Tag: Hollywood

Rob considers a mid-life career change, inspired by a couple of pilots that didn’t go forward and fridge full of exotic meats gone bad.

This week, Rob explains a simple axiom of show business: if you want your agents to remain generous with free expensive bottled water and delicious mini chocolate cakes, you have to earn it. Or more accurately, you have to earn for them.

Rob explains how he once got roped into picking up a very large check and offers advice on how you can avoid making the same mistake.

In most areas of show business, most people want more: more lines of dialogue, more scenes, and of course, more money. But Rob explains that if you want to heard more, follow his advice and say less.

Rob is dismayed to discover that the charismatic lead actor for his comedy pilot is being treated for a condition that required him to take medication that made the actor boring.

This week, we’re introducing a new feature to Martini Shot: The Martini Shot Extended Universe! OK, we’re not doing that — at least not yet. Instead, on occasion Rob will be talking to people in the entertainment business who he usually only talks about. Executives, other writers, journalists, maybe even actors.

In today’s  conversation, Rob sits down with Richard Rushfield, the impresario behind The Ankler newsletter, which regularly beats the Hollywood trades at their own game (and yes, you should subscribe). They discuss the recent purchases of Warners and MGM and what that portends for audiences, and why —according to Rob— the obsession many cable and phone companies have with owning studios is nonsense.

Jack Butler brings his National Review colleague Jimmy Quinn back to the show to attempt to solve the dual problem of corporations that advance left-wing pieties at home but roll over for the Chinese Communist Party abroad (and also at home).

Stick the Landing

 

I recently watched one of this year’s Oscar-nominated films, Minari, and was pleasantly surprised. Minari tells the story of a young Korean family circa 1980 struggling to turn a few acres of Arkansas country into a Korean vegetable farm.

It was quite good, until it wasn’t.

This week, Rob explains why lying is an integral part of the Hollywood ecosystem, and passes along a few pointers on how to do it successfully. Really. We’re not lying – that’s what this episode is actually about.

Rob makes a rare detour from commenting on the shifting sands of show business to provide an explainer on the physics of airplane flight (really!) and share the story of a very brave pilot let him take the wheel.

There’s an old show biz adage: comedy is tragedy plus time. Rob explains why awkward moments and dark, biting comments should probably be part of that equation as well.

 

A few weeks ago, Rob promised to auction off this episode of Martini Shot as an NFT (non-fungible token, as the kids say). Then, fate intervened.

 

This week, Rob explains why drinking and then shopping online and the knee jerk tendency of people in the entertainment business to automatically disparage a new idea or venture are both bad habits.

 

Rob explains why there’s one standard for hackneyed dialogue in movies and TV, and a very different one for real life. And why an old song by Prince created a personal RomCom moment for him.

 

What’s a Movie Producer?

 

In the popular imagination, though movie producers act like big shots, they’re merely fast-talking con men, like Max Bialystock, the crooked Broadway impresario of Mel Brooks’s The Producers. To classic-era screenwriters, producers are treated in their biographies as greedy capitalists and script-butchering philistines. To film directors, who screenwriters generally regard as their sworn mortal enemies, producers are generally treated as meddling, movie-altering oafs disguised as white-shoe country clubbers.

Real-life producers laugh this off, but they do resent it. And they’re used to it. Being a producer is a real job and a hard one, whether you’re on the money end of it, the production end of it, or both.

A producer is the prime organizer of a film project. It’s a two-headed eagle of a job with different skill sets for each side of it: getting the money and spending it efficiently. Many producers are entrepreneurs who do both. They originate a project, often well before a director is even hired, and work with a writer or a team of writers to present a script that can win a production deal from a studio. These deals are complex and sometimes involve securing outside money as well, from a bank or an individual. Locking those deals in, and making them stick throughout the long period of production, is a specialized, full-time business skill all by itself. Some producers are valued strictly for that expertise.

In this entry from the Martini Shot archives (OK, it’s actually a thumb drive), Rob offers some advice for the newly inaugurated President Biden based on his years (and more years) of show biz experience.

 

Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah: Mickey Mouse Plans to Shove the 1619 Project Down America’s Collective Throat

 

I’m going to tip my hand here: I work for the Walt Disney Company. And the Walt Disney Company is easily the most Leftist, politically correct company on the planet. The only difference between working for Disney and the DNC is the characters at Disney are slightly less cartoonish.

Just when I thought things could not become more unbearable – and this is after nearly a year of sniveling, pandering e-mails, and virtual town halls about social justice and how the company is resolved never to give another white man another promotion ever again – today’s Zoom call began with coworkers talking about how “proud” and “emotional” they are to be a part of bringing the New York Times’ race-baiting, historically discredited 1619 Project to the masses as a series of propaganda programs across its television and online platforms.

Rob looks into the cutting edge world of NFTs (non-fungible tokens — a way to create unique digital assets that can be bought and sold) and wonders if it may open up a new revenue stream for a certain podcast.

 

In this Martini Shot Classic episode, Rob exhorts his fellow writers not to dwell in cynicism and self doubt about their new projects, but rather think of them in terms of wonder, enthusiasm, excitement, curiosity, gratitude, joy, and adventure. Strong advice — if only he could convince himself to take it.

 

Rob explains how studios exercise control over writers through cash flow and why often the sweetest words a writer can hear from the studio are “what’s your tax ID number?”