Posted: July 19th, 2012 | Author: admin | Filed under: Uncategorized | No Comments »
Here are a few sketches/spoofs/topical videos I shot with my brother this year. These were either improv or semi-improv based on the source material and done in more or less one take. It’s good to slap some funny shit up on the internet. I have a sketch with much higher production values going up soon and I will link that in a subsequent post, but I think there’s value in the quick and dirty approach to internet comedy.
Note the Colin Farrell inspired look in my Funny or Die profile picture. I plan to wear this to the Total Recall premiere on 8/1 and just get douchey with C-Far.
Enjoy and be warned that the Travolta spoof is not ideal for the workplace.
Posted: February 21st, 2012 | Author: admin | Filed under: Uncategorized | No Comments »
It’s been awhile. There actually hasn’t been a whole lot to report. I haven’t taken a meeting in a little while (other than a “New Year kick off meeting with my manager) but I’ve been writing away on various scripts and am looking to shoot some shorts this year.
Here are some updates.
1) Regarding the feature that went out in 2010, I have been told that a pretty solid young comedic actor is attached to play the son. They are still trying to lock down a big name for the father and it has not gone into studios yet.
2) I met with my manager a few weeks ago to discuss the new year. I got a DVD of Bert Schneider doing stand-up from their DVD closet and told her about what we’re working on and said we’ll send it to her when it’s done. Fairly simple.
3) I have been taking sketch classes at UCB and am getting some great material through that. I wrote for a sketch troupe back in Portland before I moved here so it’s fun to get back into it. I’d like to shoot some of these in the coming months. Stay tuned.
4) Here is the still intact website for the now defunct sketch troupe I wrote for. My info is under “Ted.” http://www.fishbowlcatharsis.com/players.html
5) A new feature should be done shortly. We’ll see if it goes out wide. That is a fun process.
6) That’s it for now. More updates as they come.
Posted: August 4th, 2011 | Author: admin | Filed under: Uncategorized | No Comments »
Yesterday I pitched a feature synopsis to a producer over the phone. I think it went pretty well although it’s pretty tough to judge in a conference call. The synopsis we pitched was a fleshed out take on a kernel of an idea that the producer pitched to us at our breakfast general back in late May. Basically, she pitched us a logline of a feature she’d like to do – maybe about four sentences, while admitting that it needs a lot more backbone and work. We went home and talked about it, etc, etc, finally, after putting it off for a great deal of the summer, we ended up with a 5 or 6 page synopsis and a little character work. After we had this ready we emailed her and asked if we should come in or send over the pages, or what…she said you can pitch it to me over the phone and we’ll go from there. So, my writing partner and I met on Tuesday and worked on the story more and we set it for Wednesday at 10am.
Pitching a project that is based on an idea that the producer came up with is infinitely easier than pitching something that’s completely your own. They already like the core idea – you are just fleshing it out, and adding body to the idea. Granted, it’s turning four sentences into a 6 page story so there are a lot of ways you can get off track, but suffice it to say it’s easy because the producer wants it to work and already is familiar with the essence of the story. So, 10am turned into 10:30 and finally we got on the phone together. I sat at my desk in my boxer briefs and an old Cornell shirt and after having spent the morning reading through the pages I felt pretty good although a little concerned that it was too early to be warmed/amped up. We made some pleasantries for a minute or so then went into it. I took Acts 1 and 3 and my partner took Act 2, with random interjections when either saw fit. We got through the story with conviction and we had it down pretty pat, although it definitely could have been funnier. It was pretty “ok, here’s the story, these are the set pieces that will be hilarious” in a tone that was a little bit more mono than ideal, but whatever. The producer interjected and asked for clarification every so often but it was mostly us telling the story. The whole thing lasted a bit shy of 20 minutes I believe. Afterwards, she said “cool, there’s definitely something here” then went into some specific notes and suggestions. She seemed to like it, and said we had some good stuff, although she didn’t seem over the moon about it. But overall, I felt good about it. She said the next steps would be that we send over our document so she can really look at the story and start getting on the same page and giving us more notes, with the idea that if we get it down pat, and agree on something great we’d pitch it to her boss. So I spent yesterday incorporating her few notes and making the internal pitch document a little easier to read and cleaner, then sent it off to her this morning. We talked to our manager yesterday and she said she was going to put a call into the producer to make sure she’s serious about it before we start doing crazy amounts of work on it. I haven’t heard back about this conversation, they probably haven’t connected yet, but yeah, it’s possible she didn’t feel the pitch that much and is sort of proceeding in a luke warm fashion.
Although the producer said “there’s definitely something here” and she seemed to like it, part of me thinks this could just be a stock response. Because, if you’re really not feeling it, what do you say after two writers pitch you for 20 minutes? It’s probably a bit awkward and harsh to say, “nah, don’t like.” It’s like job interview or first date – it can seem great while it’s happening but you only know if it was good or bad AFTER the initial meeting, when they don’t contact you or let it fizzle after you reach out to them (same with the good result – you only know if you nailed it until they call you). Either the job interviewer or the girl isn’t going to tell you at the end of the encounter that they didn’t really feel it – they’ll say it was great meeting/talking/bowling with you, and then you’ll feel great until you realize a week later that you’re not getting the job or getting date number 2. Is this possible in this situation? I’d like to think if the producer really wasn’t feeling our pitch she’d say something like “okay, we’re on a different page, maybe you guys do some more work because I don’t see a full movie here,” BUT it’s possible it didn’t go that well and “there’s definitely something here” is a stock response for things that are okay. What we know is she neither flipped for it, nor hated it so much that she was insulted we wasted her time. But the good thing, is time will answer all. I’ll update when she gets back to us on the pages we sent today.
Posted: August 1st, 2011 | Author: admin | Filed under: Uncategorized | No Comments »
Regarding my feature script that went out wide last year (see “Spec Features” below) I got an email tonight from my manager that said “interest from WME for Dustin Hoffman. We’ll see if it’s real and package someone beside him”
Is it better to get an email like this than nothing at all? Yes. It reinvigorates you a tiny degree. Is this anywhere near Dustin Hoffman starring in a script I wrote? Not at all. Note the Hollywood-ese – ”see if it’s real.” Okay. Sure. That means don’t get your hopes up because it could simply mean some eager young covering agent had a little whim that will be a distant memory tomorrow. And trust me, my hopes are not up. You can’t get excited about things like this because you’ll usually end up disappointed. Wow. That sounded negative. But a year ago I was excited when we were told that this big producer “flipped for it” and was sending it to Ryan Reynolds. That did not pan out. Anyway, hopefully this thing goes into buyers a month from now on September 1 as the plan dictated when we met with the producer in May.
Posted: July 8th, 2011 | Author: admin | Filed under: Uncategorized | No Comments »
Last Friday I submitted a joke packet to be considered for a writing gig on the next Comedy Central Roast, which will be honoring/skewering Charlie Sheen. Yeah, if things work out I’ll be paid to make zippy one liners about the tiger blooded train wreck, something every person in American was doing ad nauseum for free four months ago.
But here’s the funny thing about this process. Actually two funny things. 1) Submissions were due before the roastee was announced – the fact that it was featuring Charlie Sheen was kept under wraps. 2) I had less than 24 hours between knowing that they were looking for writers and having to turn in my packet.
So, it wasn’t “we’re roasting Charlie Sheen, come up with a bunch of jokes about him in a week and we’ll see whatcha got.” It was my manager calling me at 2pm on Thursday saying that Comedy Central is doing another roast, we don’t know who, and you need to turn something in by tomorrow. Ok, great. Basically, since nothing goes out without her reading it over (makes sense), that meant something by 10am the next morning. I asked what the format would be, what I should include, what they’re looking for, etc. Manager said, um…you know don’t make it too roast like, but make it funny, and really crude, really raunchy. Maybe some monologues, jokes too. Basically, come up with some funny current shit is what I took from that. I was writing at the Grove at the time and had no internet so I immediately called up some past Comedy Central Roast snippets on my iPhone. Watched the monologues, watched the roast jokes, etc, etc. Basically I found it very tricky to come up with a monologue without knowing who it was going to be. I suppose I could have picked someone who I didn’t think it was going to be and just write a spec snappy monologue dissing that person, but given the time constraint I figured standard “monologue style” jokes based on very current stuff, like from that day and week, was the best answer.
So, I sifted through defamer, tmz, deadline, people, yahoo OMG news, etc and found out what the big pop culture stories were and wrote about 25 two sentence monologue style jokes. These are the one sentence is the news story, second sentence is the punchline kind of joke you see in Leno, Letterman, Conan, Kimmel type shows. However, this was for a Comedy Central Roast so I upped the raunchiness, crudeness, swear word quotient, etc and fired them off to my writing partner at about 5pm. He wrote about 15 new ones and sent it back to me at 1am. I woke up early and reworded them. We went through them on the phone and sent to our manager at about 10:30 am. She called us an hour later, said they were pretty fucking funny, which made me feel good, we clipped a few and moved a few that she especially liked up in the order and sent her a 4 page pdf by around noon and we were done. Also, I asked if we could send over the packet we did for the show PORTLANDIA just as a sample of our voice in case the 40 or so jokes didn’t give them enough material. Manager said cool, sounds good.
The following Tuesday, after our and all the other writer submissions were in, I saw it announced that Charlie Sheen was the roastee. Yesterday, Thursday July 7th, almost a week after sending it, manager writes and says we won’t get any answers until next week because the producers are still just going through the submissions. Hope this works out, but who knows? I have become very accustomed to rejection so will not be disappointed or shocked if I don’t get it but hope springs eternal.
Posted: July 8th, 2011 | Author: admin | Filed under: Uncategorized | No Comments »
Regarding my post dated June 8th that went through the four projects that I’m focusing on now I’m pleased that at least one of them is out of my hands and turned in, albeit in outline form. A full script would be better but since this was one of those “producer pitches you an idea and you see if you have a fresh take on it” scenarios, outline is all you want to give them at this point. No sense going to script if they aren’t feeling your character breakdowns and outline of the pilot. So, that was number three on the list from my earlier post – the company that’s attached to our feature spec (see previous post) pitched us an idea for a half hour comedy series when we met on May 19th. We worked on it steadily while balancing other projects and emailed him a ten page document on June 22, so my goal of a month was basically accomplished. It was two pages of character breakdowns, a six page outline of the pilot story, and a few pages of ideas for other episodes, to prove that there’s a series here (even though it was his idea). In the event he loves one of the future episode ideas and the characters but doesn’t love the pilot story we picked perhaps we could rewrite the outline accordingly. He didn’t specify the form in which he wanted our take – but I figured this was the best way of getting the essence of the series on paper without taking forever or feeling like we were being too vague. He said something like, “your call” when I asked him if he wanted like an outline, or….
I was a bit concerned that he had the idea out to other writers and wanted to get to him in a timely fashion, even though our manager said it probably needed more work. I felt pretty good about the outline, etc and my worst fear was that the producer would tell us that he was already a draft deep with another writer and that we shouldn’t bother thinking about it further. Those particular fears were allayed when he wrote back after we sent it and said “Great look forward to reading,” meaning that either no other writer has been working on it, or we got it to them first, or perhaps he’s just feeling so-so about another writers take and is open to reading what we have. Now, the concern on my part shifts from the business side logistics to the creative part. Basically, we got it in in time, now is it any good?
As for the other projects? The Santa pitch still needs some work and we’re not sure if we’re going to crack it. We were able to try out the basic pitch at a general and this caused us to reevaluate the story, so although it feels like we took a step back I think this was a good exercise. The RomCom needs another pass on the story synopsis but we could go to draft soon, and as far as the feature idea that a different producer pitched to us, we are still working on the story and characters but emailed her today and let her know we’d like to pitch it to her within a week or so. She said, great, she’s available for a call whenever we’re ready. So, now it’s time to put our money where our mouth is and make sure it’s good. We sort of told her we were good to go before we really were, but we also had to suss it out since it’s been a month and make sure she didn’t already have someone who’s cracked it. I figure we’ll have a call with her the week after next and try to pitch it in an animated, enthusiastic fashion. I don’t think we’re expert pitchers so I figure we’ll also offer to send over the synopsis after the call, but when we initially met she said she didn’t want us to send or write any pages. Just pitch something to her that we can all eventually pitch to her boss and up the ladder, and so forth.
Posted: June 28th, 2011 | Author: admin | Filed under: Uncategorized | No Comments »
Seeing as how it’s the one year anniversary of my spec feature comedy script going out wide, I figured I’d write a little on the topic. Also, of note is that my script was called Father’s Day and we took it out around Father’s Day last year as sort of a fun strategy thing. It doesn’t really matter – Christmas scripts go out whenever and we would have taken this out in April if it was ready or August if it needed more work.
A little perspective on the spec script market – this calendar year, almost six months deep there have been about 180 specs that have gone out wide. I know this because there is this poor girl on one of my tracking boards who is compiling and collecting them all. She started this endeavor a few weeks into January when only a handful had gone out and it’s my guess that she didn’t know the amount of busy work she was getting into. It seems like a lot of scripts, right? It comes out to about one each calendar day, not each business day. I’m not going to tabulate the number that has sold but it looks like about 10 percent. Could be off, but it’s definitely less than a quarter. Many of these specs have been fully passed on but I’m guessing many are going through a process similar to my script. A few production companies express interest in “developing further” and the producer and writer will work on rewriting it together and try to package it before going into studios.
So what is it like to have a spec feature go out wide? Based on the numbers, a lot of you will already know what this is like but I’ll share my experience for those who are curious. Before it goes out, the script has basically been ready for a little while, but you are still addressing last minute tiny notes up until the day before. My writing partner, manager, and I all proof read it a few times, my manager having told us that an exec will put a script down in disgust if it’s riddled with typos. Makes sense. Fix typos. So then, the night before we all realize we don’t have a solid logline sorted out. We each write drafts and tweak them via email. Of humorous note, the logline that actually went out with the script was not that similar to what I thought we’d agreed on. During the day before, a loose strategy is emailed around – basically a list of places we are sending it to with the names of the exec included for some. Then around 6pm the night before it’s about to be blasted all over town we have a call to focus a little on strategy. But it’s more of a pep talk, the way a sports team will listen to their coach and get pumped up before a game. Phrases like “This is exciting” and “God Speed” were thrown around. It had sort of a summer camp, kumbaya feel to it as well. I was excited – the dice were about to tumble. I think it was set to go out on a Thursday – I gleaned that traditional strategy dictates something earlier in the week but I think we were still tweaking stuff and wanted it to go out before the Father’s Day weekend, not after.
So, the day the script went out I was playing in a company wide basketball tournament at the mini major where I was an assistant. It was also my third to last day, having just accepted a writers’ pa job on a show that was produced by that company. I was feeling happy, carefree, and had a nice sense that my life was moving forward in some fashion. Any one of these things (new job, hoops tourney, spec going out) would have reinvigorated me to some degree but they were all happening on the same day. Well, maybe the hoops tourney reinvigorating me is a bit of a stretch but the other two things were good. Days like these pop up every few years and they remind you why you drudge through the monotony. Before I left my desk around noon to change into my hoops clothes and hit the court I don’t remember getting any update from my manager, but this was the time she was blasting it out. I believe she started with calls to the execs she knew better, and also emailed people that she had a spec that was going out. Then the word spreads and people start contacting her asking to read it. It’s basically all out of my hands and at this point it’s just work that your rep does so it was fine that I was headed down to play basketball for the afternoon.
While our team was entrenched in battle (we actually ended up winning the tourney), my script was going out wide, and one of life’s little pleasures I think is when you don’t check your email for awhile and then come back to a flurry of good emails. In between the second and third round of basketball I checked my email in the beating sun and was greeted with a bunch of emails regarding my spec. It was listed on the tracking board that I’m on and someone had asked if anyone had it, and someone else had noticed that I was one of the writers and people offered up a bunch of congratulations. One of the main purposes of tracking boards is to announce when specs go out wide – they usually say in the subject line “Poached – Spec” then in the body of the email they have the title, writers, logline and rep info. Then I got a few random congratulatory emails from friends and acquaintances who had seen on their tracking boards that it had gone out. Some had seen it go into their boss and knew about it that way. Also, a former co-worker of mine who had gone on to be a CE at a production company emailed me and asked me for the script. I didn’t have it on my blackberry so I copied him in with my manager and she sent it over. It was nice to have some buzz. Of note is that this is a full on blast except for studios/buyers. Basically you want it to go to every production company, and the production companies in turn want to read it as well. If they aren’t contacted or sent the script directly they call the rep and ask him/her to send it. It’s reciprocal and word spreads very fast – within hours the tracking boards know about it, it’s into most of the places it’s going to go to, and since no one knows if it’s good or crap everyone wants to read it.
At this point the script is just being sent out and since a script takes a few hours to read we didn’t get any answers this first day. I believe at the end of the day my manager sent out a list of places it had gone to, but it was basically just a hurry up and wait scenario on the writers end. So, the day it goes out you’re still riding high off the heat from the script going out all over town and there are no passes to bring you back down to earth. After our department won the tournament, I hung out in the screening room where they were showing the NBA finals and serving pizza and beer. Life was pretty good. I asked a few friends if they were on tracking boards and had seen my spec go out – most of which said no and I showed them all the cool emails.
By the end of the next day, we started to get some passes. There were various responses – one from a company that does edgy Danny McBride style fare said it was solid but a little down the middle. The CE friend of mine passed to my manager and told me that although they passed he thought the script was “eminently readable.” Talk about damning with faint praise, but I think he meant it as a good thing and he was nice about wanting to see the next script. So, I think we had a call in the middle of the Friday, Day 2, so to speak and my manager briefed us on various passes – there were about a dozen answers by this point, meaning that the execs read it right away. If the script is super hot, it’s a bit of a race to take it into buyers. I’ve seen them called “territories” and some other terminology that I don’t quite understand used to explain this. By the end of the day, my manager sends out an email with the subject “As we go into the weekend…” and this included mostly passes but I believe at this point the two companies that expressed interest in “developing further” were listed on this email. After a script is read there are basically four possibilities that I’m aware of. Best case – the production company wants to take it into studios as is. Second best case – theproduction company likes the writing and general concept and wants to “develop it further.” Second to worst case – the exec likes the writing and passes on the project but wants to take a general meeting. Worst case – the script is passed on and that’s that. So, long story short, when the dust finally settled the following week we got two companies that wanted to develop further and a large handful of generals that were to be set and had within a few weeks.
So, the generals. I think I’ve discussed this. Those are just meet and greets and introductions and they have little to do with the spec other than they’ll tell you they liked it and start talking about other stuff. But the two companies that want to develop further, that sort of means your script is still alive and that was encouraging. Before you meet with these producers you get fairly specific notes through your rep – I believe we heard from one that it needed a bigger hook, a better set up, and the other one said something about figuring out the framework of act two so it’s a little clearer. But, you can’t have it both ways. At this point we had to meet with both companies and pick one to rewrite our script with. ”Develop further” means you are going to rewrite the script to the producers specifications or to use industry speak “address their notes.” And although no money is exchanged you have to pick one that you are working with – a big reason for this is that these two (two in this case) producers may have very different visions of what the final script is going to be. The plan, after you pick one and address their notes, is that they will then try to either package (get an actor and/or director attached) and take into buyers or just take into buyers.
We met with the first company that expressed interest in developing further in early July I believe out on the Universal lot. It was a CE, and she was fairly low on the totem pole. We weren’t clear about who above her had read it if anyone and knew that even if we loved her notes and addressed them to a tee she would have to show it to two or three superiors. We ended up liking her thoughts, but they were a little vague and the meeting felt a little flat. Not in a bad way, it’s just that she wasn’t jumping up and down with fervor explaining her vision to us. Had it been just her we would have addressed her notes but of course we had to hear what the other guy said and she was aware of this. She said, go ahead, meet with the other place (she knew which company and which exec – no need for covert spy shit here) and let me know if you want to work with me or go with them. We said great, and had to wait a few weeks for logistics to sort out before meeting with the other guy. He was animated and enthusiastic and had a hard copy of our script printed out with a bunch of specific notes written on it. And not just “change this/don’t feel this” notes – he pointed out the good stuff, too. One of the jokes that I wrote and particularly liked he noted as being great and I remember thinking, “Okay, this guy gets it.” The joke was basically our main character is sitting around after getting divorced and losing his job and his winner, bad boy best friend (think a Favreau/Vaughn element) is trying to put into perspective what his life has become and convince him to go after his ex-wife’s money. Cool best friend says “Dude, at your last job you made your age times a thousand. That’s the loser benchmark.” Not nice perspective from the friend, but I think it’s a funny way to sum up a shitty financial situation. I liked the joke because it works at every age – if you’re 23 and make 23K, yeah you’re a loser at least in some people’s eyes. But what if you’re 60? Yeah, making 60k at that age – not so hot either. Anyway, we sat with the exec for over an hour and he stood up, getting really into it, explaining scenes he wanted to see go in there and giving us a very clear, very commercial way of writing out the framework of the middle act. We left the meeting and called our manager saying “yeah let’s go with them.” Our manager agreed. There was also a business side to this decision. This guy was a VP and had one dude over him he needed to show the project to when it was finished being rewritten. The woman at the first place was a CE and it was a much steeper ladder to climb within that company. So creatively and business wise this was the right call and our decision was further validated when we learned two months later that the CE was going over to the studio side and leaving that company.
How did it go from there? We took our generals and a a few weeks after our manager told the VP we wanted to develop with him (and told the CE that we were going with the other place) we had a call with him to go over notes in a more specific fashion. We asked him for a timeline and he said if it takes two months, sure but if it’s a month, awesome. So, after the call we made the decision to have something to him within a month. He also said be sure to give him a 3 or 4 day heads up telling him when we were going to send it so he can clear the decks and read it in a timely fashion. I believe the first draft was into him in September (by the time we met with him the first time and then had the call we were into August) and he had more notes and wanted to give them in person. We sat down for another hour and although he thought we made big strides there were still some big general things he wanted done with act two – a few things we had failed to take literally and he had to reiterate that yes, he wants scene X in the script. He handed over another fully noted hard copy at the end of the meeting after having gone through the big things verbally and we were back at it. We did this about two more times, it getting a little easier each time although I think the second pass was the most actual work. By December we had a stack of three heavily noted hardcopies and he said he was showing it to his boss. It went to his boss and in January we got a call saying that the boss really liked it and only had one more note. One of the earlier scenes he wanted changed not in content but in location – we changed it from a big scene at the Hollywood Bowl to a scene that served the same purpose at a nice restaurant. On January 6, we were done and it was out of our hands. The mandate was for them to attach talent and as I sit here in late June, a year after it initially went out, they are still trying to package it up. However, we met with this guy in May and he said if no one gets attached by September 1 we will go into buyers with just them attached as producers. This was reassuring because part of me thought they may not try to take it into buyers and just let it die without actor(s) attached and now I know that win, lose, or draw there will be some closure come this fall. Until September 1, that’s all I have to say about this spec. (unless something positive happens before.) Long process, right?
Posted: June 8th, 2011 | Author: admin | Filed under: Uncategorized | No Comments »
So this is what I’ve got on my plate. Right now I’ve got a lot of projects that are sort of in the brainstorming/outline phase but there are reasons for not concentrating on one. Strategic reasons. I’m not quite sure of them but hopefully this will help me make sense of it. Part of the reason there are so many is that when you have a general and the producer pitches you something to “get a fresh take on” it feels stupid to not take a crack at it. After all, they care about it and if you’re “take” is solid that company can shepherd you through the process and even if it doesn’t sell you in theory have a better piece of work than if you had just done it on your own. Basically, you get a free idea that you know they want executed so you go for it. When you’re doing something completely original there is no guarantee that anyone gives a shit about it – in this case, at least one person might give a shit about it.
1) Original RomCom feature – written a 10 page synopsis of the story. Has a pretty unique set up, but isn’t the huge kind of hook that you can sell off a pitch. Was told by a producer and my manager that it’s very dependent on the execution. Fine with me. Would like to write this after another pass or two on the synopsis.
2) Original Christmas feature – have a shorter synopsis. Manager wants to take it out as a pitch rather than wait for us to write it out. Really need to figure out the middle act though and think it through though. Still working on this. Never gone out to a bunch of producers with a specific pitch and if this isn’t down cold it will be embarrassing.
3) Half hour pilot based on a pitch from producer – same company where my feature’s at. I like working with this guy and he has good notes. I like the pitch. Almost have an outline of the pilot and character breakdowns and will send. Hopefully he doesn’t have this out to a bunch of other writers. Heard this pitch on May 19, so would like to get this in by June 19th and see what he has to say. As a security measure will also probably send a bunch of loglines and story ideas in case he doesn’t love the pilot story but likes the rest of it and we can rework it with another basic story.
4) Feature based on pitch from different producer – like the concept, but it’s really just a kernel. Need to figure out the story. Will try to send this to her by June 25, a month from the meeting. A month is fine, right? I have no idea. Ideally it would be sooner, but I’m being realistic. Nothing down on paper for this yet.
Other things are being kicked around too, but this is the stuff that has a sense of urgency.
Posted: June 8th, 2011 | Author: admin | Filed under: Uncategorized | No Comments »
So my writing partner and I were named to a list of the top 100 Young and Hungry Writers in Hollywood. I guess it’s kind of cool, but to quote The Boss “you say you gotta stay hungry? hey baby, I’m just about starving tonight.” It’s a weird list, ranging from people who have definitely made it and have sold scripts and have had movies produced and have been staffed for years, to people who don’t have rep and are really at the beginning stages. Despite me being salty and kind of thinking “well, does this get me a gig or pay my rent? no!” (wrong attitude probably), I’m happy to be on it. Can’t hurt, right?
Posted: June 8th, 2011 | Author: admin | Filed under: Uncategorized | No Comments »
The title of my blog “Taking Generals” is sort of a salty jab at the pointlessness of the “general meeting.” I’m trying to say that basically this is where my career is at, so it’s a bit self-deprecating as well. To the unenlightened, a general meeting is set up when an exec or producer has read your script(s), likes them, but doesn’t want to do anything with them. It’s a meet and greet. One producer on the Disney lot referred to it as a couch tour – “You guys been taking the couch tour?” Yep, thanks. Thanks for at least acknowledging that this is a formality and barely worth the gas money. Kidding, it was a decent meeting. But, yeah nothing came out of it. Two weeks ago I had a general with a cool Director of Development that was inexplicably set as a breakfast meeting. She paid for the breakfast and I joked later that I saved 10 percent of my pancakes for my manager. A way of saying wow, I am getting paid in some fashion to be a writer. I get free pancakes out of it. Cool.
So, I’ve been fed up with the pointless general. I have to admit the breakfast one was good because the exec actually pitched us an idea she’s looking to get a “fresh take on” (meaning I outline it for free and see if she likes it), and that at least could turn into a project we develop together. Some generals, they pitch you ideas and ask you to think of some ideas. That’s cool. Some generals, you just talk to them and tell them what you’re working on, they nod, and say send it to me when it’s done. I have friends who do online dating or go on blind dates – a general is like a first blind date, whether set up on some website or through a friend. Probably only one in ten is going to lead to something but you still go on them.
Okay, so yeah, I’ve been fed up with the pointless general. So, I needed to act out in some way. I went to one last Friday and instead of wearing my classic meeting outfit (polo shirt, Banana Republic khakis, and Ecco shoes), I said fuck it, it’s Friday, this is a general, I am wearing my Hollywood tourist shirt my brother bought me for my birthday three years ago upon my request at the Fairfax farmer’s market. Behold it’s ironic beauty, it’s tackiness, it’s 1990′s in your face all over the entire piece of cotton design, and the fact that the collage of iconic Hollywood imagery includes a large picture of a freeway smack dab in the middle. The best thing about it is it’s so obnoxiously self-referential – we are working in Hollywood, so I’m wearing a Hollywood shirt. It also implies a naively happy outlook on this whole thing – “I love this biz! I haven’t forgotten why I moved here!” So, I wore it. My writing partner didn’t notice it and when I pointed it out he said “oh cool,” the exec didn’t say anything (but I guess if you offend someone or impress someone they don’t come out and say it all the time. who knows, but he didn’t seem to register it), and it basically didn’t have any effect. It was like Calvin from Calvin and Hobbes doing some malfeasance to get attention but getting upset when he didn’t get in trouble. Notice me! Tell me I’m being unprofessional! Nope, nothing. Not to say I was trying to tank the meeting, I just wanted to have a little fun with it. The meeting went fine. Nonetheless, I still love this shirt and I vow to wear it to any general until I get a paid writing gig or sell a script. You can get this shirt at some of the Hollywood Blvd souvenir shops or the Fairfax Farmer’s Market but please don’t. In the early 2000′s I had a lot more fun wearing mesh caps before people like Jason Mraz and Paris Hilton started doing so and they became referred to as “trucker caps.” Don’t take this irony from me.
- The General Shirt