Friday, October 31, 2014

Last minute Halloween Guide

It has recently come to my attention that some of my contemporaries are "over" the whole Halloween thing. This has really been eating at me because Halloween is easily one of my favorite holidays. In fact all holidays are my favorite. If you don't like holidays, fuck you.

You got a problem with Columbus because he enslaved indigenous people? Well I think it's nice that a handful of businesses and schools shut down making my Monday morning commute a little easier. You may think that makes me a cold callous person, I contend that it is one man finding a silver lining.

Halloween is not something you get over. It is a lifelong celebration that changes as you age. You get over the flu, you get over an ex, you get over a drug phase or a hentai porn obsession. Dressing up like an idiot and eating candy is timeless.

I may not relate to you the same as I once did. I admittedly see engagement photos on Facebook and immediately think "Glad I hooked up with her when I had the chance" or "Well maybe she's a cheater" and that probably puts me in a different mental state than a lot of you. But one thing I am adept at doing is putting together a last minute party guide as a public service to you. It's my way to give back, and I'm nothing if not selfless. Without further ado, the Single Dude Last Minute Halloween Guide.

Part I. The Costume.
It's Thursday night and you don't have a costume yet (skip to part 2 if you do, or read on for abhorrent suggestions by me) This is not a problem. You're likely going to a different party this year and might work at a different company than you did a year ago. Double down on an old costume. If you were in a frat/sorority you should have a closet jam packed full of random old shit. This should be easy. Just remember three basic principles.

-Will this costume make me sweat? Halloween parties are notorious for getting out of control and we all know what white people like to do when they get drunk. Dance to rap music. You want to be able to go three songs uninterrupted without breaking a sweat. Three songs is how long it usually take to...

-Is my face obscured by this costume? Can you easily execute a dance floor make out in this costume? I mean look, going black face is hilarious, but is a girl going to want to snog you and risk brown paint rubbing off on her cheeks? The same goes for you pirate man with the fake beard, that fake polyester beard will not only make you sweat, but it will be scratchy as shit and probably give you a rash. Nothing wrong with a clean shaven pirate. Remember the "I'm the captain now" guy from Captain Phillips? No beard!

-Is this costume's funny to burden ratio worth it? So you have a giant banana costume in your closet, that's cool, but do you think any girl wants to go home with the giant banana guy? What if a last minute after hours party in the Hills comes into play, can you fit your giant banana ass into an UberX? Often it is best to go with something comfortable and simple. Also, avoid shock. I mean if you wore Groot wearing an Adrian Peterson jersey to my party? I would give you an award. But it's likely to turn more people off than it is to impress people. It's a numbers game, and may want to wear your costume to work to add further distraction from your already shitty job.

Simple costume suggestions: I always wanted to go with a bunch of buddies as dominos and randomly line up and tip each other over because Domino Rally was the SHIT and all you have to do is draw a couple black dots onto a white shirt AND this is an example of drawing positive attention to yourself. I'm going as a Mormon, that's easy. Wear a tie dye shirt and go as a hippy, just make sure you wear something. Even though it violates everything I said about choosing a costume I'm still most proud of the year I went as an ATO shacker. TAUsome!

Part 2: The Party
You are likely inundated with party invites, or you're just a huge loser! Kidding maybe your friends have kids and they are taking them trick or treating, in which case you need to move to a big city. Going to a bar on Halloween is pretty weak. Going to an event like Halloween Horror Nights or a concert would be cool (Day of the Dead isn't until Saturday though) but your best bet is a house party. The best thing about a house party is there are no rules and you can get recklessly drunk without breaking the bank. But which Halloween party do you go to?

I prefer a party with strong production design personally. Trash bags lining the inside, spray painted with neon and several fog machines. Like some sort of trippy rave or a scary mormon hell dream. Ya, that's what I want. Of course, you should go somewhere that will not run out of booze, somewhere that the party won't get shut down until 2 or 3 in the morning, and somewhere with chicks that like to make out with dudes dressed in costumes, potentially in drag so they can live out all of their LGBTQAAXERTCTYVUBHNMKO fantasies. Bonus points for "Witches Brew" (crack juice/gin bucket) and other themed cocktails, and if there is a dj dressed in a skeleton costume...well that's just cool.

Part 3: Tricks
Tricks were a lot of fun as a kid. I just spent 45 minutes recollecting old pranks I pulled during the Halloween season. TP'ing, egging, knocking over mailboxes, setting trash cans on fire (oops) We once lined up firing squad style with paintball guns and let someone's house have it. Good Times!!

I also used to dress up as Michael Myers while my brother's friends his in the basement. We would spend hours blacking it out of any potential light. I had one of those fake knives that goes in when you stab someone, we also had gallons of fake blood. There were never any survivors.

Also, I went to Queen Mary Dark Harbor last night. My roommate and I were likely the only people there with parents that have white collar jobs. That said, it was fucking sick...strongly recommend.

But, since it's Halloween all that shit next year, tonight it's time to party.

Part 4: Treats
I once did shrooms on Halloween and then carved pumpkins.

That was great.

Later that day I went to a Haunted House at Navy Pier.

Don't do that.

But for real, probably avoid the psychadelics tonight, unless you want to hide in a corner while fending off an invisible clown and thousands of spiders crawling all over your arms.

Part 5: Conclusion
Have fun, be debaucherous. One year I went to University of Wisconsin with a bunch of friends for Halloween. We made up an elaborate scavenger hunt with really intricate 10 points for hooking up with a chick, with a 3x multiplier if she is wearing a costume during said hook-up.

If you have the option of hooking up with a chick in costume, always remember the multiplier.

Have fun tonight kids, and enjoy your hangover tomorrow where you are covered in day old crusty fake blood, a bunch of smeared make-up and you smell vaguely of burnt tire. The best way to spend All Saints Day is eating old candy corn and waiting on Domino's delivery while watching College Football. And bonus points for those of you that say fuck it and keep the party going, oh and don't forget your additional party hour tomorrow night, which of course is the real reason daylight savings exists.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

An Open Letter to Jack Daniels

To whom it may concern,
Hello there Marketing wizards of Brown-Forman and Jack Daniel's, my name is Dave and I would like you to ship me a bottle of Jack Daniel's Tennessee Fire.

Now I understand that you can't go shipping free product to every guy who writes you a letter (similar to Lacey Chabert's character in Not Another Teen Movie refusing to give every guy that wrote her a letter a blowjob [they got handjobs]) But if you will allow me several paragraphs, I will prove to you that it would be a wise business decision to indeed send me one 750 ml bottle of Jack Daniel's Tennessee Fire henceforth known as JDTF.

Now, I am not a tastemaker or trendsetter in any official capacity, but I have a Klout score in the 50's and a blog with a pretty loyal readership somewhere in the mid three figures. I have not done any advanced demographic profiling but I would imagine they are...

-In their mid 20's
-Raised in white-ish upper middle class homes, now make about $65,000 a year
-Drink heavily 1.5 times per week
-Have done hard drugs between 3 and 18 times *some extreme outliers on this one
-Watch Sunday night HBO shows
-Fucking love Fireball

Now I would like you to focus on that last one.

Because that's what this is all about right? Jack Daniel's has long been the choice middle of the road bourbon for the post grad bros. However, I would postulate that with new products being introduced to the market, that group is shrinking. You will always have the older males, but that group is static. Your brand should be focusing on aggressive growth and blue oceans to occupy.

Tennessee Honey was a brilliant product line extension, it (to borrow a line from political theory) reinvigorated the base, while also exposing a whole new group to whiskey. Tennessee Honey was so sweet and delicious that it required no mixer even for the inexperienced whiskey drinker. Young women were seen pulling straight from the bottle or pouring themselves neat cocktails. It was a smashing success. Tennessee Honey (henceforth referred to as TH) has subsequently been imitated, yet remains the industry standard in the honey whiskey game. My Secret Santa fifth exchange in 2012 (in which my old frat bros and I exchange fifths) was nearly 80% TH, I thought its dominance may never end.

But dynasties rise, and dynasties fall. As Jaeger did before, Tennessee Honey was all but gone in 2013 and this curious Cinnamon whiskey ran rampant in the 18-29 binge drinking party circuit, this Canadian import called Fireball.

It was a near meteoric rise, coming out of nowhere similar to the Four Loko of 2010. But on the eve of 2015, a full 2 years after it fully attached itself to our cultural zeitgeist Fireball seems to have no roof on how high it can climb.

Until now.

Enter challenger. Enter JDTF.

Right now a bottle of Fireball can be procured for $15 from your local drug store (somehow CVS and Rite Aid have the cheapest alcohol in America) this is similar to the price of TH when it first hit stores a few years ago. What is strange though is how much of a bar shot Fireball has become, whereas I never saw TH ordered at a bar, if you find the nearest bro-y dive near you, you will find ~5 dollar Fireball shots. What's crazy, is you will find these same Fireball shots at LAs hottest night clubs for $15 and still, they are guzzled by the gallon. Fireball transcends demographics. Poor people, white people, black people, rich people...doesn't matter, everyone loves to turn the fuck up on Fireball, especially the ladies.

Now I do not know if JDTF poses a formidable threat. I don't know, because I haven't been able to try it. Your parent company has designed a slow and deliberate state by state roll out, because I don't know...they probably went to Wharton to get fancy Marketing MBA's. Meanwhile, let's ask the CEO of Fireball's parent company what has been the secret to their success. (Yes I know a guy who emailed the Fireball God once)

"For what it's worth, lots of bartenders and fans are responsible for Fireball's success, not me."

See what he did there? He put the product in the hands of the people and let it market itself.

Now I have a Marketing degree, I understand test markets, You want to go somewhere legit, but somewhere that's not important enough to embarrass you if you fall on your face. I'm from Indianapolis, it's basically the perfect middle-ish place to test a product. I knew all about the Chestnut Praline Latte years ago...and snus, the chewing tobacco that you don't have to spit? That shit has been in in Indiana since the late 90's.

Now I live in LA, so I understand that you aren't ready to launch in this market, LA could conceivably make or break you, you had your soft open in Oregon and apparently that went well. Now I am telling you, if you send me a bottle I will drink it and offer a very fair review. I will post it on this blog and about 500 people will read my review. Of those 500, I can guarantee you at least 5% will immediately seek out this product regardless of what I say because of the sheer novelty of being one of the first people to taste the Fireball killer. I have no agenda, I care not if you cannibalize all of Fireball's existing market share or if you two can coexist happily forever after.

I suppose xenophobically I would prefer an American company to have a monopoly on the cinnamon whiskey market, but you have a long way to go until you defeat the dragon. Ignite the night is a sick ass tagline yo.

So let's say you guys sink 10 bucks and send me a bottle. I can guarantee you like 25 new customers easy. That would be a customer acquisition cost of like 40 cents per...and according to Shark Tank, that's pretty fucking good.

Honestly, I'm not looking for a hand out here. If JDTF was sold in LA, I would just go buy a bottle. Hell, if I could get it at the Mexican or Nevada border, I might just drive there for the story.

But I can't, and I'm not going to fucking Oregon for a bottle of booze.

In closing, PLEASE, take a chance on me. Convert me into a loyal Tennessee Fire enthusiast. I'll fucking hold blind tastings, wear tank tops to work at Fox Studios, shit I'll even offer some marketing tips if you want to toss me maybe some advisory shares (an emphasis on America is probably your best bet here, maybe a flaming eagle holding the pillars of freedom and liberty in its massive talons, maybe something more subtle like a red, white and blue bottle)

The point is, I just really want to try your product. I really want to give it a great review. And I don't want to wait another fucking second.

Best regards,

Thursday, October 23, 2014

The Harry Potter Houses of LA

This is going to be an unpopular opinion, but Harry Potter was kind of a bitch.

If you argue this you're missing the point. The entire story is not about some crazy everyman wizard that saves the world. It is a character study on the parallel paths traveled by he and Voldemort, the difference being Harry refusing to break bad.

Some of you may find this admirable, I find it very...Gryffindor.

See while people like Daniel-san were crane kicking the fuck out of Cobra Kai and absconding with Billy Zabka's girlfriend and a sports car, Harry was just taking it right in the ass from the likes of Dudley, The Malfoys, Crabbe and Goyle.

Even though he was the LeBron James of casting spells, he rarely acted on his impulses. No, Harry was the type that would not step on the enemies throat when he had them against the ropes, he would refrain from delivering the death blow...and for what? Seven books later basically everyone around him is dead and he is married to his poor friend's mediocre looking sister.

Never marry a poor girl, it means you get a shitty wedding that you pay for and a domestic honeymoon…this is true even in the wizarding world. And sure, Harry Potter fucked up his rivals once in a while, but it was never quite cathartic enough. Harry should have gone full Brad Pitt on Malfoy in the first book, put him on his knees and shoot him in the face. It would have saved me a lot of stress and it would have saved the world from Tom Felton's acting career.

And remember that wench Bellatrix LeStrange? She killed Sirius Black and Dobby. Well Harry should've thrown her into a meat pie furnace right away. Think of how much death and agony this could have prevented.

But he didn't because Harry is a bit of a beta…just like most things Gryffindor.

So it may come as no surprise that Gryffindor comes in a solid third in my HP house power ranking. Sure they tried hard, and they won the Quidditch cup a couple times, but at their core, they were a bunch of do-good try hards. It was a rag tag group made up of a ginger, a nerd and an orphan.They give exceptional effort and really care about each other, but deep down they know they'll always be in third place.

A lot like UTA. 

Founded 1991
Important people: Jim Berkus and Peter Benedek, founders. Jeremy Zimmer CEO.
Sample client list:
Johnny Depp, Angelina Jolie, Harrison Ford, Skylar Astin, Daniel Radcliffe (and more)
Strength: MP lit (Wes Anderson, Alfonso Cuaron, Judd Apatow, Coen Bros)

UTA is not a bad talent agency. Lots of my friends work there, I admire many UTA clients. When it comes to writer/directors, it is absolutely a murderers' row.

But the problem is, auteurs are not your 'A' team. You can easily see the filmmaking team of Lee Jordan and Dean Thomas writing a coming of age film about the plight of black half-blood wizards, they might even win a Woscar (Wizarding Oscar...patent pending) but in original screenplay, not even universally considered a major award.

Furthermore, you get the feeling that at least on the talent side, UTA's client list has their best behind them. Johnny Depp is riding a string of bombs and is dressing up as a wolf in a musical in an attempt to break the curse. Harrison Ford keeps cranking out sequels to movies that were big in the 70s and 80s. Daniel Radcliffe can't buy a hit and Angelina Jolie seems to be going down a path where she might become more famous for directing and being married to Brad Pitt than for having ever been a great actress. (Was she a great actress or did I just really enjoy her Lara Croft outfit?)

The point is, they have all peaked. With the exception of a few (Cumberbatch, Astin, Rogen...who is really more of a writer now anyway) they skew old and are riding past successes. The same can be said of Ron, Harry and Hermione. Sure, it's tough to have a solid follow up to preventing the genocide of a race of people. (Wait a second, was the entire HP an allegory for the Holocaust? Germans = Pure blood? How am I just realizing this) But you kind of get the feeling that the rest of their lives, they are going to be content to be average.

Like Gryffindor, UTA promotes altruistic endeavors, like the UTA job list.
The UTA job list is a sham. But it purports that anyone can apply for a job in entertainment and get it, regardless of their blood status. This is untrue, no one has ever received an interview based on the UTA job list...that is, except for an interview in the UTA mailroom. They are accepting, they are nice, everyone is welcome and you just kind of get the idea that UTA peeps are more likely to throw out Expelliarmus than say Imperio.

And depending who you are, you may view that as their greatest asset or largest detriment.

And while the mantra of UTA has always been we will go the extra mile for our client, we appreciate is a nice cheese basket for your first day of shooting on your new show, the opposite can be said of CAA...

Creative Artists Agency
Founded: 1975
Important People: Richard Lovett, President.
Sample Clients: I think all of The Avengers, Peyton Manning, David Beckham
Strengths: All but especially in Talent and Sports

A bunch of CAA assistants are probably high fiving each other right now and snickering as they read this, because a greater compliment cannot be bestowed upon them. They are the embodiment of evil, their fucking office building is called death star.

But you know what? These guys get shit done. They're unquestionably the best, most ruthless agency in the business, often resorting to mafiaesque intimidation tactics to get their way.

"Look you're going to put my client in this movie or I am going to fuck your wife, release a sex tape of your daughter and expose you as gay." This is how Lily Collins has a career. At CAA they're not happy to have you as a client, you are happy to have them, and if you even think about leaving for a smaller upstart agency where you think you might get a little more attention, they will not hesitate to do this...

Honestly CAA is like a bunch of sociopathic Patrick Batemans, feeding cats to ATMs and stabbing to death homeless men because they smell bad. But their agents are among the most powerful people in Hollywood, and unlike UTA's open arms policy, CAA is invite only. You are only getting promoted there if you are a shark that can get shit done or you have pure entertainment blood coursing through your veins (I don't even think you can sleep your way to the top there)

Similarly, Slytherin holds a take no prisoners attitude. Sure they worship a dark lord that resembles Hitler (my God they even made Slytherins look Aryan) and they don't mind a little first degree murder now and again, but let's be honest, these people have risen to the top of their industry. Slytherins possess nearly all of the wealth and power in the wizarding universe because they aren't afraid to get their hands dirty and they mate for breeding purposes like they are trying to spawn a champion racehorse or something.

I don't necessarily think that CAA's clients represent this kind of behavior, however I do think they are the type that are willing to look the other way to get what they want.

And let's be honest, would you really be surprised if it came out years from now that Peyton accidentally killed a hooker and got his CAA agent to clean it up in exchange for 20% of that Papa John's money? Ya, I didn't think so.

Oh, and I can totally see RDJ talking to snakes.

Look, Slytherin took a bad beat when Harry and his pesky gang of marauders exposed most of them as deatheaters, and their Quidditch team has been down, but they will rise, no doubt about it. They always do.

William Morris Endeavor
Founded: 2009
Important People: Ari Emmanuel and Patrick Whitesell, Co-CEOs
Sample Clients: The people you listen to when doing drugs
Strength: Music

WME are the cool kids. That's all there is to it. They are attractive, spend their weekends drinking together, doing cocaine and having sex. This is the life you want, but you can't because you aren't cool enough to work at WME.

Bro, Entourage was based on our boss. We rep the NFL, Deadmau5 is playing our holiday party. Life is good.

William Morris Endeavor was formed when the two coolest medium sized agencies in LA (William Morris and Endeavor) merged.

I imagine it went down something like this.

Patrick Whitesell and Ari Emmanuel were at a Tiesto show at Staples Center doing key bumps...

A: Dude, my fucking brother is about to become Mayor of Chicago. My other brother has basically cured cancer. I'm fucking Ari Gold, yet I'm the Black Sheep of the family.

P: I can't feel my face. This guy is fucking amazing.

A: If only I could double the size and awesomeness of my agency and rep a bunch of dudes like this.

P: Dude, I'll call Jim Wiatt, he totally owes me a favor, we'll merge with William Morris, and then force out old Jimmy...he would totally never bro down at a concert with us. 

A: Why would he allow something like?

P: We'll let them keep the name or some shit, don't worry it will all work out.

*They aggressively finish the bag*

Not much is known about Ravenclaw, except they were basically sick at everything they did. They were extremely intelligent and cunning, always had a dope Quidditch squad and Cho Chang was a smoke show. I'm pretty sure they preferred to fly a little under the radar so some of their debauchery would go unknown. I would relate this to the hot girls in high school that had a 4.0 and received a full ride to college but partied on the weekends and got stuffed by their Casanova of a boyfriend. That's right, your dream girl is a Ravenclaw.

Again...WME and Ravenclaw are cooler than you.

Once you dig a little deeper it's easy to see that Ravenclaw embraced the creative, albeit potentially in a mind expanding nature. These kids totally smoked is an example of a riddle the entry portrait once asked Luna.

"Which came first, the Phoenix or the flame?"

"I think the answer is a circle has no beginning."

"Well reasoned. Enter"

Is that not some stoned ass bullshit right there?

Ravenclaw boasted the inventor of Floo Powder, Ignatia Wildsmith; the inventor of the most famous love potions Laverne De Montmorency; and of course the most famed wandmaker of all time Garrick Ollivander. Ravenclaws, like WME liked to have a good time.

Thus it is no surprise that the kids that had it all went Ravenclaw/WME. Sure they could probably have taken the Slytherin/CAA route, but that would be like totally not chill man. 

International Creative Management Partners
Founded: 1975
Important People: Who cares
Sample Clients: A bunch of old white dudes that write your favorite tv show.
Strength: TV lit

Look, full disclosure here, I aspire to be a TV writer. You can make a fuck ton of money, it is the one medium where writers are in charge and there is a specific track that once you start on you WILL get to your goal if you possess any modicum of talent and never give up.

But it is not sexy. In fact, TV writers are among the ugliest people working in entertainment. I will likely end up a 50 year old Supervising Producer married to a 38 year old ex-soap opera star and I'm ok with this, because all I really want to do is write, and live on the Venice canals.

Bill Lawrence is a perfect example of the prototypical ICM client. You probably have no idea who he is, but he created Scrubs, Cougar Town, Undateable. He's a fucking machine. By all accounts he is a nice guy and makes good television. But he's not Wes Anderson. In fact, if you have ever seen a TV producer try to make a movie? It's usually pretty ugly.

Earlier this year Matthew Weiner of Mad Men and Sopranos fame made a feature with Owen Wilson, Amy Poehler and Zach Galifianakis. The name of the movie was "Are You Here" it boasts a 7% on Rotten Tomatoes and made about $28. No not million...dollars. It was a complete and utter failure. Even bad asses like David Simon that try their hand at feature directing with the likes of "Not Fade Away" can't avoid the TV to movie mis-step. That movie was widely regarded to have promise wasted with sloppy storytelling.

The point is, there is nothing wrong with TV, but it will never carry the glory of other endeavors. Similarly, the people that represent them are just kind of following a loose set of rules, not really shooting for the stars. 

"You know we'll just slog along until we get 4 seasons, sell this show into syndication and make a lot of money." - ICM unofficial motto

Like Hufflepuff, ICM employees are just happy to be here, along for the ride. I imagine some of their agents came out here with other interests and just kind of fell into it, like a mud blood who inexplicably is given wizard powers. They get to go to Hogwarts and hang with Snape just like all the other Slytherins...they may wait around on the Soho House waiting list for a while, but eventually they will get in. 

Things could be worse, they could be a Squib (Paradigm/Gersh/Resolution) or just a muggle (everyone else) but they get to come to the table, even if they have to be OK with perennially finishing last. I mean, even the back up Quarterback for the Raiders makes more money than most of the people in this country. And maybe that's enough. I bet ICM employees are married, have good relationships with their kids. They probably maintain one side piece MAX.

Being an agent is soul crushing...there is a lot of responsibility and you behave more or less as a 24 hour lackey to your client, but ICM makes the best of it. They are fiercely loyal and although they will often lose clients to the top 3, they will always try to keep a good attitude about it.

Hufflepuff and ICM might be the bottom dwellers, but they are bottom dwellers in a world that many will not even be privileged enough to join. There is nothing inherently wrong with being hard working, honest and impartial, it just won't take you very far in these worlds...and hey, they'll always have Cedric (even though he is repped by WME)

So there you have it...a definitive list of LA talent agencies and the House of Harry Potter that they match up with. That said I am currently an unsigned writer...I prefer to be a Slytherin CAA, but I will field all phone calls. Avada Kedavra bitches.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

That F*ck Yeah Moment

Commissioner Gordon saves the day
College prepared me for life while also distorting my world view. For example, money was unlimited in college and there were no consequences for my actions. Or perhaps I just remember my Senior year of college where I gave zero fucks and decided to live in the present.

In many ways, once you graduate college, everything is the same again, except you press the reset button. You go from the oldest, most senior and influential beings in a social system to being jack shit again. This likely applies in almost all walks of life, regardless of the industry you chose. However, I think it rings especially true in entertainment. As soon as you foolishly decide to join this absurdist fraternity of lost souls you immediately become a pledge again.

...annnd it's pretty much the exact same as college pledging except it lasts 3-7 years and no one throws buckets of ice at you or circles your fat.

And so it goes the rest of your life slowly climbing the chain of command in 3-7 year segments until eventually you are a Senior (Producer, super agent, studio head) and again money is unlimited and there are no consequences for your actions.

But now, we are all pledges. Eh, some of my friends are on the cusp of getting initiated, but they will only be neophytes...junior managers, staff writers and the such. Nothing to get TOO excited about.

In fact right now we're all in the middle of pledgeship. The cool kids are manning desks at CAA and WME, while the second tier crowd are screaming that Paradigm is an agency on the rise. All those shitty spring pledges are fucking around in reality tv and then there are the kids like me who dicked around doing something else for a while and finally decided to take the plunge in their third semester of college.

So since I decided to spend two years in Chicago doing c- I mean, selling computers before moving to LA and pledging entertainment, so it appears that I will be that older guy in the pledge class that always has to buy booze, cars? Whatever, it's fine. I regret nothing.

But whilst I reminisce about my Freshman year of college to draw an extended metaphor, I remember that it wasn't actually THAT bad and neither is schlepping around as someone's assistant for a few years.

In life there are these moments, since I like to curse let's call them "Fuck yeah moments." You see them in movies and tv all the time. These are the moments when you pump your fist and you want to cheer. Bill Murray showing up to play the Monstars, Ryan showing up at Oliver's party 2 seconds before midnight, Jack telling Kate they have to go back, Kevin Spacey buying that 1970 Firebird because he FUCKING wanted to. GAHHHHH Walter White making that motherfucker call him Heisenberg, and you fucking LOVING him for it!

These moments are engineered, they are scripted. Professional writers are paid a lot of money to tug at very specific heart strings that make you want to stand up and cheer in these scenes, but in life they are a tad more rare. Sure you feel great when you get a raise or you do a good job on something, maybe a date goes well, your efforts pay off in a satisfying way.

But this is different, it's not so much the feeling you might get winning the lottery, it is a moment of indistinguishable clarity where you think HOLY FUCK, LIFE IS FUCKING GREAT.

I have had two such fuck yeah moments in my lifetime. The first was very early in college, I remember having a fairly epic night out on the town. (Looking back it was fairly tame, but as a sheltered 18 year old it was awesome) I think I pregamed with some pledge brothers, went to a basketball game before eventually ending up at Kilroy's. I met a cute girl and went back with her to Teter dorm (GDI!!!) and I'm pretty sure we innocently made out until we both fell asleep. Walking back to Briscoe Shoemaker the next morning, I couldn't believe that the next four years (which seemed like an eternity) were going to be exactly like this.

Let me get this straight...I have to go to class for like five hours a day (Noon-5, no AM classes) and outside of that I get to hang out with my friends constantly and party with thousands of hot chicks in a place with one dollar shots? And oh by the way, if I sweep some halls for 8 weeks and let people throw buckets of ice at me I can join the ranks of the social elite? Are you kidding me? College is fucking incredible, like is this real life? Yes, yes it is.

Of course you can imagine my dismay when every year got better and better. First there is that whole, NOT sweeping halls anymore thing, the study abroad, meeting awesome people, learning a lot about things that generally interest you, growing as a person, relationships, formals, road trips...and I mean, Senior year? Give me a fucking break? That was like a 365 day orgasm, not literally of course (well...) but about the most satisfying way to spend a year of your life.

And then it's over just as quickly as it began. Sadness. But I'll still always remember that first fuck yeah moment I had Freshman year. I wouldn't feel it again until about 8 years later. I had finished college, dicked around in Chicago for a while and finally due to a set of fortunate circumstances, landed in LA.

Things weren't great right away of course. I bounced in and out of jobs, I lived on a foam mattress pad in a lesbian couple's guest room in the valley sans air conditioning. Outside of my core group I had no friends, and no real ambition. I was lost. But as it goes, those who wander long enough eventually find their way, I landed in Venice after a while with two good friends, started to figure this LA thing out...and then one day I was driving a golf cart around the Uni lot talking to Al Madrigal about my weekend. He was telling stories about getting high in the bathroom at the Emmy's and I was telling him about trying to surf some colossal waves after getting stupidly drunk at The Chive offices, it hit me.

I had another Fuck Yeah moment. Let me get this straight, I have to fuck around on a golf cart with comedians for like 60 hours a week, (normal office hours, because fuck working nights on set) and outside of that I get to hang out with my friends constantly and party with thousands of hot chicks on a beach that is perpetually 80 degrees and has 5 dollar beers? And oh by the way, if I sweep the halls for 4 years and let people yell at me I can join the ranks of the social elite? Are you fucking kidding me? LA is fucking incredible, like is this real life? Yes, yes it is.

So there you have it. I imagine, like pledging, there are times that the next few years will suck. (And to be honest, you can throw this frat metaphor straight to hell, anything that you have ever struggled through you can draw parallels to) But I also can assume that the best is yet to come. There are adventures that await me that I can't even fathom yet. If the now is pretty spectacular, what is senior year of life going to hold?

So now, I guess I'll just enjoy the present for what it's worth. Some funny stuff happens on the way to the top. Like remember when you would hook up with a smoking hot chick during welcome week and then she would go on to be like a Pi Phi social chair? I would always silently high five myself in those situations, equate it to getting in on a monster IPO like Uber or something and then argue with friends to see if situations such as that counted as part of the Sorority lap...I digress.

But isn't it funny that situations like that pop up in life too. I've possibly dated the future head of HBO or the next Shonda Rhimes. You too may laugh to yourself some day when a new CEO is announced...gah, back when we were Freshm-- err...analysts. Just like someone in the Greek system your age eventually had to become president, the same will ring true in your chosen industry.

Everyone is going through the same shit, it's easy to feel lost sometimes. Like am I where I'm supposed to be? Why am I behind professionally, why am I not married, when am I having kids? Is it weird to be approaching 30 and live with roommates, did I make a wrong choice.

Naw's just the angst you have about being at the beginning of something, I used to call my mom on the way home from line ups, dripping in like rotten eggs and like literally asking her to come down to Bloomington and pick me up because I hated college. Then the next day I would go get drunk on a double decker pontoon boat and swear that I had the best life in the world. Of course this happens still. I'll work a 17 hour day and feel completely unappreicated and then the next night be back stage at a Skrillex concert doing key bumps with Miles Teller. There are always going to be ups and downs, but I surmise that the further along the adventure we go, there will be more ups.

You know, I don't know if I will ever have another Fuck Yeah Moment. It seems that if college is a transitional microcosm for the rest of your life as an adult, one during and one after would seem to make sense. Some people may never have one. Or perhaps the day I make eye contact with the girl I'm going to marry, the day I find out I'm going to be a dad, these are seemingly monumental moments that might cross my path some day. I guess there's only one way to find out.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

An Open Letter to Picky Eaters of the Entertainment Industry

Yes, they exist. You're welcome.
My Dearest Colleagues,

I would like to first congratulate you for making it this far in your career. Many people will wash out of Los Angeles long before they are afforded a studio bought meal. Many aspiring set costumers are getting engaged to some guy from high school back in the midwest right now, putting on their "meh" engagement ring and preparing for a fruitful career in the buying office of LS Ayres. They got stuck in reality and never made it to a scripted show. I never bought them lunch.

But you made it. Somehow you backdoored it into a labor union, and through a great stroke of luck, you now have a steady gig on a semi-successful episodic drama on its 11th season. Life is good, you may clear six figures this year. You might be able to afford that one bedroom in Atwater Village you've been checking out, good for you!

Now, I realize that it is tacky to stand up here and shout about apathy. Zero fucks might be a great way to live your life, but shouting "LIGAF" is no way to win an argument, so I thought I would take a more subtle approach and share anecdotes from my personal experience to connect with my reader.

I am and have long been a picky eater. You may or may not know the long history of my psycho somatic aversion to chocolate (I claim to be allergic, but this has never been proven) there is a lot of shit I don't like, even some stuff I'm not sure I don't like because I am afraid to even try it. I feel your pain.

However, when I would go to a birthday party growing it at a USA Skate, Woodland Bowl, Discovery Zone, I did not make this my host's problem. Nay, I would try in earnest to skate backward, see how many times I could bounce the balls off the bumpers and still get a strike and ruin my opponents in the ball pit...but when it came time for cake? I just wouldn't eat.

I wouldn't say, "Hey Mikey...happy 9th, but next year let's get some Vanilla cupcakes involved."

No, I just fucking sat there and took it, because I realized my picky eating was a ME problem. On slumber parties, I would pack a thing of Lunchables, in case the pizza got too exotic that night (anything other than plain cheese) and if there was a social outing to a sushi restaurant, I would just not go (or more likely go and just drink...but I like sushi now, just so we're clear)

Now to be honest, I don't blame you for coming up to me every day and asking for more gluten free fare. I understand that you really deep down believe that veganism is a diet that makes you feel better. I get it DAIRY IS EATING ME ALIVE inside, and I should abandon all dairy now... I get it, I really do.

My question the fuck are you still alive? Clearly Los Angeles is a town of Godless atheists, so clearly you all believe in science...and science teaches me Darwinism. For those of you unfamiliar, Charles Darwin preached 'natural selection' a fancy term known colloquially as 'survival of the fittest.'

To those of you that get a tummy ache when you eat bread, you are the sickly antelope that is eaten by the lion.  You are the right fielder on the little league team that bats 11th and gets a participation trophy at the end of the season after your team goes 2-12.

I would think that surely, you captains of industry have evolved into a species of humans with strong digestive systems. If the cream does indeed rise to the top, that is. Honestly, if I had Celiacs I would be embarrassed, seriously, I would view it as a personal different that crippling acne or chronic ED, the inability to process a McDonalds Big Mac is a YOU problem.

Seriously, the right to a pleasant bowel movement is not one of the unalienable rights guaranteed to you in the Declaration of Independence, sometimes you just tough it out. BUT IF, you want to live with this dark secret, like a victim of Derek Jeter's herpes, I have a solution for you...go get your own food.

Go to Lemonade, get yourself 6 full fucking portions of kale, maybe go a little crazy and get yourself an Arnold Palmer at check out. You deserve it!

What you should NOT do, is go to me, the lowly PA and ask me to make sure I get the LIGHT honey almond cream cheese from Noah's Bagels...because like you view me as a low priority in your life, I miraculously feel the same way.

A few sample things I take more seriously than your dietary needs...
-My fantasy team
-Ways to sneak Viagara back into the USA after visiting Tijuana
-Whether or not to masturbate that evening
-The current situation with ISIS
-The plight of a third wave feminist
-Which coworker I should have sex with this time (a low maintenance one!)
-The solution to the Hodge conjecture

But lest you think I do not take the job of feeding 25 people very seriously, I do! I promise I will try to put together a nutritious and filling meal every day at a budget of $300. I will provide a variety in food groups and ethnic flavor. The last thing I want is for all of my coworkers to be fat and out of shape, that would make me depressed. At the same time I don't want you to be lethargic, that would lead to longer shooting days! I want the best for you! I want the best for US.

It's just you know, I can't please everyone all the time. I would LOVE to have Chick Fil A every day, but their CEO said some shit and now the gays have been brainwashed to hate it (even though 92% of Chick Fil A stores are independently owned and operated.) I would LOVE to go down to Orange County and pick up Portillo's for's just you know, that time spent in traffic would significantly cut into the time I have to flirt with chicks on Gchat.

So let's make a deal. We're both here, biding our time until the next better thing comes along right? You're just a 2nd AC who wants to direct a feature some day and I'm an office PA who is using all of my down time at work to write coming of age stories about flawed white characters trying to figure everything out. You leave the food decisions up to me and I promise to keep the fridge stocked with Sriracha and Lawry's at all times. Hell I'll even order your department an extra whiteboard so you can take it home and outline your next project...our little secret.

Until then, shut the fuck up about the quality of your free food.


P.S. We aren't making high art here guys, it's network television. Let's gun for 6pm wraps, everyday. You have an ex-wife and kids, I have an alcohol addiction, let's focus on what's important.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

How much do Americans drink?

In a different life, the reason I woke up late this morning would have been related to something awesome. Up all night with some hot blonde, drunk off my ass swimming in the Pacific or even getting stoned at a midnight movie...these are all great reasons to be late and miserable at work the next day.

Throw in one of the classic excuses in the repertoire that can be used for being late. I tend to use highly specific excuses that likely won't be questioned or come back to me such as "I was pulled over on suspicion of driving a stolen car. Turns out, everyone in LA drives a Silver Mini Cooper and they are oft stolen, who knew?" See how I made myself the victim there? The fact that I am an hour late no longer matters. In fact my superior may buy me lunch today or at least a seasonal themed coffee drink from Starbucks.

Also good excuses:
- My neighbor's apartment was broken into, I saw the assailant fleeing and had to give the police a statement. (It helps to put a layer of separation in between you and the event, if YOUR apartment is broken into, people will keep bringing it up)

- I saw a bicyclist get a flat, I offered him a ride to a repair shop (hero)

- A stray dog entered my apartment through an open window in my apartment, I spent the morning looking for his owner. (If you have ANY pictures of dogs on your phone, you have evidence for your, people love dogs)

ALAS, I did not get drunk last night. I did not see a midnight movie and I most certainly did not have female company. In fact, I planned on going out drinking, but then settled for downloading a new Stephen King novel and reading in bed. But in my haste of finding out if Jake Eppling would stop the JFK assassination, I forgot to set an alarm and I woke up late. These are the realities of your late 20's.

To make matters worse, upon leaving the house I saw a spider the size of a small rabbit just chilling on the exterior of my front door.

Terrified, I did nothing.

Now I live in fear that this spider will eventually be my undoing because I watch too many movies.

Do you remember in Saving Private Ryan when Tom Hanks lets the German prisoner go, only to be killed by him later in the movie? (SPOILER ALERT)

Well that's what that spider is going to do to me. From here on out I am instituting a scorched Earth policy on all insects. Sorry guys.

But anyway, in between 7 cups of coffee this morning and a half tab of Adderall I came upon an infographic, that I would like to attempt to break down. The folks over at CompareCamp put together a lengthy infographic that compares all sorts of shit, but I would like to chiefly analyze this...

Ok, so the first thing that struck me...god dammit, metric. I'm going to have to do some math to Americanize these results so I can make sense of them. Let's start with the beer.

633 ml equates to roughly 21.4 that some sort of standard beer bottle measurement somewhere? *does Google search for 633 ml beer, finds Asahi, Japan's number one beer*


So apparently your average American drinks 121.8 Asahi-sized beers, but again that means nothing to using some middle school Algebra let's convert that to your classic 12 oz Keystone Ice can.


Ok fuck it, I completely forget Algebra, surely there is a calculator for this:

Good news...there is!

Bad news, if Americans drink 122 bottles of 21.4 ounce beers, they would drink MORE 12 ounce cans...not 68, math is hard.

Ok after interviewing all the people in the office (like that scene in Little Big League when the Minnesota twins help Billy Haywood with his homework) it seems I missed a step. Twelve ounces is 56% of 21.4. So I think we can just do .56x=122.


That sounds right. An average American drinks 218 12 ounce beers a year. 18 beers a month. 4ish beers a week. .6 beers a day.

These results seem...shockingly unsurprising, perhaps even high.  Despite 30 percent of our population being unable to drink legally, many people choosing not to drink for religious or other reasons and the fact that many drinkers choose something other that beer, we are putting back over four beers a week as a country. This ranks us 14th in the world in beer consumption per capita. Yay.

Number 1 in the world? The Czechs! They drink about double what we do (8 beers a week, I would like to hear a song about this set to The Beatles, '8 days a week') because seemingly there is nothing else to do in Eastern Europe. (Or they just like beer more than liquor and wine)

Of course, I drink about 20 beers a week, roughly 5x the American average, but given that I'm a former frat guy in my 20's living in a major city, that doesn't seem to egregious. Alas, I would still be considered a lush in Prague.

Other general thoughts on the top 10? Europe likes to drink, especially the Eastern part of the continent. Germany, Ireland and Austria are basically countries founded on beer and big ups to Venezuela finishing in the top 10. I think you've earned a visit.


Now these results disappointed me to say the least.

Ten. Measley. Liters.

That is pathetic America.

I probably drink 10 liters of white wine a year, and that shit is disgusting.

Even if you account for the fact that your average American bottle of wine is only 750 ml, that ups us to a whopping 13 bottles annually.

WHERE HAVE ALL THE BASIC BITCHES GONE? Every Thought Catalog article I read would have me believe that the 20 and 30 somethings of America are putting down a personal bottle every Tuesday while watching reruns of Sex and the City and crying about a recent break-up. There are 52 Tuesdays a year...and even the people that "don't even really party anymore" are doing 'nice couples dinners' with 4 to 5 bottles minimum. 


I mean I do a minimum of 2 bottles of wine every Thursday at the Santa Monica pier concert. Clearly more American cities need beachside concerts to increase our general wine consumption.

Seriously, we rank a dismal 56th in the world in per capita wine consumption. The US shouldn't rank 56th in anything, except maybe Ebola deaths.

Meanwhile, the padres up in the Vatican are pounding an alarming 74 liters a year! Ever wondered how a priest can live a life without sex? It appears the answer is to be constantly wine drunk! But then again when I am wine drunk I begin to crave sexual attention...Aha! I have solved the child abuse scandal in the Catholic Church, they were just too turnt and the alter boys were the closest.

NOT AN EXCUSE VATICAN. Perhaps they should allow priests to marry.

Thoughts on the rest of the list...who likes wine? Rich people!

Andorra, France, Switzerland a bunch of islands. Apparently there are truth in stereotypes.

The only country that appears on both lists is Croatia, so either life there is miserable or awesome.
I'm going with the latter.

Yacht week 2015, see ya there.