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)

Friday, March 28, 2008

The Biggest Asshole in Hollywood

Update to the previous update:  An anonymous cyber-hero found and sent me a working link to the post that sparked this one.  The old link had gone bad, and being something of a digiliterate, I was unable to find a good one.  But that's been fixed, thanks to this mystery benefactor, so click away, my little droogies, click away...

Michael Taylor, February 27, 2020

Update:  The following is more than ten years old, linking to a wonderfully well-written account by a script girl of working for a legendary commercial director -- referred to as "Mr. Evil" -- a man who, by all accounts, ranks as one of the biggest assholes in Hollywood.

I say "by all accounts" because I never met nor worked for Mr. Evil, even though I spent more than fifteen years working my way up from juicer to best boy to gaffer in the world of television commercials. At one point my gaffer was put on hold for an eight day job with Mr. Evil, and as the best boy, I'd have to go along - but the horror stories of his abominable behavior on set were legion.  He'd supposedly broken an ad agency man's arm during rough play after badgering the poor guy into a game of pickup basketball at lunch, then threw a football in a perfect spiral across the set, nailing some hapless PA squarely in the head.  

Were those stories true?  I don't know... but I wasn't the only one who heard them.

The man is reportedly huge -- an impulsive, ill-tempered, six foot-eight inch Sasquatch who happened to be one of (if not the) best director of commercials in the business... in other words, a comic book anti-hero come to life.

Much to my relief, that job with Mr. Evil never happened.  Why, I have no idea - it's possible his regular gaffer was just playing hard to get in order to leverage a raise, and maybe he won that battle.  The last I heard (this was several years ago), his key grip and gaffer were getting something like $800/10, considerably more than most gaffers and key grips were paid at the time, mainly because Mr. Evil was such a pain in the ass to work for.  Can I confirm this? No, but the guy who told me had spent a couple of years working on his lighting crews, and had some ugly stories of his own to tell.

I have no idea if Mr. Evil is still working, still a major league asshole, or is still any good at directing commercials... and truth be told, I don't care. Being very good at telling cinematic lies -- which is what commercials are -- is not a skill I particularly admire if you're going to be a major league asshole in the process.  

Michael Taylor, August 10, 2019

Truth be told, there's probably a top ten of these soulless creatures in this town -- a rogue's gallery of sorts -- but any readers curious as to what it's like to work for an overbearing, pathologically abusive, quasi-psychotic director should click here.

Working for assholes comes with the Hollywood turf. Sooner or later, we all have to work for one of these ogres, but there's nothing in my thirty year career quite as harrowing as the long, ugly day endured and beautifully described by The Script Goddess. Although I don't know for certain, I have a pretty good idea who Scripty had the misfortune to work for -- and he's The Worst, a legend in the television commercial community for all the wrong reasons. That he's so very talented at what he does only makes his monstrous behavior all the more infuriating.

Read it and weep. Just be glad it was Scripty, and not you.


Burbanked said...

My course-altering and landmark (at least to me) decision NOT to continue to work on-set, making a living as a freelance job-to-job production guy in Hollywood was more or less made while sitting in an interview for an assignment as an executive producer's assistant. For about an hour and a half, the producer verbally jabbed and poked at me, ostensibly to "see if I could take it".

All I could think was, "wow, but I sure don't want to spend 13 hours a day for the next four months at this asshole's elbow."

I guess we both ended up getting what we wanted.

Michael Taylor said...


The cut-and-thrust seems to be a lot more vicious above the line. There ARE a few dick-heads down here -- sadistic, self-annointed Banana Republic dictators much like the executive producer you mention -- but it's easier to avoid them down in the trenches. The executive suites remain a treacherous minefield.

Anonymous said...

The link is still on the Wayback Machine -

Michael Taylor said...

Anonymous -- Whoa! I thought it was gone forever -- thanks so much for digging it up. One question: how the hell did you do this? Inquiring minds want to know. Thanks again!