Monday, August 14, 2006

That Kung Fu Monkey!

Well, fortunately, I decided to scour my favorite blogs to see who I could link to on the Manager topic and I came across this great post at Kung Fu Monkey. I encourage you to click on through, read, enjoy, and I'll revise my post down to cover the advantages/disadvantages of management for folks a little lower on the food chain than Mr. Rogers. I plan to read the archives of a few more blogs to see if anyone else had my same bright idea -- I might be able to save myself even more typing!

Had a friend read the first 36 pages and the last 6 of my spec pilot and got some really solid feedback on the scenes I haven't written, and I got to test run a pretty big change I'd been playing with for my lead character. My normal process is to keep things to myself until I'm completely finished, polish, put it down, read, polish it again, then send it out, but since that method wasn't conducive to the assembly line method I'm trying out this year, I'm just pitching out scenes and writing them as they come to me. I can't say it's the best method, but once, a very long long time ago, when I was a little asst. hottie (and I was, with my 4 inch pumps, mini-skirts and disco shirts while on location scouts...I didn't know any better!!) I had a chance to work with Danny Jacobson for two weeks while he did a script doctoring job on this movie that was on the swift boat to hell. It was great fun, there were two comedians involved and I sat on the phone with him typing my fingers off while he pitched ideas around the ether. I learned a tremendous amount, which I promptly sublimated until I quit my studio job.

I'll let you know how it all works out. I did a good bit of revising in addition to the new pages I finished this weekend, but the entire thing reads much much better, and the character work is getting closer to what I want it to be. I have to finish it soon, though, because some of my other projects are getting close to boil.

The independent project is in limbo right now. I didn't get a positive response from the casting director. I can't say that I disagreed with any of his comments, the director and I had actually had a long talk about the problems the casting director mentioned to me, and we'd discussed how we were going to address them. I think he needed that outside opinion to push him to the next place, and let's face it, I'm pooped. Anyway, I put the whole thing on pause over the last week so I can finish this draft.

Also, one of my former assistants is totally coming through for me and scoring me a stage to hold a reading of one of my short films. I've been blessed with some real gems in the assistant department (who curse my name to this day, but still take my calls), and I try to keep up with them. I had a couple of real stinkers, too, mind you. One woman, gorgeous blonde, which sadly for her had no influence on me, although every senior executive on the lot found a reason to drop by my office while she worked there, actually got me into a screaming match with my boss. All week I'd been sending faxes out about this project I was desperate to put together. Every time I saw my boss I'd harass him about it, I was faxing business affairs about putting the deal together, calling the writer's agent every five minutes, in short, making a Grade A pest of myself. Finally, my boss called me on Friday afternoon and started SCREAMING at me for bothering him all week long and then not doing my job by getting him and everyone else all of the information. I whipped out my stack of correspondence (CYAP, folks, Cover Your Ass in Paper), and started reading through the stack at the top of my lungs. When he yelled back that he had never received any of them, I screamed back: I have the confirmations in my hand! Then, of course looked at them, and every single one read FAIL FAIL FAIL. Eek. Talk about a 180! I started laughing hysterically, which is what I do when cornered. Told him I would be in his office in 5 minutes (cuz I figured I might as well show up with my own whipping post), and then I asked my assistant what happened.

"I don't know," she said. So, I made her stand up and physically show me what the hell she'd been doing all week with the fax machine. She grabbed the papers, put them in the WRONG WAY, punched in the fax number, then pressed STOP. STOP, people, THE RED BUTTON, not THE GREEN BUTTON which said GO, but the STOP button. Which, of course, pulled the papers through then printed a FAILED notice NOT A CONFIRMATION.

I literally couldn't breathe. My entire chest cavity collapsed. My cheeks went a dark dark red color and felt like they were going blister. I was so past shock and anger that I couldn't even tell her what was wrong and why she would NEVER WORK ON THIS LOT AGAIN.

Instead, I went to my office, called HR and told them I needed her out of my office before I got back from my visit with the HEAD OF THE STUDIO who was REALLY PISSED AT ME because my assistant DIDN'T EVEN KNOW SHE DIDN'T KNOW HOW TO USE A FAX MACHINE and that I was INCHES AWAY from losing A $60 MILLION DOLLAR MOVIE because EVERYONE THOUGHT I WAS AN IDIOT AND A LIAR. And can you help me deal with this before close of business?

Then, I hung up the phone, put on my little Gucci suit coat, grabbed a fork and knife and trailed off to my boss' office to eat a crow.


wcdixon said...

wooo-hooo! Now THAT's a story - not too much educational info but that's okay sometimes...great stuff.

And location surveys in pumps and mini-skirts...everyone was stopping by your office in those days I bet.

Interested in how writing the script in this way turns out. Keep us posted.

And don't dig too deep for other manager posts (yes, KFMonkey is good) - we want to hear what you have to say - even if its been all said before.

writergurl said...

LOL... talk about a dumb blonde... I'll bet she's married to an actor or studio exec now. Wait, maybe she's Jessica Simpson's smarter twin!

As for the "manager" stuff, I second WCD's comments. Your "take" please.

Thank you.

Bianca said...

That's the thing about being an assistant. Everyone assumes you know all the secretarial stuff but a lot of people don't and they are too embarrassed to say, "how do I use the fax machine?" So instead of a little up-front embarrassment they end up with egg on their face in long run.

As far as the manager posts, I want to hear your take on it. With your own special Diva flavor.

Jutratest said...

Hahahahaha You and Josh Friedman should get married. Your baby would be the Shiloh of the screenwriting blogsphere.