Saturday, September 24, 2011

The Producer

I had thought those days were over. The days when one producer would read my script and then call up another producer and and ask is this guy funny and the other producer would say yes he is. And then the original producer would say “You’re right I think he is hysterical” I thought those days were over. But like a thick headed addict though the years I kept pecking away, with an occasional email query to a friend in the business; including a local producer transplanted from Los Angeles.
I contantly sent him material until one day I found myself in a local New Buffalo Michigan watering yuppized hole with a slick graphic of a dog on the sign in front.
This producer had a “project” for me. At 51 I still conveyed that eager beaver give me a chance crap. How many horror stories do you need to hear before the bright eyed and bushey tailed routine gives way to used brillo pads rubbing off tatoos of motorcycling riding cupids. How much of a fucking hope addict can one be? Look The “Intervention” should take place not for the drug addict, the intervention should be for that Hallmark crack, called Hope, you peddle inside yourself as you rapidly decay from your quest for contentment .
Much to my amazement I couldn’t stop with the “Gee I really appreciate a shot at this”“Gee. “ Isn’t that a word Eddie Haskell used with Mr. and Mrs Cleaver before he was shooting gay porn five years later.I’m beginning to think I’m the type that would just go out and try and to stage an “Up With People concert’ in a concentration camp.
This is the Midwest. We don’t trust anything that doesn’t grow in the ground. This producer grew up here. He must be different, grounded so to speak. He pulls up in Black Hummer with the vanity plates “T.V writer.”And fuck. He has perfect teeth. The first thing out of his mouth is Joel“I’m up to 200 squats a week now.”
Oh cmon you know those moments where life writes so much better satire than you ever possibly could you want to say why bother? And the next thing out of mouth is “To hell with the six pack I’m going for the case.”Again life you bastard, I could never write that. I mutter something about I think I’ll stick with abdominal jello mold down there and I get a nervous smile.

He starts pulling the cute teenage waitresses aside. “Darlene You should know this guy. He’s a brilliant writer” I got a big smile from her and an “Impressive’ That is just plain good. Dangle nymphos in front of you and feed your very hungry man ego.
Tactic #1 in the producer handbook. Combine cute young girls with flattery about your talent. I was familiar with these tactics and I thought I learned my lesson years earlier in my brush with Hollyrock. I had signed with the agency who had the hot receptionist offer to take me to an upcoming movie premier.. My alternative was to sign with incredibly obnoxious guy who would always yell in office “Calendar, calendar” and his assistant would come running. Thank god I didn’t go with him, what a fucking loser this guy Ari Emmanuel was. He wasn’t going anywhere. Nice call on my part.

No I had learned. I had learned so well that on my way to the bathroom I ran into the waitress and asked for her phone number and I’m guessing from the phone call I made to her the next day only three of the numbers she gave me were wrong.
You know how there’s geologic time. How things take place over billions of years? I am working on geologic stupidity. You make the same mistake for millions of years, so much so that your own personal evolution works backwards and you’re a goddamn ape before you even made it to your bar mitzvah.
Best case scenario: I become some wildly bearded esoteric astronomer of geological stupidity and have some theories and insights into the origin of the “Big Dumb.” Worse case I find my continually find myself in a Chicago alley on a Saturday night yelling how my girlfriend is fucking with my mind.
The producer now starts to tell me despite his millions how he’s a regular guy. “You and I Joel are no different.” How he recently got back from a trip to France where his best friend of his built an underground ice rink under, yes under a lake. An ice skating rink under a lake and me well I am trying to decide if it’s a throw caution to the wind kind of night and do Tuna Helper instead of Hamburger Helper. I guess he had that no matter how deep you engage, admire, embrace the decadence; if you pretend you have distance, it is not you. Of course you are as much what you claim you aren’t as you are.
The next thing I know I’m at home staring at the pilot. I'm terrified to open it. Don’t ruin this with flatulent predicatability of reality. I suspect it will be such drivel I will need to cover it in a special vomit proof cover. But you know what I could be wrong. I usually am.
The first sentence“Ted is a the good looking captain of the football team” Wait, wait this could be that perfect set up for satire. Don’t prejudge.
2. Alice is an ambitious journalist who runs the school paper who flirts with Ted. Son of a bitch!
3. Together they solve crimes but not before some wonderful musical performances.
I wish I knew the Kaddish the Jewish somber prayer for the dead. Some of the most somber words ever written.
This is fucking Scooby Doo meets Glee. He wants me to try a write an episode for Scooby Glee. Scooby Glee. 51 and I’m trying to write an episode for Scooby Glee. Well you have to hand it to life. 51 and trying to write an episode for Scooby Glee. I couldn’t make that up.
In the equilibrium of all things, in the mathematics of all things explained it’s this
Eddie Haskell doing gay porn= Joel trying to write an episode of Scooby Glee squared.
Now I am not proud. I have no artistic pretension or creative integrity. I’m the biggest pimp to wit to ever walk the earth. But I literally could never write this. I couldn’t think this way. I didn’t have the ability and I was grateful. An epiphany. Not the Michael Angelo sixteenth chapel fingers touching stuff, more like hearing the symphony in the water that settles after the toilet flush. I went from “could I be anymore pathetic” to the uplifting strength of embracing my severe and profound limitations. Somehow there is such strange comfort in knowing the only real character I’m capable of creating is the character of myself. I’ll take solitary in my narcissistic prison any old day.

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