I was in such heaven last night re-watching the pilot for HOW TO BE A GENTLEMAN with Abby Spencer, Todd Stashwick, Mary Lynn Rajskub and divinely talented star/creator/producer David Hornsby. It is a freakin SIN that they cancelled this fabulous show. GIVE IT A CHANCE, people! Jeeeeeeez!!!!
Because of the amazing thoughtfulness and generosity of Jen Szilvagyi, Ryan Bailey, Evan Gaustad, Drew Brecker, KC Morgan, Todd Reimer, Johnathan Cardillo and Liz York, I got to watch a buncha pilots this past weekend (from 2010 and 2011)! Here are my thoughts . . . .
EXIT STRATEGY (from 2010)
Ethan Hawke is cute and sexy. The blondes are interesting. I can’t imagine that I’d watch it.
BAD MOM (from 2010)
Jenna Elfman is cute in a Jenna Elfman if she was on PARKS & REC kinda way. The daughter is dry and funny. Little too campy for me. I don’t anticipate watching it.
IT TAKES A VILLAGE (from 2010)
Not picked up.
Leah Remini’s pilot — cute. Everyone’s good. The kid — Zach Mills – is amazeballs, as is Cheyenne Jackson. But I probably wouldn’t watch it.
NOLAN KNOWS BEST (from 2010)
Not picked up.
Brian Dennehy is perfect; Todd Stashwick RULES. I don’t think I’d watch it.
Not picked up. Nothing positive to say.
I loved so much about this script, but it turned into yet another semi-docucomedy that attempts to create humor by making fun of people. Blech. Love Julia Louis-Dreyfus always. Great hair. Reid Scott continues to be illegally cute. Too exhausting and upsetting to watch.
Picked up. Someone at NBC is really smart!
I LOVED IT! And not just because I’m madly in love with Whitney Cummings. And guess who else loved it?! That’s right! Bob! My husband! The arbiter of all things entertainment! If HE says it’s a hit, it’s a hit (not because he says it — it’s just that the man somehow has his pulse on what middle America’s gonna wanna watch. He should replace the Nielsen’s and those marketing tests they do in Vegas.) UCHHH! I’m so excited for Whitney and Chris D’Elia and everyone else involved — I just adored the girl who played Roxanne and Beverly D’Angelo was YUMMY. Congratulations, Whitney! Queen of Hollywood! Two pilots — nay — three — in one season! UNHEARD OF! Appointment tv is hereby resurrected by Whit.
Love Jonah Lotan, but didn’t quite get the script and don’t really get the pilot. Fun to see my mother’s hairstyle everywhere.
Picked up by HBO.
It’s not at all like a pilot. It’s like an indie film. And I guess if you care a lot about entitled 24 year-olds whose parents just cut ‘em off financially, it’s cool. It’s awfully well done. The characters are amazeballs. I don’t really care, but I’ll watch it ‘cuz the wondrous Morgan Krantz is in it. As was the very cute Alexi Wasser. And I’m just wildly impressed that this girl made it happen. She clearly is “the voice of a generation” as her character suggests in the pilot.
Picked up by Starz I think. And it just aired.
Noah Wyle is still cute, and I totes get that he probably wants to be Matthew Fox in LOST, but this ain’t JJ Abrams, unfortunately. Both Sarah Carter and her character are by far and away the best things in this whole show (and I’ve watched a couple episodes now). Both are surprising, unnerving, exciting and sexy. But they are the ONLY things that are. Congrats, Sarah, and Noah — you lovely, sweet man — friend of my friends — we can’t wait to see you do something worth your time.
SUITS/A LEGAL MIND
I think this just aired too. LOVED the pilot. Still don’t understand why Jesse Soffer didn’t get the part. Too handsome? I thought everyone and everything was great — but more importantly — Bob loved it. Must be a hit.
I saw Ginifer King and Arielle Jacobs (among others) in FOR THE RECORD: Baz Luhrmann last night and they were soooo great!!!! (And freakin’ SEXY!!!!!!!!) It’s such a fun evening – dinner, drinks, and all the music from his films — MOULIN ROUGE, ROMEO & JULIET and STRICTLY BALLROOM — sung by fabulous people having the BEST time! Gooooooo see it if you can! (Unfortunately, I didn’t get to see Sarah Jayne Jensen as she wasn’t on last night. Sorry, SJ!) – Lesly
And the Individual Awards go to . . .
Best Actor . . . . . THURSDAY DAY! . . . . . A FEW GOOD MEN. . . . . Evan Gaustad!
Best Angelina Jolie . . . . . FRIDAY DAY! . . . . . GIRL, INTERRUPTED . . . . . Marcienne Dwyer!
Best Baby. . . . . THURSDAY DAY! . . . . . Ainsley Rae Querrida Kelleher. . . . . Vikki Kelleher!
Best Bios. . . . . MONDAY EVENING! . . . . . Actor Bios. . . . . Courtney Cunningham and Ensemble!*
Best Characterization. . . . . TUESDAY NIGHT! . . . . . BATMAN. . . . . Ryan Bailey!
Best Choreography. . . . . THURSDAY DAY! . . . . . WAITING FOR GUFFMAN. . . . . Evan Gaustad and Rachael Kemery!
Best Crafts. . . . . THURSDAY NIGHT! . . . . . SEASONS OF LOVE Lyric Folders. . . . . Nikki Hayden!
Best Dance. . . . . MONDAY EVENING! . . . . . RISKY BUSINESS. . . . . Andrew Roda!
Best Dog (tied) . . . . . THURSDAY DAY! . . . . . Cha Cha. . . . . German Legaretta!
Best Dog (tied) . . . . . THURSDAY NIGHT! . . . . . Jackson. . . . . Alison Turner (Honorable Mention to KC Morgan)!
Best Finale (tied) . . . . . THURSDAY NIGHT! . . . . . SEASONS OF LOVE. . . . . Ensemble: Nick Clifford, Rachel Germaine, Nicole Hayden, Eric Kaplan, Adam Korson, Morgan Krantz, Riccardo LeBron, Mylinda Royer, Kaitlyn Samovar, Richard Tanne, Trevor Torseth, Alison Turner!
Best Finale (tied) . . . . . MONDAY EVENING! . . . . . 12 DAYS OF KAHNMAS. . . . . Ensemble: Arriane Alexander, Ben Baur, Courtney Cunningham, Julie Dove, Jay Ellis, Kelli Hancock, Philip Martin, Benjamin McGroarty, Andrew Roda, Erica Taylor, Julia Wackenheim, Justin Wade, Kristy Webb, Kay Wilson!
est Javier Bardem. . . . . THURSDAY DAY! . . . . . VICKY CRISTINA BARCELONA. . . . . Gonzalo Escudero!
Best Kisses. . . . . THURSDAY NIGHT! . . . . . . . . . . Morgan Krantz, Mylinda Royer!
Adam Korson, Alison Turner!
Mylinda Royer, Rachel Germaine!
Kaitlyn Samovar, Nikki Hayden!
Best Lighting. . . . . THURSDAY NIGHT! . . . . . THE ABYSS. . . . . Nick Clifford, Mylinda Royer!
Best Little Touches . . . . . THURSDAY NIGHT! . . . . . red fur rope, clipboard, fir trees, etc.. . . . . Ensemble: Nick Clifford, Rachel Germaine, Nicole Hayden, Eric Kaplan, Adam Korson, Morgan Krantz, Riccardo LeBron, Mylinda Royer, Kaitlyn Samovar, Richard Tanne, Trevor Torseth, Alison Turner!
Best Meryl Streep. . . . . MONDAY NIGHT! . . . . . THE DEVIL WEARS PRADA. . . . . Gina Novish!
Best Monologue. . . . . TUESDAY NIGHT! . . . . . ROCKY BALBOA. . . . . Jay Lacopo!
Best Musical Number. . . . . FRIDAY DAY! . . . . . MOULIN ROUGE. . . . . Carina Covella and Colby Kane!
Best Notebook. . . . .MONDAY NIGHT! . . . . . Lili Mirojnik!
Best Overall Acting. . . . . THURSDAY DAY! . . . . . Ensemble: Rachael Besant, Gonzalo Escudero, Christine Garver, Evan Gaustad, Natasha Goss, Alexander Greer, Matthew Holmes, Stephanie Jackson, Susie Kantar, Rachael Kemery, Matt Knudsen, German Legarreta, Mallory Mcgill, KC Morgan, Courtney Parks, Stephen Steelman, Ur
Best Overall Save. . . . . THURSDAY NIGHT! . . . . . Ensemble: Nick Clifford, Rachel Germaine, Nicole Hayden, Eric Kaplan, Adam Korson, Morgan Krantz, Riccardo LeBron, Mylinda Royer, Kaitlyn Samovar, Richard Tanne, Trevor Torseth, Alison Turner!
Best Scene (tied) . . . . . MONDAY NIGHT! . . . . . MOMMIE DEAREST. . . . . Jennifer Landon and Sam Carson!
Best Scene (tied) . . . . . THURSDAY NIGHT! . . . . . THE ABYSS. . . . . Mylinda Royer and Nick Clifford!
Best Scene (tied) . . . . . TUESDAY NIGHT! . . . . . ARMAGEDDON. . . . . Jay Hayden, Jay Lacopo, etc.!
Best Skin . . . . . THURSDAY NIGHT! . . . . . Cher (SONNY & CHER). . . . . Alison Turner!
Best Soundtrack. . . . . TUESDAY NIGHT! . . . . . Tiffany Elle!
Best Use of Moustache. . . . . THURSDAY NIGHT! . . . . . Sonny, etc. (SONNY & CHER). . . . . Adam Korson!
Best Use of Prop. . . . . MONDAY NIGHT! . . . . . Blow Dryer. . . . . Zach Lewis!
Best Wardrobe: Stylishness. . . . . MONDAY NIGHT! . . . . . GIGI. . . . . Lili Mirojnik and Perry Ojeda!
Best Wardrobe: Cleverness. . . . . TUESDAY NIGHT! . . . . . ARMAGEDDON. . . . . Jay Lacopo, Jay Hayden, etc.!
and CLUE . . . . . Tiffany Elle, Trisha LaFache, Ellen Wroe, Ryan Bailey, Kelly Smith!
Best Wardrobe: Painfulness. . . . . THURSDAY NIGHT! . . . . . THE ABYSS . . . . . Nick Clifford (the wetsuit)!
Best Wardrobe Flashback to My Youth: . . . . . MONDAY NIGHT! . . . . . MOMMIE DEAREST. . . . . Jennifer Landon!
Biggest Surprise. . . . . THURSDAY DAY! . . . . . GREASE II. . . . . Natasha Goss!
Most Fun Had Acting in a Scene. . . . . FRIDAY DAY! . . . . . TAMED. . . . . Micah Sloat and Jennefer Ludwigson!
Most Fun Overall. . . . . TUESDAY NIGHT! . . . . . Ensemble: Ryan Bailey, Angelique Cabral, Chad Coe, Tiffany Elle, Alison Haislip, Jay Hayden, Victoria Kelleher, Ginifer King, Jay Lacopo, Trisha LaFache, Jeff Meacham, Chris Schneider, Kelly Smith, Jesse Soffer, Ellen Wroe!
Most Fun Scene . . . . . THURSDAY DAY! . . . . . MEAN GIRLS. . . . . Rachael Besant, Rachael Kemery, Courtney Parks and Ursula Taherian!
Most Kisses. . . . .THURSDAY NIGHT! . . . . . KISSING JESSICA STEIN. . . . . Alison Turner, Kaitlyn Samovar!
Most Moving Scene. . . . . TUESDAY NIGHT! . . . . . ARMAGEDDON. . . . . Jay Lacopo, Jay Hayden, et al.!
Most Valuable Player(s) . . . . . THURSDAY NIGHT! . . . . . Alison Turner, Adam Korson!
*Best Bios. . . . . MONDAY EVENING! . . . . . Actor Bios. . . . . Courtney Cook and Ensemble!*
Arriane Alexander has completed about 1/1000th of her 10,000 hours, so she figures she will still be studying with Lesly Kahn until she is at least 82.
Ben Baur was here first.
Julie Dove is supercalifragilisticexpialidocious and great in bed.
Jay Ellis uses his stakes sparingly. You never know when you’re gonna need ‘em.
Kelli Dawn Hancock is tall. Get over it.
Brian Houtz will give this to you tomorrow at brunch (ugh, bios…).
Philip Martin has leather pants. He “says” they’re not his.
Ben McGroarty prefers Ben 2 to B.M. It’s a poop thing.
Andrew Roda wants to be in a relationship. No, seriously.
Julia Wackenheim likes stuff.
Justin Wade didn’t always drive a minivan.
Kristy Webb is the most frustratingly talented person to ever exist. Ever.
Kay Wilson is not a vegetarian/vegan because she loves animals… she’s a vegetarian/vegan because she hates plants.Courtney Cunningham Wait, what? We have a Courtney in this class?
I’m very excited to extend a special invitation to a complimentary call with career coach Dallas Travers that you won’t want to miss!
She’s going to teach you some simple yet groundbreaking tips designed to turn your marketing on its head.
Click the link below to reserve your spot, or keep reading for more details.
Actors: Break Your Marketing Mold!
Why Traditional Marketing No Longer Works and What the Heck to Do About It.
Wednesday, September 29th
1:00 pm EST / 10:00 am PST
Here’s a taste of what you’ll learn…
1. The Secret to Standing Out With a Compelling Brand. It’s not about your essence or how others perceive you.
2. The 4 Best Low-Cost Ways to Market to Agents, Managers, Casting Directors and Producers
3. Why Your Reputation Matters More than Your Resume
4. The Essential Mindset Shift Built to Increase Your Results and Expand Your Confidence
5. How you can claim $100.00 off her brand new Actor’s Business Blueprint System and qualify to win one of four free career strategy sessions with Dallas herself.
Even if you think you’re doing all the right things for your business, you should listen in. Dallas is sharing some brand new information you can apply right away.
To register, visit:
Feel free to invite your acting friends, but be sure to reserve your spot first. Space is limited.
Fabulous writer Pen Densham has written a fabulous book about writing! It’s called RIDING THE ALLIGATOR – Strategies for a Career in Screenplay Writing . . . and Not Getting Eaten. It will come out at the end of the year. You can read a chapter from it in advance by clicking the link above.
Naturally, I think a LOT of it has EVERYTHING to do with acting. Here are some of my fave passages:
“Imagination is more important than knowledge. For while kowledge defines all we currently know and understand, imagination points to all we might yet discover and create.” Albert Einstein
. . . if you are a violin, no matter how much those who influence you try to force you to sound like a bass drum, it isn’t going to sound right or bring you any satisfaction. It will cause you to lose faith in your creative value. I believe the true joy is to find what instrument you are through experimentation, and then give yourself to playing that instrument in relationship to your natural talent.
. . . we often depress ourselves when we look at what others have accomplished. Their script, book, movie, or sculpture seems so complete and certain.
. . . It’s nuts to berate ourselves as bad navigators when we don’t know where we are going until we’ve discovered it. When inventing the lightbulb, Thomas Edison said, as he went through more than four thousand variations, that he “ached to give it all up.” Creativity is work. It would be misleading to say that stress and doubt are not normal.
. . . artists who see their paths as challenging and adventurous look forward to the experience. The ones who interpret their journey as fearful and uncertain get creeped-out.
. . . What happens when we say we “are going to think about something”? We place a concept in our mind and wait for it to pop out again, changed. It’s like it’s tossed beneath the waters of our consciousness into a deep, unviewable sea. Occasionally it will surface on a wave in our brain only to vanish again. Then, sometimes it seems to land on a mental beach, with each wave bringing in a greater bounty of ideas or solutions. When we create, we encourage a dialogue with our subconscious. Sometimes the output can make us feel as if we are channeling, almost as if taking dictation from within. Other times we will collect odds and ends of ideas and then try to piece them together. There is no wrong way.
. . . “bi-association,” the joining together of two old forms to create a new one. Jaws in outer space? This is a bi-association that could be called Alien. Dinosaurs in modern America? You could call this Jurassic Park. Star Wars is akin to Robin Hood in the future. What about Casablanca on Mars?
. . . IF WE ARE INVENTING SOMETHING “NEW,” SHOULDN’T IT BE TOTALLY ORIGINAL? Strangely, the answer is no. Most great ideas are evolutions of earlier concepts. It’s referred to as “building on the shoulders of others.” Creativity reinvents the world. Great leaps forward are often accomplished by systemically borrowing from the best, or most interesting, existing successes and then adding your own inner magic. If there are only seven natural plots, then all literature is built on their shoulders.
. . . the “shoebox” method. Take as much time as you like making notes about your theme on cards or Post-Its, and dump them as you go into a handy container, the shoebox. When you intuitively feel ready, sort the notes out on a bulletin board or across a floor. It is a powerful visual and physical aid to finding and organizing your plot characters and events quickly. I have sampled many software systems, searching for the perfect idea organizer: Mind Mappers, Outliners, Carding Programs, and commercial Plot Developers. I would love to find a simple system that worked the way my brain does. Most companies will let you download and test-drive their programs for free. Try them; maybe you will be lucky. I still make lists and use cards when possible. At Trilogy, we liken carding out a new story as a voyage into the unknown. We call our major plot points “Islands of Sanity.” We need surprisingly few Islands of Sanity to create a whole feature plot.
LK: To me, this is like your scripts. You don’t need to start out understanding how to do the whole script or the whole scene right away. As you go through it you go, “Oh, yah. She hates Mrs. Gulch and wants to get out of Kansas.” Or, “Oh look! That’s a three! I can do that.” “Islands of Sanity.” I like it.
Movie scripts are really short stories, not novels. Scripts may be 90 to 120 pages, but there is a surprising amount of unused white space on those pages. If you scraped together all the words in a script to read like prose, I estimate there would only be forty to seventy pages. If we discover and lay out most of the key Island landing points along the way to complete the structure, it is easier to grasp the journey. Even though I have not answered every question, the work goes forward. We begin joining the dots as ideas come to fill in the spaces.
Yup — just like our script work!
. . . I try never to face a blank page.
Read: “I am never panicked by a new script.”
. . . Slowly, I assemble a script-like “thing,” without making the process exacting or refined. This process is similar to a painter making pencil sketches before switching to the oils; it is easy to erase and change sections.
. . . I write with no effort to put it into a proper script format. I try to stay loose and uncritical: a couple of lines of dialogue here, a scene description there, a cool action beat. I leave a few other files, or sheaves of Stickies with notes, open on my computer to keep tabs on things that don’t fit yet.
. . . MURDER YOUR INTERNAL CRITIC. All writers have them — inner voices that rant and rage at our efforts. Mine floats behind my left shoulder and can be a real jerk. I have never found that voice in my head to be an accurate beacon of what I am accomplishing. So my advice is to try to devise a method of ignoring your doubts. I have heard that some artists have an internal discussion with their critical voice. They have succeeded in damping it down by asking it to take a break until they have finished the material.
. . . I found this great note on the Internet one day, written by Andrew Cavanagh:
Eliminate “Writer’s Block” Forever
Secret #1 to writing: This will sound bad I know but stick with me here… Take the attitude you’re going to write ANY OLD CRAP on the subject that you can come up with. Whatever you think of — just write it down. Any old nonsense — GREAT. Just put it on paper (or onto
your screen). A pile of steaming crap no one would ever read? Not your problem — just write it anyway. Just fill up pages and pages with any old crap and keep writing straight off the top of your head for as long as you can. Stop thinking about it and just do it.
Now if you follow secret no 1 you’re going to be surprised.
The biggest mistake most writers make is that they confuse the creative process with the critical process. When you’re setting out to write something you’re in the creative process. I’ve written full books in 7 days. But that can’t happen if you’re constantly worrying about how good, bad, or accurate what you’re writing is. You’re in the creative process. Let your creative side come out by disengaging your critical process.
If I’m writing any old crap then my critical side has no work to do. I know it’s crap already.
After years of writing I began to notice “any old crap” is often pretty good. . . . That’s the first bonus. . . . But you might say “What if it’s not good? What if any old crap really is crap?!” And that leads us to secret no 2 — the biggest secret of great writing.
Secret # 2 — Great writing is all about REWRITING.
Once you have something to work with it’s really easy to work it over and polish it so it shines. It is far easier to add to a piece of writing you’ve already done. It’s far easier to edit writing you’ve already done so it flows better. But it’s very hard to look at a blank screen and write something brilliant from scratch. So write any old crap then rewrite it till it sparkles. Easy. (For more tips on copywriting and eliminating writer’s block by Andrew Cavanagh, go to: http://www.copywriting1.com/2007/03/eliminate-writers-block-forever.html.)
. . . we are happiest and most productive when we are working from our true nature and not trying to guess and fake what someone else wants. As I said, I have taken on projects that were against my nature. And it literally felt like I was having to pluck the words from my flesh to get those damn things out of me.
. . . IF IT DOESN’T GET MADE, DID I FAIL?
Or, if I didn’t get the job, I failed, right?
Most scripts don’t sell just as most actors don’t get jobs from their auditions. But, frequently, something good comes to gift the effort. People may love the work and invite you to write about a project they envisage, or ask to review other scripts you have. Effort brings opportunity.
. . . An unsold script is not a waste; it is part of the psychic structure that is helping you develop as an artist.
. . . When we first came to Hollywood, John Watson and I took the marketing analysis people from Universal Studios to lunch. We asked, based on their research, what kind of movies were most wanted by the audience? The answer was “new, interesting, and different!” But movies at that level of novelty were very scary for the studio executives because there were no precedents to justify the risk. It is much safer to keep your job making a sequel to an old hit, or buying the rights to an old TV show or video game or comic book hero. Treading new ground requires courage and vision.
This is why studios are often only taken into the future kicking and screaming. The story goes that Fox Studios, fearing it had a stinker on its hands, was trying to sell off Star Wars to an investor as a tax break until the day it opened. The studio just didn’t know how to quantify it. A similar story about American Graffiti is told that the executive at Universal felt that George Lucas had “f##ked him” when he first saw the finished film, a film that cost one million dollars back then, and went on to gross one hundred million dollars once it got released. In this day of corporate-run studios, original ideas are even harder to sell.
. . . You are guaranteed a 100% failure rate if you never try. I have seldom been damaged much by the things I attempted to do or that didn’t go right.
I appreciated the effort they made on this show, but even though I love Keri Russell and Will Arnett, it didn’t work for me. He was over, she was under, neither was believable and it kinda got worse from there. Says The Futon Critic, “From the Emmy Award-winning creator and the star of the critically acclaimed FOX series “Arrested Development” comes RUNNING WILDE, a romantic comedy starring Will Arnett (“Arrested Development,” “30 Rock”) as STEVE WILDE, a filthy-rich, immature playboy trying desperately to win (or buy) the heart of his childhood sweetheart, EMMY KADUBIC (Keri Russell, “Waitress,” “Felicity”), the uber-liberal humanitarian who got away – all told through the perspective of a 12-year-old girl.”
I liked it a LOT. Futon Critic says it’s a ”comedy about a group of twentysomething geniuses who are tasked with cracking computer security systems.” Christian Slater stars and is totally charming, along with Bret Harrison (REAPER)
I liked it. It’s the one-hour about the family that gets superhero powers starring Michael Chiklis (THE SHIELD) and Julie Benz (DEXTER) as well as Kahnstituents Sean Bowen,
and Romany Malco.
I thought it was so well done! Romany was fabulous, as were Christina and Jamie, and who doesn’t love Julie Benz and Michael Chiklis? While we’ve seen the hearing people’s thoughts thing kinda ad nauseum on TRUE BLOOD, the other powers are really fun and I’m kinda interested to see what happens. Yay!
It’s a cute one-hour starring the fabulous Breckin Meyer and Mark-Paul Gosselaar. I don’t understand is why they cast a really short guy next to a really tall guy, as that was pretty much all I could think about the whole time. I have no idea what is new, fresh or particularly interesting about this show except the height difference. Sorry.
I do, however, find it fascinating that pro.imdb lists no less than 42 actors as cast in this pilot. Thirteen have character names. One such actor is Kahnstituent Claire Coffee. I find that awfully reassuring.