Monday, January 29, 2007

Long overdue toon for Tot:
(Click on the pic to enlarge)

Thursday, January 25, 2007

We just had our final staff meeting at work, which is mostly a tedious session of everyone saying “I love this job! You guys are great!” in hopes that they’ll get hired back for the next season.

I was nervous. Not regarding my moment to sum up my challenges on our dating reality show -- writing jokes about ass that have a little class and creating witticisms about titticisms. That was nothing. I got no problem speaking in public about matters that are pubic. (Yeah, I got loads of ‘em.) I was more concerned about the end of the meeting. That’s when we’d screen the gag reel.

I spent the past week worrying about the finding all the funny clips from the various production shoots from the entire season. Then how I’d compile them in an organized way. And don’t forget to maintain levity with the brevity.

This was definitely more stressful than my actual job. We still have our normal schedule of episodes to put together, not to mention putting the final touches on ones that are being prepped to air this weekend.

But I was running around, working late with an assistant editor, grilling the producers on which shoot had the set collapse during filming. Where was that clip with the girl’s skirt blowing up, revealing she was wearing no underwear? Should we also include the guy dropping his pants to show off his why-would-anyone-do-that-to-themselves piercing, which I’ve unfortunately learned is called a “Jacob’s Ladder”?

We opted “no” on that last one. Didn’t want to make everyone sick to their stomachs.

I had butterflies in my stomach during the screening. My unifying theme (life lessons learned from working on our show) seemed to tie it all together nicely -- people even chuckled at the somewhat obscure “Rule #4: Fortunately for penguins, they’re too expensive for dumb muscleheads.” Trust me, it’s funny if you saw the clip.

Once that got a laugh, it was home free. I knew everyone would like the inside jokes of the last rule: “Never forget your friends”, a collection of shots from the field in which the contestants of the show gave a shout out to the production staff. One dorky guy insisted that his mother doesn’t dress him, Gene the Post Producer does. The grand finale was the Executive Producer’s name written across one contestant’s big bobbling siliconed breasts. If you think that’s unrefined, well, don’t blame me. I didn’t film it. I only suggested adding the church bells sound effect.

So, my first post-production at our network was a big success. People have been complimenting the editor and me all day. I appreciate the kudos, but I’m just glad it’s over with, so I can relax.

Now I just have my regular job to do.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Bad news: Another season of our TV show is almost over.
Good news: Wrap party!
Bad news: I’ll be out of work again soon.
Good news: The clips I’m compiling for the gag reel will be hysterical!
Bad news: Yeah, yeah. Woo-hoo. What am gonna do about a job?
Good news: Gotta relax. Our show’s probably coming back for another season.
Bad news: “Probably”?
Good news: Almost definitely. It did great in the ratings and the execs are already planning the new schedule.
Bad news: Yeah, but --
Good news: Hey, we should all be proud. Most shows like this don’t do as well and last as long.
Bad news: So I should be proud to write raunchy voice-overs again?
Good news: Beats slingin’ hash or shufflin’ papers.
Bad news: Maybe I should give that professional gambling career another try.
Good news: Look, Gene the post producer said that since he’s not coming back, people in the department might get kicked upstairs, and I could be the post associate producer.
Bad news: He also said that on the other hand, our show’s boss is notorious for not promoting from within.
Good news: Right, and Gene also said he’d try to get me in over at the next gig he’s working. That would be a different show and job title for my résumé, plus it starts soon -- no unemployed hiatus -- and yet, I’d be working at the same network, still nearby, with a lot of the same people.
Bad news: Who’ve all told me secretly that that other show is poorly-run disaster.
Good news: Which got picked up for another season. Obviously they’re doing something right.
Bad news: Like possibly pay me less.
Good news: But it might pay more.
Bad news: Unlikely. In any case, what if I get hired on both shows?
Good news: What if?
Bad news: That'd be a tough decision. Do I tighten my belt and wait to do the familiar show, with a possible promotion, but likely the same old thing, displaying loyalty to my boss who may not display loyalty by promoting from within? Or do the new show right away, diversifying my résumé, while working on a rumored-to-be poorly-run disaster but possibly for more money but probably not?
Good news: That is a tough decision. Then again, what if I don't get hired on either show?
Bad news: Dude -- gotta be so pessimistic?

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Poker follow-up:

The weekly game didn’t happen last night. Even if it had, I wouldn’t have been able to attend because I’ve been really sick. Before the game got canceled, though, the guys at work were giving me shit, saying I was chickening out, afraid I’d lose it all on the first hand again.

I explained that I was sitting out for their sake -- did they want me handling the deck and spreading my germs...?

“Yeah, right, Mike,” one of them said. “Last time you only touched two cards.”

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Remind me later to catch up on my blogging and maybe I’ll write about last weekend’s scotch tasting, my ever-precarious job situation, and if there’s time, how I’ve been haunted lately by my embarrassing childhood. (Sorry, I got nothing on the Golden Globes.)

But for now, I just wanna say this: I suck at poker.

I tried before to play in a regular game, but found myself reluctant to do it regularly. I blamed it on the long drive to the Burbank. But I realize that was a lame excuse. Especially after one of the editors at work invited me to play some Texas Hold ‘Em at his house in Venice. Now my trip home is much quicker, but I’m still as broke.

Searching for other alibis, I blame my last poker fiasco on the fact that I got lousy hands. Unlike everyone else at the table, not once did I get a pair, or hell, more than one face card. On the rare occasion I got a queen or a jack, my other pocketed card was always jack shit, like an unsuited 3 or a deuce. So I played timidly and steadily bled chips til I suffered an unglamorous death.

Tonight, I decided to be bold -- no more Mr. Fold. Hang tough -- call people’s bluff.

Do not go gentle into that big blind.
Rage, rage against your dying chances of getting three of a kind.

On the very first hand, I got a king and a jack. Pretty damn good. So I matched every bet, no matter how much anyone raised me. Even when someone went all in -- the only chick at the table, probably trying to prove herself -- no problem; I’d call.

She had two aces. The flop, turn and river did nothing to help either of us. I lost.

I didn’t mind so much blowing my buy-in money. Or even getting knocked out of the game so fast. I just wish the guys from work hadn’t coined the nickname “One-Hand Mike”, ‘cause that sounds like it has a whole different connotation.

Anyway, that’s my poker story. The big hand that got away. Yeah, so what? I’m already thinking about other things to write about. Like the things I listed above.

Or how, when driving home from the game tonight -- earlier than anyone else, dammit -- I was so distracted I turned off of Santa Monica Boulevard and nearly ran over Luke Wilson. Or was it Owen? The dark-haired dude with the slightly less fucked-up nose. Yeah, that’s Luke. He stepped out into the street and I nearly hit him. But I didn’t. Missed him by that much.

And well, that’s about it for that story, too.

Except for this: Luke’s not as famous as his brother Owen. And he certainly wasn’t nominated for any Golden Globes -- if he was, homeboy was on the wrong side of town -- but considering he didn’t get run over by some absent-minded one-hand-losing poker player… even that bastard Luke was luckier than me tonight.

Not that I’m dwelling on it or anything.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

I dream of zombies.

Seeing so many of those horror films, it’s not surprising. My fascination becomes my nightmare. But these dreams don’t scare me. I’m used to the undead sleepwalking through my unconscious. But what does it all mean, man? Well, with a little self-psychoanalysis, even a reanimated corpse can tell you a lot about yourself.

The other night I was fighting off the zombies as usual, but that time I got bitten. Soon I would become one of them. But even as my sleeping brain was becoming reduced to cannabalistic savagery, at the same time I was testing out an idea for a horror screenplay I might write when awake. I had been trying to come up with an original take on the genre, and perhaps telling the story from the undead’s point-of-view would be interesting. I seemed to be aware of what was happening -- still myself, but now with a primal need to attack the living.

My first victim was Curtis, the music supervisor at my job, and I became him. I think that I was in fact the personification of the zombifying virus -- a dubious original take on the genre, but nevertheless, now my identity was transferred to someone new.

And Curt's cool. He used his recent work hiatus to go to Australia and tour with his band which has a major following Down Under. He regaled us with stories about jamming on the drums in the outback, undoubtedly stealing away babes like he was a dingo. But even on a regular day, while many of us in post-production (like myself) are spewing out jokes that are hit-or-miss, Curtis is the guy who doesn't say much in the edit bays, but when he does, it's always friggin' hysterical. I really admired his near-perfect zinger percentage.

And now I was him... in zombie form. Of all the rotting corpses around, I was the baddest. It was my world, and everyone else was just living dead in it.

The next person I attacked was also a musician, somewhat. It was Dominic Moynahan, or more specifically, Charlie, the character in "Lost" who played in a one-hit-wonder band. While I give Moynahan props for his fine performance, both on TV and in hooking up with hottie Evangelyne Lilly... his alter ego (and now mine) was a schmuck. In my dream I suddenly embodied an insecure loser drug addict who's become so dull, even the writers of the show seemed to have gotten bored of him. And that's when I woke up.

So what did I learn from all this? First of all, to be myself and not wish I was in anyone's else's shoes, especially not a dude in a rock band. Second, that my script idea needed a lot of work. And finally, since "Lost" will be back on the air soon, I should stop filling my TV viewing time with stupid zombie movies.

Friday, January 05, 2007

Spent the first week of the new year sorting out old papers. I found some of my notes from film school. Our teachers discussed international cinema -- how Kurosawa's Yojimbo and Seven Samurai and Ingmar Bergman's The Seventh Seal influenced American movies like The Pope of Greenwich Village. Apparently all I learned was how to sketch awful puns on these film titles.
(Click on the images to enlarge 'em.)

Which Cape Fear do you like best? The one with Robert Mitchum or Robert DeNiro? Maybe you prefer the Simpsons episode with Sideshow Bob. Personally, I don't think we've explored all the possible variations on that story.

I don't remember much from film school, but it seemed to give me some wacky ideas on wordplay and stunt casting. Imagine this ultimate on-screen dream team:

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?

Weblog Commenting and Trackback by