I think this is the most daunting time — about a month from now — where it settles in that you have this money to spend and this agenda to create hit television…To be in these jobs, you have to be a believer that it’s possible … that if you build it, they will come.
That’s all well and good – everybody says words to the above effect when the development season is just getting started, but here’s what she has to say about her real job, which is rebuilding NBC into a place that people will at least check out once in awhile:
We’re going to do things that are creatively adventurous… We’re open to anything — we should hear everything and be open to hear any kind of inspiration that comes in the door….
This is good news for all of us who turn to TVWriter™ for help and guidance. We dunno about you, but we’re having our people call her people ASAP so we can find out if Jennifer really will talk to “any kind of inspiration that comes in the door.” Piece of cake, right? NBC’s our oyster, yes? Well, we’re gonna see…and we suggest that you give it a try too.
Brace yourself, Ms. President of NBC Entertainment. It’s put up or shut up time.
(Heh. If this were being written by munchman it would’ve said, “put out or shut up time.” But we’re way cooler than that.)
My girlfriend, who shall go unnamed here cuz she thinks I’m an embarrassment, is a voiceover actress. Not for cartoons cuz those go to, like, major and occasionally minor stars, but for commercials. Her biggest role so far was as a talking cheeseburger. Or maybe she was a french fry. Taco shell? Some kind of fast food thing anyway.
Being a woman and trying to make it in voiceover is like being a Jew trying to get a gig as a death camp commandant. It’s like impossible – cuz showbiz as an industry is more sexist than the vilest Republican House of Representatives member. Hollywood just plain doesn’t want to hear women’s voices, no matter how stentorian, saying, “In a world where…” or “…Stars tomorrow. Be there.” And Hollywood thinks that the audience shares that sexist prejudice.
I bring this up because I just stumbled upon a trailer for a film called IN A WORLD, which is about a young woman trying to succeed in the voiceover biz and encountering all the obstacles my GF is way too familiar with. I can’t speak for how good or bad the film is, but even the GF agreed: In a mere 2 minutes and 28 seconds, this trailer has summed up her entire professional – and most of her personal – life.
In a world where my GF is the lowest person on the totem pole, the trailer for the film IN A WORLD gives her new stature and self-confidence by presenting her situation as – well, still the lowest person on the totem pole. Bummer.
Bigger bummer: The GF told me this morning that she’s seriously considering moving on to the only career she knows of that might bring her down even lower: An acting teacher at a for-profit university.
Whoa! They gave out the 40th Daytime Emmy Awards yesterday in beautiful downtown Beverly Hills and the writing winners were:
OUTSTANDING DRAMA SERIES WRITING TEAM The Bold and the Beautiful, CBS
Bradley P. Bell, Head Writer
Kay Alden, Michael Minnis, Co-Head Writers
Patrick Mulcahey, Tracey Ann Kelly, Rex M. Best,
John F. Smith, Adam Dusevoir, Shannon Bradley,
Michele Val Jean, Writers
Way to go, gang! TVWriter™ congratulates you all. But we have to admit a slight bit of favoritism: We’re really excited about Michele Val Jean getting this because we know her. (Ah, Facebook, you help us make such fascinating friends!)
We know what you’re thinking: “If these are the drama writing winners, who won the comedy writing award?” Well, guess what…there ain’t no Outstanding Comedy Series Writing Team cuz – yeah, now you’re getting it – there ain’t no daytime comedy.
Today’s question comes from Lydia, who wants to know:
When you’re sitting back and chilling, what TV shows do you watch? Are you a fan of shows that are critical darlings, or do you secretly love the kind of genre stuff that most people won’t admit to getting into? For that matter, are you secretly a reality show fan? You can trust me with your secrets. I won’t be judgmental. Or not too much anyway.
I get asked questions like Lydia’s quite a bit – mostly when hanging out at my favorite coffee house (hey, it’s the Seattle area – everyone here’s got a favorite coffee house), so even though I know every reader is going to have a judgment about this (because every reader is, after all, human) here’s my reply:
The deep, dark truth about what yours truly, Larry Brody, likes to watch is that there’s nothing very deep or dark about it.
I know what shows are critical successes because I hear from others in the biz that they are, but I make it a point to never read reviews. Mostly because I don’t want to be influenced about how to spend my chilling in front of the tube time, but also because when I did read them I very seldom agreed with even the most respected television critics.
Which means, I’m afraid, that no one reading this should take my word as anything resembling gospel. My mind doesn’t work like most people’s, so it’s quite likely that your mileage opinion may vary.
With that out of the way I can safely say that the show I’ve enjoyed the most over the past several months has been ORPHAN BLACK.
I love its quirky take on everything, the way it combines street life, bourgois suburbanism (is “suburbanism” a word? It should be), and high tech thriller riding.
For me, it’s the ultimate package deal: Science fiction and scum. With a sensational actress named Tatiana Maslany as identical clones who really aren’t identical at all. ORPHAN BLACK is on hiatus now, but it’s at the top of my Must See When It Returns List.
Also high on that list is PERSON OF INTEREST, not only because a former Spec Scriptacular Grand Prize Winner, Erik Mountain, is on the staff, but because it is just so damn cool. The creator of the show, Jonathan Nolan, has described the series as BATMAN if Batman were in the real, here-and-now world, and that feeling pervades every frame of the show. And the super-computer-as-God stuff ain’t too hard for me to take either.
Other LB Must See shows include NCIS, CHICAGO FIRE (with another Spec Scriptacular winner, Ryan Harris, on staff), and THE WALKING DEAD (yeah, producer Curtis Gwinn’s another TVWriter™ alum). I’m into WALKING DEAD because, oh hell, because these are the best zombies anywhere, dammit, and while I’m honestly not sure what it is about NCIS and CHICAGO FIRE that’s hooked me, hooked I am.
Wait, I take that back. I do know what it is about those last two. NCIS has Mark Harmon, a great guy with some age to him. And, having spent much of my childhood in Chicago, I see CHICAGO FIRE as probably the best depiction of the way blue collar Chicagoans think and behave ever presented anywhere other than James T. Farrell’s novel, STUDS LONIGAN.
I’m also a huge fan of British cop shows. LUTHER. MIDSOMER MURDERS. DCI BANKS. VERA. WALLANDER. GEORGE GENTLY. INSPECTOR LEWIS. I recommend them all, especially if you like cranky heroes. (Which I do because I can identify with them so easily.)
Yes, I’m seeing some conspicuous absences here. One upon a time BONES would’ve been on this list. Also CASTLE. And COMMUNITY as well as ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT. And then there’s the former love of my TV viewing life, DOCTOR WHO. I can still enjoy these shows, but I’m no longer compelled to see every damn episode as soon as soon as I possibly can.
BONES and CASTLE, in fact, have become kind of scary to me. They make what I think is a terrible mistake: They keep putting their lead characters in situations where their emotional lives are on the line. This gets me all tense, and I don’t watch shows like this to get all stressed out about the leads. I watch them because I love the way the characters interact. It’s the closeness of the regular “families” that means the most to me, along with cool crimes and solutions.
As for COMMUNITY and ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT, you know how it is. COMMUNITY’s still on and A.D. is back – but they’re not the way they used to be. They’re like old lovers who’ve let themselves go. I haven’t given up on them entirely, though. I’m still rooting for them to get back into shape and regain their insane comedic perfection. But till they’ve proven themselves again they’ll be at the end of my DVR and Netflix queues.
And, as long as I’m at it, a few words about DOCTOR WHO. I think Matt Smith is stupendous. Love everything about him as the Doctor. But I loathe everything the show’s scripts force him to do. To me, the Doctor is a guy who’s addicted to what he does. Who loves every minute of danger and sees everything as a challenge. He shouldn’t be angry or fearful or sullen, he should always be eager as hell, laughing at danger the way Errol Flynn (and all the great former Doctors – especially Chris Eccleston) did.
I blame the current boss of the series, Steven Moffat, who seems to be in constant competition with his actors and the very concept of the show, trying to prove that he’s the real star. Well, Steve dood, sorry, but you ain’t. You’re just another writer. A one-trick pony puzzle-maker. Forget one-upping your own Doctor and concentrate on what you’re really supposed to be doing: Entertaining your audience and filling us with joy.
That’s it for now. More than enough shows to fill my available viewing time. And not a reality series in sight. Although, just between us, I do have an affinity for COUNTING CARS. Danny and his gang remind me of some crazy bikers I used to know way back in the day, and whenever I see Count’s Kustoms I smile because it’s kind of like going home.
Dunno about you, but many of us over at TVWriter™ have this problem. Once we start reading something, or playing a game, or even watching a TV show, we feel obligated to finish…no matter how little enjoyment we’re getting from our so-called entertainment. For years we wondered about our state of mind, our very sanity. Now, at last, it turns out that this is a common phenomenon.
In other words, no need to feel crazy…but the way we’re wired says that, yes, feeling guilty is kind of a must:
by Thorin Klosowski
Ever find yourself feeling guilty because you put a book down halfway through? You’re still on the third level of that game you bought a year ago? Or maybe you left a movie in the middle of it? The guilt’s a strange feeling, and it’s not as much about the lost money as you’d expect. Here’s what’s going on when you’re feeling that odd guilt.
The guilt of walking away from something unfinished isn’t new, but it’s still hard to really pinpoint exactly why so many of us feel bad about not finishing a book or other entertainment. With the Kindle, Steam, Netflix, and everything else, it’s easy to get what we want instantly, and that means it’s just as easy to walk away from it without thinking twice about why we do it.
Certain types of people are more likely to push through a book. Dr. Wilhelm theorizes that people with competitive, Type-A personalities might be more likely to abandon a book because they tend to be motivated by reward and punishment, and “if there are no consequences or public recognition, why finish?”
Conversely, he says more laid-back, Type-B personalities may never start a book they know they won’t finish. The more important motivator of finishing a book, says Dr. Wilhelm, is social pressure, which is why book clubs are so good at getting readers to the epilogue.
It’s also the fact that stopping something midway is stressful. Whether it’s a book, a movie, or anything else, walking away in the middle goes against our nature. Wilhelm describes it like so:
“There is a tendency for us to perceive objects as ‘finished’ or ‘whole’ even though they may not be. This motivation is very powerful and helps to explain anxiety around unfinished activities.”
While the focus of The Wall Street Journal article is on books, it’s applicable to pretty much any form of entertainment. The anxiety that comes from a book half finished is no different than a game, movie, or whatever else. If you experience this guilt, you can do a few things to keep it from creeping up on you too deeply.