Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Unemployed life

I'm sleeping in, I'm reading what I want to read. I have more time with my writing, and to catch up with old friends. So far, so good.

I've applied to a few positions, but it's still to early to tell how they'll react, or if I'll even want them once I go in for the interview. I need to research unemployment insurance. If I can have my job hunt subsidized while I take some of my day to write, that could be a decent set up for a little while.

I'll be headed back home to help my parents move into their new house this weekend, but I'm bringing my laptop so I can write and job search/apply from Cape Cod.

Overall I think I'm handling things pretty well. While it sucks to be jobless, especially in this economy, I feel kinda relieved to be out of that office. It was slowly driving me insane.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Got fired today

Well, the day started like any other Friday. To be honest, work had been a bit better this week than it had been recently, although in retrospect maybe it's just that they had decided to fire me and wanted to just get off my case until they let me know. The way they went about it is still kind of shitty, but at least I'll be getting some good recommendations out of it, which is more than I can say for usual layoffs. They're still interested in me as a writer, and I even pitched them a project while I was still in the room with them, which I thought was somewhat cheeky of me, but it went over well.

Basically what it came down to is that they can tell my priority out here is to be a writer. That's what makes me a good writer, and why they always liked my creative ideas in the office. They want someone who doesn't have that ambition, who is willing to go well above and beyond the call of duty to satisfy their egos, even though my working day and night for them would not have made them better producers. They can get interns to do much of my old job for pretty much nothing, and they could tell I wasn't happy there anymore.

So I'm ready to move on. I wanted to do this anyway, and anyone who does ever read this blog will be able to tell how long overdue this was.

It'll be tough finding a new job, especially with the economy so far in the crapper, but I needed a new one. I know more of what I want to do, and I think I have the qualifications and connections that make it easier to get there now than it was back during the writer's strike when my best option was to start working for a couple guys in a pool house.

I'm going to keep writing, and I'm sure in the long run that this, like most of the "setbacks" in my life, will prove to be beneficial in the long run.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Strange timing

If I believed in astrology I'd totally think that the stars were aligning in some sort of crazy way. Immediately after MissCrazy is no longer a presence in my life, I find myself randomly reconnecting with, no joke, about six other women in my life that I'd lost touch with. Most of them were friends, one was a girl I used to hook up with who will randomly be in LA this weekend, and one was even my date to my senior Prom.

Also, while I was cycling through my facebook inbox to see an old message from my former hook up buddy I noticed that the messages from MissCrazy were back. It would seem that she's decided to unblock me from seeing her profile and twitter feed even though we're not still friends, probably in the hope that I'll check it out and see the mean things she and her friends are saying to each other about me. Really, I don't care. She can say what she wants just so long as she doesn't come around in a week wanting to get back together. I've seen the on again/off again couples before, and they're always miserable with each other and none of their friends want to be a part of the drama. I never want to be that guy again.

UPDATE: Just now another old friend told me that she was driving down from San Francisco on a whim. This is just eerie.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Somehow my job has become brainstorming reality shows

My bosses are getting more and more enamored with the idea of creating reality shows, so I find myself spending some of my time brainstorming ideas for shows I would never want to see.

And surprisingly, I still end up with a lot of good reality ideas. Frankly, they're not that hard to come up with. They're cheap as hell, and you don't need a speck of talent to make one. No wonder there are so many of them. It's kind of like cockroaches. You can kill one, but by the time you do that there's already a whole nest just waiting out of sight.

I want to work more in TV, but I want to work in good TV, REAL TV, the kind that takes effort and talent to create, challenge the imagination, and inspire as they entertain. Not something that becomes irrelevant five minutes after it airs and makes celebrities out of people who have no goddam business being famous.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

So it was premature to say I got out amicably

About six hours after MissCrazy's text saying she still thought I was a nice guy, she sent another one saying she took it back and thought I was an asshole. These kinds of flip flops are why the moniker "MissCrazy" seemed so fitting, even when we were getting along.

I guess this means she's moved on to the "hating me" phase of the breakup. I'm going to try not to think about it too much and just get on with my life.

I have plenty of good and loyal friends that I want to spend more time with. I have tons of tv shows and movies that I've been meaning to watch/study, and if you're a movie nerd like me that's a great way to spend an evening. And last but not least, there are lots of other girls in LA that would probably be better suited to me. I'm not on the prowl or anything, but at least now I can be open to something new coming along.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Woke up at 3:30am

I went to bed last night around 12:30. I woke up three hours later with an idea for a tv show and an idea for a comedy sketch. I grabbed my notebook, and wrote them down. Neither was especially brilliant upon later reflection, but they were worth writing down I guess. The only problem was, once I was awake, I couldn't get back to sleep. I was lying there, eyes closed, under the covers in a dark room, and no matter what I did I just wouldn't sleep. Eventually I gave up on the idea of sleep, got up early, and watched the second episode of Kings on Hulu (it was good).

As I was pulling into the office (already starting to feel tired) I got a text from MissCrazy, who true to form wanted to pretend like there hadn't been a fight. This is what she did the previous three times we broke up. I was just sitting down in the office, I was tired, and I had a phone call in half an hour with a woman who writes for a very prominent prime time TV show who was giving me notes on my spec pilot. So I told MissCrazy that I couldn't talk that morning,

I texted her later, telling her that I was sorry for blowing her off, and that when she had said on Friday that she was tired of all this I agreed with her, and I felt like we needed to take a break because I didn't like fighting. She seemed to accept it and take it pretty well, and even as I write this texted me again to say that she thinks I'm very sweet and wished me the best.

She was a nice girl, and it was good while it lasted, but it was due to end. I am glad I was able to get out without her thinking I was a complete asshole though. It's one of those things that I feel I need everyone to like me, even the women I break up with.

Friday, March 20, 2009

This may be the end of me and MissCrazy

There's been some weird unspoken tension between MissCrazy and I recently, and it seems she's now found the fight to use as an excuse to end things. To be honest, I'm kind of relieved. I didn't see this going long term at all, and I'm glad to be getting out before things get too complicated.

Here's what happened. Every Thursday night I try to write a spec pilot script with my roommate. This is a project I take very seriously, but due to difficulty with our schedules, we can't really find time to work on it more than once a week, and even then, we miss it sometimes. I don't cancel it lightly. MissCrazy knows this.

MissCrazy also isn't a fan of phone calls, she only likes to text. I got a text from her while my roommate and I were working, saying that she was pretty sure she had caught a cold and pinkeye. I asked if she was okay and said something amusing to cheer her up.

This morning I texted her to ask if she was feeling any better, and she got all passive aggressive and said that one of her other friends offered to bring her soup. She was pissed that I hadn't dropped everything to bring it to her last night.

Now, I've gotten her soup before when she was feeling sick. But she let me know that she wasn't feeling well last minute, and even if I had canceled my writing night to rush to her bedside, by the time I got there she would already be going to sleep, and probably in no mood for soup. And this writing project is a very big priority for me, and she knows that.

The real reason she's pissed is that I'm not making HER my top priority. She in no way makes me her top priority, so it's kind of hypocritical for her to expect that of me. On Sunday we went to Disneyland, and even though she denied it at first when I asked her, she was pissed that we left early. Roommate's girlfriend was making a big dinner for everyone and frankly I wanted to be included in that because I'd felt a bit left out when it comes to our little LA family recently. It was important to me to be there, but at the same time it showed her that my friends (who I think of like family out here) are either just as important or more important to me than she is.

But she habitually flakes out on me, canceling for the last minute. She claims it's for work, but I have the feeling that sometimes it's not. She likes going to fancy events and having rich successful guys hit on her, and I'm an assistant who can't afford to take her to the expensive restaurants in town. She frankly doesn't show me much trust or let me in, which leads me to not be able to trust her.

So when she takes this fight as an excuse to drop this whole thing, I'm perfectly happy walking away. Between work, my own writing, and the people who have been true friends to me out here, I have more than enough on my plate. I never thought of MissCrazy as "the one" and ending things now is just as good if not better than ending them at some other time down the road.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

My Ex's fiance keeps getting into pop culture debates with me

As I mentioned months ago, the girl I dated for over three years in college got engaged to a friend of ours. He and I always got along well, but pretty much lost touch after college. The beauty of the Facebook era, however, is that you almost never completely lose touch.

I often post some sort of observation about the world/geek culture on my facebook page, and recently my ex's fiance has been commenting on them. I enjoy the dialogue, because we have similar viewpoints and are both intelligent enough to have a very good back and forth, but from time to time I still wonder why he started responding only after their engagement.

Today for example, I posted an article about how CNBC is calling Jon Stewart naive. I thought that was stupid for multiple reasons. They're drawing attention to a fight they were on the wrong side of, which made them look stupid, and they're attacking Jon Stewart again, even though they're aware he can totally outgun them. The Fiance countered that it was a good idea, because they get free publicity for their network. We went back and forth on that a few times, and it was all mostly amicable.

The thing I wonder about is whether or not the Fiance is trying in some way to prove that he's smarter than me when it comes to this sort of thing. I don't think that's actually the case, but I recognize it as a possibilty. I haven't seen him and my ex together, so I don't know how secure they are with each other. I assume they're very secure with each other since they're getting married, but at the same time, the Fiance first met my ex while she was dating me. And he saw us very much in love for years, and saw how hard she took our breakup. Then when they get engaged, the two of them discover that I'm totally cool with it.

It's always strange to think about your significant other's ex's, but I'd imagine it's even worse when you were around them. He's got to know that in some ways she probably compares him to me and vice versa. If that leads to him needing to prove some sort of superiority over me in a public forum like facebook, I don't begrudge him the attempt. I'll defend my points assertively but amicably, and would welcome a continued dialogue, but I won't take a fall to make him look better. I also won't go for any cheap shots to make him look bad. That's mean to do that to a friend, and even if he wasn't a friend it would just make me look petty.

If this all plays out that the Fiance, the Ex, and I can all continue to be friends, that would be great. I still doubt that I'm going to get an invite to the wedding, but hopefully if they're ever passing through Los Angeles they'll give me a call and we can all go out for dinner together.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Why I write an anonymous blog

I don't advertise this blog anywhere. You won't find links to it on my facebook page, I don't have a twitter widget installed on it, and I haven't even mentioned it to my friends.

Saturday night I was walking down the street to a Chinese restaurant with a couple friends, and one of them commented on how I write some very noticeable facebook status messages. He said I should start writing a blog. I didn't tell him that I've been doing it for months.

I have difficulty keeping things bottled in. Every girlfriend I've ever had has become very aware of this fact. When something's bugging me, or simply just on my mind, I have a need to say it out loud, or at least in a email. When I keep it all inside I either forget a really great point I was about to make, or I just get frustrated. As you can imagine, it gets annoying to my friends sometimes, especially if I've been by myself all afternoon itching to get a rant out and lay it on one of them as soon as I seem them.

By writing things down here, it helps me get them out. For example, today my boss asked, "what did you do last night." He didn't ask to be sociable. He asked to see if I'd done any work after I left the office yesterday. The guy doesn't pay me overtime, doesn't pay me benefits, and my pay is crap for a job that requires experience and education, and yet working until 7:30 or 8pm every night and taking work home every weekend isn't enough, now he acts like I'm a slacker if I didn't read and write coverage for two scripts when I'm home every night. Keep in mind that this is the same guy who recently asked me why I don't find more great and obscure graphic novels for the company to look at. So fuck him, I'm going to rant into my blog on company time instead.

That right there was a rant that would have been seething inside me all day until I was able to tell it to one of my roommates, who frankly hear enough of my rants and should be spared. So that's why I write this blog.

I keep it anonymous because I don't want to edit myself. I want to be able to talk about the people in my life who drive me crazy sometimes without them reading it right after. In a lot of ways it's much easier to be brutally honest with a complete stranger, because they aren't in your life.

If an readership did find this blog, that would be fine. In some instances I'd be very interested in comments and reactions to some of the things I write. But I want that to happen on it's own. I'm not interested in trying to promote myself over the internet. To a large extent this blog is more like a personal journal that I look back through on my own. And since the internet isn't going anywhere anytime soon, I imagine I'll be able to look back on this for a long time.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

St Paddy's vs Cinco de Mayo

I live in LA now, but grew up in Boston. I've found that the holidays of St. Patrick's Day and Cinco de Mayo have reversed in importance when I moved from one city to the other.

In Boston, St. Patrick's Day is a pretty big freaking deal. You grow up knowing at least 5 kids named "Sully" in Boston, so when St. Paddy's comes around you can barely walk down the street without being bombarded by green shamrocks and pints of Guinness. And I love it.

Cinco de Mayo on the other hand, is a holiday that you don't realize has arrived until you're in a bar that night and notice they have a special on tequila shots.

In LA, it's the opposite. There are a few bars that make an attempt at the "Irish" theme, and the local radio hosts do some of the worst attempts at Irish accents ever. They try, and people like the chance to wear green, but it's not nearly the same.

But Cinco de Mayo is a fucking experience out here. EVERYBODY goes totally nuts. Obviously it makes sense given the ethnic breakdowns of Boston vs LA, but it's still amusing and worth note.

In other news, I spent about half an hour in the office this morning applying to another job at ABC. Chances are I either won't get it, or it'll turn out to be a job that pays less than I make now so I won't want to take it, but just in case it was worth doing.

Monday, March 16, 2009

List of stuff to rant about today

Sci-Fi channel changes its name to "SyFy"
This is really really stupid. It's a terrible name for starters. Just awful. They're doing an expensive corporate rebranding of their network when TV budgets on every channel are being forced to trim so that the profits from the entertainment sector can help make up some of the losses in GE's other divisions during the recession. The reason they did it was that they couldn't trademark the term "Sci-Fi". Nor should they, but I can understand wanting to have a brand name for your network that you can own. But if you want to do that, come up with another name for the channel, not some bullshit thing that's spelled like a remedial class third grader's book report. They're trying to make the channel appear less geeky in order to get a wider audience, and that's also dumb. Science Fiction is a popular genre. You're THE channel for it. Stick with it, and let other stations handle the broader stuff. Don't piss off the very people who've been your core audience and paying all your salaries for the last 15 years.

Update: I've recently learned that "Syf" is Polish for syphilis, so SyFy means "syphilis-y". So way to broaden your appeal by naming yourself after a madness causing STD, you must be so proud of your brand marketing dept.

Celebrity Apprentice gets better ratings that Kings
I haven't seen Kings yet. I have it on my hulu queue, and hopefully I'll watch it tonight after work. So far it sounds like very good drama. Every review calls it an intelligent show, and that's especially great since there aren't that many of them out there, but tons of shitty reality shows that bring out the worst and dumbest in people. Today they already have articles discussing the ratings, which of course don't factor in DVR and can't factor in online views. They said that Celebrity Apprentice got better ratings in the same timeslot last week. That's right, the crappy reality show did better. This is a problem on multiple levels. First, that people are choosing that kind of show over good scripted television in the first place. Second, because it shows how dumb the ratings system is. Of course the audience for intelligent shows is going to use their DVR and online viewing more. They're the SMART people, who can work their DVR and Hulu, and often have to set aside time to watch TV. And young people especially, the audience that is much better to hook in many cases, watch things online. For online views you're hitting your target audience precisely. And yet somehow these advertisers and the networks are convinced that it's worthless to spend money on hulu ads, but it's worth millions for them to put them on regular TV when everyone uses that time to get up off their couch and use the bathroom before their show comes back on.

"That's not enough for the weekend."
The junior exec/former assistant in the office and I were chewed out this morning because when the bosses asked what we did over the weekend, they didn't consider a weekend read and notes on a script outline were enough work. Guys, you don't pay benefits, or overtime, and I'm often in the office until past 7:30 or 8pm on weeknights. You get plenty of extra work and time out of us. I understand that there's weekend reading and stuff like that associated with this job, but don't act like you're entitled to more work out of us on a weekend than during a week day. That's us doing extra work during our time off, not a time that we should be able to get more work done without the distraction of having to answer your phone.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Drifting for a night

One of my roommates is making dinner for his new girlfriend tonight, so I want to give them some space. MissCrazy is busy (in fact I haven't seen her since that ridiculousness with The Duchess) and my other roommate/best friend is taking his girlfriend on a date.

So I have no plans for the night. Originally I wanted to just go home and crash with my hulu queue and DVD's but that's obviously not happening now. Maybe I could stay at my office and watch stuff on my work computer, and even catch up on this season of Entourage on the big office TV, but knowing this place like I do, I'll probably want to get away as soon as the day is over.

Instead, I think I'll go get a haircut (I haven't had one since around new year's eve and it's getting ridiculous) and then park myself in a coffeeshop and read my book. I think it could be very pleasant, especially since I haven't done it in a while.

I suppose I could also use my work laptop to start writing my beat sheet for my spec pilot that's due on Sunday, but I'd rather work on that when I'm relaxed Saturday or Sunday morning, and I don't want to be another one of those cliche screenwriters sitting in Starbucks with a MacBook and working on their "future Oscar/Emmy winner." Even if I do good work I'll feel like yet another Hollywood hack writer.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

MissCrazy now on Twitter

MissCrazy just joined Twitter. I've been on for a few months, and back when she was pulling her crazy flip flop stuff, I made a couple tweets about it. The first thing I read on her new Twitter page is, "Reading someone else's tweets re: a fight we had months ago."

So who knows if she'll get pissed at me again for being pissed months ago. I stand by what I said back then though, she was being ridiculous.

Now hopefully she'll never discover this blog, because she would react less well to some of the stuff on here, especially the name "MissCrazy."

An hour to go before lunch, and I'm hungry

The hour before lunch always goes slower than the rest during the day. The hour between 9 and 10 when the day is just starting and I should have time to read Variety and Hollywood reporter? That hour flies by.

I'm especially dependent on my lunch hours since I skip breakfast pretty much every day. Maybe I should just buy a box of cereal and stop doing that. And especially if I didn't have a big dinner the night before I can be REALLY hungry. A sandwich really shouldn't be enough to sustain you for a whole day, but I make do.

Lunch is also necessary for mental health for me. I almost never get to take a full hour off. A lot of the time I have to get something to go and come right back to my desk, or even order in. But on days when I'm allowed 30-40 minutes to go and eat my sandwich in peace, it really helps.

I've taken to bringing a personal book in my bag with me when I go eat. When my book club is reading something it's sometimes the only time I have to get through it. Since our book for this month was WATCHMEN, and the time between meetings was increased to six weeks from a month, I have a lot more time to read what I like this month. Instead of catching up on an older book club book, I'm re-reading the Dark Tower series by Stephen King. Those are really great books, and they help inspire my own writing because they give you this amazing sense that everything is connected and the fantastic really is possible.

So thanks Stephen King, your books about an insane world help me stay sane in this one.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Some BS from MissCrazy

I just got in a text message fight with MissCrazy this morning. Here's what you need to know: She was supposed to go out of town for work this week, but her trip was canceled. I had planned on taking tonight to just crash at my place after work and catch up on TV shows since last night I had this writer's showcase to help with and didn't get home until 11:30 and the previous night I had crashed at MissCrazy's. I pretty much haven't spent any significant time at home since Saturday, and honestly, my roommates might be getting worried.

She doesn't like talking on the phone, so everything is done through text messages. She let me know that she's still in town tonight. Her plan was to relax at her place and watch The Duchess, which is a movie that I REALLY REALLY don't want to see, especially when I'm tired and I have my own stuff to catch up on. I offered to do something else, and she said that she was fine just staying home and watching the Duchess, I said fine.

Here's where she get's pissed at me. After she says she's just staying home, I say ok, and she responds, "You're not watching it with me?" I say that I really don't want to see it, and I've barely spent any time at home recently so I should stay at my place. She takes this to mean that we only do what I want to do, and that if I really like spending time with her I'd watch the Duchess.

When we do stuff together, I try to make it things we'd both enjoy. If she says she doesn't want to do something, we don't do it. So when she gives me a bullshit test that I need to watch some chick flick to prove I like her, I call bullshit on that.

Then it comes out that she's pissed we don't go out to dinner and stuff like that more often. I can't afford to take her out to dinner a lot on an assistant salary, especially the kind of dinners that previous dudes she's dated have done (these are financial guys and lawyers and stuff, all much older than me). She's used to getting pampered with lots of frilly stuff. She goes to lots of fancy parties where shiny boring dudes hit on her and try to buy her things. That's very much not me.

I think she realizes that's very not me, and doesn't like it, but knows from her previous crazy flare ups that if she gives me crap and threatens to break up with me over it I'll just walk. She barely got me to come back last time when she broke up with me for no reason suddenly, and I don't have the patience for those kind of games. If I'm with a girl, she has to like being with me. If she gives me bullshit tests to "prove I like her" which really means "prove she can control you" I don't take that. A relationship isn't about holding the other person emotionally hostage. And all the Cosmo reading chicks who ponder why they're alone? It's because they do this kind of stuff and guess what? Guys don't like it.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Got Dragooned

Some people from my spec pilot writing group are having a showcase for some of their writing tonight where they bring in actors and do a staged reading of some of their stuff. I was asked to help with it, even though I was never told about it in advance (I could have submitted some of my own writing to it, but oh well), and there was an assumption that I was going to help, they just needed to figure out how.

So I'm going tonight, and I don't mind too much, but I am kinda annoyed that they assumed I could do it just because I'm one of the youngest people in the group. Since I work as an assistant I have really long hours that I have no control over, leaving me barely any time to write as it is. Really, they should have gone to some of these people who somehow don't have day jobs and get them to do it. If I had the kind of free time they do I'd have written volumes more than I have in the past few years.

Hopefully there will at least be some good networking to be had at it. The more people I meet that could help me get a writer's room assistant job the faster I'll be able to leave my current one which is still driving me crazy.

Monday, March 9, 2009

I burned CD's for the first time in years

I almost never burn CD's. I've had the same spindle of 50 blanks that I got for ridiculously cheap at Newbury Comics in Harvard Square back when I was a freshman in college. I'm only about halfway through it, if I'm even that far.

But last night I made two "Driving CD's" to put in the six disc changer in my trunk, because LA Radio has just gotten that bad. With no Indie 103.1 or 97.1 FM to listen to while I drive around, all I have left is NPR, which while informative, is getting really really depressing since every story is about how screwed we are with this economy.

I almost never use iTunes, so most of my music consists of random stuff I downloaded as a college freshman before they made Napster illegal, and random CD's I bought 10 years ago. And most of those aren't even uploaded onto my computer, I need to do that.

So last night for the first time in quite a while I started remembering the proper way to make a mix CD. For those of you who have no clue what I'm talking about, read High Fidelity by Nick Hornby and/or see the movie with John Cusack.

I have two done so far, and I may make more depending on what I upload and deem appropriate for driving around LA in my mid 20's as opposed to driving through Boston suburbs during my high school years.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Really engergized

I had to drive my boss's car to Santa Monica to get it serviced today. Since I knew I'd be gone most of the day and might not get lunch on time I got myself a bacon, egg, and cheese breakfast sandwich around 10, even though I usually skip breakfast.

It was a really nice and sunny day as I was driving across LA, which also makes me perk up a bit. There's still enough New Englander in me that I still consider sunny warm days a novelty even though I live in LA and it's the norm.

Then the Audi waiting room had free very good, very strong coffee. I had two cups while reading the Dark Tower, which is much nicer than reading a bad script/novel at work while tensely drinking coffee and hoping I don't get yelled at for anything. I hadn't been drinking coffee all week, and I was surprised how energized I felt from it.

I got back to the office, had a late lunch, and now it's 4:30pm and I'm still a little wired and peppy.

I think it's just the combination of actually eating breakfast, sunshine, coffee, no bosses in the office today, and Watchmen tonight that leaves me in a very good place. Usually on Friday's I'm just drained from the week and can't wait to go home and crash on my couch watching DVD's, and I plan on sleeping in on Saturday as the highlight of the weekend.

Instead, Watchmen tonight followed by a party, followed by Disneyland on Sunday. Plus we have the Daylight Savings spring forward this weekend, which means it'll stay sunny much later, which I love. It should be a great weekend.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Avoiding spoilers on WATCHMEN

Watchmen comes out at midnight tonight. I won't be at one of the midnight screenings, but I will be at the Arclight Dome (the best theater in LA) Friday night. I have just over a day to get through before I can watch it and have my own impressions.

In the meantime there is a giant gauntlet of fanboys on both sides shouting about how awesome it was or how much it sucks. There's behind the scenes shit everywhere. I don't want to see any of it.

Movies are best when you're able to sit down and know absolutely nothing about it before you sit down. I hate when trailers show you all the best parts of the movie. In some cases you might as well skip the movie entirely because everything else that wasn't in the trailer is terrible. But even when the movie is good, you end up waiting for the moments from the trailer. There are even times when the movie is all about a mystery, but the trailer gives it away, ruining the whole thing. In the case of Watchmen I have read the graphic novel so I know what to expect to an extent, but I'm avoiding all other spoilers.

I did the same thing over the summer with The Dark Knight and with Indiana Jones: The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (by the way, one of the worst titles EVER). I knew I was going to see these movies. The only thing a trailer could do was ruin it. So when I was in theaters, I covered my eyes and ears and hummed. I didn't look up anything online, until my co-worker assured me that the Indy trailer didn't give anything away. I watched it, saw that it gave away a ton of shit, and I got really pissed at him.

Maybe it 's partly from the my experience working in this business, or maybe it's just from watching way too many movies growing up, but I end up predicting what's going to happen on TV shows and in movies a lot on my own even without spoilers or trailers. So when I can avoid them, I do, because it makes the moviegoing experience much better.

In closing, if you tell me any Watchmen spoilers (especially about this supposed "new ending" that I couldn't avoid hearing about) I will cut you. Back the fuck off.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Things they should have taught us in school

I was an English major in college. This means I never learned how to create a website on my own, which to be honest, would have been a pretty useful skill. Any business venture this day in age needs to have a website. Really, every person pretty much needs one. In my case I just have this blog, and while I have "webmaster tools" for it through Blogger, I'm still learning what the hell a Sitemap is and stuff like that. I wish I had been taught the basics of how this kind of stuff works, either when I was in college or in high school.

There are subjects that should be on that list.

The first is basic personal finance and paying your taxes. We all took civics classes so we'd be good citizens who know how to vote, but none of us learned anything about how to manage the money we were getting from minimum wage jobs working at record stores and waiting tables. We never learned how to prepare our taxes, or learned enough to know when we really need to get professional help. So we have a population in this country who doesn't know what the hell they're doing every April, and even high government officials can't get it right. Way to drop the ball on that one educational system.

The last one we should have been taught was basic auto maintenance. I'm not saying we should all be changing our own oil (although that would be nice), what I mean is stuff like knowing how to maintain your car, change the tires when they blow flats, and how to diagnose a problem when it happens. Instead we have people calling AAA for flats and getting ripped off by garage mechanics who know you're clueless when you pull into their shop.

I'm a very well educated person. I was fortunate enough to be sent to a very good high school in Boston, and I went to one of the best colleges in the world, and I was still a babe in the woods when it came to these subjects. I'm not saying we should have everyone in trade school, but honestly, a heads up about things we were guaranteed to encounter in our lives wouldn't have been out of line.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

DVR Ratings

I just read an article that was talking about how surprised people are at how many viewers Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles and Dollhouse are picking up on DVR. I mean, isn't this a no brainer? You have two shows on Friday nights that cater to the geek audience, who are the people who know how to program their DVR's and watch shows online.

You think it'd be easier to track the number of viewers on something like Hulu, but instead the Nielsons still use this antiquated sampling system.

It's be funny to joke about how backward they are if this bad system didn't have real consequences. When a show airs Friday night there are executives looking over the ratings on Monday morning, and those ratings don't include DVR or online views. Those are the guys who decide if a show will be canceled or not, and often they're also the guys who approve of the shows that go on the air in the first place. If they're basing their decisions on incorrect data, they're going to make the wrong decisions.

This is why TV tends to cater to a less sophisticated audience a lot of the time. American Idol doesn't get DVR'd as much because people want to talk about it the next day, it's an event, so it does great in ratings. Shows that can be watched at leisure over the weekend, which are popular with people who have other things going on in their lives at night (especially during the Friday Night "death slot") don't do as well in the ratings and get canceled.

I really hope this system gets fixed soon, and not just because I want better options for the TV shows I watch. I'm living in Hollywood and trying to become a TV writer. I'd like it if we had a better system by the time I'm able to create a show.