Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Have you read Therapy Corner recently?

Don't tell me if you've whacked anyone.
Who knew that so many people were stuck in so many absurd situations and needed to vent just a little?  Ok, maybe I did.  But that's because I'm in the same boat.  That's precisely why I started Therapy Corner.  Check it out.  Bask in the fun.  Feel free to post your own tales of woe.  Here are some of my favorite postings over the last few months...

"I change my boss's gigantic paraplegic dog's diaper every two hours." 

"For Mother's Day, my boss asked me to buy a present for his wife and to make sure I get her SOMETHING PERSONAL. Then he asked me to write the card...."

"My boss is such a douche that he actually said today 'FUCK RECYCLING don't ever hand me anything double sided again.'"

My boss is asleep on the couch as she took too many pills and has become too tired to work today and every other day... 

"A superior has me recreate fake plate registration stickers for his car which is out of the country. the savings must be huge."

I have to wait until my boss gets off a "conference call" before leaving... it's 7:05 p.m., and she's still talking about what she's doing this weekend

And if that doesn't help you feel slightly better about your situation, there's always Dr. Feelgood.  The song.  Not a drug peddler.  Come on.  What do you take me for?

Monday, June 28, 2010

Today's Theme Song: "I'll Never Make It In Hollywood"

And now, to take one of the most annoying songs ever, Billy Joel's "We Didn't Start the Fire" and make it worse. It is my honor to present to you "I'll Never Make it in Hollywood." 

[Tip: For the musical accompaniment, hit the little play button directly below and start singing.]

Michael Eisner, Jersey Shore, Wipeout, NBC
Doing lunch, rhinoplasty, Reality TV

Ageism, sexism, any kind of other "ism"
405, 101, traffic everywhere

Cocaine, lotsa pot, Grey Goose and Zoloft,
Uppers, downers, in-and-outers, drugs are candy here

Marmaduke, Pluto Nash, Speed Racer, Heaven's Gate
Bombing on the silver screen. How do they get lit green?

I can't stand it in Hollywood
It's an awful cesspool
And it's worse than high school
I'll never make it in Hollywood
Cause my boobs are too small
And Ari won't take my call

Nikki Finke, Variety, THR and Defamer
Information everywhere, only some of it is true

Sucking up, kissing ass, playing nice, what a gas
So much to do to get ahead, I never studied this

South Beach diet, tae bo, no more carbs, throw out the dough
Anything to lose ten pounds. Is my ass looking fat?

YouTube skits. Please watch me. My mom says I am funny.
I need an agent can't you tell. Currently I am in hell.

I can't stand it in Hollywood
It's an awful cesspool
And it's worse than high school
I'll never make it in Hollywood
Cause my boobs are too small
And Ari won't take my call

The Death Star, Radford, Culver City, Burbank
Scenic as a truck stop south of Joliet

Remakes, re-releases, prequels, sequels
MBAs run this town, creativity is lost

Tax incentives, merchandise it, product placements subsidize it
Runaway production, Vancouver here I come.

Black List, Brown List, please hit me with your fist
I'm just kidding no I'm not. What'd I say? I forgot.

I can't stand it in Hollywood
It's an awful cesspool
And it's worse than high school
I'll never make it in Hollywood
Cause my boobs are too small
And Ari won't take my call

Call me Jules or Apple One, sitting home it is no fun
Rent is due, I have no food, unemployment's running out

Ten bucks an hour is my rate, uh oh, shit, I'm running late
No insurance, no overtime, I'm so poor it is a crime

Nepotism, Cronyism. Oh no a few more "isms"
I can't get hired for a job, I start to think I am a slob

I can't stand it in Hollywood
It's an awful cesspool
And it's worse than high school
I'll never make it in Hollywood
Cause my boobs are too small
And Ari won't take my call

First position, Overall, Honey Wagon, Rolling Calls
Pidgin English makes more sense than our gibberish

Entourage, Tilda, Fake it till you Make it
We write shows about ourselves, then tell you to watch

ICM, CAA, Paradigm and UTA
Managers, agencies, they all seem like pricks to me

 So much is wrong with Hollywood.  One day soon I'll leave for good.
Will this song end? Please be soon? I've been writing it since half past noon!

Repeat Chorus ad nauseam 

Sunday, June 27, 2010

The Goal That Wasn't -- Germany vs. England


Or perhaps this angle will help

Friday, June 25, 2010

Unemployee of the Week -- Chris Basler

Unemployee of the Week time again.  If you'd like to be considered, please send your resume (as a pdf) and a blurb about you to tempx@tempdiaries.com. [Note: Be smart with the contact info you make available as your resume will be posted for all to see.]

Today's candidate is Chris Basler.  Chris is a TV writer who just graduated with an MFA in Dramatic Writing from NYU.  He received the top TV writing award at graduation and recently wrote for a History Channel special.  Chris is looking for any entry-level writing job.  Please help him out.  Thanks.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Corporate Responsibility

My boss has no problem yelling at me.  He has no problem sending me angry emails (I've kept all of them and plan to post them the day after I quit).  He's sent me text messages at odd hours complaining of nonsense.  I don't raise a ruckus about such things.  I try to be respectful.  I recognize that entertainment is a high-stress industry.  And in return, I attempt to assuage his nerves and keep him organized through reminders of things he needs to do.  This is all a preamble (or pre-babble) to today's note...

Today my boss has what is easily his biggest meeting of the year.  It's an early morning session with a top-tier movie director.  If it goes well, it could change his fortune and his company's fortune forever.  And considering the meeting has been a moving target -- with scheduling that offered more drama than the script they're discussing -- I wanted to be doubly-sure everything was AOK.  So being the dutiful assistant I am, I sent my boss a text message early last evening to make sure he had everything he needed as it relates to the time, directions and materials.  As of this moment, I've received nary a response.  Nothing.  None.  Zip.

Should this bother me?  Maybe.  Maybe not.  But I'll tell you this - when I send him a text asking him what he wants for breakfast, he responds immediately.  At least his priorities are in order.

Can I get an Egg-white only McMuffin?

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

The strangest thing happened yesterday

I actually kinda, sorta, maybe, possibly liked my job.  I'm sure it's just a passing phase...Wait for it...Wait for it...Just did the math and figured out I only made $85 dollars yesterday (before taxes!) to answer the phones, set lunches and burrow around a copier to release paper jam created by the Devil himself.  Phew.  Back to being disappointed, underemployed and intellectually unfulfilled.  That's better.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Downfall -- Best show title ever

ABC is ready to start their "Summer Season."  This entails requisite shows with crotch hits (Wipeout), reality "stars" who won't go away (The Bachelorette) and another unnecessary vampire show (The Gates).  But my least favorite part of their summer schedule is a show called Downfall.  In this game show, well I'll let Executive Producer Scott St. John explain it:
"Downfall is a new, hybrid, high-stakes field game show where fearless contestants have to fight and focus hard to keep their winnings from falling off the side of a building."
Now I have nothing against game shows.  Nor people winning $1 million for knowing obscure factoids.  Nor shows set on the top of buildings.  I'm even ok with bad quotes from show runners.  But I do have something against mega-corporations destroying perfectly good stuff -- cars, lawn mowers, washing machines -- all in the name of ratings.

ABC execs might not know this, but the economy is in the tank.  There are a lot of people struggling out there to find work, work that might ultimately help them buy a desperately-needed new car, lawn mower or washing machine.  I'm not suggesting that rather than demolish these durable goods ABC donate the stuff to charity instead (although that would be nice).  I recognize this would certainly change the show's tone and render Scott Ferrall -- the voice of every monster truck and tractor pull -- useless here.  But there has to be something other than the televised equivalent of "Let them Eat Cake."

Maybe I'm over analyzing this.  Maybe I shouldn't be so concerned about what a silly game show does.  And maybe people like seeing brand new stuff get destroyed.  But I can't help but wonder whether this is programming gone down the wrong path.  I'm sure Louis XVI didn't think his conspicuous consumption during economic turmoil was a big deal.  And I'm sure that Marie Antoinette just thought she was looking out for every Frenchman's dietary interests.  But we all know what happened next.

Come to think of it, maybe Downfall is exactly what this show should be called.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Actual Comedy

And now for something funny.  I gotta say, I'm not a Michael Rapaport fan.  Never have been.  Never will be.  But his acting in this sketch is as convincing as anything he will ever do.

The truth is I spent the weekend eating ice cream sandwiches and watching soccer and was in no mood to write.


Dave Chapelle Popcopy

Diabolical Intervention | MySpace Video

Friday, June 18, 2010

Unemployee of the Week -- J Pinder

Unemployee of the Week time again.  If you'd like to be considered, please send your resume (as a pdf) and a blurb about you to tempx@tempdiaries.com. [Note: Be smart with the contact info you make available as your resume will be posted for all to see.]

Today's candidate is J Pinder.  J has worked at MGM and Fox and also interned at Eclectic Pictures (Lovelace, Solitary Man).  He (I think J's a "he") has a B.A. in Film Studies and Theater Arts from University of Pittsburgh.  And his first name is only one letter!  Kinda like me.  Please help him out.  Thanks.


Thursday, June 17, 2010

Dittoheads of the World Unite!

Let's just jump right in. I'm rolling calls with my boss the other day [read: dialing the phone for him] and he's chatting with an executive from a certain youth-oriented network. I'm zoning out or applying for another job or doing whatever I to do to stay awake while they yammer away when something catches my ear. They begin a brief discussion of a TV show this network is considering with a logline of BAD NEWS BEARS meets KARATE KID.  Now where had I heard that before?

Oh right.  It's a movie script that's floating around.  See if this description sounds familiar...

Caliber Media
LOGLINE: The self-centered, washed-up former star of a "Karate Kid"-type movie, runs out of money and is left with only a crappy karate dojo he still owns in the valley. In order to pay back the IRS, he is forced to teach martial arts to a bunch of misfit kids who've been kicked out of every other dojo in town. BAD NEWS BEARS meets THE KARATE KID.

No.  On second thought, that's not it.  It was something else that I saw.  Oh yeah.  It's this other movie script that's floating around.

Elements Entertainment
LOGLINE: Pitched as BAD NEWS BEARS meets KARATE KID this family comedy, centers on a washed-up action star, who after a ridiculously public fight is sentenced to a summer of teaching martial arts to bored and misguided kids at the local YMCA.
Hollywood is dead.  It just doesn't know it yet.  Kinda like Larry King.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Guest Editorial: Revaluing Hollywood's Currency

And now a guest editorial from one of my readers.

I move easily through the halls of the motion picture industry. I remain an unknown as I take lunch orders, copy scripts or make coffee runs. I freely walk in and out of presidents’ offices, access their files and witness their meetings. They don’t even know my name. I've graduated from College to Intern to Temp. I may not have a title or even a consistent function, but I spy’s-eye view of much that transpires deep inside and way up high in the industry. Here’s what I see...

Top studio executives are often insecure and usually one-dimensional. They approve projects to please a fellow executive or to do someone a favor. These favors are what make the industry go 'round. They create a never-ending cycle of bad movies and gawdawful TV shows. Studio and network executives have no magic bullet, crystal ball or even special skill to choose what they do. It’s all about favors. The currency in Hollywood. Maybe the studios will one day wake up and realize their wildly overpaid executives have absolutely no clue what viewers want to see. Probably not.

Those execs are insulated from their failures due to a mindset that it’s the viewers’ fault. Yup, it’s the viewers who failed to watch a show – bad, bad viewers. But executives don’t even watch their own shows. Quiz them on any episode and notice the blank stares. When would they have time to watch? They’re too busy doing favors – approving more shows and films that nearly always fail. In what other industry would someone who repeatedly failed be paid millions and be allowed to keep failing? Favors rule, competence is rare and it’s not what you know, or even who you know, but what you’re willing to do for them that counts.

The industry is a dinosaur in its last gasps. It follows trends rather than creates them. It's so far behind the curve that by the time it catches up or catches on, there’s yet another curve it’s missed altogether. It’s an inbred society. Those in charge have circulated in and out of so many jobs that in any other industry they would be deemed professionally unstable. These people are fondly known as players, forever giving and receiving favors.

So as the industry digs its own grave, we, the irrelevant fringe, are taking notes on what not to do and how not to do it. If we’re to have a fighting chance in the new media frontier, we’d better learn and avoid the pitfalls of those who came before us. We fringers may not drive the Ferraris or own McMansions, but what we've learned watching you may prove more valuable in the end. We prefer to keep clear consciences and open minds and look toward the future as an opportunity to innovate and enlighten. And make money, the old-fashioned way – through working smart and creating products that sell well and have quality and value. Like shows and films and content the public really wants. Silly us.

Got something you want to say about the state of Hollywood? Send it to tempx@tempdiaries.com.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Tough Love from Temp X

Literal Image
Ok potential interns, it's time for some tough love from Temp X.  I've been where you've been -- fresh out of college in a shitty economy and just trying to get a foothold in the working world.  I know internships suck.  Not getting paid sucks.  Not having any guarantee of a job regardless of how long you intern there sucks.  Having to do all the garbage work really sucks.  But if you feel this is the right path to take, at least be smart about it.  And by being smart, I mean just don't be stupid.  This starts with the application process.

I've just concluded collecting resumes and conducting interviews for my employer's crop of summer interns.  The more resumes I read and more interviews I conducted, the more I realized that applicants have no idea what they're doing.  I'm here to help.  Following are some critical tips that will increase your chances of getting your desired internship simply because your resume won't get thrown out.

  • Keep your resume to one page.  A resume is not a term paper.  You don't want to narrow the margins, increase the font size and change the line spacing.  You don't get extra credit for making your resume extra long.  Trust me, you've done nothing to merit a two page resume.  And if your resume is three pages...well...you might as well give up looking now.
  • Know the job you're applying for.  My employer (a management and production company) just finished hiring interns.  The gig, like most in Hollywood, involves a decent amount of writing.  So when one potential candidate said, "I'm really not a good writer," I threw his resume right in the garbage.  The only thing perhaps more annoying than that are the resumes I've received for aspiring publicists.  Kids, read the job description. 
  • Check your resume for typos.  And this doesn't just mean using spell check.  Someone recently sent in a resume that spoke of their relevant course work.  It included "Screen Writhing."  If you want to be a writer and you can't spell "writing" I have no use for you.
  • Send your resume as a pdf.  Actually this has less to do with sending your resume as a pdf and more to do with not sending your resume with the "track changes" feature still active.  I don't want to know what edits you made to your resume before sending it to me.
    • Don't apply to the same job twice.  Chances are the person who is reading your resume the first time is reading it the second time.  If they liked you the first time, they're gonna think it's weird that you applied twice because this means 1) you can't remember past five minutes ago or 2) you're annoying.  Neither one sends a particularly good message to a potential employer. 
    Good luck and don't fuck it up.

    Thursday, June 10, 2010

    Office Funnies

    My co-worker and I both have an intense dislike for our jobs.  This is based on the fact that we work for nincompoops who have little business acumen and the attention span of hummingbirds hopped up on Red Bull.  Our employer frequently sends emails addressing ways to make the office run "more efficiently."  The reality is not that the office is inefficient, but rather, that those in charge don't work.  A career counselor might suggest these people instead become Census counters because of the intellectual heft required in counting to five or six.  The only way we survive in this environment is by making fun of it.

    Following is a fictitious email exchange from our bosses to us.  My co-worker's email is first, then mine.  If you only knew how close to reality this really is you'd laugh harder or send sympathy cards.

    On 6/9/10 5:00 PM, "[Name Redacted]" wrote:
    Dear [Name Redacted],
    As you’re fully aware, the organization in my office is nonexistent so I require you to accomplish the following:
    1. Please take all the documents on my desk and highlight all the important words that I should be aware of.
    2. Rearrange my desk so I am facing the wall. Then on the wall, please tape my calendar for the whole year in front of my desk so I can visualize my schedule. PLEASE USE DOUBLE LAYER DUCT TAPE, this is imperative.
    3.  Take all the folders in my office and build a pyramid with the most pertinent documents on top. That way, if I need to read something important, I can still keep the structure standing.
    4. Remove your shoes and point them in the direction of where I should be standing when I get in the office in the morning and after lunch. Please tie your shoelaces around the light fixtures in a Christmas light formation and hang all my contacts in un-alphabetical order.

    I would like all of these points effective immediately, without fail. Please schedule an internal meeting at 4:37 PM every day so we can discuss these points and how we should implement them.

    Not wanting to be outdone, here's my response.

    I guess I’m confused because I thought we implemented an entirely new system last week. I’ve attached that email below for your review. Please advise.

    On 6/2/10 1:42 AM, "[Name Redacted]" wrote:
    Dear [Name Redacted],
    I’ve become completely frustrated with the organizational system in my office. I feel like I’m too organized, and thus, completely ineffective. This is not conducive to the creative process and it impedes my ability to service our clients adequately. Effective tomorrow please do as follows:
    1. Only print the odd number pages of every script. I’ve read numerous studies about the process of literary interpolation and have concluded that it should be our new office standard.
    2. My desk should be hanging from the ceiling. This is part of my other rule, anything that doesn’t stick on my desk is considered unimportant and should be thrown out. While I’m not sure if the building can structurally handle the stress, call up our property manager and ask them about the type of wood used in our ceiling joists. Work with [Name Redacted] (as you are the tallest ones) to affix my desk and chair to the roof. Additionally, please put a Velcro strip on the back of my iPad and on the desk.  
    3. Cancel all of my lunches. Once completed, please reschedule them as and label as “mid-day feeding sessions.” Also, please call the Chateau Marmont and ask them to change their name to Motel France. Their current name is too difficult to pronounce. 
    4. Order pencils without erasers. This will force us to get everything right the first time around. 
    I expect this to be done by 6:30 a.m. So by the time you receive this email, you’ll already be late. I will then mention your dereliction of duties at your monthly employee review.
     Oh, and I just cut your pay. Your new salary is $742 per annum. This is considered a very competitive wage in Cuba.

    Wednesday, June 9, 2010

    Hollywood Dictionary: Volume 19

    RUNNING LINES: No one in Hollywood has ever done cocaine.  Stop laughing.  I'm serious.  Ok, maybe I can't explain why there are eight drug rehab facilities within four miles of each other in Hollywood.  I can assure you it has nothing to do with Aunt Nora, Baseball, Bazulco, Batman, Beam, Bernie’s Gold Dust, Big Bloke, Big Flake, Blanca, Blow, Bump, C-dust, Candy Cane, Coke, Coca, Line, Rail, Stash, Snow, Snow White or Yeyo.  So if anyone thinks that "Running Lines" is shorthand for chopping up a white powder on mirror, rolling up a $50 bill and snorting away, you're sadly mistaken.  It's simply a term actors use for rehearsing their portion of a script.

    TREATMENT:  I know what you're thinking.  And no, it still has nothing to do with cocaine.  Nor does it have anything to do with people confused by the LAPD's recent shuttering of more than 400 medical pot retailers.  Why does everyone always think people in Hollywood are drug addicts?  But enough of my paranoia, a "Treatment" is a summary of a show idea.  They are usually between one and four pages and include things like what the show is about, the characters and sample episode ideas.

    LOOPING:  Temps and other poorly-compensated, aspiring Hollywood types need to unwind too.  But we can't afford Grey Goose martinis served in diamond-encrusted pimp cups.  Heck, we can barely afford second-hand smoke.  So we do what we can to relax.  Usually this involves stealing a toner cartridge, cracking it open and sticking a pinch of that black powder between our cheek and gum.  The sensation this creates is one of recalling our idealistic visions of Hollywood -- a city overflowing with creativity and the best ideas (ours) rising to the top.  It's kinda like a momentary time machine.  The term looping originates from the "loop" that a paper makes around a photocopier or printer.  Ok, before anyone actually decides to do this and gets sick, I'm kidding.  Looping is when someone goes into a recording studio to re-record the lines they didn't do well the first time.

    Monday, June 7, 2010

    Nikki Finke won't stop plugging show based on Nikki Finke

    So first Darling Nikki gets $14 million and returns the favor by sleeping through the biggest news story in the industry.  Then she decides to take a load off and simply write headlines but no story (42 days and counting).  The worm has turned yet again as this former "world-class journalist" (Penske's words) has decided to cover breaking news that a TV shoot somewhere in LA screws up traffic.

    Breaking News: Traffic jams in Culver City don't involve cars!

    Now you might say this is just a poor editorial decision to cover Culver City traffic.  But when you peel off the layers of this onion, it offers another metaphor I'll remember later.  For the TV show/cause of the back-up is Tilda -- the upcoming HBO program about a "feared" Hollywood blogger.  Yes, this is the same Tilda show for which Nikki is reported to be receiving a per-episode consultants fee from HBO.  Conflictofinterestsayswhat?

    And this is far from a one-time event.  Deadline.com has written about this show six times in the last eleven days.  By way of comparison, Darling Nikki's site has covered the upcoming SAG/AFTRA contract discussions only once during that same period.

    Is this what Penske meant when he said Nikki has "changed the game" of entertainment journalism?

    Sandy Brown | MySpace Video

    Friday, June 4, 2010

    Weekend Read: The Golden Age

    I have a 24-hour rule with my postings.  If I write something where I'm a little cheesed off, I write it.  Then I wait a day.  Finally I edit it so it's a little less cranky.  Then I post it.

    Well, time is not on my side on this one.  A couple years ago, I wrote a script about the bumbling life of a 12-year old.  I sent it to some places, but received nary a response.  Well, apparently I wasn't the only one who thought about doing this.  MTV debuts a show this weekend The Hard Times of R.J. Berger about a 14-year old nerd who as the Hollywood Reporter describes "tries to extricate himself from the quicksand of high school."  Sure, they have the gimmick of the kid being extremely well endowed (not to say I'm not), but it all sounds really similar.

    While this may doom any hopes I have of selling this as a show (and don't ask me about Pauly Shore), I just want to post it.  I'll have some satisfaction of knowing my script was out there before people start telling me it's just like the show they saw on MTV.

    MTV.  I like it better when you played videos.

    [Note: Any similarities to people living or dead are simply coincidence, except where they are based on real people.  I only hope my family and friends will forgive me.  Love you guys. You just do funny things and I couldn't help myself.]


    Unemployee of the Week -- Marna Bunger

    Unemployee of the Week time again.  If you'd like to be considered, please send your resume (as a pdf) and a blurb about you to tempx@tempdiaries.com. [Note: Be smart with the contact info you make available as your resume will be posted for all to see.]

    Today's candidate is Marna Bunger.  Laid off from an entertainment marketing company nine months ago, Marna's career ranges from Pentagon intern (before Lewinski gave interns a bad name) to Fortune 25 marketing communications director.  She's looking for a fun and results-oriented, multi-channel marketing position with an organization that has smart leadership.  Please help her out.  Thanks.

    Wednesday, June 2, 2010

    Plug Me: The Twentyfirsters

    Welcome to the maiden voyage of Plug Me -- the new feature that allows you to freely promote your latest project/upcoming album/show appearance/etc.  This came through the other day from one of my loyal readers.  So check it out.  Support your fellow starving artists.

    If you're interested in your own plug, send all the details to tempx@tempdiaries.com and you too might achieve Internet immortality.  [For more info about Plug Me, read this post.]

    The Twentyfirsters, a new novel from Kekoa Lake

    "There's no such thing as safety in numbers."

    A fugitive mercenary secretly witnesses a superhero commit murder and cover it up. Adopting a masked identity and using his own talents, he sets out to expose the "hero" by infiltrating the Twentyfirsters, the super team of which the murderer is a member. It's The Departed meets The Avengers.

    Now available for download at smashwords.com/books/view/8667 • Find the author @KekoaLake on Twitter

    I have employer-sponsored health insurance!

    It only took 1,829 days (or 158,025,600 seconds, depending on your preference) to get there.  But no matter.  I, Temp X, officially have someone paying for my health insurance.  And it's as much fun as you would imagine.

    As they say in Hollywood, "Go break a leg.  Then, after your $50 emergency room co-pay, have it fixed."

    Has anyone heard anything about Dr. Greenthumb?

    Tuesday, June 1, 2010

    "My life in Hollywood sucks" - June Calendar

    Think your experience in Tinseltown is worse than everyone else's? Tell me how on the "My Life In Hollywood Sucks Because..." entry. Your tale of woe might just make it to the monthly calendar.