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Monthly Archives: June 2013

Onward and Upward Higher! — By Jack

…Continued from the post below. “What do you mean ‘you don’t talk to me that way’? I’m your fuckin’ CEO!” Max’s yell could be heard from his office, echoing through the bullpen. Donald stepped out of his office out into the open. He was going to make a show of it.

“You don’t call my assistants ‘your bitches’, you don’t call my sound mixers ‘incompetent fuck wads’ and you don’t call me–” Donald announced as if he were nailing a reformation on to the post schedule’s cork board.

Max stomped out of his office like a bully who just received a weggie from a chess club champion. He teetered on the edge of cool composure in the face of anger and going atomic. Then he stared Donald down which shut him up mid sentence. He was literally face to face. Noses no more than an inch away from one another.

Donald was a husky man, not quite thick enough to be called fat. Long gray curly hair that went down his back, topped off with a baseball cap. Mutton chops and a bushy mustache. He wore jeans, sneakers and a Spurs jersey. He was a man who had been bullied before, but couldn’t resist fighting back. Max on the other hand was never used to the push back. It dumbfounded and infuriated him. He had an Ari Gold style to match the temperament. Finely pressed silk-like khakis, French cuffed dark red shirt, a class ring on one hand, a Rolex on the other. And always perfectly trimmed hair. Everyday it looked like he walked in with a fresh haircut.

Max pulled away. “You know what? I was wrong. You’re not a shit stain. You’re a monkey. You don’t think I haven’t talked to people. Your crew? The network? The clients on location? You showin’ up late. 12 hour shoots that last 16 hours. Receipts for $300 dinners your crew says they never had. Footage that barely resembles the episode pitch. Hell I got editors working round the clock to fix the shit you told the DP to shoot. Makes me wonder what the fuck you’re doing. Then my brother sends me this.”

He pulls his phone to show him a video.


“And all I can think of is, that reminds me of Donald. It must be all you fuckin’ do in that office of yours. Because sure as shit nothing else is getting done.”

Donald is fuming. But he has no comeback. He knows he’s fucked up. The only person people bitch about more than Max is Donald.

“You need me to finish out the series, Max.”

“You know, I don’t think I do. I’m so confident in how worthless you are, I think I’m going to have…”

Max peers around the bullpen. He starts wagging his finger as if he was playing eeny, meeny, miny, moe. Finally he stops dead on me.

“Jack.”

“Seaver? He was a PA like three months ago. ”

“And he cast your whole show. He knows more about the companies than you do.”

“You can’t be serious! Max, bud!”

“I’m not your bud. I’m also not your boss anymore. Clean out your office and get the fuck out.”

Then Max walked off pulling out his cellphone to watch the Youtube video again. “I love that fuckin’ monkey drinking his pee! I’m going to call this the Donald video from now on.”

Donald couldn’t believe it. I couldn’t believe it. And neither could anyone else in the bullpen. Everyone was looking at me. Donald stood there for a second then finally turned to me and said, “Kid, you’ve no clue what you’re getting into. Good luck.”

–Jack Out

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Posted by on June 27, 2013 in By Jack, Writing

 

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Upward and Onward — By Jack

Meant for bigger things.

Lazarus Motors just pulled out. The crew is scheduled to land in Michigan two hours from now. And I didn’t get the location release ahead of time.

For anyone unfamiliar with television production, this is bad…very very bad. Without that release, a legal document agreeing to let us film the yacht builder’s facility, $600 plane tickets per crew member (of which there are 7) and 3 nights of $150 per night hotel rooms (also per crew member and also non-refundable) totaling $7350 dollars, will go to waste. That doesn’t account for day rates or travel expenses of those crew members or equipment rented or baggage fees. And when the airline doesn’t have media rates, a truckload of film equipment equals a shit load of baggage fees.

Long story short. I am fucked.

Back up nine months ago. Suffering 2 months of unemployment destroyed all my New York savings. I took a deli counter job. I was serving a chocolate cream pie when I made a joke to a guy on his third martini. I honestly don’t know what the joke was, but before I knew it the guy offered me a job at his documentary production company.

“I like you kid. You remind me of a really good shit I once took.”  He handed me his business card which, I swear, was made out of aluminum. Embossed in big letters was the name Max Luxburg. If I could have crumpled it up, I would have. But instead I gave him call the next day.

Before I knew it I was sitting in a cubical of a loud and hectic bullpen. Walls and floors made of marble echoed the chaos like a basketball court. But for the first time in my adult life I had an email address with my name followed by a company and weekends off. It felt good.

I started out as a production assistant, but instead of copying papers and making lunch runs, I was instantly given a short web series to produce.

“Knock it out of the park, penis head.” Ever since I shaved my head, I found I liked the bald look. But Max made no reservations about phallic comparisons. “You’re from New York. You know how to get things done.” Then he got on his motorcycle and drove out the emergency exit from his office.

To be honest, producing the show, a collection of short segments about pet stores around Los Angeles wasn’t that hard. It mostly involved calling stores and shelters, trying to convince them were weren’t trying to make them look crazy or stupid (which we were)  and figuring out how to make a schedule work between them and our “avant- garde” host Doggie Dave.

Max continued to throw projects my way and I kept doing what needed to be done. So then he bumped me up to assistant producer on Fill My Grill, a show about customizing BBQ equipment with Richard Karn.

Then one day I was at my desk when I heard Max knock over a bowl of jelly beans. The clash echoed through out the whole office, as the usual chaos came to a silent halt. What followed was a yell of, “What do you mean ‘you don’t talk to me that way?'” Something was up and someone was getting fired.

To be continued…

–Jack Out (Also I won’t drag this out like Jill. I’ll update it in a few days.)

 
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Posted by on June 21, 2013 in By Jack, Writing

 

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Marty’s Half Dozen Chapter 4: Part 2 — by Jill

Let's Dance!

Let’s Dance!

“Last call was fifteen minutes ago.” I told Ralph.

“That’s a shame. My waitress didn’t inform me. I’d hate to have to tell my good friend The Pearl about that.”

I glared. Ralph was mocking me about tattling to the owner. But I didn’t care. I wasn’t the scared newbie bartender he managed to intimidate into a panic from a few months ago.

“Awww c’mon. You still ain’t sore about that? Tell you what, I’ll buy you one. And good ol’ Solo Man can have one too!”

“I d-d-don’t want one.” Solomon insisted.

“Just shut up and take the free drink, fuck-stick.”

“I said get out.” I said, pulling Ralph’s bullying away from Solomon.

“No you didn’t.”

“Then I’m saying it now. Pay your tab and get out of here.”

“See the way she treats me Solo Man?” Ralph slapped Solomon on the shoulder. “Eh, you’re no fun. Fine I’ll get out of here.” Finally, he threw down his credit card. I ran it and slapped down his receipt and tossed the pen on top.

He picked up the pen, “But know you ain’t ever gonna be good with Marty ever again, right?”

His accurate perception of my distance from Marty made me pause. Either Ralph had gotten lucky and coincidentally stumbled upon my recent turn of events in his efforts to fuck with me. Or he was right.

As he signed the check, ” I mean, I’ll give it to the guy. He’s got a knack for cutting right to the heart of anyone sad enough to listen to him. And right there on the spot. Like a shrink with super powers. Solve the problems of your soul in seconds flat. I ain’t never seen anything like Marty in my whole life.”

“Glad you’re a fan” I said with arms folded.

“Yea, well that’s the rub. That’s a lot of power for someone to have over you. It’s scary if you think about it. I mean, it’s seems like a neat trick at first. Instant insight, like that. It’s why chumps go to fortune tellers and read horoscopes.  But when someone gets as close as he does? And that quickly? Feels like somethin’ ain’t quite right. Being that vulnerable that quick. 

“What do you want Ralph? You’re keeping me, to bitch about some old guy who got you thrown out of here months ag–?”

“He’s angry.” He said cutting me off.

There was a long breath.

I had expected any accusation Ralph would make to Marty’s character would be said with glee. But the way Ralph said it was…heavy. His eyes were terribly sad and his throat was both full and empty. 

But despite Ralph’s gloom, his comment offended every part of my body. Ralph and I locked eyes sharply, partly to access the truth, and partly from a searing need stare him down. To get him to take it back. The tension in the room was almost tangible. Solomon looked at the both of us, not making a move for fear it would trigger an explosion. But Ralphs eyes weren’t fighting me. There was an exhausted futility. Almost a frustrated surrender.  He was the one to break the eye lock by finishing his drink.

“I’m just sayin’ you–“

“Get out.”

“Hey I just think–“

“Get. Out!”

“Look, I’m sorry if–

“GET OUT! GET OUT! GET OUT!”

“Jeeze calm down, will ya?”

I turned around and grabbed a fifth of Smirnoff Vokda and lobbed it at his forehead. It only hit him in the shoulder as he turned to shelter himself. As soon as he turned was met by two rocks glasses as my response.

“OKAY OKAY! I’m going, you crazy bitch.”

He put on his coat and walked to the door. I immediately locked the door behind him.

There was a long silence as I picked up and broken glass pieces. Solomon came over to help me. I wanted to tell him, he didn’t need to help, but I couldn’t speak. Not yet. Finally after sweeping the area, (with Solomon holding the dust pan), he broke the silence.

“Jill?”

“Yes, Solomon?”

“You okay?”

“Yea, I’m fine.”

Solomon reached into his wallet to pay for his one cider.

“Don’t worry about it. You helped me clean the place. That’s certainly worth a Strongbow.”

“Th-thanks.”

I walked him over to the door to let him out.

“Have a good night, Solomon.”

“Thanks, Jill…” But I could tell he had more to say.

“Wh–” he glanced down, then over, then down again, then finally back to me, “Wh-what did that g-guy mean? About Marty being an–angry?”

There was another beat of silence.

“I mean, we all get angry sometimes right?”

“Sure. That guy’s just a jerk.”

“Okay, good night.” He didn’t have the courage to press the question further.

But that wasn’t what Ralph meant at all. I couldn’t admit it to myself at that moment. It was too terrifying, but Ralph had nailed the very fear that was pushing me away from Marty. That the happy-go-lucky, live in the moment, appreciation for everything old man that had managed to penetrate past all my walls and see me at my weakest might, just maybe have it in him to exploit that vulnerability. “Angry” could have meant anything. But somehow, in the last few weeks I had found myself worried that Marty might have it in him to lash out and use it. I don’t know why I thought that he would. I’d never seen him lash out at anyone. And for weeks I would wonder why I would have such a reaction. It wouldn’t be for a few more months that I would learn the truth that I was so afraid of. 

 
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Posted by on June 2, 2013 in By Jill, Marty's Half Dozen

 

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