Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Celebs: They're just like us -- only better looking and dumber (except Mila Kunis)

While her voice sounds like a cat in a blender crying out for help, apparently Mila Kunis has a brain behind her doe eyes and cute little nose.  Following is her assessment of The Business from her recent interview with the "publication" Nylon Magazine:
This is the worst industry you can put yourself in because there’s no security whatsoever. I mean, none. The whole thing is based so much on opinion and nobody is wrong.
 Hooray for an honest actor!  And can I say, love the hair.


Monday, November 29, 2010

The Official Temp Diaries Christmas Carol: "Happy Xmas (Temping Sucks)"

'Tis the season, or something like that.  And what kind of Grinch would I be if I didn't participate.  So I deliver to you my pièce de résistance -- the official Hollywood Temp Diaries Christmas carol.  It's to the tune of "Happy Xmas (War is Over)" by John Lennon.  I like to call it "Happy Xmas (Temping Sucks)."

To all who don't like my song parodies, there's a lump of something waiting in your stockings.  To everyone who likes them, hit the play button and sing along.

So I'm temping on Christmas
'Cause I can't find a job
Another year wasted
As a Hollywood slob

And I'm temping on Christmas
In Business Affairs
The phone isn't ringing
I'm bored but who cares?

And I'm temping on Christmas
Is it yet the New Year?
Or at least six o'clock?
It isn't I fear.

And I'm temping on Christmas
I wish it was fun
At 10 bucks an hour
Will this day soon be done?

And I'm temping on Christmas
Is my diploma worth squat?
I just want an agent
To give me a shot.

And I'm temping on Christmas
It still isn't fun
Unemployment is stable
It's around nine point one

And I'm temping on Christmas
Sorting office supplies
I'd sure like a job
That would be a nice surprise

And I'm temping on Christmas
Likely in to next year
At least I have something
That'll pay for my beer.

And I'm temping on Christmas
Wondering when things went wrong
I'm considering law school
Now let's all sing along

Temping sucks
Moving home

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Plug Me: Sarah Silverman's Thankskilling Special

One of my loyal readers, John Rota of Alexandria Entertainment represents Sascha Ciezata, the animator of this seasonally-appropriate short film - Sarah Silverman's Thankskilling Special.

Mr. Rota can be reached at john@alexandria-ent.com.

This is getting silly, but what the heck.

I'd do a whole long lead in, but what's the point.  The Hollywood Reporter has quickly shot past Nikki Finke in lazy reporting.  In their Awards Watch Roundtable series, they are now 4-for-4 in not including people of color.  The most recent example is The Animators with its distinguished guests five white guys (Roy Conli, Bob Last, Tom McGrath, Chris Meledandri, Lee Unkrich) and Bonnie Arnold.  Oh, and for anyone wondering about the woman at the far right, she's a THR reporter.  Still no people of color.  I wonder if they're going to have Awards Watch Roundtable: The Minorities? 

Not Pictured: Ken Katsumoto, Seemha Ramanna, Aghi Koh

Monday, November 22, 2010

More Whiteness at The Hollywood Reporter

Last week we discussed The Hollywood Reporter offering up a cover of all white men in its Young Guns: 35 under 35 issue.  When asked about this, a THR spokes-email told Movieline they "picked the most compelling image" for the cover.  Yes.  It's a riveting photo of five guys standing.  No way to replicate that concept with women or minorities.  But those are the tough calls editors have to make.  Let's move on because it's more fun to write about Nikki Finke screwing up or plugging Tilda again.

Since that's all been settled, let's ignore other examples from the past three weeks where THR has problems finding minorities and women to feature.  So avert your gaze from white men at last Thursday's (11/18/10) Awards Watch Roundtable: The Producers with a panel including Christian Colson, Michael De Luca, Graham King, Iain Canning, Mike Medavoy and Mark Wahlberg?

Not Pictured: Jodie Foster, Spike Lee, Lee Daniels, Guillermo del Toro
And we can skip the white men at the November 9 Awards Watch Roundtable: The Writers, featuring Aaron Sorkin, Simon Beaufoy, Michael Arndt, John Wells, Todd Phillips and David Lindsay-Abaire.

Not Pictured: Tyler Perry, Diablo Cody, Philippa Boyens and Robert Rodriguez
And finally, we need not pay attention to the undiversity of the November 3 Awards Watch Roundtable: Actresses featuring Nicole Kidman, Natalie Portman, Amy Adams, Annette Bening, Helena Bonham Carter and Hilary Swank.

Not Pictured: Mo'Nique, Penelope Cruz, Salma Hayek, Halle Berry
Heck, at least they remembered to invite women to the Actress panel.

[Note: I called and emailed THR asking for a comment.  They have chosen to ignore me.]

Friday, November 19, 2010

Headshot of the Week: Dan Amos

It's Headshot of the Week time again. Headshot of the Week is a way for actors to get their pictures and resumes in front of those hiring or looking for clients. To be considered, send a copy (.jpg or .pdf) of your headshot, credits and contact info to tempx@tempdiaries.com. I'll take it from there. Of course, be smart about what contact info you provide as this info will be out there for all to see.

Today's candidate is Dan Amos. He can be reached through his manager Pamela Thomas at 310-270-0616 or check out his site http://danamos.com.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

EEOC 2.0

I know we've gone over this before, but I guess it never hurts to revisit what are legal and what are illegal hiring practices as set forth by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

Sex Discrimination & Work Situations
The law forbids discrimination when it comes to any aspect of employment, including hiring, firing, pay, job assignments, promotions, layoff, training, fringe benefits, and any other term or condition of employment.

Why do I bring this up again?  I recently concluded a temp gig where I bridged the gap between the outgoing and the incoming assistant.  While there, I heard the employer explain to the rejected candidates why they didn't get hired.  And to put it politely, every conversation was in violation of the rules stated above.  If only I were kidding.

Here's a tip to all you wanna be executives, "Think before you speak."  Or perhaps I should just say "Think."  That's probably enough of a challenge.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

What's missing from this picture?

[Note:  I have revised this posting to reflect the gender imbalance of the THR story.  I mistakenly said the Young Guns were a fairly balanced 18 men to 17 women.  The correct number is a much more embarrassing 24 men to 11 women (not including the additional categories of talent and writers/directors).  I sincerely apologize the error.]

The release of the cover of this year's Hollywood Young Guns -- the "Top 35 under 35" entertainment execs -- seems to be missing something.  I can't put my finger on it.  Let's see.  The lighting is fine.  The outfits look nice. I'm pretty sure they're all under 35 (although in Hollywood, that's always a fungible number)  Oh, I think I know what all have in common.  They seem awfully...how to put this Politically Uncorrectly...white man-ish.  Now I don't know their ethnic background so I may be wrong on half this point.  But I'm pretty certain Alex Goldstone, Andrew Miller, Brent Morley, Josh Hornstock and Todd Christopher are all men.  Or should THR be more ashamed that their list of 35 agents, lawyers, film execs, digital execs, publicists, managers and TV execs breaks out with 24 men to only 11 women.

One has to wonder.

Another Day in Hollywood: The one about Thanksgiving

Monday, November 15, 2010

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 2008 and 2009 you might find helpful.
Anonymous said...
i used to mail out a gazillion letters a month.. and, i give a firm heads up to the little bottles with the sponge tops. also, flap your envelopes, flattening out the fold over bit, so you can easily slide in cards.. then, using the same stacking, you can swipe the bottle bottom to top, then run the side of your palm down the flap top to bottom, thus reducing motion and effort. flip the stack over, and, by folding the stamp page a bit, the edge of the stamp comes free, allowing you to quickly slide a stamp on each piece. for every 20 cards, stop, press firmly on the upper stage left edge to secure the stamp and move on. (i should do this as a video, right?)  With this, i was able to stuff, seal, label and stamp 1000 letters an hour.
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.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Headshot of the Week: Jamie Dix

It's Headshot of the Week time again. Headshot of the Week is a way for actors to get their pictures and resumes in front of those hiring or looking for clients. To be considered, send a copy (.jpg or .pdf) of your headshot, credits and contact info to tempx@tempdiaries.com. I'll take it from there. Of course, be smart about what contact info you provide as this info will be out there for all to see.

Today's candidate is Jamie Dix. She can be reached at actressjamiedix@yahoo.com or visit her site www.jamie-dix.com.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Motivational Quote of the Day

I'd make a joke that a more appropriate quote about the economy is "Ain't that a Shame" but that would be too easy.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Ask Fake Ari Emanuel

Still not real Ari
Welcome to another edition of Ask Fake Ari Emanuel.*  Fake Ari (not to be confused with the real Ari Emanuel) will answer all of your questions because he's made it to the second highest level of Hollywood -- WME2.  And who knows? One of these days CAA might just hire him as a floater.  If you have any questions for Fake Ari, please send them to me at TempX@tempdiaries.com.

*Any similarity to any person living or dead is merely coincidental.  No animals were harmed during the writing of this posting.  Please don't sue me.

ANONYMOUS READER ASKS: I moved to LA about a month ago and I am seeking an assistant position.  I really want to be an agent or work in representation.  I just got hired as an intern to a top management firm, but it's only one day a week.  So I know that it is probably best for me to bite the bullet, do this internship and work as a PA when someone is dumb enough to pay me for it.  But it isn't consistent.  What can I do to start making consistent money?  Should I go to a temp agency?  Where is the best place to busboy where I can meet industry peeps?

FAKE ARI EMANUEL RESPONDS: First of all, you'll never be an agent.  I AM AN AGENT.  Everyone else is some sort of cheap substitute.  Sure they may have the title of agent.  They may also have nice suits, fancy cars and a roster of clients.  But they, like you, will never be an agent.  You are all what I call an "Ari-in-Training"...hang on one second.  I want to finish yelling at you, but I have to take this call.

Conan!  My favorite client!  Love the new show!...Yeah, sure I watched it.  Me and the missus wouldn't miss it for anything...My favorite part?  Loved your interview with the Governator.  You really knocked it out of the park...Oh, did I say Governator?....No.  Right. I know he was on Leno.  I meant to say Seth Rogen.  I get them confused.  Like when you say you look like the president of Sweden...Finland.  Right...Just trying to make a joke, but I'll leave that to the pros.  Well, gotta run.  I have a call with Spielberg in five but I need to make some stink babies first.  Bran muffins and Starbucks shoot right through me.  Tell Andy and Max I said hi...Right. Jimmy.  Of course Max quit.  I was just testing you.  Love you.

As I was saying, for future failures like yourself who need consistent money, there are a few options:
  • Yeah, duh.  Register with the f-ing temp agencies.  Register with all of them.  They're all listed on the right side of this stupid blog.  If you're lucky you'll get a multi-week assignment making $12/hour to replace an assistant who suffered a panic attack.
  • Suck up to your new internship.  Tell them how pretty/handsome they look.  People love that shit.  And if you do that while busting your ass, maybe they'll hire you.
  • Double Drop.  Since you apparently are a restaurant service jockey, take a tip from Dee from It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia, Season 3, Ep. 7.  In the double drop scam, a waiter (YOU) uses the same check for two tables, one which was never entered into the system. Then the waiter (STILL YOU) pockets the cash from the table never really billed.  As for the best places to do so, Barney Greengrass on Wilshire.  There's always some Ari-in-Training having lunch there.
And finally, if you ever use the word "peeps" again, I'll have you and the peep killed.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Guest Editorial: Have internships in Hollywood simply become unpaid jobs?

When a TV network reruns a show, they call it an "encore performance." What they should call it is, "Damn! This re-airing of is Losing it with Jillian an excellent way to drive up our margins. We don't have to pay to produce another show, we get decent ratings and advertisers will still pay a whole pile to sponsor this show" show. When I rerun a posting, I call it "I didn't have the time or interest to do today's episode." At least I'm honest.
The following originally aired May 6, 2010.
And now a guest editorial from one of my readers. [Note: I haven't verified anything stated below, but it all sounds pretty reasonable]...

I and other film creatives my age -- recent college grads hoping to find work -- have noticed a growing trend of replacing paid employment opportunities with internships to such a degree that the entry-level job has been virtually eradicated.

This applies even to those with degrees from major schools; one glance at the private USC Cinema job board shows one (usually independent) paid opportunity for every 10 internships. I honestly I feel that the next generation of California filmmakers is being irreparably damaged by this trend; since few are being hired and moving up the chain, the producers, directors, crew members and execs who currently helm the industry may not have anyone to take their places when they retire or move up themselves.

This is just one of the myriad problems caused by unpaid internships. Another huge issue is that only very well-off or financially supported individuals can afford to work many months at a job for no pay, dramatically slanting the playing field against minorities and many women. And while, once upon a time, internships at least held the promise of mentorship, today there's little or -- more typically -- no training to be found.

It seems that the point of internships today is solely to replace paid employees in order to cut costs. Yet, legally, work performed by an intern must be of no direct financial benefit to the company. Interns are not supposed to be doing for free the tasks normally performed by a paid employee.  And while photocopying and providing coverage certainly bend that rule, supposedly reputable companies are breaking that rule more and more egregiously, as no one seems to challenge "internship" listings such as this one from the LA Kings (from Craigslist):

The Los Angeles Kings are seeking an energetic individual who would like to gain experience in a fast-paced production environment. We are currently in need of an intern to assist in video production and post-production at our offices in El Segundo. Candidates should be interested in the creative process specific to sports production. Interns will have the opportunity to experience all facets of development and production and work closely with the current team in place. This is a great opportunity to get into the industry with a great organization while enhancing your production skills!

Do not respond to this ad unless you completely understand the role and compensation. If you have read through the entire ad, please put the word "Kopitar" in the subject line of your email. Also, please briefly explain your hockey knowledge.

Essential Duties:

Include observing and participating in all aspects of video production.
  • Assisting producer with archiving and logging footage.
  • Assisting producer with shooting interviews, b-roll.
  • Assistance with clip reels, DVD duplication, editing, etc.
Minimum Requirements:
  • Candidate must be currently enrolled at an accredited college or university pursuing a degree in production/broadcasting. Must receive college credit for internship
  • Candidate must have knowledge of Outlook and Microsoft Word.
  • Ability to multi-task and work in a fast paced environment.
  • Candidates must possess excellent oral and written communication skills
  • Candidates must possess excellent organizational skills.
  • Ability to work 20 hours a week
  • Experience using Final Cut Pro
  • Understanding of audio and video equipment
  • Basic hockey knowledge

There is no "training opportunity" to be found anywhere in this listing or the many listings like this. In fact, rather than offer skills to be learned, these "internships" require their trainees to already have professional training in order to perform their duties. Why is this allowed to continue unchecked?

For almost every unpaid "internship" out there, there's a hard-working employee not contributing to local and federal taxes, medicare or Social Security. There's an employee not covered by sexual harassment protection or protection from discrimination or receiving health care. There's an employee, potentially on unemployment, who will eventually have to move out of state in order to pay bills and put food on the table.

To put the icing on the cake, most companies in town refuse to hire anyone with only internship experience in that rare case when a job is even offered. I have a friend with great work ethic who's held a half-dozen internships -- reading scripts, covering novels, writing thousands of words for Avatar's viral advertising campaign, you name it -- only to be told that he doesn't have the "experience" to do his own job for a pay check.

The economics of Hollywood are screwy right now, but taking advantage of the lowest of the low won't fix it.  And if you pay us, we can afford to see your movies and no longer bootleg versions from BitTorrent.  Everybody wins.

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

Friday, November 5, 2010

"My life in Hollywood sucks" - November Calendar

Sorry I'm late with this month's calendar.  I forgot.  Somehow, with nothing to do, I couldn't remember it was November. 

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.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Motivational Quote of the Day

The Motivational Quote of the Day comes to you from the late Dr. Hunter S. Thompson from his book Generation of Swine.  Dr. Thompson elegantly stated in his piece "Full-time Scrambling":

The TV business is uglier than most things. It is normally perceived as some kind of cruel and shallow money trench through the heart of the journalism industry, a long plastic hallway where thieves and pimps run free and good men die like dogs, for no good reason.  Which is more or less true.

You may now return to feeling underappreciated.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Ask the Genius: Jen Grisanti

Jen knows her stuff
Welcome to my newest feature, "Ask the Genius."  The idea of ATG is to ask industry experts questions about breaking into entertainment.  For our maiden voyage, story consultant/producer/writing instructor Jen Grisanti has agreed to answer questions about writing for TV.  And if anyone knows, it's Jen.  Before going independent, Jen was VP of Current at CBS/Paramount and Head of Current at Spelling Productions.

For more info, check out her website, jengrisanticonsultancy.com or contact her at jennifer@jengrisanticonsultancy.com.  Her bio is at the end of this post.

I like writers to start with an exercise called Log Line For Your Life and then move on to writing a log line for their story.  The purpose of the exercise is to get writers to learn to draw from their emotional well.  Once you identify some universal life moments, you add some fiction to the story while coming from a place of emotional truth.  This is where the gold is.

Your log line is your road map and it tells you if your story will or won't work.  It's important that your log line involve an emotional hook and a twist of irony.  I like to tell writers to set it up as 'who, dilemma, action and goal.'  This is a way of organizing their story lines in the briefest form possible to have the strongest emotional effect.

One of the biggest mistakes young writers make is their writing portfolio doesn't support their goal. When writing a spec or a pilot script, the first thing to consider is where would you would like to be staffed.  So pick the shows you want to work for and write to support this goal.

With spec scripts, the biggest mistake is they write scripts that reflect how they wish the show was versus how it actually is.  To avoid this, I recommend writers first do a show breakdown, where you write a sentence describing each scene and what happens at the act breaks.  This will give you a strong idea of that show's formula.  At that point, start your story establishing a powerful dilemma and stem it into a strong goal.  Act outs should reflect back to your goal with an obstacle, escalating obstacle, an "all is lost" moment and resolution.  Most importantly, we should always see the external goal being accomplished.

With pilots, the biggest mistake is a lack of balance between character and plot.  Even the most experienced writers still have trouble getting this balance.  Many writers also wait too long to set up their series or forget to set it up entirely.

I love this show because the writing is absolutely brilliant. The characters are all complex, flawed and very interesting.  It allows people in their 30s and 40s to see what life was like for their parents.  It transports us to a period we can connect with and presents us with the emotional journey of a relatable family.  The story-telling stands out because of its incredible use of theme and symbolism.

This show pushes the envelope of what it's like to grow up in a small town, including scandals and traumas we can connect with emotionally.  The backdrop of football is a reflection of how we play the game on the field versus how we play the game of life.  Each episode gives us something to root for on many levels. The writing for this show is impeccable. 

I love this show because the family dynamics, the characters and the issues explored are something we can all relate to.  It also represents the reality that there is no one definition of a "normal" nuclear family.  Family is who shows up and is there for one another.  It explores strong universal themes and has a great brand of humor.

[Ed Note: Due to space, I've limited descriptions to three shows.  But Grisanti also recommends Glee, Blue Bloods, Parenthood and The Good Wife.]

A writer should always have one current spec script in their portfolio.  While most showrunners prefer originals, some showrunners only read spec scripts.  A writer should also have 2-3 original pieces in their portfolio.  This can include both pilots and/or features that reflect a strong, original voice.

I definitely recommend writing programs.  Writing programs are very well structured and a tremendous way to break in.  I also recommend writing competitions because it's a great thing to add to your bio if you place in them.  As far as things like YouTube, it's all about being creative and going after it. You create your destiny.

This book is full of hands on information where I break down several current shows that make strong specs including The C Word, Detroit 187, Glee and Modern Family.  The book will help you break down story structure for each of these shows and will show you how you can learn from them to improve your writing.  I give my formula of how to structure TV spec and pilots scripts in a way that will make your script stand out.

I also have a book coming out in March 2011 called Story Line: Finding Gold In Your Life Story. It's about adding fiction to your truth in your writing. It goes deeply into my philosophy on how to tell a strong story on all platforms. It is available for pre-sale now on Amazon.

There has definitely been a trend of shows with complex/flawed leads who have a secret (eg., Mad Men, Breaking Bad, Big Love) as well as edgy, character-driven stories like The C Word.  At the networks, family shows have made a tremendous comeback with the success of Modern Family, Parenthood and Friday Night Lights.  Procedurals are also getting in on the family action with the success of The Good Wife and Blue Bloods.

The best way to get an idea of what is being bought is to go to the trades, IMDBPro or TVTracker.  This will help to give the writer knowledge on what the brand of each network is and what they're buying that year.

I think that the trend for reality is beginning to fade.  Scripted programs are better now than they've ever been.  I don't have anything against reality shows.  I think that scripted writers can learn a lot character wise.  If you study the back story of some popular reality shows characters, it could give the scripted writers ideas.

Jen Grisanti is a Story Consultant, Independent Producer, Writing Instructor for NBC's Writers on the Verge, Blogger for The Huffington Post and author of the upcoming book, Story Line: Finding the Gold In Your Life Story.

Jen Grisanti started her career as an assistant to Aaron Spelling 15 years ago. Aaron was her mentor for the next 12 years as she climbed the ranks and eventually ran Current Programs at Spelling Television Inc., covering all of Spelling’ s shows including
Beverly Hills 90210, Melrose Place and Charmed. In 2004, Jen was promoted to Vice President of Current Programs at CBS/Paramount where she covered shows including Medium, Numbers, NCIS, 4400 and Girlfriends.

In January 2008, Jen launched Jen Grisanti Consultancy Inc., a consulting firm dedicated to helping talented writers break into the industry.  Her website is http://jengrisanticonsultancy.com and can be reached at jennifer@jengrisanticonsultancy.com

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

NBC -- There's a joke in here somewhere

Last night's dinner of ground turkey is brought to you by NBC.  Oh, I just figured out the joke!  It was really easy.  Turns out if you exclude Sunday Night Football and anything related to the game, like the pre-game or post-game report, NBC had exactly 0 shows in the Nielsen Top 25 for the week ending October 24, 2010 (all ages).  Or I can pad the results and base it on the 18-49 demo.  Here the total skyrockets to 1 show -- The Office (18th overall).  The Biggest Loser was nowhere to be found.

Stop advertising on my food and make a decent program.

And now, a needless close up.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Midterm Election Endorsements

Only one more day until all the annoying ads for or against Meg Whitman stop littering the airwaves.  Yes.  It's midterm election season.  You know what's funny?  I was listening to a story on the radio the other day.  The reporter asked a college student from a university in New Orleans whether she planned on voting in the midterms.  She was completely unaware of the concept!  I'm not sure if I should be more embarrassed for her for not knowing about midterms or for the college for admitting students who are so woefully unprepared. 

And now, on to the posting that will certainly alienate some of my readers for good.  My endorsements for key state positions and certain propositions.  Make sure to print it out and take it with you.  Si se puede.

GOVERNOR:  Jerry Brown
Why: Process of elimination.  Meg Whitman is a social conservative and that doesn't work for me.  Plus I know a guy who has worked for eBay for a long time (including when Meg was there).  When I asked him if he's voting for Meg, he said he said no.  He was happy working for her but he said he'd never vote for her.  That's good enough for me.  I'm not a huge Jerry Brown fan.  He didn't do a heck of a lot when he was Mayor of Oakland.  And the other candidates I know nothing about.  Could I look them up?  Sure.  Will I?  Probably not.

Why: I voted for him as Mayor of San Francisco.  He got the ball rolling on gay marriage when Diane Feinstein told him not to.  Sure he had an affair and went into rehab.  But the job of the Lieutenant Governor in California is to wake up, make sure the Governor isn't dead and go back to sleep.  Newsom is perfect for that.

SENATOR: Barbara Boxer
Why: Carly did a shitty job at HP.  And if that's what she's basing her candidacy on, she's easily eliminated.  If I had a chance to vote for a former HP exec as Senator, I'd pick Mark Hurd.  During what were some difficult economic years (FY04 - FY09) he grew HP revenue from $80 billion to $114.6 billion and more than doubled its EPS.  I'd write him in but he's co-president of Oracle.  As for the other candidates, I could look them up.  But I probably won't.  Boxer by default.

And now for some of the state measures...

PROPOSITION 19 - Legalizing Marijuana: NO (just kidding) YES
Why: Watch Catwoman sober.  Then smoke some hippie lettuce and watch it.  If pot can make that turd of a movie watchable, imagine how much it can improve California.  Plus there's something about neutering at least some of the gang problems and the Mexican drug cartels while raising billions for the state.  But that's not important right now.  Pass the Doritos.

PROPOSITION 23 - Suspending Air Pollution Control Law: NO
Why:  Before getting started, can I say I hate double negative ballot measures.  I'm voting against suspending current Greenhouse Gas emission standards.  Can we just have the measure say "Do you want to keep the rules as they are?"  Much simpler.  But on to the measure.  I've seen the smog in LA.  I've seen the soot form on my window sills and on my car.  It's gross.  We need less of it, not more.

PROPOSITION 25 - Simple majority to pass California budget: YES
Why: Legislators don't get paid until the budget passes...and they don't get paid back when they do.  If I had a work assignment and turned it in 100 days late, I'm pretty sure my employer (if I ever find one again) would be pissed.  Well, that's how late the California budget was this year.  It's been late 23 of the last 24 years.  And you wonder why this state is so cockeyed.