Working From Home 1 v3

Working From Home

by Adam Scott Weissman

It’s his first Hollywood job. So his film producer boss changes his life – but not for good. Part One. 3,498 words. Illustration by John Donald Carlucci.


Scott

“This is Cara in Arielle Castle’s office. Is this Scott?”

8547D799-C475-4659-B563-17A9A283F8B3“Yes.”

“So you’re looking for a job?”

I jumped out of my seat, suddenly extremely conscious of the fact that I was wearing nothing but boxer shorts. It was 104 degrees in Burbank and, despite what the advertising tells you, they don’t have air-conditioning in every unit at the Oakwood Apartments. I wanted to be in “the business” more than anything. When people told me it was a brutal industry and that I should try something else, it just made me want it more. My parents had told me in no uncertain terms that I had better get a job, and soon. "Because," my mom had said, ‘your father and I are only paying that exorbitant $1,050 for a studio apartment for one more month." I wondered if Arielle Castle had air conditioning in her office.

“Yes. Absolutely,” I answered, quickly navigating my laptop to IMDb.com. I typed in “Arielle Castle.” I had applied for hundreds of jobs online: the UTA job list, EntertainmentCareers.net, studio job portals – you name it. This was the first time anyone had called back.

“Can you come in for an interview tomorrow at 11 a.m.?”

“Yes. I would love — That would be great. Yes. Thank you,” I sputtered, scanning Arielle Castle’s list of credits. There were 29 of them – nearly one movie a year for the past three decades, including some major franchises and Oscar winners. She was always credited as “Associate Producer”.

“Okay. Arielle will meet you at her house. It’s 974 Knob Tree Avenue, Sherman Oaks.”

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About The Author:
Adam Scott Weissman
Adam Scott Weissman has worked on over ten television shows, including CSI:NY, Sons Of Anarchy, and Glee. He penned the feature film A Deadly Obsession starring Katee Sackhoff for Mar Vista Entertainent and the TV pilot FRankenstein for CBS Studios and The CW. He adapted, directed, and produced the play Might As Well Live: Stories by Dorothy Parker for the 2015 Hollywood Fringe Festival and won the Encore Producer’s Award. Most recently, he worked on the Fox series APB.
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The Writer’s Cut
Part One

by Eric Idle

Book excerpt from the Monty Python legend: a wisecracking, ambitious and horny film/TV comedian goes to a pitch meeting. 4,096 words. Part Two. Part Three. Illustration by John Donald Carlucci.


Los Angeles – January 2003

My name is Stanley Hay and I’m a professional writer. I write movies, I write sitcoms, and I write gags 8547D799-C475-4659-B563-17A9A283F8B3for TV shows. You may have heard some of them. “I believe in the separation of Church and Planet.” That was mine. Caused quite a stir. I don’t mean to cause trouble. It just seems to be what I do best. I make a pretty decent living writing and rewriting, but I have always wanted to write a novel, and this year, in January 2003, I decided it was time.

It didn’t quite turn out the way I’d planned.

Steve Martin says that the problem with fiction is you’ll be happily reading a book, and all of a sudden it turns into a novel. You should hear the way he says that. “It goes all novelly.” He’s a hoot, Steve. He cracks me up. It’s the way he says things. “Alllll novelly.” But it’s true isn’t it? That is the problem with novels. They are so palpably fiction. Maybe we’re a bit sick of plots with stories and characters, the usual bull. Oh she’s going to end up in bed with him. He’s going to do it with her. They’re all going to run away and join the navy … After all we’ve been reading books for centuries and watching movies and TV for years, and we’ve sat through hundreds and thousands of tales by the time we’re adults, so we know all about plot twists, and sudden reversals of fortune, and peripeteia and all that Aristotelian shit they cram into you at college. But real life doesn’t have a plot, does it? It just kinda rambles on.

So that’s what I set out to write. A reality novel. A novel about a Hollywood writer who is writing a novel about a Hollywood writer writing a novel about Hollywood.

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About The Author:
Eric Idle
Eric Idle is a comedian, actor, author, playwright, singer and songwriter. Co-creator of Monty Python, he has appeared on TV, stage and in films, including The Holy Grail which he later adapted for the stage as Spamalot. Last year he wrote and directed the final Monty Python reunion show One Down Five To Go at London’s O2. Eric has written three novels: Hello Sailor, The Road to Mars and his latest The Writer's Cut excerpted here.
The Elusive One

The Elusive One

by Laurie Horowitz

She has a fantasy about a renown actor/writer. Isn’t Hollywood where dreams come true? 2,361 words. Illustration by Mark Fearing.


The first time Lolo Liebowitz did not meet Steve Martin was at the Rite-Aid in Beverly Hills. She had walked 8547D799-C475-4659-B563-17A9A283F8B3over there from her office where she spent her days trying to get jobs for screenwriters. At The Embark Agency, she had a lowly occupation filling writing assignments and covering studios. She was a junior agent, a woman like almost all the other junior agents, usually unappreciated like everyone there except the triumvirate at the top of the tenpercentery.

Embark might be responsible for finding jobs for the most famous actors in the world, the most talented directors, and even some original writers — but it was, at its crux, an employment agency. As employment agencies went, it was high powered and high pressured. One of Lolo’s senior colleagues, Tip Gill, had just called Lolo to berate her for getting the rewrite of Balustrade for Sophie Linden instead of his client Gitta Prentice. Tip explained there is no ‘I’ in team at Embark. But Gitta’s spec script was an action thriller about sadists, while the Disney assignment was a rom-com between canaries.

“Let’s face it, she wasn’t really right for it,” Lolo told Tip.

“Why are you being so defensive?” Tip accused her.

Lolo soon discovered there was no way she could keep from being attacked almost daily in her job. The days of the glamorous Hollywood agent may have been just as rough, but at least the occasional bowl of cocaine sitting on a coffee table in the office helped smooth them out. This constant assault was hard on Lolo’s body and soul. She hadn’t had a date or a decent bowel movement in weeks. So she set off for Rite-Aid that night to buy a bottle of Metamucil.

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About The Author:
Laurie Horowitz
Laurie Horowitz began her career as a lawyer but became a CAA lit agent for 11 years. She now is a freelance editor of fiction, memoirs and screenplays and runs a fiction and creative non-fiction workshop The Writers' Pen Factory. Her novel The Family Fortune was published by William Morrow in 2006 and the TV thriller aired on Lifetime in 2007. Her James Patterson Bookshot romantic comedy just came out titled Love Me Tender.
Diary Of A Mad Tv Executive

Diary Of A Mad Executive

by Cynthia Mort

He knew no one in television and quickly came to know everybody. Who will stop his rise? 5,069 words. Illustration by Thomas Warming.


THE EARLY YEARS

Weight was always an issue for me, when I was young. An Italian boy from Ohio, I was basically loved 8547D799-C475-4659-B563-17A9A283F8B3to fat by my mother. All the love she didn’t get from my father, she gave to me — in huge pans of lasagna, monster portions of risotto, and gigantic slabs of tiramisu. I ate it all; it was so worth it to see her smile as I cleaned my plate.

So, at 21, I was living at home, a short fat Mama’s boy, a community college graduate, and in my private moments, gay. One night, right after my father kissed me with a look of disgust that was hard to hide, I went downstairs — I was living in the basement, my star athlete brother getting the only other bedroom upstairs — and sat in the dark, thinking. I stayed down there for days, not that anyone noticed. Well, my mother would pass down food whenever she was depressed.

And to me there only seemed one place to go, one dream to live, one big, great fuck-you-to-everyone-who-ever-made-fun-of-me — Hollywood.

My first job in Hollywood was not the mailroom, it was as an assistant to the assistant of the assistant to the assistant of the assistant to the Executive Vice President of the major cable network. I could not believe when I walked through those basement doors for my interview.

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About The Author:
Cynthia Mort
Cynthia Mort is a film and TV writer, producer and director. She wrote for Roseanne and Will & Grace before creating, writing and executive producing Tell Me You Love Me for HBO. Mort co-authored the feature The Brave One and wrote and directed the indie Nina about legendary jazz singer Nina Simone. She most recently created and sold the one-hour show Shadow Morton to Starz and will direct two films she wrote.
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Hail Mary

by Ned Dymoke

A stuntwoman turned realtor is suspicious when she finds out A-list celebs are buying from her. 2,937 words. Illustration by John Mann.


"Sorry I’m late," he said.

He walked in holding a stack of binders under his left arm and a coffee in his right hand. He looked 8547D799-C475-4659-B563-17A9A283F8B3sweaty. It was air conditioned in the half-finished showroom almost to the point of catatonia yet Spader was sweating big buttery bullets.

"What’s with the stacks?" said Nicole. She shot him a disgusted look. She could smell him from where she was sitting, and she hated that he could somehow bleed into multiple senses. Nicole had the face of a Midwestern blonde beauty queen but the demeanor of a drill sergeant. She had moved to Los Angeles from Minneapolis to become a stuntwoman, but had fractured her leg in multiple places falling down a flight of stairs for a movie shoot five years ago. The filmmakers hadn’t even kept the take. But she’d been left with a limp and been forced to abandon her stunt career. There had been flowers and a brief mention in the press at the time that she had been at fault. She’d since learned to swallow the memories of that whole past life of hers. She rarely thought about Hollywood the same way, and kept her head out of the industry trades. Luckily for her bank account, she had taken to selling real estate like a shark in shallow water. She sometimes wondered what she’d say if the producers of the movie ever tried to buy from her.

Nobody around the table that morning liked Spader except for Pete and even that friendship was tenuous at best, with conversations revolving mostly about the Dodgers’ team troubles. But there would be no talk of baseball today. Out of the four of them, Nicole was the most talented at actually selling.  Until this contract was over, they were stuck in this trailer from 10 to 6 every day, without fail.

"These," said Spader, "are for the meeting at 11."

"It’s 11:22, Spader," Nicole said.

"Yeah I know. I had to go and get them. And then make sure they were the right ones." Pause. "I also stopped to get coffee," said Spader, almost out of breath. The table groaned "But I think you’ll find that I did good on finding all these."

Spader was confident, and this was new.

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About The Author:
Ned Dymoke
Ned Dymoke writes and directs short films, as well as music videos for Nashville artists. He has written and edited pieces for Esquire, Playboy, National Geographic, Vice, Interview and other media under the name Ned Hepburn. He has authored three books - Brother Louie, Life's Rich Pattern, and The Jack Perry Show - and a TV pilot based on the Coen Brothers’ Raising Arizona.
Roommates NEW

Roommates

by Robert W. Welkos

Three world famous actors started out long ago as NYC roommates struggling to make it. 3,222 words. Illustration by Thomas Warming.


New York City — 1950s

Sheldon Dumar, Bo Daggett and Bill Travers live together in the same New York City apartment 8547D799-C475-4659-B563-17A9A283F8B3building as close to roommates as three straight guys can get, all in their twenties and all focused on finding acting jobs.

Tonight, Sheldon is awakened by a pluk, pluk, pluk noise. What is that, the faucet? Geez, can’t a guy get any sleep around here?

“Shut up.” He covers his ears. “I said, shut up, dammit!” Groggily, he rubs the sleep from his eyes and stares unfocused into the grayish darkness. He has to laugh. How does that TV show go? There are eight million stories in the naked city… and now this is one of them: Bo’s shitty leaky kitchen faucet. Then Sheldon remembers all those lessons drummed into him using the Meisner Technique. Learn to improvise, Sheldon, like Meisner says. A phrase. Respond with intensity. Let your emotions flow. Sheldon glares at the faucet. “Are you pluking with me, faucet? Stop pluking with me!”

Sheldon dips his head and laughs. Always on. Always the actor. But he’s thankful Bo doesn’t kick him out of the apartment. Bo wouldn’t, would he? They’ve been pals since meeting at the Pasadena Playhouse, as unlikely a pair as Wally Cox and Marlon Brando.

Sheldon asked to crash at Bo’s pad while looking for a job in New York. Found one, too. Waiting tables. Don’t we all in this profession until the auditions pay off? Now Sheldon is looking for something off-Broadway or maybe a TV commercial. That would suffice until he gets on his feet financially and can afford his own pad. Until then, Bo says Sheldon can sleep on the kitchen floor. What a pal. Pluk, pluk pluk.

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About The Author:
Robert W. Welkos
Robert W. Welkos is an award-winning journalist who covered the film industry for 15 years for the Los Angeles Times. Before that he was an assistant city editor for the paper's Metro section. He previously was an AP correspondent in Reno. This excerpt is from a second novel he’s writing. His first, The Blue Poppy, was published in 2012.
Great Secrets v2

The Great Secrets Of 20th Century Show Business

by Howard Jay Klein

Ken gets an impressive new title and a surprising new pal at a Hollywood agency. 3,813 words. Illustration by John Donald Carlucci.


Harry Taradash’s office door was ajar so I gave it the courtesy knock and walked in. He looked up 8547D799-C475-4659-B563-17A9A283F8B3and waved me to a chair. “Boychick, this is gonna be your office?” he asked. His face had that beatific look of sweet resignation you occasionally observe among the elderly who have come to a quiet accommodation with their own mortality.

“So I’m told. No rush about it, Harry,” I said, easing into his client chair. “I understand you wanted me to stop by before I left on the red-eye for New York tonight.”

Nobody at the Elton Talbot Agency knew Harry’s real age. In LA, that lively old guy look often radiates from men who trade in their shrunken aged spouses for shopaholic trophy wives. Some guy in accounting once told me that Harry lived with a divorced daughter. So his apparent vigor probably had more to do with his fighting spirit. He’d been at war with the agency partners over the past five years in a Twilight-Of-The-Gods struggle to force him out.

Unfortunately for the partners, Harry held a sizeable chunk of company stock enabling him to block a big merger that management had been salivating to close for a year. Finally, they sued. Harry lost a bruising court battle and the war. Today was his last at the agency. There wasn’t a thundering götterdämmerung ending — only a cloying press release emailed to the world the week before and drenched in crocodile tears about his legendary career.

Why I’d been tapped to be the lone member of his bye-bye brigade mystified me. I hardly knew the man. When I’d been transferred to the Beverly Hills office, I’d listened to the lunchtime gossip about his pathetic hanging-on. We’d exchanged corridor nods and clamped lower lip smiles. Once, we stood shoulder to shoulder in the executive restroom as we peed.

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About The Author:
Howard Jay Klein
Howard Jay Klein is a 25-year executive and consultant in the Atlantic City casino industry. He oversaw marketing, operations and entertainment for Caesar's and Trumps' Taj Mahal and created Grandstand Under The Stars for outdoor concerts with Sinatra, Bennett, Dylan, Chicago, Springsteen and others. He publishes Casino Management Review and writes novels.
A Friend Of Dorothys3

A Friend Of Dorothy’s

by Jim Piazza

A teen has a close encounter with a movie idol and learns more about her than he wants. 3,101 words. Illustration by Thomas Warming.


Danny and his only friend at West Lynn High, Joanie, take their balcony seats at Boston’s Colonial 8547D799-C475-4659-B563-17A9A283F8B3Theater. They’re in a sea of matinee ladies who unwrap candies and chatter about the Broadway-bound musical they’re about to see.  (“Isn’t Auntie Mame a little naughty for a musical?” “Who knew Angela Lansbury could sing?") Suddenly a hubbub in the orchestra as a late arrival makes her way down the aisle. The word wafts up to the balcony. "It’s her! So tiny! She doesn’t look so bad from here!” Danny leaps from his seat to peer over the railing. He’s mesmerized, tries to find his breath. The Hollywood legend turns and gives the audience a little wave before her escort helps her into her seat. The houselights dim with the first notes of the overture. Joanie tugs at Danny’s arm, forcing him back down.

"I think I saw that pink suit in Life magazine," he whispers.

“Danny, she’s a huge star.  She’d never wear the same thing twice."

"What I hear, she’s not exactly flush."

"Are you kidding? She must have millions!"

Four nights later, the legend is passed out across her bed at the Ritz-Carlton, still in her pink suit. The house phone rings. It’s the manager reminding her once again her bill is overdue. No amount of charm will put him off at this hour. He’s immune to Big Names on the skids trying to pay their way with promises and capped smiles. The lady in Room 1214 is particularly notorious on that score. He knows all the stories, who doesn’t by now? All those movies, headlines, breakdowns, comebacks and husbands.  As she once said about all the men in her life – they steal her heart, then her checkbook, then her pool boy.

She slams down the receiver, in desperation now, and searches for her purse containing the all-important address book with the numbers of hangers-on to assist in her hour of need. To her growing irritation, it’s nowhere to be found in the rubble of empty bottles and overturned prescription vials. All she’s managed to come up with is a schoolbag full of homework. "What the hell have I been doing?" she mutters to herself.

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About The Author:
Jim Piazza
Jim Piazza is a journalist and writer who has co-written books about the Academy Awards and the 101 greatest films of all time, including two bestsellers. He authored a biography of Elvis Presley, The King, and essays in OUT, Village Voice and The New York Times. He is currently at work on a new play Reading Angie about a movie star.
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Vanilla Shake

by Antonia Bogdanovich

The daughter of a Hollywood VIP grows up too quickly after she meets his best friend. 5,517 words. Illustration by The Fates.


I sat back on the soft white leather couch and watched Charlie meticulously roll a joint. The leather 8547D799-C475-4659-B563-17A9A283F8B3smelled clean and, looking around the apartment, I noticed that the decoration was sparse — only a standing lamp and small coffee table were used to fill out the rest of the room. He still looked good: sexy, handsome and alert. At that moment, he looked up and I could tell he was wondering what I was thinking. This time I had decided we both would get what was coming to us, what we had been waiting to happen for some time. I was 17 and had known Charlie almost half my life…

It all started at The House, which was sprawled out along a plot of land that seemed to go on forever. I could whistle on one side of the house and not a peep could be heard on the other. There were no wall-to-wall carpets – only thick Spanish tiles, which often cooled off my bare feet on hot summer days. Or, wearing socks, and carrying a big bowl of Sugar Corn Pops filled with milk, I could slide along the smooth floor confident that not a drip would fall to the ground. Outside, there was a heart-shaped pool and a hip little cabaña to go with it. The House seemed to have everything a grown person could ever want — but of course that was never enough.

I often wondered what it would feel like to be surrounded by adults who had enough. Did such people even exist? People who would be satisfied with a large creamy vanilla shake in a glass sweating pellets of condensation down its sides, a funky transistor radio, and a moderate sized apartment, just big enough to hang their hat and rest their sleepy head. I wanted to know these strangers, but for years when I was young they only existed as characters I could play with in my head, characters that wouldn’t be put off if I asked them for a sip of their shake or a crayon to color with — an adult who might even take the time to color with me — not just to gain favor from the man of the house, but simply because they wanted to.

There were always people at the House. As the voices grew louder, the place seemed to swell, as if at any moment it would reach its breaking point and suddenly pop like a balloon. Most just seemed to be using my father, buying time I guess, perhaps anticipating the day when they would have to get up off the couch and make it on their own, instead of just hanging out and leeching off Dad. There were production assistants, chiropractors, lawyers, playwrights, producers, and high-profile dentists. In my mind, they all somehow seemed to morph into one. Maybe they thought if they just stayed around long enough my father’s genius would rub off on them.

Now Pops, he got The House from making movies, lots of them.

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Antonia Bogdanovich on twitter
About The Author:
Antonia Bogdanovich
Antonia Bogdanovich is the daughter of Oscar nominees Peter Bogdanovich and Polly Platt and is a screenwriter, director and producer. Phantom Halo, her 2015 feature directorial debut which she co-wrote, was a NY Times Critic Pick. In 2015 she was an executive producer on She’s Funny That Way and in 2016 a producer on The Phenom (which premiered at Tribeca) and Six Love Stories. She is currently turning Vanilla Shake into a one-hour drama series and, with Traveling Picture Show Company and Bonnie Timmermann, casting The Rabbit Will Die which she co-wrote and will direct.
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There’s No Side Of The Street Like My Side Of The Street

by Bill Scheft

A comedian who says what Hollywood doesn’t want to hear tries to right his wrongs. 2,712 words. Illustration by Mark Fearing.


I’m not sure how this works. This was someone else’s idea. Actually, a lot of people’s. My agent, my 8547D799-C475-4659-B563-17A9A283F8B3shrink, two old friends, two guys who know and two ex-wives. The only one who said not to do it was my new girlfriend, which is why she is my new girlfriend. I don’t have a computer. Well, I do, but it’s dial-up. I don’t have email anymore. I would have typed it on my computer, but my printer is busted. Or needs a new ink cartridge. So, I am dictating this into a tape recorder and giving it to one of my daughters, who said she would type it up and email it to some new website where, ideally, they would post it and then other places might pick it up and then everyone would eventually know everything and then… then what?

So, if you’re reading this now, it made it. Which is the difference between what this is and me. I never made it.

There’s a great joke. It’s not mine. I don’t know whose it is, but the fact I’m not saying it is mine is an incredible departure for me. Here’s the joke: Saint Peter at the Gates of Heaven. First guy comes up. Saint Peter says, “What did you do on Earth?” Guy says, “I was a doctor. I made $500,000 a year, but I put in at least one day a week at the free clinic. I also went to Africa twice and performed medicine in destitute villages. My wife and I were married for 35 years, we had three beautiful children, and I had seven grandkids.” Saint Peter says, “Okay, you can go in.” Second guy comes up to the gate. Saint Peter says, “What did you do on Earth?” Second guy says, “I was a lawyer. I grew up poor. Paid my way through law school, started with a big firm, made it to partner. I was earning at least $1 million a year, but three years ago, I left and started my own firm, which did exclusively pro-bono work. I was married 25 years. My wife couldn’t have children, so we adopted two girls, and they both just graduated from law school and are taking over my business.” Saint Peter says, “Okay, you can go in.” Third guy comes up to the gate. Saint Peter says, “What did you do on Earth?” The guy says, “Not much. I never made more than $7,500 a year. I was married and divorced three times. I have five children, two that I’ve never seen. And I’m an alcoholic and a drug addict.” And Saint Peter says, “What have I seen you in?”

I’m not dying, unless you heard something. I’m not sick. The fact that my health is as good as it is may be one of life’s great jokes. As great as the Saint Peter joke, probably not. As great as the bit I came up with in 1994 about the realtor showing John Wayne Gacy’s house (“The basement is 20×30 and sleeps 26…”)? Well, comedy is subjective. A lot of comics love that bit. I heard Robin Williams laugh one night in the back of the room when I did it at the Holy City Zoo. So, for all I know, he lifted it and it died with him.

If I sound bitter, that’s what you’re hearing. I am not bitter. I am just relentlessly realistic.

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Bill Scheft on twitter
About The Author:
Bill Scheft
Bill Scheft was a 16-time Emmy-nominated writer for David Letterman from 1991 until May 20, 2015. He spent 12 years touring as a stand-up comedian until he was hired as a monologue writer for Late Night With David Letterman on NBC. He has authored 4 novels: The Ringer, Time Won't Let Me (2006 Thurber Prize For American Humor finalist) , Everything Hurts, and his latest Shrink Thyself. @billscheft
La Chuparosa 02

La Chuparosa

by J.M. Rosenfield

A civilian has a close encounter with a world famous actress. Is it an act of fate or grace? 2,948 words. Illustration by John Mann.


I’d been lucky once before when I got the scholarship. The Hanover prepsters tagged me “Feather.” 8547D799-C475-4659-B563-17A9A283F8B3And they called the kid from Calcutta, “Dot.” As if they had a hard time telling us Indians apart. They had a lot of fun with us. It’s one of the things I liked about her. She was different. She could care less where I come from. Or what I do. And when I think back on how we met it seems like a chance encounter. Random. But lately I wonder if fate played a part.

It’s only 10 AM. I swap out the igniter in a tub at Ten Thousand Waves. The Japanese spa up on the hill. I usually keep some spares in the truck. So it’s a simple fix. And I finish my first job of the day. It’s slushy in the parking lot. When I see her she’s having trouble starting her car. A rented Cayenne, shiny and white, but caked with red road mix from the thawing and re-freezing in the wake of a brutal winter storm. It’s that storm. More chill than snow and ice. A hundred-year hard freeze that leaves a trail of burst pipes from Roswell to Taos. My bread and butter. I can make my year in those two weeks alone. She throws her hands in the air as if to say, “What’s the use of even trying?”

Of course, I’d seen that wild dark mane and those huge eyes staring out at me before on movie screens. Mostly foreign films. But here she is right in front of me. Spewing a stream of curses. En Espanol. So how can I not offer to help? It’s all so easy. I pop the shifter from Drive into Park, turn the key, and the Porsche fires right up. Anyone else in that situation would feel slightly embarrassed. But not her. You can tell she’s privileged like those Texas tourists who waltz into town for the summer. Expect to be waited on hand and foot. Only she’s Euro, not Anglo. When you make that kind of bank isn’t it all the same? She’s more relieved than anything. Asks if I would accept something in return. A tip?

I say no thanks. But if you got a few minutes to sit down over a cup of coffee, I’ll call us even.

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About The Author:
J.M. Rosenfield
J.M. Rosenfield has worked in many aspects of Hollywood film and media. He was location manager for On Golden Pond and Carny and produced the sci-fi feature Wavelength and its soundtrack by Tangerine Dream. He was a producer, writer, and segment director for Entertainment Tonight and newswriter at KNBC and KTLA. This excerpt is from his new novel.
Age of Anxiety - Warming

Age Of Anxiety

by Nat Segaloff

They’re Hollywood’s walking dead, deemed too old to hire. One writer fights back. 2,236 words. Illustration by Thomas Warming.


Bernie Saffran made the mistake of turning 41 in Hollywood. He didn’t need to mark the 8547D799-C475-4659-B563-17A9A283F8B3milestone with a birthday party; everybody in town simply knew. Like an ice cube on a hot griddle, his name immediately melted from producers’ contact lists. His long-time agent Lance Steel (honest, that’s his name) handed him off to a trainee. His favorite coffee bar no longer let him sit at a window table. His multi-pierced sales clerk at The Gap suggested more suitable selections at CostCo. Here he was, nine years before he could join AARP, but the town had written him off.

He didn’t think it would happen to him, not after 20 years as a working and mildly successful screenwriter in the biz. If he could be gay or transgender or heterosexual and nobody cared, why couldn’t he be 41? But the Gen X and Y’ers named Jason and Kristin who ran the feature industry felt otherwise.

“You’re only as old as people younger make you feel,” Bernie used to joke. But when he hit 41, the punch line stopped getting laughs.

He tried to hide his age, of course. He turned his baseball cap backwards. He wore his sports shirt unbuttoned and let it hang over a Yeezus T-shirt. He listened to whatever crap his kids listened to on the radio – oops, make that the streaming audio. He sampled @midnight to gauge the lowest common denominator of humor even though host Chris Hardwick was three years older. Hell, if Lorne Michaels in his seventies could dictate the taste of SNL demos for generations below him, so could Bernie Saffran.

Or so he thought.

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About The Author:
Nat Segaloff
Nat Segaloff is a journalist, producer, author and critic whose memoir Screen Saver: Private Stories Of Public Hollywood and its forthcoming sequel Screen Saver Too are published by Bear Manor Media. He has been a professor (Boston University, Boston College), publicist (Fox, UA, Columbia) and broadcaster (Group W, CBS). He has written more than a dozen books, the latest A Lit Fuse: The Provocative Life of Harlan Ellison (NESFA Press).
Birthday Party v3

Birthday Party

by Ann Hamilton

A child’s fourth birthday becomes a battlefield for two fathers waging Hollywood’s agency wars. 2,907 words. Illustration by John Donald Carlucci.


Derek is supposed to be listening to his client’s pitch, a mini-series for Syfy, and he knows it’s 8547D799-C475-4659-B563-17A9A283F8B3something about global warming. Or a pandemic. Maybe both (“a contemporary dystopian take on Noah’s Ark”). But instead Derek finds himself looking at a photo of his daughter Sierra taken in Maui on a family trip last spring. Three-year old Sierra stands on the beach looking at a man in a yellow Easter Bunny suit, staring him down. Come on, bunny. Bring it on. He wonders what she’s doing at preschool right now. Gluing nuts to construction paper to spell out her name? Taking a nap?

He wants to yawn, but that would be disrespectful to Tyler, his client. Derek nods and smiles. He hasn’t been paying attention for five minutes which is dangerous in these cutthroat times when, in a blink of an eye, agencies are losing even their unsuccessful showrunners to unscrupulous competitors on the prowl.

Tyler stops and looks down at the pitch pages on his lap. “Albino twins with telekinetic powers? Too much?” says Tyler, making a quick slash with his pen. “Let me tell you about the shipping crate they find filled with Red Trolley Ale. I was thinking product placement.”

Derek nods blankly. He is thinking about the conversation he overheard his wife Kiki having on her cell in line at Starbucks with another mother over the weekend. “Dylan’s birthday isn’t until the 18th, and Sierra’s birthday is the 10th, so the 13th and the 14th are Sierra’s days. It’s the rule. I’ve booked a Bollywood dance teacher. Non-refundable deposit.”

Tyler won’t get in to pitch to Syfy. Derek has already come up with a good excuse. Staffing change. They need to sort things out in Syfy development. Oh, shit. Did he say that last time about Tyler’s canceled Sony meeting? Derek isn’t interested in Tyler anymore. Another agent warned him, pre-signing, “Tyler had one good idea five years ago, always late with drafts, bad in a room,” but Derek enjoyed the challenge of luring Tyler away from a boutique agency. Boutique means bullshit, that was Derek’s pitch. People will take you seriously, Ty. Once you’re with us.

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About The Author:
Ann Hamilton
Ann Hamilton is a TV and film writer and producer. Her TV credits include Haven, The Dead Zone, Grey’s Anatomy, Saved, Party of Five, Thirtysomething and numerous pilots. She was twice nominated for an Emmy award, and was the winner of a WGA Award and the Humanitas Prize. Her first novel Expecting was published in 2014.
Dying On A Bed Of Nails

Dying On A Bed Of Nails

by Nikki Finke

The men who run Mendelson Management wanted the women to just shut up and do their jobs. 4,267 words. Illustration by Thomas Warming.


A handful of women managers working at the same management firm controlled a growing 8547D799-C475-4659-B563-17A9A283F8B3group of hot young talent that Hollywood was just beginning to beg for. The women had signed these actors and actresses at the beginning of their careers and choreographed their every move up the ladder until huge salaries and successful features were just within their grasps. That was the Mendelson Management way: to nurture talent. Unfortunately, what was not the Mendelson way was to nurture women managers.

The transformation of these female millennials from salaried employees to star managers occurred so subtly that it escaped the notice of the firm’s middle-aged partners who instead kept their eyes more firmly affixed on the bottom line as well as on their own fat asses. The result was that Mendelson was the worst by far of the major management companies which indulged in that gambit played by male-dominated Hollywood to subordinate women: institutionalized sexism.

Mendelson had never had a female partner. There had never even been a woman in its training program. Instead, almost every woman manager had started at the company as a secretary and risen in spite of the prevailing system. That created a kind of girl posse. Instead of the female frenemies common to Hollywood studios or networks or agencies, the Mendelson women were BFFs and truly liked one another. They even worked as a team, sharing and pairing on certain clients to the extent that it became hard for Hollywood to tell exactly whose client was whose. But as their clients became celebs, so, too, did these female managers.

At one time they’d had a “mother” figure. Whether teetering on stilletos to visit an action thriller director on a location only accessible by a rope ladder, or screaming down the hallways to someone eight offices away, she’d been a character to some, but also a mentor to the Mendelson women. She was not afraid to bitch-slap the Mendelson males on behalf of the females. Her corner of the headquarters even looked like a sorority house as, at the end of the day, she and her pledges would gather in her office, sprawl on the couches and chillax together.

The women had personality traits in common. They were relentless and obnoxious, to the point that Hollywood complained they were bitches on platform heels. But those same qualities also made them great managers. None of them had grown up with money or connections. Nor could they rely on their looks. They were mostly short and rather plain. Indeed their mentor once ordered the only near-beauty among them to cut her long wavy auburn hair. (“Because if you’re dealing with a man, he’s not going to know whether to fuck you or sign you as his manager. And if it’s a woman, she’s not going to want you near her husband or boyfriend. So cut your hair.”)

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About The Author:
Nikki Finke
Nikki Finke is Founder & CEO of Hollywood Dementia LLC and an authority on the entertainment industry. She is best known as Editor-in-Chief & Founder of Deadline Hollywood from March 2006 to December 2013. Before her 30-year Hollywood journalism career, Nikki reported on national, political and international news. She is a Consultant for Penske Business Media LLC and a 2018 Visiting Nieman Fellow at Harvard University. @NikkiFinke
Lefcourt Hamlet 2

Fixing Hamlet

by Peter Lefcourt

What script notes for Shakespeare would have said if Hamlet were in movie development. 772 words. Illustration by Mark Fearing.


FROM: DENISE MEZZOGIORNO, KEVIN OKRA
TO: BUZZ KAPLAN
RE: HAMLET, 9TH DRAFT (April 23, 1599)

8547D799-C475-4659-B563-17A9A283F8B3Though we think the writer has moved forward in this draft, there are still a number of problems with the script. In the next pass the following points need to be addressed:

1. STATIC ACTION. The narrative flow is consistently staunched by a series of pointless digressions, unresolved subplots and superfluous dialogue.

2. LACK OF JEOPARDY. At no point is Hamlet in actual jeopardy. What jeopardy there is is manufactured by a series of murky and over-written monologues.

3. INCONSISTENT CHARACTER ARCS. The leading characters suffer from lack of clear motivation and resolution. In the end, no one seems to have learned anything.

4. THE LOVE STORY DYNAMIC IS MUDDLED. We think we have to take a serious look at Ophelia’s suicide. Having the principal love interest check out before the end is, frankly, a bummer. What if Hamlet, at the eleventh hour, saved her from drowning? We could maintain the pathos (she could still sing and act distracted) but avoid a downbeat and emotionally-unsatisfying resolution.

5. UNSAVORY ETHNIC STEREOTYPING AND LATENT SEXISM. Please delete the references to "Polacks" and dimensualize Ophelia’s character with greater self-esteem.

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Peter Lefcourt on twitter
About The Author:
Peter Lefcourt
Peter Lefcourt is an Emmy-winning writer and producer for TV and film including Cagney And Lacey, Showtime's Beggars & Choosers (creator and executive producer) and Desperate Housewives (co-executive producer). He is a playwright and has written eight novels: The Deal, The Dreyfus Affair, Di & I, Abbreviating Ernie, The Woody, The Manhattan Beach Project, An American Family, and his latest Purgatory Gardens.
Studio Story even lighter and bolder

Studio Story

by Bertram Fields

A successful film studio is run with an iron fist. But is that the best strategy for its future? 2,711 words. Illustration by Thomas Warming.


The old man was packing his things in a cardboard box – doing it himself.  I just watched. 8547D799-C475-4659-B563-17A9A283F8B3

Jake Simon was going – really going.  Hard to believe.  After 15 years, 15 years, of one man rule by an angry, unpredictable son of a bitch.  You could certainly say that.  And you’d be right.  But, of course, it was more than that.  Much more.  Anyway, it was over now – over and done in half an hour.

I remember the day I got here.  How could I forget?  I’d never been to a studio before – any studio.  I’d just published my second novel to mild critical acclaim; and I suppose, to Jake, I was exotic, and I was “hot” – at least hot enough to hire as co-head of feature development.

Why do I remember that particular day?  That’s easy.  I was replacing a guy named Sid Blumberg, who was being demoted.  Sid had gone to Jake and complained that I was an overrated, Ivy League hack.  Not nice of him; but, hey, I get it, that’s the business.

Anyway, Jake calls me into his office with Sid still there.  Sid stands there looking uncomfortable while Jake repeats what he just said about me.  Kind of embarrassing.  Then, Jake turns to Sid and says, “I’ve hired this man because he has rare talent – talent we badly need.  Unlike you, this man’s an artist.”  Then, suddenly, he points at my feet and shouts, “Kiss his shoe!”

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About The Author:
Bertram Fields
Bert Fields is one of the top entertainment attorneys and his clients include performers, directors, writers, producers, studios and talent agencies. He is a prolific author having written two novels about an LA lawyer under a pseudonym, and books under his real name about Richard III, Shakespeare and most recently Destiny: A Novel Of Napoleon And Josephine. He co-owns Marmont Lane Books.