Life in Hollywood, below-the-line

Life in Hollywood, below-the-line
Work gloves at the end of the 2006/2007 television season (photo by Richard Blair)

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

LA Again

Redwood trees are beautiful, but the land of the palm trees pays the rent...

Just back from a month on the Home Planet, sifting through the mountain of bills and junk mail left at my front door, I found the latest bill from Time Warner Cable. Printed across the envelope was a large-font demand to "Watch for your new and improved bill next month" -- and that for a "sneak preview," I could visit their web site.

A "new and improved bill?" Holy Plague of Pederastic Priests, Batman -- now my life is complete! Jeepers, I can hardly wait to click on over to the Time Warner website for my "sneak preview."

Uh... on second thought, I can wait. Tell you what, Time Warner -- my idea of a "new and improved bill" would have you cut my existing monthly tab in half for a better channel lineup. Do that and I'll gladly watch for my new bill. Hell, I might even check out the "sneak preview." But unless the "new and improved bill" features lower prices and/or a wider spectrum of content -- if it's just a different piece of paper with the same bad news -- then I'll just have to restrain my giddy shrieks of ecstatic joy.


When not paying bills and waiting for the phone to ring with actual paying work, I’ve been wallowing in the joys of more-or-less decent broadband. The Home Planet is a land of many virtues, but wireless is slower than pouring cold molasses up there in the woods, so I've been catching up on all the KCRW podcasts I missed while gone.* Rob Long posted several more pithy insider stores of life above-the-line at Martini Shot, while The Business offered this highly entertaining interview with Thomas Lennon and Robert Ben Garant, better known as the creators and co-stars of “Reno 911.”**

In KCRW’s own words:

“Sketch comedians and screenwriters Thomas Lennon and Robert Ben Garant are known for creating and acting in shows like Reno 911 and The State, but they've made most of their money writing big studio comedies. Their film credits include the Night at the Museum movies and, as they say "bona fide turdfests" like Balls of Fury. In their new book, Writing Movies for Fun and Profit, they use their trademark humor to share some of the very practical secrets to their success.”

Not being a screenwriter – and lacking any interest in becoming one – I have no idea if their advice is sound, but what they reveal in the interview is not only funny, but makes a lot of sense. Whatever your interest in the Industry, this interview is well worth your time. And if/when you follow that link, be sure to watch the two short video clips on the page.***

It's all good stuff -- but if none of that floats your summertime boat, check out these from five gun myths, six deadly injuries movie stars survive but you would not, and seven myths about the police that routinely show up on screen.

All in all, the perfect antidote to another slow summer afternoon waiting for the phone to ring...

* Links to KCRW's Industry podcasts are over on the right side of this page, under "Essential Listening."

** According to someone I know who worked on “Reno 911” for a full season, that show was a totally disorganized pain in the ass to work on – but although I wasn’t a regular watcher, every episode I saw was really funny.

*** Just ignore the first five minutes of the show -- the "Hollywood Banter" -- which is rather dated reporting on the then-breaking Newscorp scandal in England.


Penny said...

I had to laugh at the Time/Warner situation. Ironically, they cut half my line-up (including the channel our previous show airs on -- did they know in advance?!?!) while raising the basic rate. Go figure...

Welcome back to the palm trees, my friend! :)

Michael Taylor said...

Penny --

Paying more for less seems to be the modern way. I don't supposed that'll change anytime soon.

Thanks -- I'm ready to start seeing some paychecks again...