Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Motels and Surrender.

Specs versus pilots continues. Kyle Killen, writer of Mel Gibson pic The Beaver and showrunner of the late Lone Star, said that when hiring writers he prefers to see a pilot but has also hired candidates off of outstanding specs. And on the topic of TV shows, New York Magazine recently ran an article, This Platform Is Not Yet Rated, discussing the difficulties in tracking ratings with the rise of online and DVR viewing. Neilsen is making some changes to their tracking system, but not until next year. The second page of the article has a couple interesting charts breaking down audiences of various shows by which platform they consume content on.

As far as last night's TV--Glee, I like your stories so much better this season. They're actually different from episode to episode. I don't think the existence of the glee club has been threatened in two entire weeks! But--song integration has really gone down hill. Every single song was set in the classroom as students perform for other students. The beauty of musicals is that they're set in a world where spontaneous eruptions into song and dance are not only tolerated as normal but encouraged and choreographed. Get it out of the classroom--make the song performances just as interesting as the stories are becoming.

I also watched Detroit 1-8-7 last night--which everyone should--and I was excited to see a location we had shot at when I was working in July. They had changed the name, but you could still see the real name in a window reflection for a quick shot. It was pretty cool. Probably because that location was so sketchy. Detroit 1-8-7 kinda makes me want to be a detective, but maybe that's just because I'm about to open up my career options.

I moved back to Michigan with the hope of breaking into the budding industry here. It has not been so easy. I worked on one film in July, but unfortunately the important contacts I made all went back home to LA at the end of the month. Which is too bad, because getting jobs is all about contacts, and I know I'd be working if I was in LA. HW Guy was telling me the other day about how the Key PA from our July shoot was considering moving to LA for a while and how if I could get out there, he would take the two of us on every shoot as his 2nd and 2nd 2nd. We'd be the dream AD team. And that people would actually like the AD team for a change [ADs are usually obnoxious. In fact, I told HW Guy so. I told him I thought 1st ADs were all supposed to be tools and that I was surprised when he wasn't].

But the truth is I haven't been working here in Michigan. I have had two other jobs lined up since then, and they've both fallen through due to poor communication and, frankly speaking, unprofessionalism. And now winter's coming and productions are not. I'm thinking about shifting my focus, taking a low stress non industry job for the winter, and keeping up my high productivity on my writing. I don't want to, mostly because I'm kinda a proud person and there were people who didn't think I could get film jobs here and I don't want them to be right. But I need to get a job, if only because I'm turning into a writer recluse and feel pretty boring.

I am being insanely productive on the writing side. I finished the first draft of Places yesterday. It took me two weeks to write that draft. Granted, draft one of any script isn't the hardest. Usually it writes itself or it falters and flails and I give up. It's rewriting that takes more stamina. But if I can get a first draft banged out in two weeks, I should be able to get a pilot done from brainstorming to reader-ready in six to eight weeks. I wouldn't be able to do that if I was working 12+ hour days, 6 days a week on a set. Maybe it's worth it to take a non film job for the next six months if it means that I'll really be LA ready at the end of my year in Michigan.

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