Friday, December 16, 2011

Happy Holidays from the Happy Couple - Nikki Finke and Temp X

The Temp Diaries Holiday Tradition -- WPIX Yule Log

It's the most wonderful time of the year...Christmas break in Hollywood.  This means that for the next two weeks your idiot boss won't yell at you.  That's the best gift one person can give.  While I can't top that, I can offer you a nice seasonal gift -- the WPIX Yule Log.

Stay warm.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

The Dreaded Christmas Cards

[Sorry I'm a little late this year. I think I've gotten to the point where I have this internalized. But that doesn't mean you all do.]
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, 2009 and 2010 you might find helpful.

Anonymous said...
There are a lot of websites that will allow you to create cards and and mail them to hundreds of people. They aren't handwritten, but they are a lot cheaper.
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.

Copyright Infringement Theatre

Sometimes these hit a little too close to home...

Courtesy of

Friday, December 9, 2011

'Tis the season...for drinking and dirty jokes

Twas the days before Xmas break
And all through Hollywood
Not an executive was conscious
They've drunk more than they should

The Hollywood Temp Diaries, in cooperation with the comic genius of the "Josh and Josh Show" hereby invites you to the 2011 Holiday Party Substitute.  It was such a grand time last year, how could we not do it again.

Come for the comedy, stay for the chance of a drunken hook up.


Thursday, December 15
8:00 p.m.* - 2:00 a.m. (comedy then dance party)
Bar Lubitsch – 7702 Santa Monica Blvd – West Hollywood

*comics will likely hit the stage around 8:30


Scheduled performers
Rory Scovel (Conan, Late Night with Jimmy Fallon), Moshe Kasher (Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, Chelsea Lately), Jared Logan (Live at Gotham,, Janine Brito (Winner - 2009 SF Women's Comedy Competition), Adam Cayton-Holland (Happy Endings


No Cover Charge (Hooray!)/ Cash Bar (I'm not made of money.)
No RSVP Required

Monday, December 5, 2011

"My life in Hollywood sucks" -- December 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.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Microsoft needs a new ad agency

Today's post doesn't have anything to do with Hollywood.  But sometimes I just feel like writing about other stuff. 

So I'm talking with my sister yesterday and she insists she's seen the dumbest commercial ever.  As an amateur connoisseur of bad ads, I doubt this heavily, but I indulge.  Anyhoo, after struggling to figure out her DVR, she locates the spot, hits the wrong button on the DVR, hangs up, finds the ad, calls me back and plays it for me over the phone.  And it turns out she's right.  This might be the stupidest thing ever.

Here's the commercial for Xbox Kinect (FYI - It's spelled "connect").  Then, the briefest of explanations assuming you're not caffeinated enough to figure it out. 

Shouldn't "The sports you love, the way they're meant to be played" mean you're playing them...oh, you know...outside.  They do sell tennis rackets.  And you can get them for $70, or less than half the price of the Kinect attachment ($149.95).

Monday, November 21, 2011

Great Moments in Product Placment History - Jennifer Lopez

This is a first-ballot Hall of Fame winner.  Jennifer Lopez on stage at the American Music Awards grinding on the car she advertises for. 

Let the backlash begin.

Stupid Interview Questions - Betty Ford edition

A quick search on Google Maps using the key words "Drug Rehab in Los Angeles" delivers no fewer than 50 results between Santa Monica and Downtown LA.  Why so many?  Those who have succeeded in Hollywood are often on drugs.  And those who haven't made it can't figure out why, so they take drugs.

So it's with this, I bring you today's Stupid Interview Question courtesy of one of my loyal readers:

Do you have any addictions?  I had an assistant who had a serious coke problem and it was too much to deal with.

The correct answer is, "Yes.  I'm a recovering addict, so I know all the signs.  So the fact that your eyes are bloodshot, your pupils are wide open, you're irritable, you've had frequent mood swings during our interview, you've got what appears to be a backlog of work on your desk, you were 45 minutes late and your nose is bleeding uncontrollably indicates you need another toot."

If you have a Stupid Interview Question to share, please send it to or put it in the "Overheard in Hollywood" box to the left. All submissions will remain anonymous.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Great Moments In Product Placement History -- Grimm

And now another (cue echo effect) GREAT MOMENT IN PRODUCT PLACEMENT HISTORY.  Today's moment comes courtesy of last week's episode of the new NBC show Grimm.

Grimm is far from the first show to shill for Apple. But they do an exceeding good job at being so gaudy about it. Within the first 10 minutes of the pilot, they worked an iPod and an iPhone reference into the script in addition to showing the hardware. But someone running that part of the show needs to be a little smarter about quality control.

As we see below, the police are dutifully looking at something on the computer, clearly identified as a Mac.

But when we see what they're looking at, it's clearly not a Mac at all.  In fact, there are items clearly indicative of a a Windows 7 desktop.  I point particularly at the "Trash" bin in the lower left that is exactly the design of the one Bill Gates' company uses on theirs, complete with the blue "recycle" logo.

Is it that difficult to replicate a Mac desktop for the purposes of product placement? I mean if you're gonna shill, you might as well shill it right.

I know I'm a dork for thinking of these things.  But this is how I spend my spare time.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Brett Ratner's apology (the one with tracked changes)

Well, it's been a rough couple days for Brett Ratner.  He talks openly about his sperm count and how "Rehearsal is for fags," and next thing you know, he's out of a job producing The Oscars.

So to avoid becoming a complete pariah in Hollywood, his publicist told him he needed to issue a statement apologizing.  But before every final statement there's a rough draft.  And my sources tell me that Brett wanted a first crack at it.

Thanks to those same sources, I now have Brett's original version of his "I'm sorry" statement complete with tracked changes.


It was a sexy dumb way of expressing the one and only Brett Ratner myself. Everyone who knows Brett Ratner me loves Brett Ratner knows that I don’t have a (Use a fancy word here. That's what you get paid for, not me.) prejudiced boner bone in Brett Ratner's my body. On the subject of that, have I mentioned how big my balls are? Plus I'm fucking great at oral sex while eating shrimp.  Just ask Olivia Munn.  But as the maker of such cinematic genius as After the Sunset and Double Take a storyteller Brett Ratner I should have been much more (what's the word for when you think?) thoughtful about how much the entire world hangs on everything Brett Ratner says the power of language and my choice of (What's the word for those things in sentences?) words.

P.S. I've got to go.  There's fresh Hollywood meat waiting for me in my bedroom, and she's got an ass you can bounce a $100 off of. 

Stupid Interview Questions - Occupational Hazard edition

Success in Hollywood is based on your ability to crush the heart, soul and spirit of your nemesis.  But it's not something you openly discuss and certainly not with a potential employer.  Or perhaps it is?

Thanks to one of my loyal readers, I have today's Stupid Interview Question:

Would you step over everyone in this office to get to the top?

The correct answer to this is, "Everyone but you. And that's because you're already in my rear view mirror."  But feel free to think of your own responses and post them below.

If you have a Stupid Interview Question to share, please send it to or put it in the "Overheard in Hollywood" box to the left. All submissions will remain anonymous.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

The Hollywood Reporter is pleased to introduce the very white, very male "Top 35 under 35"

The more things don't change at The Hollywood Reporter, the more they stay the same.

The magazine/website/Twitter feed released their annual Top 35 Hollywood execs under 35 the other day.  And guess what?  It was dominated by white men.

To those who are saying, "Gosh. This all sounds so familiar.  Where do I know this from?"  I would respond by saying. "My blog from last year."

This year's list featured an unimpressive gender balance of 26 men and 9 women. This is even worse than last year's numbers of 24 men and 11 women.  And as for any sort of ethnic diversity, fuhgeddaboudit.  While I can't be certain of the racial background of all the nominees, by my estimates no fewer than 30 people (or 85%) are white.

Keep up the good work.

Monday, November 7, 2011

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.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Kim Kardashian's Message To Her Fans (the one with tracked changes)

By now you've probably seen the open letter Kim Kardashian posted regarding her divorce from Kris Humphries.  It's a lovely letter that offers all the sentiment that one might expect from someone as worldly and well read as Kim Kardashian's publicists Jill Fritzo and Noelle Keshishian at PMK*BNC.

Well, before every final copy, there's a rough draft.  And my sources tell me that Kim was insistent she give it a go before her PR handlers cleaned it up and posted it.

Thanks to those same sources, I now have that draft combined with Kim's notes and the changes that became her final break-up manifesto.


This is probably the hardest thing I've ever had to make my publicist re-write write. I see all of the (what's the word when people like you?) support and I am so thankful for my sponsors, customers, fans, friends and family who are managing my career helping me through this highly-predictable difficult time.

Do I have to keep writing? Can't I just do this on Twitter?

I am trying not to read all the different (what's the word for that show the cute guy Brian Williams is on?) media reports but it’s hard not to see all the (what's the word for really, really bad?) negative ones.  First and foreskin foremost, I married for ratings and because Ryan Seacrest told me to love. I can’t believe I even have to (what did my daddy do for O.J.?) defend this. I would not have spent so much time on something just for a TV show (because I was busy doing...err...answer this later)! I share so much of my life on a "reality" reality show, that (what's a fancy word for thinking that'll make me sound smart) contemplating whether to even film my wedding for just $6 million was a tough decision to make but when they bumped it up to $12 million, I said 'ok', and maybe it turned out to not be the smartest decision because the ratings weren't what we'd hoped. But it’s who I am as we all saw in the x-rays of my bottom! We filmed Kourtney giving birth, (Whatsherface? The tall one?) Khloe getting married, my porno with Ray J and his awesome penis, God damn, I miss that thing, break ups, make ups, money shots, our best moments and our worst moments. These were all real moments, as real as the nose on my face before I had it tweaked. (Make me sound real here, but still slightly above the losers who watch my show) That’s what makes us who we are. We share Reggie Bush with that slut Melissa Molinaro, we give and receive oral, we love Danilo Gallinari and we are open to every position!

Everyone ('Who' or 'that'? Fuck it, no one has read this far anyway) that knows me knows that I’m hopeless a hopeless romantic! I love that $2 million ring with all of my heart and soul. I want to televise a family and (the little thing that Kourtney has) babies and a "real" real life so badly that maybe I rushed in to something too soon, again the ratings for the wedding were less than the season premiere. Plus he's not even the best player on his team. I believed in love and the (stuff that happens when I'm sleeping. You know, where I wake up and I'm naked in Yankee Stadium with Derek Jeter and the Pope) dream of what I wanted so badly. I felt like I was on a (What's that thingy at Disneyland that rolls and coasts?) fast roller coaster and couldn’t get off (ha ha! I said 'get off') when now I know I probably should have. I got caught up with the hookah hoopla and the (Can I just blame the whole thing on E! here?) filming of the TV show that when I probably should have ended my relationship, I didn’t know how to and didn’t want to disappoint a lot of people.

I’m being (What's the word when you're not lying about everything?) honest here and I hope you respect my (something that makes me sound like that female boxer chick Hilary Swank played, but without eating the tongue) courage because this isn’t easy to go through. But I do know basic math that I have to follow my heart. I never had the (planning ahead thingy) intention of hurting anybody except maybe the tall guy and I accept full responsibility for my actions and decisions except for all the stuff that's making E! and Kohl's mad at me, and for taking everyone on this waste of time journey with me. It just didn’t turn out to be the tooth fairy fairy tale I had so badly hoped for.

Fuckin' A. This is such a goddamn waste of time. I've got reservations at BOA for 7:30.

There are also (stuff that happens on that show with the cute guy from 'Saved by the Bell') reports that I made millions of dollars off of the wedding. These reports are simply not true, it was closer to $18 million and it makes me so sad to have to even Claritin clarify this. I’m so smiley face grateful to everyone who took the time to come to my the thing we filmed in Montecito wedding and do it for scale and I’ll be donating the money for all the gifts to some group of losers the Dream Foundation. This means I get the tax write off and you don't.

I’m sorry if I have hurt anyone, but my dad (Don't talk about the O.J. thingy here. People seem to think he might have done it.) always told me to follow my heart I believe now that I really am.

I'm having open auditions for my next boyfriend next week at the Beverly Hilton, Conference Room 2D.  So if you're between the ages of 21-35 and have a net worth of at least $10 million, come on down. It's for my newest show, "Who wants to marry a Kardashian?"
P.S. Suck it Paris.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

A Halloween Tradition -- The Nikki Finke Mask: Part 3

Snooki is already scary! Now there's a costume
[This probably looks a lot like last year's post. That's because it is]

Halloween is just around the corner.  But if you haven't had time to figure out what to wear for your office costume contest, the Temp Diaries is here to help.

Welcome to my annual tradition that is the Nikki Finke mask.  The costume is brilliant in its simplicity.  The instructions and everything else you need are below.  Now go scare the shit out of your co-workers with this ghoulish photo.  And then, to really freak them out, tell them it's Nikki Finke.  Just make sure you know CPR.

Happy Halloween!!


Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Ask Fake Ari Emanuel

Do these pants make
my ego look big?
Welcome to another edition of Ask Fake Ari Emanuel.*  Fake Ari 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

*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'm a 31-year-old career changer now doing film and media, and I have been applying for various jobs and sending out over 200 resume/demo reel submissions in Los Angeles and nationwide.  The problem is that I haven't heard back from anyone, and my "contacts" who are actual working professionals in LA and NYC have not thrown any work my way.  I have been networking through friends, cold calling, begging random people in the biz, using online job forums and basically doing everything that I can to find something so I can move down to LA.  Everyone tells me to just move and I will find something.

Can you give me some advice or maybe point me in the right direction?

Movin' on up.
FAKE ARI EMANUEL RESPONDS: Fake Ari is going to give you a quick quiz.  Are you ready?

#1 -- Do you live in Los Angeles?
#2 -- Do you have access to $50 million in investment capital?
#3 -- Are you related to anyone famous?
#4 -- Do you have any blackmail material on any important Hollywood executive?
#5 -- Are you me?

If you answered "No" to all these questions, and I'm certain that you did, then you have no chance in hell of getting a job out here unless you move here.  This town is littered with people just like you.  Plus with the California unemployment rate of 12.1%, the line for whatever job you think you're qualified for has a line 100 people deep.

So shit or get off the pot.  See you soon.

Happy Hour at CAA
ANONYMOUS READER ASKS: I just graduated from college, and I'm getting tired of interning at production companies. I'm desperate, and I want to work at an agency, specifically CAA. Basically, do you know where the assistants hang out after hours? I'm ready to go network my butt off. Do you think that would even work?

FAKE ARI EMANUEL RESPONDS: Fake Ari is always amazed that so many people want to work at CAA.  Their offices have all the aesthetic design of a mausoleum.  Plus, do you remember a certain show called Entourage?  Would you like to guess what agency that's based on?  If you said CAA, you're wrong.  If you guessed ICM, Paradigm, Gersh or UTA, you're still wrong.  It's based on me...I mean WME.

But to answer your question, CAA assistants hang out at CAA after hours because they're shackled to their desks.  They'll work your fingers, not just until they bleed, but until there's nothing left but a stump...starting at your wrist.

As for Part 2 of your question, the answer is "perhaps but doubtful." The one thing the assistants can tell you about are the positions that are open or coming open.  But if you think they have any influence in the hiring process, you're too stupid to work in this town anyway.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Is Johnny Depp a fan of Temp X?

It's been brought to my attention by the reporter at Variety I like, Josh Dickey (Twitter: @Variety_JLD), that a certain mega-movie star named Johnny Depp has a tattoo on his forearm that looks eerily similar to my logo.  Upon further investigation, I found that he received this tattoo in 2010, nearly two years after my logo was in place.

Coincidence?  I think not.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

PR 101 with TNT & WB

PR is a pretty easy job.  I know this first hand.  The rules are pretty simple: Know your audience, write to that audience and, for God's sake, don't say anything stupid.

Now Larry Hagman recently announced that he's been diagnosed with cancer.  And this is terrible news.  It's totally understandable and expected that TNT and Warner Bros would want to issue a statement about this because he's involved in the upcoming Dallas reboot.  But, as you'll see, they quickly violated the "don't say anything stupid" code.

Below I've posted their official statement about Hagman.  Somehow they managed to combine a "we're sending our thoughts his way" sentiment with a "don't forget to watch the show" plug...
"Everyone at Warner Horizon Television, TNT and the entire Dallas family completely supports Larry Hagman during this time. We look forward to watching Larry once again work his magic by bringing one of television's most interesting, complex and controversial characters back to the screen in the new Dallas series."
Is it me, or is the only thing that's missing is the date and time of the premiere?

Monday, October 17, 2011

The 2011 Brown List

The day you hoped for/feared is here.  The 2011 Brown List is complete.  A few interesting stats:
  • Total nominations increased by more than 4,000 over last year.
  • The winner of the Most-Liked executive won with 768 nominations, 323 more votes than Edward Frumkes got last year when he was crowned king.
  • The "winner" of the Least-Liked executive garnered 2,843 nominations, 1,726 more than 2010 when CAA sports agent Pat Brisson won the title.
I will not spoil any more surprises.  So now, please scroll down for the Brown List.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

And the winner isn't...

Well, shit.  It appears as though I'm not among the 10 most important assistants in Hollywood.  Variety came out with their list and I didn't make the cut.  Actually that's not entirely true.

In a Twitter exchange with Variety's Jeff Sneider, he said...well...I'll let the Tweet explain it:

I had the most votes of anyone but still lost.  It's like the 2000 election all over again, and I'm Al Gore.  Which means everyone who won is like George W. Bush.  This does not bode well for Hollywood's future.

But I will be magnanimous in defeat.  As such, I will now deliver my concession speech:

First of all, I'd like to thank Variety for giving me the opportunity to run for the their vaunted, albeit arbitrary, title of "Ten assistants to Watch."  It is an honor to be considered among those who can roll calls, make photocopies and retrieve coffee with the best of them.  While these people, just like me, can be replaced by a speed dial button, a mouse click and a Keurig B30 (retail price $59), we are not.  And we do it all with a smile despite our paltry pay of $14/hr.

I'd also like to thank everyone who voted for me.  Your respect and loyalty to someone you've never met is impressive and I am honored and humbled by it.  Of course, if you ever met me, you'd probably want nothing to do with me much less vote for me.  So that's sort of a weird paradox.  

I'd also like to thank my parents, because if I'd listened to them, I'd be making a six-figure salary and probably be well on my way to buying a home.  Wait.  This doesn't make any sense at all.  Skip that point.

As special thanks to my temp pimps for all of's not really diligence...average (yes, that'll work) efforts at finding me employment.

Finally there's California EDD. Without you I'd have to gamble away my own money at Santa Anita.  And who's silly enough to do that?

It's been a long, winding, twisting, moebius strip of a road in Hollywood.  I've been here for more than six years and not a day goes by that I don't wake up and think, "What the fuck am I still doing here?"  Then I look at the national unemployment figures and realize that everyone is screwed everywhere.  Plus I know where the liquor store is here.

Anyway, while I cannot claim victory in the Variety's quasi-survey, I can say with certainty that I am still a winner.  I have a roof over my head, a bottle of cheap vodka in the freezer, a stolen copy of the second season of Arrested Development, a dog who periodically pays attention to me and a few people who read my blog for entertainment purposes.

Sure this won't get me invited to the shindig of a dinner Variety's Top 10 get to go to, but fuck 'em.  I have you guys.  And I'd rather have that than convention chicken any day of the week.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Who do you love...or hate

Only one more day to get in your nominations for the 2011 Brown List. So get in your choices today.  Click here to vote.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Hindsight is 36/24/36

And the co-winners for the "Duh" award are Hugh Hefner and The Playboy Club executive producer Brian Grazer.

You can't do a show about sex and drugs without showing sex and drugs.  And you can't show sex and drugs on network TV.  Did no one learn any lessons from Swingtown?  And that show was actually interesting.

It's not that I'm smart, it's that I know they're stupid.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

"My life in Hollywood sucks" -- October 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.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Matt Lauer is too cool for the news

Matt Lauer can't be troubled to take off his sunglasses during the news...

...even when interviewing the younger sisters of Amanda Knox, a woman who is on trial for murder.

So this begs the question Matt, do you, you know...

Sue the bastards!!

It's about time someone went after the studios for their unpaid internship bullshit.  The following is from the NY Times.

Suck it Fox.  Next up, any agency in Hollywood. 

Interns, Unpaid by a Studio, File Suit

By Steven Greenhouse
Two men who worked on the hit movie “Black Swan” have mounted an unusual challenge to the film industry’s widely accepted practice of unpaid internships by filing a lawsuit on Wednesday asserting that the production company had violated minimum wage and overtime laws by hiring dozens of such interns.

The lawsuit, filed in federal court in Manhattan, claims that Fox Searchlight Pictures, the producer of “Black Swan,” had the interns do menial work that should have been done by paid employees and did not provide them with the type of educational experience that labor rules require in order to exempt employers from paying interns.

“Fox Searchlight’s unpaid interns are a crucial labor force on its productions, functioning as production assistants and bookkeepers and performing secretarial and janitorial work,” the lawsuit says. “In misclassifying many of its workers as unpaid interns, Fox Searchlight has denied them the benefits that the law affords to employees.” Workplace experts say the number of unpaid internships has grown in recent years, in the movie business and many other industries. Some young people complain that these internships give an unfair edge to the affluent and well connected.

One plaintiff, Alex Footman, a 2009 Wesleyan graduate who majored in film studies, said he had worked as a production intern on “Black Swan” in New York from October 2009 to February 2010. He said his responsibilities included preparing coffee for the production office, ensuring that the coffee pot was full, taking and distributing lunch orders for the production staff, taking out the trash and cleaning the office.

“The only thing I learned on this internship was to be more picky in choosing employment opportunities,” Mr. Footman, 24, said in an interview. “ ‘Black Swan’ had more than $300 million in revenues. If they paid us, it wouldn’t make a big difference to them, but it would make a huge difference to us.”

Russell Nelson, a Fox Searchlight spokesman, said Wednesday afternoon, “We just learned of this litigation and have not had a chance to review it so we cannot make any comment at this time.”

The lawsuit is seeking class-action status for what the plaintiffs say were more than 100 unpaid interns on various Fox Searchlight productions. In addition to seeking back pay under federal and state wage laws, the lawsuit seeks an injunction barring Fox Searchlight from improperly using unpaid interns.

Fox Searchlight acted illegally, the lawsuit asserts, because the company did not meet the federal labor department’s criteria for unpaid internships. Those criteria require that the position benefit the intern, that the intern not displace regular employees, that the training received be similar to what would be given in an educational institution and that the employer derive no immediate advantage from the intern’s activities.

Movie companies have defended using unpaid interns, saying the internships are educational, highly coveted and an important way for young people to break into the industry. Lawyers for numerous companies say the Labor Department’s criteria are obsolete, adding that department officials rarely enforce the rules against unpaid internships.

The other named plaintiff, Eric Glatt, 42, who has an M.B.A. from Case Western Reserve University, was an accounting intern for “Black Swan.” He prepared documents for purchase orders and petty cash, traveled to the set to obtain signatures on documents and created spreadsheets to track missing information in employee personnel file.

Mr. Glatt, who had been working at A.I.G. training new employees, said he took the position because he wanted to move into the film industry.

“When I started looking for opportunities in the industry, I saw that most people accept an ugly trade-off,” he said. “If you want to get your foot in the door on a studio picture, you have to suck it up and do an unpaid internship.”

Adam Klein, a lawyer for the plaintiffs, said this would be the first of several lawsuits that seek to fight these internships.

“Unpaid interns are usually too scared to speak out and to bring such a lawsuit because they are frightened it will hurt their chances of finding future jobs in their industry,” he said.

Mr. Footman said he was sticking his neck out because “I hope this case will hold the industry to a higher standard and will get rid of this practice.”

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

And now, a few minutes with your very own Andy Rooney

The curmudgeonly Andy Rooney was finally booted off his 60 Minutes perch yesterday.  The man whose first commentary was about how overrated the wheel is made his last regular commentary at the ripe old age of 92.

But fans of the Eyebrowed One need not fear.  For your friends at the Hollywood Temp Diaries have created a Mad Lib so you can experience the wit, wisdom and whatever else of Mr. Rooney's pithy observances any time you want.


If there's one thing that really sticks in my craw, it's (PLURAL NOUN #1). 

Back in WWII, I was a writer for Stars and Stripes.  It was (ADJECTIVE #1) time.  We (VERB IN PAST TENSE #1) our own food.  We (VERB IN PAST TENSE #2) our own typewriters.  Heck, one time I even (VERB IN PAST TENSE #3) the cat that seemed to wander by our barracks at night. And she would meow until we (VERB IN PAST TENSE #4) her.  But what I never thought to myself, "Geez.  What I could really use now is a (PLURAL NOUN #1)."

The other day I was (GERUND) on my couch while watching my favorite episode of Arthur Godfrey's Talent Scouts. I'm guessing it was one I (VERB IN PAST TENSE #5) on.  And a (COLOR) banjo player came on and performed (SONG).  It gave me goose pimples.  I probably haven't had that sort of sensation in (NUMBER) years.  But it reminded me of how (ADJECTIVE #2) things used to be.  And I like that.

(PLURAL NOUN #1) is everything that's wrong with society today.  We made it through the Civil Rights movement, the Cold War and the (AMERICAN PRESIDENT) without the benefit of (PLURAL NOUN #1).  And the U.S. is in pretty (ADJECTIVE #3) shape as a result.  I might be a fuddy-duddy for saying this, but I'd rather (VERB) a (NOUN) than even consider buying, renting or even testing out a (PLURAL NOUN #1).

Of course if I was a little more (ADJECTIVE #4), maybe I'd change my mind.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

"The Playboy Club" cancellation countdown begins

Well, the first casualty of the 2011-12 season has been identified.

After much promotion as well as much hubbub, including calls for cancellation from both the left-wing weirdos at San Francisco city hall and the right-wing nutcases in Utah, the first victim will certainly be NBC's The Playboy Club.

And why is that?  Well, first the ratings came in and they were dismal.  Five million total viewers and 1.6 million in the important 18-49 demo.  Gag me with a bunny tail.

But let's review what the problems are...

Target audience vs. Misogyny: The show is most certainly aimed at women, which is counter to the Playboy brand.  And women, or at least the ones I know, don't want to see other women objectified.  So you're essentially alienating your target audience before the show even airs.  Producers can say the show is about "female empowerment" all they want, but no one is believing it.

No sex: There was barely even a lip-lock in the pilot.  The show was about as stimulating as looking at a strip club from the outside. 

No nudity: Like it or not, Playboy is associated with nudity.  I don't care if it's the club or the magazine, there's an expectation of some skin.  That's certainly not going to happen, unless Dennis Franz's butt makes an appearance.  And no one wants that.

No Hef: Sure they have one brief segment when Laura Benanti talks to the back of his head, but he needs a much larger presence in the show.  The Playboy identity is so inextricably linked to Hugh Hefner that having a show without him somewhere between irresponsible and impossible.

The Mad Men effect: "Me too" programming only works if you have characters that people love, hate, relate to or aspire to be.  The Playboy Club offers nothing that Mad Men does in this regard. 

No cat fights: You know what the show really needs, a good old cat fight.  It worked for Dynasty back in the day.  And Amber Heard and Jenna Dewan-Tatum (whoever that is) are way better looking than Linda Evans and Joan Collins ever were.  Bring out the claws. 

It's a boring topic: No one cares about the lives of Playboy Bunnies.  If they care about anything related to Playboy, they care about Hugh Hefner and his story.  Everything else is a distant fourth place (just like NBC).

So why do I give it another 89 days and counting (see the counter on the right)?  NBC put in an order for 12 episodes plus the pilot.  And NBC can't afford to piss off Brian Grazer, the show's producer.  They need him more than he needs them.

My guess is that The Playboy Club moves to the TV graveyard of Friday or Saturday night before the whole thing is over.

And then it will be over.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Two and a Half Men -- Episode 901

Version 2.5
[With tonight being the debut for Ashton Kutcher on Two and a Half Men, seems like just a good of a time as any to re-post this.  Feel free to compare and contrast to the actual episode.]

Lost amidst the hoo haa of Charlie Sheen leaving/getting thrown off of Two and a Half Men is how they're gonna write him out and add Ashton Kutcher.  But I have excellent contacts inside the production.  From the same source who got me Chuck Lorre Productions Vanity Card #335, I have now secured the Cold Open from the season premiere of the revamped Two and a Half Men.

Looks like things haven't changed much.  That is to say, it's still about boobs.

Charlie lays motionless in the patient bed.  He's unconscious.  Tubes and wires are connected to all parts of his body -- even his groin.  The only noise you hear is the respirator breathing pumping and the beeping of the heart monitor.  Alan sits at his bedside.  A tear wells up as he looks at his moribund brother.

Well Charlie. You've finally done it.  I always knew sex would kill you, but not this way.

He gets choked up. 

I figured when you tied the sex swing to the roof and invited over the Swedish bikini team, that would be the end.  But not this way...Not some fast-moving hybrid of AIDS, herpes, gonorrhea and Swimmer's ear.

Alan sobs again.

But when it comes to setting new records for sex, you always said, "Never underestimate Charlie Harper."

Berta enters.

Is the dick dead yet?

Berta?!  That's my brother you're talking about.

No.  I meant his actual penis.  I figured his member would be the first to go.  The rest of his body would follow due to lack of instruction.

Berta starts to leaves the room as Jake enters.  Jake gives her a look as to say "How's he doing?"  Berta smiles.

Soon.  Very soon.

Uncle Charlie hasn't kicked off yet?

No!  Jake!...Jake, your Uncle Charlie, my brother...We're still holding out hope.  The lab is running tests and...

Can I have some change?

Alan reaches into his pocket and pulls out his wallet.  He starts getting some quarters...
Sure Jake.  Yeah.  Since you're going to the vending machine, can you get me a coffee.  But don't spend too much.  We're in a bit of a financial pickle because Uncle Charlie's medical insurance doesn't cover unknown diseases...

Coffee?  No.  They've got Galaga in the game room. 

...Jake decides to grab the wallet instead and runs out the room.  Some of the change falls to the floor and rolls under Charlie's bed.  Alan gets on all fours to look for the wayward coins.  A moment later Raymond (Kutcher) and a chesty blond - both dressed in hospital whites - enter the room ready to have a little fun.  They only see Charlie as Alan is still looking for the loose change.

The coast is clear.  Just one nearly stiff.

They go behind the curtain that separates the two halves of the room.  This is quickly followed by the sound of pants being unzipped.

More like two.

Alan pops his head up and his eyes go wide.  He sees the silhouettes of the two and can't believe it.  He pokes Charlie.  No response.

Charlie...Charlie...You'll wanna see this.

The foreplay continues behind the curtain.  It's getting hot and heavy until...

Wanna play doctor?

The kissing stops immediately.

Why do you always do that?


Just because I'm a nurse and you're a surgeon, you always throw it in my face.  (imitating her) "Wanna play doctor?"  (as himself) There's nothing wrong with being a nurse.  

I never said there was.  Raymond come here...Let's kiss and make your boo boo feel better.

Don't patronize me!  You think all nurses do is put on band aids and clean bedpans.  I'm a medical professional just like you...It's not like I'm a chiropractor.

Alan slumps.

Whatever.  Listen Ray.  That's it.  I've been giving you the benefit of the doubt for a long time.  But if you don't want my body, someone else will. 

Alan raises his hand and mouths "Me."


I want you out of the house tonight.  If you won't put a ring on this finger, I'll find someone who will...Someone with an advanced degree.

She storms out the room and as she does, Charlie flatlines.  Raymond runs over and is more than a bit surprised to see Alan there.

I guess you heard that.

Uh.  Can we deal with that later?  I have a dying brother here.

Oh.  He's toast.

Can't you resuscitate him?  You know -- the paddles and the pushing and the breathing?

And touch that science experiment?  Hell no.  I wouldn't even recommend sitting that close.  Let me ask you, does it hurt when you pee?

Alan grabs his crotch and backs away from his dead brother.

Hey, you wouldn't happen to know anyone who needs a roommate would you?

End Cold Open