read my site. It's been nice knowing you.

NOTE: For your technogeeks, Paranormal Inactivity was filmed on a bottom-of-the-line Panasonic PV-GS90 and edited on the iMovie software that came with my Mac. As I already owned both before production began yesterday morning, my total costs were half a video tape -- approximately $2. If the ROI of Paranormal Activity ($6,000 for every $1 spent) holds here, someone owes me $12,000.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

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

It hurts me to do this. I've been a fan of both Billy Corgan and Dave Grohl for many years. But my admiration for Billy's work with Smashing Pumpkins and Dave's efforts with Nirvana/Foo Fighters sadly has no influence over their paranoia or narcissism.

Billy has a problem with Swine Flu and kinda thinks maybe the drug companies invented it so they could then make money selling a cure.
"I would suggest however that it is possible the virus is not a naturally occurring virus. I have read reports from people who say (as doctors) that there is evidence to suggest this virus was created by man...I do not trust those who make the vaccines, or the apperatus [sic] behind it all to push it on us thru fear."

Dave Grohl explains what the world needs (rather than nuclear disarmament, economic revitalization or potable water in sub-Saharan Africa) is...well, I'll let him say it:
"I think the band decided to take a break not because we wanted to stop making music, but because we thought the world needed to take a break from us."

I shall now drown out this new information by playing the following songs simultaneously. I encourage you to do the same.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Prufread #3

Oh, come on girl. It's Alec. Like in the sentence, "Nikki Finke is a smart alec." Unless they made a staffing goof and hired the Executive Vice President and General Counsel of HealthCentral.

My old journalism teacher would have given you an "F" for misspelling someone's name. Tsk tsk.

Hollywood Execs: They're Worth Every Penny (Oh Super! Another Dance Show!)

ABC just announced plans for a new reality show where contestants perform famous dance scenes. Those are three words I never thought I'd see put together "Famous...Dance...Scenes." But apparently such things exist. And what's worse, none of them will be from Showgirls. At last count, that makes 172 dance shows.

I can only think of one song that best fits this news. Look it up. You'll get the joke.

The Dreaded Christmas Cards

[Like a Charlie Brown Christmas, some things merit an annual rerun. Thus I offer this posting from November 14, 2008 with tips and recommendations for doing your boss's holiday cards. I have also added a few viewer comments that you might find helpful.]

Do you hear that? It sounds a little like a whale's mating call but with more sniffling. That's the sound of Mom X and Dad X crying because of what I'm about to write.

My parents did their darnedest. They made sure my education was top notch. They moved to good school districts. They sent me to accelerated programs, SAT prep classes and the second best college in Chicago. They spent many nights helping me with math homework (until I got to Algebra 2, at which point they were useless). Heck, when my fifth grade class had a balsa wood bridge building contest, Dad X gave me book on roof trusses so I could learn about structural engineering. (FYI -- The bridge held 70 pounds and I came in second place).

But after all that education and preparation for the real world, reading volumes of books on urban development, German history and the Nixon administration, I've been reduced to to this tedious but critical skill in Hollywood -- mailing Christmas cards.

Trust me, I'm as sick about it as you. A couple years ago I worked for someone who mailed cards to 1,400 people. That's like sending a card to one out of four people in Wasilla, Alaska. It was a trying moment in my Hollywood "career." But like death, taxes and a new SAW movie every Halloween, Christmas cards are an unavoidable task for a Hollywood assistant.

Following are tips on ways to make this dark period of your life go by as quickly as possible. So turn on some music, relax, pour some whiskey in your coffee and dive in. It'll be over before you know it...

  • Use each field in the database for one item only (e.g., first name, city, zip). Do not combine the recipient's first name and last name into one data field (e.g., "Elisabeth" and "Hasselbeck" versus "Elisabeth Hasselbeck").
  • Make sure your mailing labels are big enough for all the address information. Avery 5260s (the ones your office is most likely to have) are usually good for four lines of information. So after putting in the person's name, title, company and street address, your label is full. Consider eliminating or consolidating non-critical information or getting different labels.
  • Don't lick each envelope. Instead, use a glue stick. This will prevent your tongue, breath and salivary glands from revolting against you. Before you seal the envelopes, make sure to cover your work area with paper (I prefer a thin cardboard). This will prevent your desk from getting covered with glue.
  • Use moisturizer. I know it sounds like that speech about using sunscreen, but I'm very serious. After handling a few hundred envelopes your finger tips dry up and are less likely to protect yourself from very painful paper cuts.
  • Show your boss a sample before you assemble all of them. Hollywood executives are a finicky bunch, so it's best to make sure they know exactly what it's gonna look like. Otherwise you'll end up doing this twice.
  • CAA moved to 2000 Avenue of the Stars a couple years ago. If anyone still has them at 9830 Wilshire, please update their contacts.

Now let us never speak of this posting again. My college diploma is laughing at me.
Following are some user comments from last year you might find helpful.

Anonymous said...

I helped out my father and a family friend with a large mailing. Some office supply stores sell a bottle with a sponge on top. You unscrew the top, fill the bottle with water, screw the top back on, then seal away. However, I would never dream of questioning the great and wonderful temp x.

Anonymous said...

Years ago I too sent out hundreds of New Years Cards at my college job. Many fancy holiday cards are also heavier or bigger than regular mail and require more postage. This is rarely noted on the box. I would take one card to the post office to verify the correct postage. You could look like a genius if you catch this problem.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Another Open Letter to Roger Rabbit

[I just came across this morsel of news. So I wrote a follow up to July's letter.]

Temp X
c/o The Hollywood Temp Diaries
123 Fake Street
Hollywood Adjacent, CA 90046

Mr. Roger Rabbit
c/o Amblin Entertainment
100 Universal Plaza
Universal City, CA 91608

November 2, 2009

Dear Roger:

I hate you.

Temp X

Look out Barbie, here comes Ken. And he looks "fab-u-lous!"

The recent announcement by Mattel that they've developed a Palm Beach Sugar Daddy Ken doll got me thinking about ways to use him in the upcoming Barbie movie. Here are a couple ideas I've already registered with the WGA. Feel free to post your own ideas in the Comment section.

Ken runs a Maltese dog-fighting operation in the basement of his Jimmy Choo shop on Worth Avenue. Working deep undercover, Peta Barbie® gets hired and begins documenting all of the frightful details of the illegal venture. Things get complicated when she gets addicted to the employee discount and Ken's fashion tips. Think Rush meets Sex and the City.

Ken is a FBI agent and former Navy Seal sent to take down a multi-billion dollar drug smuggling ring. Barbie plays the trophy wife/beard of the closeted kingpin Agador S. Ramirez. Things get complicated when both Barbie and Agador (played by Antonio Sabato Jr.) fall for Ken. Think Scarface meets The Birdcage.

An obsessed Saved By The Bell fan longing for a reunion episode of long-running Saturday morning show, becomes convinced Ken is actually Mark Paul Gosselaar/Zack Morris. Ken tries to prove to the confused fan he's simply a well-coiffed boy toy looking for a Sugar Momma. But to no avail. Things get complicated when the fan kidnaps Ken and awaits a call from SBTB's Executive Producer Peter Engel. Think Misery meets Dickie Roberts: Former Child Star.