Charlie Sheen or Chuck Lorre?
(Year Seven of Robb’s Illustrious Career)
People sometimes ask me about “Reality TV.” They aren’t quite sure if it’s really such a big change in the business or why. They might know that I (and thousands of other TV production employees) got “squeezed out” of the industry by Reality TV, but they’re not sure what that means exactly. Here’s what I tell them:
In my first 4 or 5 jobs in the business (before Reality TV), my gigs lasted 9 months each. An entire office of production staff, including 6-8 WGA writers. In those 9 months we produced 13 hours of TV, and then we were unemployed.
My last job in the business was on a Reality TV show. The gig lasted 1 week. No writers. In that 1 week we produced 4 hours of TV, and then we were unemployed.
(Year Six of Robb’s Illustrious Career)
In my day, there was an old saying in Hollywood (or parts of it anyway): You haven’t made it in this business until Kenny S____ calls you a “c**ksucker.” Well, I guess that means I almost made it in Hollywood.
Let me back up for a minute. Read the rest of this entry »
I think of myself as an “idea guy.” Why? Because I’m certainly not the alternative: the “work really, really hard sticking with it and writing multiple drafts until it’s the best it can be” guy.
Ideas are fun. Ideas are easy. When they come, they come. When they don’t, it’s not your responsibility. And when they turn into real work, well,… that’s usually when I get my next big idea.
Just this week I woke up with a fully formed idea for a TV series. This had never happened to me before. I was psyched, completely energized. Within hours I was Read the rest of this entry »
If only we had never left Oakland, I could get this job. But then again, if we had never left Oakland, I would have never have gotten the years of TV experience that would qualify me for this job…
If you’re a scripter in the Bay Area, go for it. You can let me know how it goes. I’ll be jealous. Very, very jealous.
(Years Three/Four of Robb’s Illustrious Career)
My third/fourth year in the business I worked for this show-runner who was a real piece of work. He was the most hated figure I’ve ever worked for. He made The Weasel look like a normal, well-adjusted human being. From the writers room to the production office to the stage, everybody hated him.
This guy was a harsh dictator. I’ve never seen anybody better at shutting down creativity in a room. Writers pitching jokes or brainstorming ideas would be cut off and dismissed mid-sentence, mid-pitch. Nice. The in-joke in the writers room was that if he was looking for an integer between 2 and 4 and you pitched 3, you would get shot down.
Strangely, this guy was also helpless. He couldn’t do anything by himself. He had no personal assistant, so we were ALL his personal assistant. I was personally called by the guy on a weekend and compelled to help him out with something personal. Let me repeat, I was NOT his personal assistant. My son was an infant at the time, but apparently the guy didn’t think I had anything more important to do on a Sunday morning than get in the car and go help him out. The in-joke in the production office was that you might get a call from the guy in the toilet demanding that you come help him with the paperwork.
One day Mr. Sunday Morning said his computer monitor “flickered.” Read the rest of this entry »
Wait a minute – You mean this happens to other people too?!
The words Dead Guy come to mind…