Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Pilot Season: Everything you need to know

When you gotta go
You gotta go
Welcome to the worst time of the year, Pilot Season.

For those assistants who have never been through it before, I can only equate it to working at a call center during a product recall.  The phone starts ringing the moment you get in at 8 a.m. and it doesn't stop until you finally are permitted to leave at 8:30 p.m.  If you're lucky, you're allowed a bathroom break, but that's not certain. To alleviate any of those concerns, you might want to purchase a "Stadium Pal" (retail - $29.95) or the female equivalent "Stadium Gal" (retail - $34.95). These nifty little devices allow you to pee anywhere and offer a handy urine collection bag that you can strap on to your leg.  What you do with the leftovers, well, that's your problem.

But let's go on to the terms you might need to know over the next couple of months.

Book a Pilot: Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger rumored $2.5 million deal recounting US Air's Flight 1549 is a Pilot Book. Booking a Pilot, on the other hand, is when your client secures a role on a show that won't make it to air because The CW sees higher profit margins in the musical chairs competition Oh Sit! 

Business Affairs: Once an agent finishes negotiating their client's deal in principle with the producers, it gets passed off to Business Affairs to make sure they don't get sued (or if they get sued, they win). These people are lawyers who decided to avoid the stress and money that comes along with working at a law firm, and simply fill out Mad Lib-style contract from 9-6 and make $150k/year.

Drive On: While this sounds like something your boss might do TO YOU with his new Porsche Cayenne to test out the all-time 4WD, it's really just a permission slip to get on to a studio lot. For those of you who can't afford cars (which is pretty much every assistant), you'll get something called a "Walk On."

First Position: Some actors (and periodically producers or writers) are in such high demand that they will work on two different projects at the same time. But unless you're so advanced that you can defy the space-time continuum and be in two places at the same time, one production has to win out for scheduling purposes. This is called First Position. So when Katherine Heigl tells Chandra Rimes that she just accepted a part as the lead in Zyzzyx Road: The Return to Nowhere, Chandra says, "Fine, but Grey's Anatomy is still in first position because we need you to be here while we slowly kill off your character."

Put Pilot: Apparently this is the point when I run out of funny, so I'll just define it.  It's when a studio sells a pilot to a network with the understanding that if they don't air the show, they have to pay a heavy penalty.  Golly, I can be quite dull.

Series Regular: This has nothing to do with the effects of a consuming caffeine, cigarettes and Caesar Salad (dressing on the side) in a specific order. Although now that I mention it, I might have just come up with the new Hollywood Miracle diet -- that is if you can have time to audition between runs to the john. A "Series Regular" is a cast member of a particular show who is signed on for an extended period of time, or until they view themselves as too important and their character gets killed. See Katherine Heigl or Jorja Fox.

Sides: Not quite sure how this word came into Hollywood vernacular, but we're stuck with it. It simply means selected pages of a script that are read during the course of an audition. You'll probably hear as your boss yells at you, "Courier, fax and email those fucking sides to [client's] house pronto! And then get me some coffee!"

Technically Available: (a.k.a. "tech avail") This has nothing to do with your IT department fixing your boss's laptop because she spilled a VRB on it. It's used to describe when and actor/director/writer/etc. could do a project if nothing more desirable comes through. Or Danny Boyle's agent might say, "Yeah, he's technically available to direct Hotel For Dogs if we can't work out a deal on Slumdog Millionaire."

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

and once again i'm reminded why i can't stand sedaris

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