Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Smoke gets in your ass

This is a post for people who haven't experienced the joy of living in Hollywood. I wish somebody had explained this to me when I got here.

In Los Angeles, you often meet somebody, and they tell you they have a deal with a studio and you think WOW He's amazing! And then you start thinking about how you better hang out with this guy because he is going places.

The thing is, most of those people are full of shit. They say, for example, that Brad Pitt is reading their script, but what really happened is that an assistant at Plan B read their query and asked to read the script.

Most of the time these people aren't completely lying; they've just taken a tiny truth and blown it out of proportion. Because if you've been here long enough and had enough people ask you how your writing career is going, you start really wanting to have more to report than "Well, I'm still hoping somebody wants to read my script." You want people to think you're on your way. You want to be more important than you are.

So you make shit up.

When I first got out here I met a guy who had placed in the QFs of the Nicholl, or so he said. Thinking back, I'm not sure that was true. Then he said he knew a bunch of managers and would gladly introduce me to them. So naturally I jumped on it. But then he said I probably shouldn't have a manager; I should have an agent. He'd wait and introduce me to some agents some day.

Then he told me he was a studio deal to make his pilot and that he was probably going to start running a TV show on a major network soon. Maybe I could write on the show! Except at this point I knew enough about how TV worked to know that was ridiculous.

People in LA do that kind of thing ALL THE TIME. Not that everybody who claims success is lying, but it is always a good idea for you to be suspicious of anyone who has no IMDB credits or story in the trades and claims a huge success on the way.

People will blow massive amounts of smoke up your ass. Be skeptical.


  1. Writers making stuff up; trying to impress...

    Now, there's an idea for a sitcom...

    P.S. Thanks for the warning!

  2. Anonymous9:23 AM

    Love it Emily, "smoke gets in your ass".

    That's how I feel, most happy and bitter script hookers(you know who you are) nowadays sit an read: "smoke gets in your ass". Love it. This line should be used in a sit-com. Good post Paul and Recovering.

    Hey Emily I'm sure you heard of
    Quack Reader
    Bitter Reader
    Happy Reader
    Sad Reader
    But how about Hooker Reader. Ya, "smoke gets in his ass". LOL. I should write for Sitcoms, yup.

    I posted this in URBAN DICTIONARY.
    a Hooker Reader definition is one who lets "smoke gets in his ass".

    Ha, YAP, I should write for sitcoms. YAP, NOT!, YAP, YA!

    The Happy Reader Hooker!

  3. Please Don't Eat Me11:33 AM

    This is how a typical conversation with somebody in the business goes (or my experience anyway):

    "So, what do you do?"

    Typical writer response:

    "I'm a philosopher."

    Usually that's code for, "I'm a writer."

    My general response is this:

    "I'm in the export business."

    There's a pause and then, "Oh. What do you export?"

    I look them dead in the eye and say, "Cars. I'm a high end car thief for select clients."

    And if they're still around after that brief conversational lie I know they're somebody worth knowing and I tell them the truth.

    Usually they just move on, which saves us both a lot of wasted energy.

  4. Please Don't.... Yeah, the old "I'm Too Weird for You" routine. I dig it.

    Anonymous, thanks, but I'm not sure why you have to use my blog to hate on Bitter Script Reader. I like that guy. Did he refuse to read one of your scripts?

  5. Anonymous1:58 PM

    That's not how tv works?

    Networks don't buy pilots?
    You can't choose your staff if you're a Creator?

    Worried SS troll who happens to working on a pilot.

    ps: "Cherry Pie", Inner city teacher, martial artist...I have to say that you're pretty awesome (if an overachiever).

  6. Trust me, Anonymous. This guy was clueless.

    And thanks, although leaving martial arts up there is a bit misleading. I've been unable to do any real physical activity for a while, but I should be getting back into it soon.

  7. Anonymous10:53 AM

    No mo dojo? What??? You sound injured. I hope you're okay. Upside down silly face insertion here.

    Yeah well everyone keeps goin' on and on about how networks don't buy shows from nobodies. I know it's tough but it's really annoying, really chafin' my thighs.

    So I am totally stealing the Cherry Pie song. Super sorry. Don't' hate me. It's really not a big scene or anything but it's workin'.

    Good luck out there

    spitgag on SS

  8. I didn't write Cherry Pie or anything, but shouldn't you choose a different song?

    Chances of a studio buying a pilot from an unrepped new writer are extremely slim, but maybe with a contest win or an amazing idea they would. So good luck!

  9. Anonymous6:04 PM

    Yes, you did not write that song but the guilt was so overwhelming that I already changed it to "Paradise City" by G&R. It's actually better thematically.
    Altho some buzarre part of me wants Pat Benatar's "Hit me with your best shot". Not as cool. It's a comedy.

    You're right on new writer but I do have a director's rep which proilly isn't worth dick.

    I am connected to a bunch peops so I know I can get reads. Start with the script then go from there, right?




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