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)

Saturday, September 13, 2008

One Year Later...

There seems to be a tradition – if one can use such a dusty term in reference to an entity so bright and shiny as the blog-o-net – to note when a blog has been hanging its laundry out in public for a full year. I’m a believer in observing traditions, tenuous though they may be – and assuming no blood sacrifice is involved. So consider it noted: “Blood, Sweat, and Tedium: Confessions of a Hollywood Juicer” is officially one year old.

Hard though it may be for any of you to believe this site would still be around for a second September, it’s a lot harder for me. Truth be told, I had neither the desire nor intention to start a blog, or even write about the Industry. Back in 2003, a Certain Television Critic in the San Francisco Bay Area wrote a scathing review of a sit-com I happened to be working on. His review offered no quarter and took no prisoners –- he kicked down the door, broke up the furniture, set fire to the wreckage, and walked away leaving nothing but a charred pile of smoldering ruins. I took umbrage (not that he wasn’t right about the show, but because he was – in effect – doing his best to put me back on unemployment), and we began sparring via e-mail. One thing led to another, until a couple of years later, he shocked me with an offer to write a short piece about the film/TV biz for the San Francisco Chronicle – to this day, my one and only paid gig at the keyboard.

I sweated blood over that piece, and wasn’t very happy when the Certain Television Critic’s own editor cut the hell out of it – the guy took a chainsaw to my original submission, leaving more than a third of it in the shredder – but at least the check didn’t bounce. I figured my fifteen seconds in the spotlight were up, and returned to a sporadic e-mail correspondence with the Certain Television Critic. A couple of years later, he asked me to come up with a few short pieces for a personal blog he planned to launch on the general subject of Television. Having long been a fan of his terrific writing, I was hugely flattered, but more than a little nervous about posting on a site that would -- due to this Certain Television Critic’s far-flung and very enthusiastic fan base -- be read by many thousands of people. Adrenaline can be quite the galvanizing force, though, so I knocked off the first three pieces by late Spring, and sent them in. But by then, this Certain Television Critic (at the urging of his agent) had decided to write a book rather than launch that Television blog.


I was surprised at the depth of my disappointment. As it turned out, writing those first three pieces got me pumped up more than I’d expected. Faced with the prospect of letting all that effort go to waste, it occurred to me to start my own blog. With enough material for half a dozen posts, I could string it along for a couple of months or so, and if that was it, well, what the hell? Que sera, sera. When I stumbled upon Blogger, and learned how easy the whole process could be (even for someone with minimal computer skills), there was no turning back. With nothing to lose and even less to gain, “Blood, Sweat, and Tedium” was thus born into the world of cyberspace, as wobbly-legged as any damp, sticky creature fresh from the womb.

Thanks to the generous support of some veteran Industry bloggers* (most of whom I’d been totally unaware), readers began to appear out of the ether. Some hit-and-ran, but others stuck around to see what would happen. I don’t have an accurate reading of how many are returning regulars, but according to my Google Analytics software, “Blood, Sweat, and Tedium” has readers scattered all across the United States and around the world. In the past couple of months, people have checked in from Australia, Belgium (greetings, Genk!), Canada, Denmark (welcome, Borkop!), England, France (bonjour, Le Bourget-du-lac!), Luxembourg, Romania (hello, Resita!) and the United Arab Emirates. Spain and Germany weigh in from time to time, as does New Zealand – and for a few weeks there, someone in Singapore was stopping by. I haven't spotted Singapore on the Google radar for a while, though. Rather than face the obvious conclusion that he or she simply grew bored with my scribblings, I’ll assume this hapless reader must be languishing in jail for chewing gum in public.

I’ll never know. Nor will I ever get to know the vast majority of you who have invested some of your time reading about my Hollywood life. It’s been interesting to share these stores – re-living so many incidents I’d all but forgotten. I very much appreciate you all, especially those who made the effort to leave comments, positive or negative. You’ve helped keep my eye on the ball, my nose to the grindstone, and have reminded me to double-check my spelling, punctuation – and occasionally, my facts. For all that and more, I thank you.

So now this blog enters its second year. Whether it will live to see a third September is an open question. All things -- good, bad, and ugly -- come to an end, and one of these days I’ll run out of stories to tell. Then again, there seems to be no end of things to complain about here in Hollywood, so who knows? All I can promise is that “Blood, Sweat, and Tedium” will remain as it began -- a work in progress attempting to explain just what toiling below-the-line is really like.

Thanks for stopping by.

*A special thanks to D, Peggy, Alan, and Scripty, who was kind enough to lead this old analog dog through the digital labyrinth more than once. You know who you are -- and believe me, you guys rock…


egee said...

Happy Anniversary! As one of your regular readers, I hope you don't run out of stories soon!

Taylored Restorations said...

Dear Cousin, so great to see you ranting and raving... someone say BOOK.. that is how Tales of the City started.. why not... i see movie deal here... i guess i have a year to catch up. oh,, thanks to sister, you have been found.. happy one year!

Anonymous said...

Hello from Albuquerque. I should be getting my IATSE card in October, and will be seeing how well my gloves hold up.

Thanks for giving me some great info as what to expect, or at least what not to expect. I can't wait until I can share my first story of getting a sprinkler to the noggin.

Check that, I can wait for that tale, hopefully forever.

Scripty said...

Happy Anniversary! Reading your blog has become part of my Sunday ritual. I enjoy finding out what's new in your life, and also the interesting stories from your years in film. Thanks!!! Looking forward to next Sunday's post (no pressure:)

Burbanked said...

Count me as one in full gratitude of the siren call of creative writing that got you here in the first place.

Congrats on hitting the one-year mark, Michael, and hopes for many more posts filled with your singular insight and delightfully intricate prose.

AJ in Nashville said...

Although I haven't been along for the entire ride, I have definitely enjoyed the past several months, getting to know you through your stories, and I especially enjoyed meeting you last month in L.A.

It's been a pleasure, Michael; and don't think we'll let you off the hook with this, 'Maybe my blog will continue' business! You're in it for the long haul, mister! Your public awaits!


Congrats on anno uno, my friend; here's to many more to come.

David Hughes said...

Congrats on year one. I enjoy the hell out of your writing and expect you to be here for year two. So get back to work and keep those brilliant observations coming down the pike.

Michael Taylor said...

Thanks everybody, one and all. I appreciate the good vibes -- thanks for tuning in.

D said...

Happy One Year!

Peggy Archer said...

Happy anniversary!

I'm so happy to see other movie folks blogging, and although I don't stop in that often, I always enjoy reading your stuff when I do.