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)

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Hello Summer, Goodbye Hollywood

                                   The gift of time

This being the very last day of June, many of my fellow Hollywood work-bots are still enjoying (or not...) what I call “the gift of time” – a period unencumbered by the demands of gainful employment.  With the broadcast network shows down since May, anybody not on a cable or reality/game show these days is probably not working.*  I’ve still got a week of wrap on my own little cable show, and then… we’ll see. Irons are warming in the fire for the future, but nothing is cast in stone -- and as I pointed out last week, you can't assume any job is real until you're actually signing the deal memo, I-9, and non-disclosure agreements on Day One.

Still, a little unemployment sounds good to me right now.  In going from one show to the next to the next, I’ve been working more-or-less constantly over the past eighteen months, and am pretty much fried.  I'm hanging lights and running cable in my sleep these days.  Once we've wrapped the stage, I’ll head back to the Home Planet to decompress for a couple of weeks and see what develops.  Mid-July marks the beginning of the broadcast network season, when stages and sets on studios all over town will need to be rigged and made ready for  the new Fall lineup.  Something will come up, I’m sure -- but in the meantime, I don’t even want to think about work… and that means putting this blog on hiatus for a while.

Maybe I can actually make some progress on the book, for a change.  That would be a novelty. 

Since many of you may have some time on your hands, here are a few links to items you might find interesting.  I did, which is why I’m passing them on to you.

On this recent show from KCRW’s The Business, Seth Rogen and his producing/writing partner Evan Goldberg discuss This is the End, their latest cinematic effort, along with the absurdity of dealing with the ratings board, and how working under the constraints of smaller budgets can be very liberating, among other things.  It's good stuff.

Coming out of WNET in New York City is an excellent show called Here’s the Thing (which has had a place under this blog's "Essential Listening" heading for a while now) featuring Alec Baldwin in conversation with interesting people from all ends of the mediascape.  Baldwin is a surprisingly good show-host, and in this show offers David Simon the chance to explain how he got into writing – first newspapers, then books, then television as a writer/ producer of “The Wire” and “Treme” – in an interview laced with anecdotes underlining the essential absurdity of the business in Hollywood and beyond. It’s a fascinating interview.  At nearly fifty minutes, it will eat up some of your time, but is well worth it.  

Besides, it's summer.  All you have to do is clink the link, lie back on your couch, and be entertained/enlightened.  What more could you want?

In a recent Hollywood Reporter piece, former agent-turned-producer-turned-director Gavin Polone addressed the problem with agents these days.  It might not be quite as entertaining as Polone's freewheeling blog on The Vulture used to be, but he seems to have abandoned that effort.  Too bad.  But hey, Polone is always worth reading, even if -- like me -- you're someone who will never, ever require the services of an agent.

And for one more bit of wisdom (courtesy of the estimable J.B. Bruno, chief cook and bottle washer at Living in my Oblivion) aimed at all the wannabes and just-graduated film school students now blinking in the harsh glare of a brand new day, a little advice from The Film Doctor.  Listen up, kids -- the doctor knows what he's talking about.

Finally, in a recent Martini Shot commentary, Rob Long discusses the odd prevalence of zombies on television and the movies these days.  His analysis is sound, as usual, but personally, I think all those screen zombies represent the millions of Americans currently addicted to cell phones – people who shuffle along sidewalks, across major intersections, and/or sit behind the steering wheel staring into their little glowing screens utterly oblivious to actual life going on in real world around them.  

And if those lost souls aren’t zombies, I don’t know what the hell they are.

That’s it for a while.  I don’t expect to put up anything new here until late July at the earliest, although I've learned enough to never say "never."  In the meantime, if you're new to this blog and want to read more -- but don't have the stomach for wading through the dusty stacks of archives -- click here and scroll down for a list of links to the twenty-or-so "greatest hits" over the past seven years.  You might find something there to your liking. 

Or not.  Either way, enjoy the summer while you can, because in a few weeks, we’ll be much too busy to have any fun at all...  

* Not in LA, anyway. From what I hear, New Mexico, New Orleans, North Carolina, and many of the other big-subsidy states are doing a banner business shooting movies that once were made here in Hollywood...

1 comment:

Penny said...

I'm so with you on the walking zombies, Mike. FFS people, you're crossing four lanes of traffic on foot with your face glued to texting? My mom even shared a story with me about friends taking their children on vacation to broaden their horizons and see new scenery of the world. What did the kids do? Face down in the phones!

Thanks for letting me vent, and I hope you enjoy your well-deserved Summer Hiatus!

My best to you as always,