Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Contest Still Going, Stories and a Hint

OK so the contest is still going. No one has guessed correctly yet but it’s giving me some ideas for blog posts.

Also, if you’re in the area I’m doing a Book Reading and Signing at the Chester County Book and Music Company in West Chester, PA this Saturday at 7:00 pm.

I used to do tech support. I would answer help desk calls. I got hired after exaggerating on my resume and learning on the job. I would temp at various places and at one point became an HP printer technician when I knew nothing about printers. Subcontracted, of course. I was getting $20 an hour and learned that HP charged the clients $120 an hour. Quite a markup. One day I was dispatched to an office. There was this huge printer there that I had no idea what to do with. So I took it apart and then still had no idea what to do. So when no one was looking in the office I... left. That’s right, I just left.

I told the dispatcher it was too hard of a job. They didn’t even get mad. They just sent a senior tech over the next day to put it back together and hopefully fix it.

So eventually I was temping over at the ABC lot. I was fixing the computer of the head writer’s office of Port Charles. I asked her if she was looking for writers. She said yes. I gave her a Grace under Fire Spec Script, and long story short, she hired me. I was then writer for Port Charles. While I was on my probationary period I still did tech support and would write in the office. Finally an exec in ABC New York wondered why they were paying me twice and I was then a full time writer and had to give up tech support.

When the head writer hired me, she told me “I want to hear the voice of your writing come through in every script. I want to know you wrote it without even looking at the title page” This was good advice and I had a blast writing for the show. AND I just wrote dialogue. I’d get the script breakdown and just write the dialogue. It was awesome.

Then, the head writer either left or got fired. You never really know which it is. She wasn’t getting along with the executive producer. That of course meant that everyone she hired had to go to “clean house”. The executive producer called me and said they were not renewing my contract. She said “You’re writing has a very distinct voice. We don’t want to hear it. We want all the writing to sound the same.” So I had been fired for the same reason I had gotten hired. Good old showbiz. Then the executive producer was soon gone and the show got cancelled.

In this story there is a HINT as to the job I have never had. Contest still open. Already guessed? Guess again!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

And The Contest Winner is...

No one. No one has guessed correctly yet. The contest is still open. But a number of good questions have been raised so here’s some more info:

The DVD, sadly, is not porn. It’s a collection of my short films that have been on the SCI FI Channel, HBO, and various festivals and have lots of comedians and actors who I begged into being in them like Paul F. Tompkins, Jay Johnston, Dean Cameron, Jennifer Elise Cox and Andy Kindler. Clowns, Hitmen, Leprechauns, Living Suits, Killer donuts and other weirdness.

I was indeed a spotter for American Gladiators and had to go to the hospital when a two story pyramid ran over my foot. My first job in Hollywood. The glamour!

I proofread vitamin labels as a temp job. One day I had to take off to tape Evening at the Improv. The next day I was back to work.

I worked for the Daily Local News in West Chester, PA and had to check the various police blotters for crimes.

I worked at a deli counter after I got fired from K-mart. (ah, but which job? Or both?) Same shopping center. Same shopping center I’m doing a book signing at next Saturday, August 1. Chester County Book and Music Company in West Chester, PA.

I have worked as a video game tester for Activision on Empires and I have worked at EA on Command and Conquer 3. I'm actually in the credits.

I’ve worked as a temp in various offices. One I almost walked out when my boss looked at old pizza in the fridge and called to me from the other side of the office and told me to throw it away instead of actually reaching in six inches in front of him and doing it himself.

So the contest remains open. Keep commenting with your guesses on the previous thread and I’ll tell you when we have a winner.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Free Book or DVD Contest!

So I’m sitting in a hotel room in Vegas right now and I thought, why not have a little impromptu contest? Here's the deal: I’ve had many, many jobs. Here is the list. ONE of these jobs is a lie. I’m going to give a book OR DVD (your choice) to the first person who can figure out which job I never had. Leave a comment with your pick and the first one who gets it is the winner and can pick a free book or DVD. These are all things I got PAID to do. Except one. Okay, you can probably eliminate two of the choices right away due to what the actual prizes are…

K-Mart Checkout Supervisor
General Assignment Journalist
Crime Reporter
Spotter for the American Gladiators
Vitamin Label Proofreader
Sitcom writer
Production Assistant
Help Desk Tech Support
Deli counter employee
Music and Movie stock guy for Clover retail stores
Soap Opera Writer
Stand-up Comic
Office Temp
K-Mart “cash cage” employee
Video Game Tester

Like I said, ONE of these jobs I've never had. Which is it? Cue Jeopardy theme...

Thursday, July 9, 2009

What I've Learned About Blogging. So Far.

I really didn’t get it at first. I didn’t see the point. I also thought: Who would want to read a stream of consciousness from anyone, including me?

The thing is, I got a book deal and everyone immediately told me I had to have a blog. Why? To get a book deal. OK. No, wait--. Alright so I just learned I had done things in reverse. So I started a blog.

I didn’t like blogging at first and wasn’t even sure if I was doing it right. My posts were long; I would take days to write them and then go over and edit them before I posted them. OK, it may not seem like it, but I did. Then I realized it didn’t matter. You can do what you want. It’s your blog. I can talk about chicken wings if I want to and for as long as I want to. I’m not saying I won’t but ... OK we’ll see.

My only readers at first were my family and a few friends, and even then I think they were lying. I redesigned the blog and got some tips from the designer. “If you want people to read your blog, comment on other blogs.” Huh? I thought there were bloggers and readers, right? Wrong. Bloggers ARE readers. It’s a community and almost like a self-feeding ecosystem. Like those shrimp filled ecospheres you can get at Brookstone in the mall. Let me digress a moment here: I have one, and a while back I stupidly broke it while reaching for a light switch in the dark. I didn’t have the heart to throw it away so I called the company and they said to put the whole thing in Tupperware with water so I did.

There is one shrimp still alive and it is now older than my daughter. I’m guessing around 6 years old. When I lost my office to the new baby I had to move the shrimp into my daughter’s room. It’s still alive although she could care less about it. That’s the great thing though: Broken Ecosphere in water in Tupperware—no maintenance.

So I reluctantly blogged away and even guest blogged because I thought I was supposed to. But then something funny happened on the way to the forum. After a while I found I actually enjoyed blogging although I don’t update more than once or twice a week and interestingly, I feel like I’ve made some new friends. Bloggers meeting other bloggers, you feel like you’re virtually hanging out with them. That I didn’t expect and it’s pretty cool. I’m starting to get it now. Twitter, not so much, but blogging, yes.

I also got some help from some other bloggers and I have slowly adding them all to the links list on the right. You can visit them. They’re cool.

So thanks for stopping by and I’ll try and swing by your place periodically. After all, we have to keep the shrimp alive.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Two Random Thoughts

Couldn’t really gel a coherent blog post, so here are two random thoughts:

I bought Quark the TV series while the Virgin Megastore was going out of business. It was one of my favorite shows as a kid, even though there were only eight episodes. Intergalactic trash, a depressed robot and the Doublemint twins. Sounds great, right? Actually, no it doesn’t sound that great, and you know what, after watching it again, it really was one of the worst shows ever made. And yet, I enjoyed the nostalgia as I watched it. It was the visual equivalent of holding that old, moldy teddy bear from your youth and thinking it was the best toy ever. I wonder if that will happen to my kids with Dragon Tales.

SECONDLY, as we were driving home yesterday on Coldwater Canyon someone posted a sign that said “Whoever took my bowl of perennials, please return it.” This made us both burst out laughing. The time it would have taken to make the sign, you could have planted a new bowl of perennials. Time management, people.

If only it were that easy to fix things. With signs. “Whoever really stole the heiress’ jewelry and framed me for the job, please confess” “I’ve worked for years at the same menial job and would like a raise and a promotion” “Please stop telling me Ryan Reynolds is a star” “Get Jon and Kate or at least Paris Hilton off my television permanently” What would your sign say?

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