Thursday, April 28, 2011

Administrative Professionals Week: Day 4 -- With Guest Columnist Fake Ari

Still not real Ari

Today's posting is in lieu of the previously announced "Bullshitting" column.

Welcome to a special Administrative Professionals Week 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

I lie!
ANONYMOUS READER ASKS: What's the likelihood that agencies or production companies catch lies one may have put on their resume? Are background checks very comprehensive?  And if by chance one is caught, are dreams of Hollywood gone forever for said individual?  I've never lied on my resume, but with responses to applications dwindling, my pants may need some lighting.

FAKE ARI EMANUEL RESPONDS: First of all, Happy Administrative Professionals Week.  Wait.  You actually believed I meant that?  Now that's how you lie.  With out any hesitation.  Honestly, I can't believe I even have to acknowledge you or your ilk for one fucking moment, much less a whole goddamn week.  This "celebration" holds about as much importance as World Turtle Day.  But if it gives those asshats in HR something to do, I guess I'll play along.

Now on to your question.  I have two fucking words for you -- Riley Weston.  But because you're too young and not smart enough to know who that is, I'll explain.  Actually I only have 10 minutes until my Hyperbaric Oxygen Chamber Therapy and Infrared Body Wrap appointment, so I'll let Entertainment Weekly do it for me:
For 14 years, 32-year-old Riley Weston was just another struggling actress in Hollywood, going nowhere fast. Tired of waiting for the perfect part, she created it instead: teen writing prodigy on Felicity, The WB's hit about an 18-year-old college freshman. She aced the part, too, delivering an Oscar-worthy performance capable of fooling a powerful studio (Disney), a network, a talent agency (United Talent Agency), and numerous publications, including this one (she appeared on our It List last June).
But reality and fantasy collided on Oct. 15: A former friend snitched, apparently angered at all the attention Weston was getting — not to mention her two-year, $300,000 development deal from Disney Touchstone TV. Faster than you can say Milli Vanilli, the phenom was unmasked as a fake.
Never rat on your
friends and always
keep your mouth shut
The Riley Weston episode revealed two things about this town: 1) your Hollywood age is half your real age plus 2, and 2) no one does a background check.  Ms. Weston's problems occurred when she made it too big.  That's when that jealous prick ratted her out.  (Have they not heard of extortion?  It's more lucrative.)  Of course I have no concern that you'll make it too big so a tattler shouldn't be a concern.

I'll say this, if you're going to lie, either use a series of small, imperceptible lies or go all in.  That is if you go small, just add a few months to your past job.  Or add responsibilities your supervisor had.  Something within the realm of possibility.  Or, go balls out and tell people you were Sidney Lumet's personal assistant for the last six years.  Since he's dead, who could they possibly call for a reference?  And for fuck's sake, don't have a LinkedIn account with your real info.

And now my little numbnut, I have one last tidbit of advice...

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Administrative Professionals Week: Day 3

Every company has their own way of celebrating Administrative Professionals Week.  Some buy their support staff greeting cards.  Others take their assistants out to lunch.  And then there are those like a certain company with a $29 billion market cap that owns 170 channels and multi-platform properties (whatever those are), a movie studio with five film brands and is sitting on $1 billion in cash.  They decided the best way to show their appreciation is to email a picture of a donut (see below) rather than provide them something tangible, like an actual donut.

Some might say, "Gosh.  Aren't you being a little hard on them?  Getting donuts for all the admins would be a huge expense."  Wrong.  The company has 11,000 full-time employees.  If roughly 35 percent are support staff, that's about 4,000 employees.  If they bought a $1 donut for each of these employees that's a paltry $4,000 -- or about what the company's chairman makes every 30 minutes.

Chew on that.

Can I get a chocolate glazed 0110010001101111011011100111010101110100 instead?

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Happy Anniversary Nikki

I can't wait to find out the results of your investigative report.  One year and counting...

Administrative Professionals Week: Day 2

There's one truism in being a Hollywood assistant -- the pay sucks.  And with bad pay comes limited finances for items of sustenance like rent, gas, beer and food.  While I can't help you on the first three, I'm gonna do my darnedest to help you save a few dollars on food at the expense of your employer.

Here's how it works.

Do you like my flair?
Step 1: The Suggestive Sell -- Anyone who has ever worked at a restaurant knows the Suggestive Sell technique.  An overeager waiter comes to your table and says, "So can I get you gentlemen something more to drink?  Or maybe something to nibble on?  Some Pizza Shooters, Shrimp Poppers or Extreme Fajitas?"  The objective is to get someone to order food they didn't want or need.  The same thing applies at work.

When your boss schedules a meeting, the first thing you should say is, "Do you want me to get something to drink for the meeting?  Or maybe something to nibble on?  Some cookies, sandwiches or bagels?"  Once you've convinced your boss to order food, then you're on to Step 2...

Don't blame me. I voted for Bill & Opus
Step 2: The Over Order -- With the Suggestive Sell mission accomplished, you get to design the menu.  Depending on your organization, this may entail ordering from the studio commissary or simply sending an intern to Costco.  Either way, you get to figure out what you want and, more importantly, how much.

Let's say your boss invites five people to a meeting on how to hide the $130 million lost on Mars Needs Moms.  Do you order food for six?  No.  You order food for 10.  This guarantees leftovers, but not too many leftovers that it seems like you screwed up.  This takes us to Step 3...

Step 3: The Doggie Bag -- The meeting is now over.  The only thing left are the tears of a black listed producer and some left over sandwiches.  As your boss was responsible for the meeting, you are responsible for the clean up.  Now you will immediately enter the room and grab as many comestibles as possible. (Tip: Hide them between two plates so no one knows how much you've taken).  After you've safely stored tonight's dinner, you can return to cleaning the room for the next meeting.

Elegant in its simplicity.  Painful when you think about it.  It gives new meaning to "Will work for food."

Tomorrow's tip -- Bullshitting

Monday, April 25, 2011

Administrative Professionals Week: Day 1

Type Type Type
Happy Administrative Professionals Week.  If you're reading this posting, you too are hanging from the lowest rung of the Hollywood ladder.  Congratulations.

Administrative Professionals Week was created in 1952 (then as National Secretaries Week) by Harry F. Klemfuss, a New York publicist.  It marks the one week each year you're supposed to get some respect from your asshole boss.  Dare to dream.  But I respect what you do because I do it too.  You wake up every morning, put on a brave face and wonder why you went to college because a fifth-grader could do your job.  You fight the all-consuming urge to tell your supervisor to dial the phone herself, print her own documents and microwave her own goddamn lunch.  You experience a daily struggle between the anxiety and depression of knowing you'll be in this spot for another three years minimum (unless you move out of town first).  Or perhaps that's just me.

Anyhoo.  To celebrate Administrative Professionals Week, the folks at the Temp Diaries will offer a new tip each day to make your job as enjoyable as possible.  Today's tip...Scheduling.

The thing about being an assistant in Hollywood is your time isn't really YOUR time -- it's your boss's time.  And you must be there for every mind-numbing minute of it.  But when you're in charge of your boss's schedule, you can make it work for you.  Here's how...

Kill!  Die!  Wake up dead!
Let's say you want to take out your frustrations at a kick boxing class at 7 p.m. on Thursday.  Between traffic and your typical work schedule, this would normally be an impossibility.  That's where scheduling comes in.  Take one of your boss's dinners and move it to a time and location that's best for you -- in this case, Thursday at 7 p.m. on the other side of town.  If this works as planned, your boss leaves at 6 p.m. to allow enough time for traffic and a quick pre-party with Chivas 18 and booger sugar.  This clears the way for you to leave the office at 6:01 p.m., get to class on time and punch your way to sanity.

And that's how scheduling can work for you.

Good luck out there.  You'll need it.
Tomorrow's tip -- Catering.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

William McKinley High School needs math teachers, not Glee club instructors

Apparently it's come to this.  I'm not only watching Glee, but I'm finding mistakes in the show and writing about it. I really need a hobby...

Normally math like this is reserved for Fox News.

I got a 740 on my SAT math.  Suck it.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

No Strings with Benefits

I'm so bummed.   I had planned on doing a whole thing on how Hollywood studios simply copy each other because they're lazy, risk averse and probably a little dumb.  And then I was going to veer off slightly into talking about how certain studio on Melrose (and probably every other one considering how Hollywood copies each other) has 50-page book of films they're considering for remakes.  I was going to bring the whole thing back and talk about how the upcoming movie Friends with Benefits sounds exactly like No Strings Attached just with different alums from That '70s Show.  All this fell by the wayside when I saw this side-by-side comparison from IMDB summarizing my argument for me...

The more things change, the more they stay the same.

As you can see, the folks at IMDB have described these movies exactly the same way.  And that's because they are.  Now some people might say, "Geez.  Maybe it was just a coincidence that two studios made the same movie.  They were probably in production around the same time."  I would respond by saying "Nope.  Try again."  No Strings Attached began shooting while the ink was still drying on Kunis' signature to join Friends with Benefits.  And what's even more sad is No Strings Attached was once called Friends with Benefits.

In some ways, I'm a bit relieved.  This saved me from endless blathering.  Wait.  I just blathered endlessly.

Wouldn't it have been easier if they'd just made the Jackie and Kelso movie and saved us the trouble?

I think we should screw other people

Monday, April 18, 2011

Is this good new or bad news?

After nearly six years in Hollywood, I just had my best month financially.  I grossed a whopping $3,312.  This is about 25 percent of my total earnings from last year (excluding unemployment).  So that's the good news.

The bad news.  I'm still a temp.

Upon further review, this news sucks.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Overheard in Hollywood

Say what?
In a town with so many bad ideas and foolish people, it's impossible not to hear people saying ridiculous things.  That's why I started "Overheard in Hollywood."  If you've eavesdropped on inanity that you'd like share, send it along to or submit it via the the submission box in the left column.  Of course, everything is confidential, anonymous and I promise not to tell anyone.

And with that, here are the exciting ramblings from around town.

A famous film producer enters angry and irritated.  It's the day after the Oscars.

What's wrong?

My movie didn't win anything.

Well it wasn't nominated for anything.


Or if that doesn't do it for you, how about this exchange between an assistant and a network executive...

An assistant is asked to review a pilot presentation and give overall impressions on it and its suitability for the network.

Just one quick question.  What's your target demo?

I don't know.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Mom X ventures into show business

Jealous of the Hollywood success her son has achieved, Mom X is embarking on a career in entertainment.  But rather than going for the fame and fortune of being an anonymous blogger, Mom X went straight to basic cable with a starring role in VH1 What Chili Wants.  

What Chili Wants stars Rozonda "Chili" Thomas, one-third of the group TLC (not the dead one or the one you can't remember), as she dates a steady stream of douchebags while dining at Miami's best third-tier restaurants.  But like every good TV show, there's a twist.  Every one of Chili's dates is monitored by a Jewish mother, played dutifully by Mom X.  As each of Chili's date winds down, Mom X walks up to their table and evaluates the couple's evening and their overall compatibility.  It is only with Mom X's approval are the two allowed to see each other again.  It's a combination of Candid Camera, Blind Date and Fiddler on the Roof.

In this episode, Mom X appears to be innocently protecting herself against an aggressive saganaki appetizer at Miami's only Greek restaurant.  But 'tis not the case.  The eavesdropper has heard every word from one of Chili's suitors.  Unimpressed by Ramon's attempt to get into Chili's Grammy Award-winning pants by saying "Your eyes shine like the hood of my newly-waxed '78 Pontiac Firebird.  Wanna go see it?" and later "Your skin is as smooth as the naugahyde in the back seat of my '78 Pontiac Firebird.  Wanna go see it?" Mom X puts the kibosh on the date.

Sorry Chili.  He's meshuggina not a mensch.  A chazer bleibt a chazer.

Mom X (with napkin tucked into shirt) from Episode 203 of What Chili Wants

Monday, April 11, 2011

It's my birthday dammit!

Whenever I talk with someone about my blog, their first question is always, "Why did you start it?"  My answer is always the same, "I knew it was a certain path to the fame and fortune I so desire."  Once the laughter dies down, I explain that it was cheaper than therapy because I have the worst health insurance money can buy.  As that's a substandard answer and doesn't deliver any of the story telling skills I hope to one day capitalize on, I expand with a tale of humor, lies and gastro-intestinal complications.  This usually helps or helps to ruin the conversation.  Either way, they remember me.

Today marks three years since the start of the Hollywood Temp Diaries.  And what a three years it's been!  I went from being a Temp to taking a go-nowhere job that paid $425 a week to being a Temp again.  I've suffered countless anxiety attacks about my career and the decisions I've made.  I've borne witness to some of the strangest things Hollywood has to offer including an executive asking for directions from ICM to CAA (they're across the street), angry notes from a bank about [PRODUCTION COMPANY'S NAME REDACTED] breach of their $150 million credit line and marijuana sent via Fed Ex.  But there are positives too.  My blog has entertained somewhere between six and eight people while being viewed by millions.  I've helped many find jobs and many more get interviews.  I've gotten hate mail from the lowest of the low -- Nikki Finke.  I've angered countless with the Brown List and I can't wait to do it again this year.  I helped get unpaid, under-appreciated cogs drunk at the Hollywood Assistant Beer Pong tournament.  I bestowed the honor of the worst in television on deserving recipients, knowing the true irony that I'd give my left testicle to write for any of these shows.  There's oh so much more, but I gotta start getting ready for work.   

So until the day I get a paid writing gig, I'll sit here at my desk -- a bowl of crusted-over bean dip to my left and a blinding halogen desk lamp to my right -- typing away with Sisyphean determination.  Will year four of the Temp Diaries deliver the success I so crave?  I hope so because then I can stop writing this fucking thing.

And with that, I am happy to re-post the first entry into the Hollywood Temp Diaries...

April 10, 2008

"I think I have irritable bowel syndrome." This is never something you want to hear on a job. But this is life as a temp in Hollywood. Let's start from the beginning.

Today I started a 2-day assignment at a film production company that is responsible for a very successful film franchise. Anyway, the person I'm working for is actually quite nice (this is rare) and gave me real work (this is rarer). But while she was off at a meeting, I'm left minding the fort. In comes a person I don't work for, have never worked for and doesn't work for the company I am working for -- call her Madam Bowelvary. Let's write this like a screen play.


Hi. Where's (name)?

(Name)'s at a meeting. She should be back in a half hour or so.

Hmmm. Hey, mind if I sleep on her couch for 15 minutes?

Temp sits there and thinks to himself for a moment, "I don't know who you are or what your name is...Wait, are you homeless?"

I don't know. I'm just a temp. so...

So can you send an email and ask (Name) if I can sleep on the couch? Just a quick nap. I'm having coffee in 15 minutes with (another Exec/COFFEE DATE) and I'm beat.

Temp notices MADAM BOWELVARY is checking emails on a Blackberry while asking this question. Temp ponders a witty retort like "You have fingers, don't you?" but decides it's not smart to annoy people who can buy your scripts.

Just write "(Name) is here. Can she sleep on her couch?"

Temp types this in and hits SEND.

10 minutes later. No response.

Hey can you send an email to COFFEE DATE and tell him to come down here when he's ready for coffee.

Again, Temp wonders "When did you become my boss? You don't work here. It's as if I went into McDonald's and said 'Give me a Whopper with Cheese....Yes, I know this isn't a Burger King...Now go over to Burger King, get me a Whopper with Cheese, bring it back to McDonalds and give it to me.'" Temp sends the email anyway for the same reason as mentioned above.

I'm gonna use the bathroom.

The exec goes to the john. While in there, the COFFEE DATE walks down and enters the office.

Where's (name)?

I'm in here. I'll be right out.

Toilet flushes. The distinctive sound and smell of Lysol emerges. Bathroom door opens. A waft of disinfected air exits the bathroom with MADAM B.

(to Coffee Date)
I think I have irritable bowel syndrome...

The two execs exit the office. Temp is left there alone again. The fumes from the bathroom are almost overpowering. The toilet runs.

10 minutes later. Temp's boss returns.

I got your email. Was that a joke?

No. It was (name).


-the end-

Friday, April 8, 2011

Overheard in Hollywood

Say what?
In a town with so many bad ideas and foolish people, it's impossible not to hear people saying ridiculous things.  That's why I started "Overheard in Hollywood."  If you've eavesdropped on inanity that you'd like share, send it along to or submit it via the the submission box in the left column.  Of course, everything is confidential, anonymous and I promise not to tell anyone.

And with that, here are the exciting ramblings from around town.

Love this script... but could you make it thirty percent funnier?

You don't like that?  Well here's an exchange between a film executive and a brand new assistant regarding the company president who was at the East Coast office.

Did you hear from dickhead?

(taken aback)


He seemed bothered that I contacted him at the other office when calls came in.  I'm confused because...

Because that's what any normal person would do in your position.


It'll get worse.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Hollywood Dictionary: Volume 22

And now, a couple more entries into the Hollywood Dictionary.  If there are terms you want defined, please send them along to

Insert Arnie catch phrase
Type:  Producers are always looking for ways to keep costs down.  They do this by moving productions to Vancouver and pretending it's New York as seen in Fantastic Four and Rumble in the Bronx.  They do this by hiring unpaid interns for "food and credit."  And one other way is by hiring an actor's "Type."  Or simply put a cheaper version of the actual one.  For example, if you can't afford Arnold Schwarzenegger because he wants $15 million to beat up aliens, Libyans or some other kind of bad guy, a producer might say, "Get me an Arnold Schwarzenegger-type."  This typically results in the hiring of Roland Kickenger.  This also typically results in your movie going direct to DVD.

Talent:  Agencies are broken up in a couple of different ways.  Motion Picture versus Television is one key way.  This is obvious.  The skilled agents are on the Motion Picture side and the minor leaguers get TV.  Because real agents don't want to deal with yet another pilot season.  But then there's the other way agencies are divided -- Talent (Actors) versus Literary (Writers).  Now as a self-loathing writer running low on my meds, I immediately take offense to this because it suggests that writers have no talent.  For if we did, we too would be included in "Talent."  Of course the flip side is suggests actors are illiterate.  Which is probably true.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Chestnut Grove

In honor of my friend Lesley Wolff's birthday, I am pleased to post one of her cinematic efforts - Chestnut Grove.  It tells the tale of a temp who figures out about life after missing the commuter train.  If only life was so easy...

[Note: To those who don't understand the device the person is talking into early on in the film, it's called a pay phone.  You can learn more about them in your history books.]


Friday, April 1, 2011

Deadline Hires Temp X for Administrative Support Coverage and 'Behind the Lines' Investigative Reporting

You're probably wondering why I haven't been poking fun at Nikki for a while.  Now you know why.  If you can't beat 'em, join 'em...



LOS ANGELES (APRIL 1, 2011) -- Penske Media Corporation (formerly Media Corporation) today announced the hiring of Hollywood Temp Diaries founder Temp X effective immediately. The anonymous blogger who founded nearly three years ago will remain undercover as he reports on administrative workforce issues while also breaking stories from 'Behind the Lines.'  Temp X will report to General Manager, Founder, and Editor-in-Chief Nikki Finke.

A temp and administrative assistant in Hollywood for nearly six years, Temp X will be able to immediately expand Deadline's current reader base into the largely untapped audience of administrative support.  For this audience, he will cover news and events including staffing moves, employment trends, labor relations and emerging talent.  Additionally, he will continue to monitor and break high-level entertainment industry news because of his position and access to inside information.

“Temp X's hiring gives us access to a whole new demographic.  Today's assistant is tomorrow's coordinator.  Tomorrow's coordinator is the day after's creative executive.  The day after's creative executive is the following day's vice president.  This is about building customer loyalty and incubating an audience from an early stage," said Jay Penske, Chairman and CEO of PMC. "We couldn’t be happier with the tremendous growth of the business to date, and have immense confidence that Temp X will bring us the future of Hollywood today.”

With the hiring of top journalism talents Film Editor/New York Editor Mike Fleming, TV Editor Nellie Andreeva, Awards Columnist Pete Hammond, London Editor Tim Adler in 2010, plus Managing Editor Patrick Hipes and Temp X, will continue to dominate the news and commentary arena in both film and television so it can remain a “must-read” for influencers and leaders in the global entertainment and media industry.

Said Finke, “I've long admired Temp X for his wry wit and dogged pursuit of the story.  He's been an inside source for much of our breaking news and now that we're formalizing our relationship, I expect great things from him and his industry contacts.  Further, his access to legions of administrative support professionals and temps brings a whole new audience.  I'm also a bit relieved because now that we're on the same team, he's no longer going to point out mistakes in my reporting.  I mean I pretty much screwed the pooch on Silverman's firing.  And that whole 'traffic jam in Culver City' thing.  Yikes.  My bad.  But I do feel incredibly lucky that Temp X is joining the Deadline team.”
Said Temp X, “ covers the entertainment industry with a tenacity and professionalism on par with my junior high school newspaper.  I know that my legions of fans will support me as I sell out to big media while still pretending to relate to their plight. Plus, while she may not look like it, Nikki is a tiger in the sack.”

Temp X has chronicled his life as a Hollywood underling for nearly three years.  Starting from humble beginnings, his website has risen to great heights, garnering coverage in the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Variety, Hollywood Reporter, NPR and CNBC.  The Temp Diaries is the originator of the Brown List - a ranking of Hollywood's Most-Liked and Least-Liked executives.  It also created The Bennies - the only award show recognizing the Worst in Television.  Additionally, it offers popular features such as Ask Fake Ari Emanuel, the animated series Another Day in Hollywood and the Job List.

About first began in March 2006 as Deadline Hollywood Daily, the 24/7 Internet version of Nikki Finke's long-running LA Weekly “Deadline Hollywood” print column. Her site was then purchased by PMC in 2009. is regularly included on lists of top entertainment websites. Influential industry leaders and key decision-makers across many fields track Deadline many times a day. Deadline postings regularly receive more reader comments than all of the entertainment industry news sites combined.

About PMC
PMC (formerly MMC) is a leading digital media company founded by CEO Jay Penske in 2004. The company owns and operates a unique portfolio of digital brands that provide the web's best original content in categories including entertainment, automotive, breaking news, media, finance, tech, beauty, style, and sports.,,,,,,, are all part of the PMC digital portfolio. For more information, please visit