Monday, December 24, 2012

"On the day before Christmas" - A Temp Diaries Christmas Carol

'Tis the season

It's the holiday season. And no one is more interested in celebrating this time of year than me, your humble host, Temp X. While some people hate my musical numbers (although not as much as they hate my drunken Twitter posts of Glee), I can't help myself.  Every time I go to the 99 Cent Store to blow my pittance of a paycheck, I get swept up in the Musak-inspired Christmas carols they blast from the COBY CD/cassette player behind Register #2.

So it is with this, I decided to write my own tune.  It's to the tune of the 12 Days of Christmas. And I'd like to dedicate it to every soulless executive in this town. Or put more simply, every executive in this town.


On the day before Christmas,
my asshole boss gave to me
A bonus check for a dollar fifty.

On the day before Christmas,
my asshole boss gave to me
Two dogs to poop,
And a bonus check for a dollar fifty.

On the day before Christmas,
my asshole boss gave to me
Three cars to wash,
Two dogs to poop,
And a bonus check for a dollar fifty.

On the day before Christmas,
my asshole boss gave to me
Four expense reports,
Three cars to wash,
Two dogs to poop,
And a bonus check for a dollar fifty.

On the day before Christmas,
my asshole boss gave to me
Five migraines,
Four expense reports,
Three cars to wash,
Two dogs to poop,
And a bonus check for a dollar fifty.

On the day before Christmas,
my asshole boss gave to me
Six piles of filing,
Five migraines,
Four expense reports,
Three cars to wash,
Two dogs to poop,
And a bonus check for a dollar fifty.

On the day before Christmas,
my asshole boss gave to me
Seven packages to mail,
Six piles of filing,
Five migraines,
Four expense reports,
Three cars to wash,
Two dogs to poop,
And a bonus check for a dollar fifty.

On the day before Christmas,
my asshole boss gave to me
Eight memos to write,
Seven packages to mail,
Six piles of filing,
Five migraines,
Four expense reports,
Three cars to wash,
Two dogs to poop,
And a bonus check for a dollar fifty.

On the day before Christmas,
my asshole boss gave to me
Nine calls to roll,
Eight memos to write,
Seven packages to mail,
Six piles of filing,
Five migraines,
Four expense reports,
Three cars to wash,
Two dogs to poop,
And a bonus check for a dollar fifty.

On the day before Christmas,
my asshole boss gave to me
Ten specs to read,
Nine calls to roll,
Eight memos to write,
Seven packages to mail,
Six piles of filing,
Five migraines,
Four expense reports,
Three cars to wash,
Two dogs to poop,
And a bonus check for a dollar fifty.

On the day before Christmas,
my asshole boss gave to me
Eleven lunches to order,
Ten specs to read,
Nine calls to roll,
Eight memos to write,
Seven packages to mail,
Six piles of filing,
Five migraines,
Four expense reports,
Three cars to wash,
Two dogs to poop,
And a bonus check for a dollar fifty.

On the day before Christmas,
my asshole boss gave to me
Twelve scripts to copy,
Eleven lunches to order,
Ten specs to read,
Nine calls to roll,
Eight memos to write,
Seven packages to mail,
Six piles of filing,
Five migraines,
Four expense reports,
Three cars to wash,
Two dogs to poop,
And a bonus check for a dollar fifty!

Sunday, December 16, 2012

'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 2012 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 20
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
David Huntsberger (Premium Blend, Last Comic Standing), Brendon Walsh (Conan, Last Comic Standing), Matt Ritter (Chained to my Ex), Michael Kosta (Comedy Central Presents...)


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

First person to identify me gets a free drink.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

The Dreaded Christmas Cards

[Yep.  Same one as last year.]
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.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

A Halloween Tradition -- The Nikki Finke Mask

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

Halloween is today.  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 30, 2012

Neither rain, nor sleet, nor hurricane stops a Hollywood producer from being a jerk

I've been through a major hurricane before.  And I can assure you it's no fun.  I can also tell you that during the storm and its immediate aftermath you think about your family and friends.  You think about how you can help neighbors or perfect strangers, just because it's the right thing to do.  You think about all these things...unless you're a Hollywood asswipe.  Then all you do is think about yourself.

A friend of mine alerted me to the following posting from an industry message board.  It appears that a certain producer in New York City was mightily inconvenienced by Hurricane Sandy.  Pay no attention to the thousands displaced, the fires, the floods or the needs of the injured.  Hollywood rests for no one.  
Subject: NYC / Greenwich Village - Any Places With Internet and Power?

Anyone in New York City know if there are any places with internet and power near Greenwich Village? Any hotels maybe? Production offices? Libraries? I have a Producer in NYC who needs a place to download some footage but their power and internet will be out for the next few days.
Why do I have a sneaking suspicion that this producer's assistant is getting the reaming of a lifetime for not being able to fix the weather?

Sunday, October 28, 2012

The Brown List on Howard Stern

I'm the least important person in Hollywood. There's no doubt about that. I can't even get a deal while networks are looking for shows about the least important people in Hollywood. Try to beat that. But one thing I can say, is after 4 1/2 years and nearly 900 posts, I got at least one of my wishes granted. They talked about me on Howard Stern.

I've been a Stern fan for many years. I've experienced the drama with Jackie the Jokeman, Howard's divorce, Artie's many meltdowns and countless screw ups courtesy of Bababooey. Now, when the archives of the King of all Media are compiled, I can at least say I have a small part in them. So what if he doesn't quite get why Scott DePace made the list. Neither do I.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

The 2012 Brown List

The day you hoped for/feared is here.  The 2012 Brown List is complete.  A few interesting stats:
  • Total nominations topped out at just over 8,300.
  • The winner of the Most-Liked executive won with 1,255 nominations.
  • The "winner" of the Least-Liked executive garnered 1,185 nominations.
I will not spoil any more surprises.  So now, please enjoy the Brown List.  And if you hear any weeping noises, bring your boss a box of tissues. It's pretty clear he/she might need them.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Vote for "The Grey Area"

I don't ask for much from my fans.  I simply ask that they read the site and tell their friends.  Well, now I need a big favor from you.  The good news is it doesn't cost any money and it's not even for my benefit.

You see, my friend's documentary THE GREY AREA (about issues women face in an Iowa prison) could win an L.A. premiere at the Hollywood ArcLight if you vote for it on Facebook and "Like" it on YouTube.   But do it quickly as voting ends this Sunday, October 14.

Here's all you need to do...
  1. Go to this link: 
  2. Scroll down the list to find THE GREY AREA trailer (in the “Social Issues Documentaries” category) 
  3. VOTE!
  4. Then give us the THUMBS UP on YouTube:
And while you're at it, check out the website for even more info.  But most importantly, vote. 


Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Thank You

The headline I'd always hoped I'd see is finally here.  Let's mark the day, October 10, 2012.  Actually there have been two headlines I've always wanted to see, but when Mark Felt came out as Deep Throat, I was down to one.  And here it is...

Yep.  A blog about being a miserable underling in Hollywood sold to CBS, "America's Most Watched Network."™ The only problem is that it's not my blog.  

Yep.  Bummer.

Rather than launch into a booze-fueled pity party, I've decided to take a different approach.  Maybe it's the whiskey talking, but I'd like to thank all of you for your thoughts today.  People I've never met and will probably never meet took the time to send notes on Facebook and Twitter just saying they support me and wish me the best.  

Hollywood is a rough town and typically nobody gives a shit about anyone but themselves (or what's left of the surgically-augmented version of themselves).  But for just a fleeting moment, it seemed that I've found a group of people who are honest and caring.  So while it appears Fred Savage will never produce anything I write, at least I have that.

And now, back to drinking.


Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Brian Grazer doesn't want you

No porcupines need apply
I haven't been posting much recently for a few reasons which I choose not to explain.  Although I will say that it's at least in part due to the fact that I am now driving more than 400 miles a week...just to get to and from work.  The plus side is it means that my postings now are ever so much more special.  Right?  (Please hold, I need to got get a beer.)

Ahhh.  That's better.  If you haven't tried the Sierra Nevada Torpedo IPA (on sale at Rite Aid for $12.99 per 12 pack), I highly recommend it for its combination of flavor and 7.2% alcohol by volume.  But that's besides the point.

Earlier today I posted an position as I often do on Facebook an Twitter for 2nd Assistant position working for uber-producer (and stunt double for the guy in the Axe Hair Gel commercial) Brian Grazer.  Now, how I came across this posting, I shan't tell.  But apparently I set off a shitstorm at Imagine Entertainment as I soon received this email.

Hi my name is [NAME REDACTED] from IMAGINE Entertainment and hiring managers would like to request that you remove the posting regarding the Brian Grazer 2nd assistant position. 

This was meant for a small audience and we are now being flooded with emails....We understand that you simply posted this info because it was given to you and we do not hold you accountable. Would you be able to give us the name of the individual that sent this to you?

You cooperation is much appreciated.


IMAGINE Entertainment 

Suffice it to say I was a little bit surprised that anyone would care that much to contact me because people were actually applying for a job they're attempting to fill.  But what really bothered me is when the person who wrote me (who no doubt was doing it under strict orders from his/her employer, including the wording) asked for the name of the person who sent me the job posting.  Is this going to turn into a witch hunt?  Are you planning on Black Listing this person?  Or are you just going to torture them by making them watch the Grazer-produced 1998 remake of Psycho on an endless loop.

So to answer your question.  No.  I'm not ratting anyone out.  But don't go away mad, just go away.


Word around the Interweb travels fast.  While I was busy being passed out on the couch, I received an email from a senior exec at Imagine who explained the whole thing was a misunderstanding.  The person writes as follows.  It's up to you whether you believe it.

Hi there - Yes the GrazerBuck stops with me, but that's not at all what I asked.  My exact language was to say "Thank you for posting. We have a ton of resumes and some really good possibilities.  Would you please take down the post?"     On behalf of IMAGINE, my apologies.
 Imagine that.  An apology in Hollywood.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Brown List 2012 -- Call for Nominations is now CLOSED


For the fourth year in a row, the Temp Diaries is surveying its readers to identify the MOST-LIKED and LEAST-LIKED entertainment executives.  Once the results are tallied and the report is released, they are compiled into something I've called THE BROWN LIST.  THE BROWN LIST is designed to serve as a resource for job seekers to answer the question "Do I really want to work for [Hollywood Executive]?"

Nomination is easy.  Using the form below:
  • Write in your MOST-LIKED entertainment industry executive.
  • Write in your LEAST-LIKED entertainment industry executive.
  • Add any comments you feel like about your nominees.
  • Hit Submit.  All entries are completely anonymous. (See below for more info)
[Note:  Please include their company if you know it.]

THE BROWN LIST uses American Idol-style voting.  So nominate someone as many times as you want.  The deadline for nominations is October 5, 2012 at 11:59 p.m.  I will then tabulate the results and release them October 16, 2011, which by no small coincidence is Boss's Day.

Now get to voting...

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

NBC is lazy and stupid...but you probably knew that

I have a lot of spare time to think about things.  These hours are primarily spent wasting away idly in a shitty job market while simultaneously avoiding the sweltering heatwave that seems to have enveloped us since last year.

Earlier this evening I went out for a walk, assuming it would be somewhat cool out.  I was wrong.  But that has nothing to do with this evening's post.  I happened to be walking past a urine-soaked bus stop along Melrose (although "urine-soaked" is probably implied when referring to a bus stop on Melrose), when I happened upon a poster for the soon-to-be-canceled NBC sitcom Guys with Kids.  To the unaware, this show is basically a TV adaptation of the 1983 movie Mr. Mom starring Michael Keaton and Teri Garr.  It will show these 30-something men struggling with such newfangled parenting activities as changing diapers and feeding toddlers.

If all this doesn't sound like a compelling "been there, done that" sitcom, there's one more element of unoriginality to this future entry in the TV scrap heap.  And that is its promo poster.  The main characters, played by Anthony Anderson and two guys I've never heard of, look slick in with their shades and their infant-stuffed Baby Bjorns. 

But then I started thinking...where have I seen this before?

Oh right.  A sleepy little indie film called The Hangover. 

Keep up the good work NBC.  You never fail to fail to impress.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Ticking away the moments that make up a dull day - with The CW

Most job postings in Hollywood ask for the same basic skills - ability to roll calls, make photo copies, send emails, etc.  You know, the stuff your average first grader can do.  Well, at the fifth most important broadcast network, The CW, they take these elementary school demands one step further.  They expect you to be able to tell time. 

That's right.  The screenshot below comes directly from an posting.  The network, which is host to such abysmally-rated programming as L.A. Complex and Catalina, wants people who can tell the big hand from the small hand.  And, if they can do that, let's hope they can read the sweeper arm.

If you're interested, you better apply soon.  Time's a wastin'.

Friday, July 27, 2012

The Hollywood Assistant Olympic Games revisited

UPDATE: Much to my own surprise/disappointment, I've been writing this blog since the last Olympics.  And what's sadder, this is as true now as it was then (except for the Ben Silverman part.  NBC finally had the good sense to chuck him in the "Executive Throw" which also featured former Disney head Rich Ross.)

Starting on 8-8-08 (Ben Silverman can only remember one number at a time) NBC will broadcast the world's greatest collection of walking drug experiments amateur athletes as they invade China for the Olympics. But unlike Itoh Sukeyuki in the Sino-Japanese War, these invaders would rather be somewhere else. Of course all this Olympic spirit got me thinking -- perhaps Hollywood assistants need their own competition. So in a drunken haze, I came up with the following -- The Hollywood Assistant Olympic Games.

Here are some of the events.

Stapler Dodge -- It's like skeet shooting in reverse. The assistant (playing the role of the clay pigeon) must dodge Swinglines thrown by an agent who can't believe he couldn't get dinner ressies at Koi on five minutes notice. [Note: Team ICM was banned from this competition for failing to fail the drug test.]

Starbucks Relay -- When the office coffee isn't good enough for the staff meeting, teams of assistants compete to see who can deliver the most Grande Skim Lattes in ten minutes to a staff of power-mad agents. A three cup penalty is assessed for every steam burn. [Note: Team Paradigm has physical and emotional scars that prevent them from feeling pain. They are the odds-on favorite.]

Moshitta -- Named after legendary fast talker and FedEx pitchman John Moshitta, this competition puts the least intelligible and quickest gabbing Hollywood assistants up against each other to see who can roll the most calls in a minute. [Note: Legend has it CAA requires assistants be able to roll 25 calls in 60 seconds as a condition of employment.]

iPhone Purchase -- In a true survival of the fittest, 30 assistants are let loose in the Apple Store and must fight to secure the last iPhone 3G for their boss. Participants are allowed to use office supplies and a USB cable to defend themselves. [Note: CBS/Paramount has an assistant who tried out for UFC.]

And the grand finale...

Weekend Read Delivery -- Similar to Pheidippides announcing the defeat of the Persians, this race requires participants to hand-deliver a stack of scripts to an agent's house during Friday rush hour. [Note: In a bit of irony, the distance from the starting line at CAA to (agent's name redacted) home in Western Malibu is 26 miles 385 yards.]

Now get to stretching. The games start in 2 days.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Men are from Mars, ABC is from stupid

I'll admit I've never watched Bachelor Pad.  It looks dumb and I don't care what those idiots do.  But that won't stop me from making fun of it.

Now I haven't taken a science class since high school.  And even then, I went to a public school, so I didn't learn much.  But one thing I'm sure of is the symbols that represent each gender.  I don't know why, I just am.  Probably because they're pretty simple.  A male is a circle with an arrow pointing to up and to the right - representing Mars.  Female is a circle with a plus sign below it - representing Venus.  The only problem is ABC's graphics department doesn't see it this way.

Back and to the left
As you can see from the logo for Bachelor Pad (premiering July 23 at 8 p.m. ET), the arrow on the "O" in "Bachelor" points the wrong way.  So either the bachelors on this show are some sort of new, yet unidentified gender, or ABC's graphics department fucked up.  And furthermore, no one at that network is smart enough to catch such an obvious gaffe.

Of course when you consider that the network had a whopping total of ZERO SHOWS in the Top 20 for the 2011-12 season that didn't involve dancing with some sort of "stars," this error should come as no real surprise.

The question is whether or not they'll bother fixing it.

Ahh.  That's right.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Nikki Finke: Still crazy after all these years

Nikki Finke is at it again.  It's been a while since the dingbat did something incredibly stupid, but she's returned in full force.

Following the tragedy in Aurora, Darling Nikki opted to ask her ever-depleting fan base a couple of horribly insensitive questions regarding the box office success of The Dark Knight Rises.

She doubled down on her wacky by telling Fishbowl LA, "Of course it was important for Deadline to look at the box office ramifications of this tragedy. I wouldn’t be doing my job if I didn’t."

But the truth is, we should have seen this coming.  Finke has a pretty good track record of writing wrong, and often downright creepy, questions for her site.  The folks at the Hollywood Temp Diaries tracked down some of them as a reminder of her questionable past. 

If there's one redeeming thing about Finke, she does have a pretty good theme song.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

CNN and Fox News are stupid

I've been on hiatus for the last month as you may or may not have noticed. The truth is after four years of doing this blog I needed a little bit of a break. And since I'm my own editor, publisher and editorial assistant, I decided what the heck.  For those of you following me on Twitter and Facebook, you've likely seen that I haven't been completely radio silent. I basked in the excitement that is the forthcoming cinematic wonderment that is Raging Bull 2 and the return of Popeye to the big screen.

But my new favorite thing (outside of Nikki Finke being unable to beat out Celebuzz in the category of entertainment journalism at the LA Press Club awards) is the monumental gaffe at CNN and Fox News (among others) for the whole Obamacare/Supreme Court Ruling.

They say a picture is worth 1000 words.  If that's the case, then a video is worth 1000 cringes?  Laughs?   Questions about editorial oversight?

Here's all the fun as it happened.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Pictures of Hollywood

From outside the KTLA studio lot.  I wonder who they're expecting...

If you have any photos you'd like to share, send them to

Friday, May 18, 2012

Miki Yamashita!!!

It's not often that I get to say I know someone sort of famous.  In fact, I'm probably the most famous person I know...that is until now.  One of my long-time fans (and the best voice in the Temp Diaries Tabernacle Choir) made her Tonight Show debut the other night in a "Jay Walking" segment about whether people can sing or not. 

Please enjoy Miki Yamashita.  She makes her debut at 1 minute into the spot.  When you're done watching it, please hire her.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Tales from the bottom

Every once in a while, people get bored of my pontificating and decide to share their own tales of woe in Hollywood.  I prefer this because it basically means I get all the fun of good content without having to write it.

So if you ever have any good stories you want to share, please send them along to  For now, please enjoy this one I received the other day.

A few months ago I was working on the [singers' names redacted] music video in NYC.  I'd lived in New York for a little over a year at this point and had driven on many jobs.  But since it's mainly a walking/subway city, still was unsure of some of the streets downtown.

I was asked to go pick up [producer's name redacted] at her hotel in Chinatown and take her to location in Herald Square. I showed up an hour early with the car.  She gets in the car and is ready to go.  At a red light, I glance at the map on my phone to make sure I take the correct turn. 

She snaps, "Oh my God!  They sent me a PA that doesn't know NY, this is terrible!  Hon, if you look at that phone again, you don't work with me."

So I put down my phone and make my way up 6th Ave to location.  The traffic is insane, bumper to bumper.  She is immersed in her computer and snaps again, "You need to go faster!  The director is already there.  Do you want me to drive, because I will."  What she fails to see is that the street is PACKED and if I went any faster we would be inside the trunk of the cab in front of us.

So, to make her happy, I drive like a cabby -- pulling up in every open space possible. Then she goes, "Ugh! I can't do this!"  She grabs all her stuff and gets out of the production vehicle, walks to the (also stuck in traffic) cab next to us and hops in it.

I called the production office and told them what happened, they said to not sweat it and come back to pick up the line producer.  I went back, picked up the line producer and took her to location only to see [producer's name redacted] get out of the cab she ditched me for across the street. Then she bitched out the line producer and told her I was driving way too slow and that this shit wouldn't cut it in LA.

I worked a 22-hour day and was asked to come in the next day to help out in the office because "there's just too much to get done." I gladly did so. Then when I filled out the time sheet and put my hours in, the line producer said, "Why'd you do that? " Then crossed out my hours, changed it to 10 hours and said, "there's no OT on this job." This is the first I'd heard of that.

Then the check didn't show up for two months.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Great Moments in Product Placement History - Modern Family

It must have been "Corporate Synergy Week" or some other ridiculous edict, because last night's episode of Modern Family turned into a 30-minute infomercial for Disneyland.  Or perhaps they're just kissing a little parent company ass while contract talks are going on.

(And in the event you're keeping track, the cast says "Disneyland" three times and "The Happiest Place on Earth" once before the opening credits even run.)

Monday, May 7, 2012

To the Ladies and Gentlemen of the Class of 2012...

I was recently asked to give the commencement address to the 2012 graduates of Emerson College. This is a decent honor (like most Emerson students, UT-Austin was my first choice), but I accepted it anyway.  In the process of writing this speech, I realized Hollywood execs are smarter than first thought.  Turns out it's much easier to remake something than it is to start from scratch.  

Following is a transcript of that address... 

Ladies and Gentlemen of the Class of 2012:

Sunscreen sucks.

If I could offer you only one tip for your future in Hollywood, skip the sunscreen. The short-term perks of a tan -- the healthy glow, tantalizing bikini lines -- have been proven time and again. The rest of my advice has no basis more reliable than my own meandering experience. I will dispense this nonsense now.

Sleep around.

It's fun. Everyone in Hollywood is good looking. When poolside at the Roosevelt, tell the model wannabe next to you that you're a producer on CSI: Miami. Then see what happens. Bottle service helps.


There's no better way to keep your body in shape than doing abdominal crunches while talking on the Porcelain telephone.

Be jealous.

This town is full of people who get things they don't deserve. Some day, that person might be you. And then you can look down on the masses and mock them.

Keep your old bank statements. Throw away your love letters. Only one of these is beneficial in divorce court.

Smoke cigarettes.

Parliament Lights. Marlboro Lights. Camel Lights. Any of them act as a fantastic appetite suppressant. Smoking makes you cool and it looks great on film. But don't smoke pot because it'll make you hungry.


Just tell everyone that your script is an homage to Chayefsky's Network, not a scene by-scene redo. (But hire a good lawyer just in case.)

Buy knee pads.

Maybe you'll marry, maybe you won't. Maybe you'll have an affair with the boss and get promoted. Maybe you'll accidentally get knocked up and have to have an abortion which your boss will put on his corporate AmEx and make you file the expense report. Maybe he'll go back to his wife because he can't afford a divorce in a communal property state especially in this economy.

Love is a relative term.

Whatever you do, don't ever stop self promotion. The key to success in Hollywood is convincing others of how great you are, even if it's not true.

Enhance your body.

If you see something sagging, bagging or dragging, it's best to nip it, tuck it and suck it. If God didn't want you to get plastic surgery, he wouldn't have invented Dr. 90210.

Lap Dance.

Because it pays more than temping and you'll meet more Hollywood executives that way.

Read the directions.

Because your boss's iPhone won't program itself.

Read fashion magazines. Inner beauty is for ugly people.

Get to know your parents. Because once you become a big Hollywood star, you'll blow them off in favor of partying at the Playboy mansion.

Be nice to your siblings. They've got dirt on you that they'll happily to sell to the National Enquirer if you screw them over.

Understand that Hollywood friends come and go because if they can't do anything for you, they're not worth your time. Plus it takes way too long to get from Santa Monica to Los Feliz.

Live in Hollywood once, but leave before you get stupid. Live in Burbank once, but leave before you get bored.

Drink heavily.

Accept certain inalienable truths. Reality programs are here to stay. Movie studio execs are mostly lazy. And when you do, you'll fantasize that when you were young, TV shows had scripts and some movies weren't remakes.

Suck up.

Nothing will get you further in Hollywood than kissing ass. Differentiate yourself by ass kissing in different ways such as the Spider-man Kiss ("You produced Spider-man 3? I love when Mary Jane sings!") and the French Canadian Kiss (It's like a regular kiss, but without union difficulties and with a better exchange rate.)

Find someone to support you. Maybe they have a trust fund. Maybe...oh it's probably a trust fund. But hold on with a vice grip because it's easier than working.

Use hair extensions because they look completely natural. Make sure you use a nice epoxy when installing them.

Advice is a way to helping others. Don't offer it. Dispense "recommendations" that won't work, because you don't want someone younger and with a higher, firmer butt passing you on the final lap.

But trust me on the sunscreen.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

"My life in Hollywood sucks" -- May 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.

Monday, April 30, 2012

Ask the Genius: John Estrada

See this movie.
After a bit of a layoff, I'm proud to announce the return of "Ask the Genius." The idea of ATG is to ask people in the know about stuff they know.  Today's edition is with John Estrada.  John shares his thoughts on producing his first feature film, the
sci-fi thriller

For more information about buying the movie, check out the website or email  A copy of the trailer is at the end of the post.

Initially this film was part of a slate of projects I pitched to several studios/financiers/production companies with the “hook” being these films would target the growing Hispanic movie going audience.  It was a "pass" from all whom we approached, primarily because we were unproven filmmakers with no track record of commercial success and none of our film projects had any recognizable cast attachments (e.g., Olmos, Smits, Leguizamo).  Finally, after getting a pass from Roger Corman’s company, we decided to stop searching and make it ourselves.

We decided to self-finance this film. Financing was jumpstarted by one of the creative players, the film's co-director.  An actor already committed to star in the movie also offered to invest some money too and later earned a co-producer credit by taking on some additional duties.  In the end, all three creative players responsible for making this film each contributed money to fund the making of this film.

Script development took about one year from the first time I heard the idea, to shaping a storyline and to creating characters that we really liked.  Once we decided we were going to make this film ourselves, casting took about two months.  Staffing fell into a similar time frame, though it was much more difficult getting reliable crew since we had no money to pay them.  Shooting the film took about two years, spread out over many weekends (since all of us had full-time jobs).

One of the biggest challenges was the scheduling and organizing of the production schedule.  In combination with that was securing locations that provided production value at an inexpensive rate.  Both situations worked hand in hand because not having a location to shoot meant our schedule would be extended by one to three weeks.  This in turn affected availability of actors and crew, but this came as no surprise.

There were two major take aways:
  1. Have a clear understanding of who the market/audience is for the film.  
  2. Create and maintain a shared vision by the key creative players of what the film is and what it can be. 

We are currently targeting the “friends and family” network to drive sales.  Simultaneously, we are utilizing the power of social networking to create fans of the film, and drive visits to the website.  Our core audience is Hispanics, so we are compiling websites and portals where we can generate buzz, including focusing our efforts in California, Arizona and Texas, where the biggest demographics reside. Since we are a sci-fi film as well, we are researching sites and venues that can play a role in building awareness.  The objective is to keep things simple, build awareness, and drive sales.

As of today, we are fully exploiting our film via DIY Distribution utilizing Create Space via – both DVD and VOD.  We have just completed our website that features our newest trailer and has direct links to both options for folks who want to purchase our film (via DVD or VOD).

Working with the people I did in making GB2525 was one of the greatest experiences in my life.  I believe we made the best film to our capabilities, considering the severe lack of resources and money. All of the lessons I learned while making this picture, great and small, were incredibly valuable to me, and serve as a personal archive for me to review for future projects.  Creativity, vision, passion, persistence, and salesmanship are the required fundamentals for independent filmmakers.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Happy Anniversary to Nikki and the Chipmunks

Today marks the two-year anniversary of one of my favorite Nikki Finke-isms - headline but no article. The suspense is killing me.  Check it out for yourself.  

Monday, April 23, 2012

The most wonderful time of the year

Not Dog X.
Happy Administrative Professionals Week.  If you're reading this right now, you're probably thinking, "I pray to any holy deity (or Eric Clapton) that this is the last time this statement applies to me."  Aren't we all?

Some employers like to use this celebration of administrative types as chance to do some role playing (not the kinky sex kind, unless you're in to that).  So you might get a chance to swap out positions with your boss for a just a few minutes.  This way you get to see a future you'll never have while your boss quietly wonders why he agreed to this ridiculous activity.  The folks at the Hollywood Temp Diaries suggest you take full advantage of this opportunity in the following ways: 

Have your boss get you coffee: As you're now the boss, tell your "assistant" to make a Starbucks run for you.  When he comes back with the venti, sugar free, non-fat, no-foam, extra caramel macchiato you ordered, tell him to take it back because it's cold.  If the coffee is still scalding hot, just throw it at your "assistant" and say, "Iced coffee!  Between April 1 and September 30, it's always iced coffee!!"  Watch and chuckle as he endures second-degree burns.

Call me Maggie Gyllenhaal.
Roll calls to your friends and other people not related to work:  This accomplishes two separate and distinct purposes: 1) it shows your boss that dialing the phone is so easy, even she can do it, and 2) it shows your boss that she wastes a shitload of time on personal stuff and every time she does, it keeps you from doing your actual job.

Introduce them to the multi-function photocopier: The bane of your existence will now be the bane of your "assistant's."  Give her a stack of scripts, receipts and invoices that are bradded, paperclipped and stapled (respectively) and say you need three copies of each.  If the undoing and re-doing of the binding doesn't get to her, then the inevitable paper jam will.  And if that doesn't drive her bat shit crazy, throw everything out and tell her to do it again...double sided.  Remember, we're running a "green" company here.

L'art poor art.
A closed-office meeting:  Express your disappointment because your "assistant" isn't as chipper as you want him to be.  Heck, you could have a new person in here starting in 10 minutes who would be grateful for the opportunity to perform the preceding tasks while making $10.50/hr.  And that person would do it with a smile, Goddammit!  When your "assistant" inevitably explains (quite unconvincingly) how much he loves his job, tell him it's too late.  You've already found a replacement who is better looking and has a cuter butt.  That's right, fire 'em.

And that's how you celebrate Administrative Professionals Week.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012