Friday, November 30, 2007

BATG Down to 2!

I didn't blog about BATG on Wednesday due to my desire to talk about MYSELF.

Btw, did everyone get a chance to read that fantastic review at Just checking.

So we're down to 2 teams - and America votes! I voted. I admit that freely. Normally I don't do that kind of thing. For one, I worry that I will somehow get caught up in a spammer's web and for another, I just never feel that strongly about contests. But this one was different. I had to voice my opinion that I truly believe Dave and Jasmine ought to win. They are the epitome of the show and its "social experiment."

And they're just so gosh darn cute together!

Be warned, cost me a buck to vote, which I think is completely unfair. Didn't Idol and all those other shows eliminate the fee years ago? I mean, come on. These reality shows make tons of money and cost nothing to produce. Can't they foot the bill of text messages from fans? Sheesh. Cheapskates.

Your Hollywod connection,

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Celeb Encounters

I don't know if these count as sightings so I will call them "encounters" instead.

1. Tom Hanks is on my friends page at MySpace! I am now one minuscule step closer to my goal of meeting him. Note I didn't say actual step; this is a virtual step and really it's more of an inch.

2. I met the amazing author Megan McCafferty at a reading she did at UCLA yesterday! She knew who I was (when I mentioned my name) and how to spell my first name (I had already given her my book) and she was just so cool. And very cute in her pretty dress. She looked just like her head shots, which you know people never do.

She talked a lot about writing and how much she loved to read and write from a very early age and she told us about working for many years in magazines which gave her a lot of experience to draw from when she was writing her Jessica Darling character.

Best of all she sang! And she was good! Someone in the audience asked her to sing Mariah Carey's "All I Want for Christmas is You." (Which is way better than what my choice was gonna be if no one asked her: Cyndi Lauper's "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun".) She didn't know all the lyrics which flustered her a bit but she soon hit her stride and belted out the ending. She claimed to want to be a Barry Manilow backup singer but I say no way: she could have opened for him!

Yay, Megan! I'm so glad she visited LA and inspired all of us.

Your Hollywood connection,

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Toot Toot Toot

That's the sound of me tooting my own horn. Okay, it's a little flat but I'm not a very musical person.

Chris Shanley Dillman at gave me this amazing Review! Please check it out (and the rest of the fantastic website while you're there). I was thrilled to get this review - and how cool is it that her last name is Shanley, just like Meg?

Do you think that got me the good review?

Hey, every little bit helps.

On another note, I am SUPER excited to go to UCLA today to hear Megan McCafferty read from her new book,"Fourth Comings." I can't wait to meet her and have her sign my book - plus I hope to see how a REAL BIG-TIME author does a reading. Maybe I can pick up some hints.

Your Hollywood connection,

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Down to the Wire

And I don't mean the good kind of The Wire like season 4 which I am desperately waiting on Netflix to deliver to me.

No, we're talking about good original episodes of favorite shows. The Office has finished with its new shows and is now in repeats. Desperate Housewives will finish this Sunday. Some of the CBS procedural and comedies are also over as well, although I don't watch those and so don't care.

I am most concerned about Lost, Heroes, and Journeyman - three shows which are serialized and kind of have to be watched in sequence. They are also shows which will lose an audience if they don't continue because it will be hard for people to come back to them.

On a positive note, Medium and American Idol will return to the schedule in January - whoo-hoo! Head Honcho tells me he's psyched for American Gladiators; I think it brings back fond childhood memories for him, kinda like Battle of the Network Stars, which he talks about an awful lot. Too much, in fact. I think that show warped his brain.

Nikki Finke, whose Deadline Hollywood column has been following the strike since it was a glimmer in the WGA's collective eye, talks about yesterday's sitdown between the two warring tribes and suggests the strike may soon be over, according to her reputable source (ooh, how "Variety" did that sound?). Let's hope so.

As for me, I am clinging to my final episodes of BATG and Kid Nation this week and hoping Chef Ramsay will keep on yelling at people through the holidays.

Your Hollywood connection,

Monday, November 26, 2007

Be My Friend, Tom Hanks!

Okay, I can't figure out how to friend Tom. Unlike normal people with MySpace pages, you can't simply add him as a friend. You have to enter Tom's last name or his email address when you make a request.

1. Uh, isn't his last name Hanks?

2. How am I supposed to get his email address?

3. And are you telling me 24K people have his email address?

According to his page, he's a big reader and I'd love to give him some reading suggestions (hint, hint, Tom, it starts with a LOVE and ends with a MEG). No, seriously, I just think it would be awesome to have Tom Hanks as a virtual friend. I don't have many so to have him as one of the few would be way cool.

Today's research: "Star Wars" characters' names.

Well, I have much work to do this week. Not the least of which is trying to figure out how to friend Tom Hanks. That could take days!

Your Hollywood connection,

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Tom Hanks has a MySpace page!

TMZ reported this a month ago but I finally saw Tom (with Julia Roberts looking amazing) on Oprah recently and Oprah asked him about it.

Tom Hanks, the movie star, has a MySpace page (over 24,000 friends at this writing)! But it's not so easy to find. I tried with a quick search but all sorts of fake pages that came up. One had me completely fooled. I figured this Tom had a great sense of humor when he said his hometown was "Somewhere in Seattle," and that he was the "first Tom in space." But then I looked more closely and realized it was a goof. I mean, I get the sense the real Tom Hanks can laugh about himself but this went a little too far.

So I googled instead and found the TMZ article, along with a whole host of reader comments, some of whom took issue with TMZ's assertion that Tom was way too old to have a page. Why not? Why does it have to be just young people, they want to know. And I have to agree. One of the cool things about MySpace is searching for old friends - high school and college friends you lost touch with. You kind of have to go through high school and college to have gotten those friends you are gonna lose, right?

So I say, right on, Tom. He's one of my favorite actors of all time (Head Honcho and I are probably the only two people in the world who loved "Cast Away" which is one of the reasons we crave Lost so much). I will see him in pretty much any movie, regardless of how crappy it is.

The only question remains: should I try to friend him on my own page? Oh Tom, be my MySpace friend!

Your Hollywood connection,

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Selling a Book - Part 2

I shocked you, didn’t I? With that work-related post yesterday? You thought C. Leigh would be all sleepy and lazy after a long Thanksgiving meal and that she’d post something about nice friends and watching “The Incredibles,” but she fooled you! She went for the serious stuff!

Who writes about publishing the day after Thanksgiving? Who’s crazy like that? Your Hollywood connection, that’s who. She’s got work on her brain and has been for days and days. She’s woken up early thinking about scenes she wants - nay, must - write. Characters who are desperate to speak to her and get their words down on the page. And for two days she’s been so flippin’ busy with other pie-related matters that she didn’t have time to work! And now she’s so crazy, she’s talking about herself in the third person.

So I wanted to mention the next thing about the book sale and that is the work after the fact, after the deal is struck. The honeymoon ends very quickly when you get the editor’s notes. They usually come in the form of a long email and in the case of my editor, begin with generalities (as in, shorten act one and lengthen act two) and then get into specifics (as in, shorten act one by fifty pages and get rid of these characters). You freak out ever-so-briefly because you thought you’d sold a book that was going to be printed into book-like form and then you find out alas, no, you only sold something resembling a book.

If you’re like me, you outline the book again and look for the sections of problems that your fantastic editor (who has a much greater image of the big picture than you do) has clued you into. Then - before you have a conversation with him or her - you figure out where you can make some of the changes he or she needs and what you absolutely have to keep. It’s really a good idea to know this going in because this is a process of compromise. This is why you (and I) did the earlier edit: to show that you (and I) can be flexible when it comes to the rewrite.

This will happen over and over again. So get used to it. And trust me, it’s way better in the long run. You will be much happier and so will your editor and publisher. Having sold and rewritten only two books with my editor, I can’t pretend to be a Stephen King-level expert but I’ve seen a trend or two emerge from the process.

The rewrite can go on for a year and a half, as it did with LOVE, MEG or just a few months, as it did with ALL ABOUT VEE. Why am I telling you this? Why did I even label this “Selling a Book” when clearly this is post-sale? Because this is what is involved in selling a book. You don’t just sell it and go away and write another. There is much work to be done and I think it’s important that writers realize this.

And this isn’t nearly as bad as the movies. In that business, writers are rewritten constantly: by producers and directors and actors and other writers. You get used to it. You have to. In publishing, it’s just you and your editor and that relationship is very important to the ultimate health of your book. Cherish it, nourish it, respect it. You will be much better off if you do.

Your Hollywood connection,

Friday, November 23, 2007

Selling a Book - Part 1

I’ve mentioned my editor Kristen here and the length of time it took me to rewrite LOVE, MEG after I sold it but I’ve neglected to talk about how it got sold.

That’s a long story and you probably have a lot better things to do, like flossing your teeth or walking your dog.

You say your brother is in charge of walking the dog and you never floss anyway? Well, you might want to think about the consequences of that decision. The dog-walking, that is, not the teeth-flossing. Dogs tend to bond with their walkers.

I’m sorry, what was the question again?

Right, right. The story of how I sold my book. Are you sure you want to know?

Of course you do. That’s probably the second question people ask, “How did you sell your novel?” What they really want to know, since they are probably writers themselves if they even think to ask this question, is, “Was your experience something I can use to sell my novel?”

The easy answer (because I am all about the easy answer) is…sure, why not?

The harder answer, which is more like the truth, is…no, probably not. Every book is different. Every writer is different. The path to publication is generally the same for every book but specifically different for every book.

In an ideal world, you write a book, you rewrite it a few dozen times until it’s perfect, then you call up a publishing house and ask to speak to someone who loves stories about people who walk their dogs but hate to floss and the receptionist connects you to the exact right editor who says she was just that very second wondering when someone would come in with a dog-walking/floss-hating story and when can you send your fantastic manuscript in so she can make you an offer and by the way, what did you have in mind for the cover art?

In the real world, none of this happens. You can try calling a publishing house and hope that the receptionist is a temp who doesn’t know any better and connects you to Ms. Perfect Editor but there is no way Ms. Perfect Editor will agree to read your manuscript, no matter how many times you tell her it’s awesome. If you somehow manage to get her on the phone, instead of her voice mail, she will tell you the publishing house does not accept “unagented, unsolicited submissions.” This means you need to get an agent and then you need to have the editor request the manuscript.

So, back to LOVE, MEG. I had to find an agent first. There are many, many articles and blogs filled with advice about finding an agent and I couldn’t possibly write anything that hasn’t already been written much better. All I will say is that it’s crucial that you find the agent who’s the right one for you and for your work. When I found the right agent for me, the amazing Faye Bender of the Faye Bender Literary Agency, then it was a matter of submitting the manuscript until we found the editor who was the exact right editor for me, which turned out to be Kristen Pettit of Penguin/Razorbill Books. She asked for a rewrite before she could reconsider it but fortunately, during a very long phone conversation, we found we agreed on the direction the book needed to take. I went away, rewrote, she re-read, and we were in business.

After that, the real work began: characters disappeared, some plotlines were collapsed while others were expanded, and yes, the title changed. But that’s a whole ‘nuther blog topic, one which I will try to tackle another time, if anyone is interested.

Your Hollywood connection,

Thursday, November 22, 2007

"Love, Meg" Thanks and Giving

Thanks to:

--my parents for hosting me this summer when I was visiting the east coast for my book launch

--my brother for finding The Alphabet Garden for the east coast party

--Adam for getting me in at Book Soup on Harry Potter weekend and at RJ Julia's when they had no idea who I was

--Faye for always answering my lame questions and giving awesome speedy feedback when she knows I need it

--CG for bringing me up to Chico and introducing me to a whole new crop of readers

--Kristen for working tirelessly to get the book in front of the sales and marketing people

--Sherri for giving me the chance to talk to some amazing kids at Hillsides

--Book Divas and Teen Reads Too and Genrefluent and the Library Goddess and JenniferAnistonWatch and all the other blogs and sites that have supported the book

--Little Willow for giving me my first amazing interview

--Christina at Book Divas for giving me my second amazing interview

--All my friends and relatives who attended the readings in LA and Connecticut and actually bought copies of the book

--All the readers I have met and have yet to meet

--Head Honcho for doing his ninja webmaster thing

And Giving:

--If I could, I'd have you all over for apple pie.

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone! Eat well and be happy...

Your Hollywood connection,

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Finally, William is Gone!

I think the sign of a crazy person is when they believe television is real (see Brooke Shields in the classic Friends episode in which she thinks Joey is really his soap character). But what about reality television? Is that not real? Am I crazy to believe in BATG?

No. I'm not crazy.

But I am super happy! I was never so glad to watch a reality TV show as I was last night. First of all, my favorite team is winning - Jasmine and Dave the LARPER - and they won the wine-making challenge. Now, this couple is really the epitome of this show. They started out antagonistic, primarily due to Dave's lack of social graces, and turned into a great partnership. They learned from each other and they functioned as a wonderful support system for each other throughout the show. And this all came about because of Josh and Shay's admonishment of them weeks ago! They were almost chosen to be elminated that night, were it not for Josh's insistence that they start working as a team.

This couple deserves to win. They ARE what the show is about. Sam and Nicole are just a team, no learning or change involved, aside from Nicole's new hairstyle and contact lenses. And then there's William and Jen. Gone. GONE! I was sooo happy when they lost the challenge and then lost in the elimination room. And I do not for one second believe William when he said they were just getting the hang of working together. That's a total crock. I feel bad for Jen, of course, but I just wanted her pain to be over.

So...whew! On to the final week! Will Dave and Jasmine succeed and win the 250K? I sure hope so. But if not, they have done so amazingly well.

And now for me, on to the apple pie challenge! Will she make 2 apple pies? Will one burn? Will the crust fall? Stay tuned....

Your Hollywood connection,

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Turkey Day Television

I don't get sports. Correction: I don't get sports except for baseball.

Golf? Bor-ing.

Basketball? Too sweaty, too much yelling.

Hockey? Was a fan in high school when it meant something but pro? No thanks.

Football? See all of the above.

When I was a cheerleader in high school (yes, it's true! I was a rah!), football meant something to me. I knew all of the players, had a crush on a few, understood what each game's value was to the overall place of our high school within the state league. I didn't quite understand the game itself (my friend Mark had to explain to me that there was no goalie in football which I thought was a pretty big omission) but I enjoyed it. At the very least, I knew when to lead an offensive or defensive cheer.

But now that I don't have to care, I don't. I have on occasion watched the Super Bowl and I used to prepare for that like I would prepare for the Olympics: by reading all I could about the teams and the players so I could make it mean something to me. And yes, that was kind of fun. Fortunately, Head Honcho is not a fan. He'll watch the Super Bowl as he's surfing the net but it's not a day he sets aside to wallow in chips and salsa.

Thank goodness for small favors.

So come Thursday as we're drinking our coffee and scarfing down apple pie, we won't have any of the pigskin on the telly. Instead, we'll probably pop in a classic like The Godfather or JFK, an epic movie that has nothing to do with the holiday but makes us think big thoughts.

Your Hollywood connection,

Monday, November 19, 2007

Leigh Finally Catches on to this YouTube Thing

While watching The Simpsons last night (an episode that began in classic awesome fashion with an alternate comic book store and great guest voices like Jack Black and Alan Moore but degenerated into lazy writing which was typical of last season when the writers were all working on the movie), I saw a parody of what I learned is an old video of the group Ok Go.

As a dancer and as someone who hates gyms and treadmills and can see no good use for them, I was so impressed by this video in which the 4 members of the band dance on treadmills. It was so incredibly clever I had to watch it twice! And it was all in one wide shot, one take. Very hard to do for any dancer - on a floor or a treadmill.

I'm gonna try to include it here in case there is someone in the world who has not seen it, like me.

All right, I don't know how to save this video so I can upload it to the post so you'll just have to click the link and check it out in YouTube.

Wayyyy cool.

So Happy Monday.

Your Hollywood connection,

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Netflix Weekend

So what was in the Netflix queue this weekend? Three movies, no TV shows. We’re still waiting for Lost Season 4 and The Wire Season 4 to come out. Should be soon!

Hairspray - I had forgotten how much fun the original John Waters’ movie is! And how musical it is without being a real musical. He uses so much great 50s and 60s dance music that it feels like it’s a musical. I loved Ricki Lake and Divine and even the smaller roles had great actors like Jerry Stiller as Tracy’s dad and Deborah Harry as Amber’s mom. I have to admit I preferred the cast of the new movie. I can’t help it! The fact is that Waters had no money to get the big cast back then. He shot on location in his native Baltimore with actors he could afford. Head Honcho and I joked that he probably spent most of his budget on licensing the music! Another difference that I think improved the second movie: the fleshing out (no pun intended!) of Edna Turnblad. I liked that the new movie made her housebound for years so that Tracy’s coming out was hers as well. As her daughter blossomed, so did she. I think that added a lot of depth to her character.

Smokin’ Aces - this SHOULD have been a great movie. What an awesome cast: Jeremy Piven, Ben Affleck (briefly), Ryan Reynolds, Ray Liotta, Matthew Fox (briefly)…action from the get-go. It was just scene after scene of great action - or preparation for action. So what happened? In the denouement of the story, things get massively complicated. So complicated in fact, that Head Honcho and I had to stop the movie and talk about it. We were like wha??? And it didn’t need it. That’s the killer part. It could have stopped just after the revelation that [SPOILER ALERT] Buddy was Primo’s son and Primo actually wanted Buddy’s real heart for a transplant. It would have been awesome if all the killers had merely misinterpreted the hit. Also, [ANOTHER SPOILER], many of the hit men were shown to have survived the big attack at the end - but then NONE of them were used! Unforgivable! If you show the gun, you gotta use it.

Children of Men - What a bleak and horrible future we live in, to quote Homer (Simpson). I didn’t think I’d like this movie much, seeing as how it’s quite a downer but I was really impressed. Poor Clive Owen had to run around in a pair of flip-flops for much of it. He was, in a word, amazing. My friend Yooli has always had a huge crush on Clive and with good reason: he’s a great actor AND he’s super sexy. My only complaint? I wish they had given at least some explanation for why the women were infertile. Was it chemical? Biological? The natural order of things? Mike Judge’s excellent and underrated Idiocracy posits a future in which only the stupid have children because they don’t consider the consequences as smarter people do. But I don’t think that’s what this movie is about. And fyi, the director, Alfonso Cuaron, also did Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, which I think was the best of all of them so far.

So that was the Netflix weekend. Wonder what treats the queue will bring us this week?

Your Hollywood connection,

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Strike Hits

So far the only shows I’ve read about that have stopped production are Desperate Housewives, which shot its last episode last week, and some comedies like Two and a Half Men, Back to You and others. They simply ran out of scripts to shoot.

Comedies, since they are usually shot in front of an audience, will probably show the absence of writers the most because they are often tweaked while they are being shot. If an audience reacts to a joke - or worse, doesn’t react - the writers and producers will huddle together and throw out more jokes, trying whatever they can to get the laugh. If there are no writers to do that, the audience will get stuck with some pretty lame jokes.

Dramas, on the other hand, are usually set before they are shot and that’s because the showrunner (the creator and executive producer of the show) does a final pass on every script to make sure it fits with the tone she has developed. So when Katherine Heigl is saying her lines on the set of Grey’s Anatomy, they will probably stay exactly as they are written because Shonda Rhimes has approved them. Not to mention the fact that the writers are not often on the set of dramas; they’re back in the room working on the next episode!

I think we’ll soon begin to see the effects of the strike on the schedule as networks try to maximize the number of episodes they have left for different shows. Some will go away for a week or two when nets think they aren’t being watched and then return at a more opportune time. Regardless, they can’t get around the fact that this strike will impact them: viewers will leave for other venues like the internet and DVDs and videogames and yes, books! And if it’s like the previous strike, they will have a hard time getting those eyeballs back, especially if they don’t have anything good to offer.

All I have to say is…please settle this before Lost returns! Carlton Cuse has already said they don’t have that many scripts ready to shoot and I fear being left in the lurch. Is it possible they won’t reveal as much as they had intended to this season? Oh no!

Your Hollywood connection,

P.S. Good news! Since I posted this, they have announced that the AMPTP and the WGA have set a date to resume negotiations - the Monday after the Thanksgiving weekend! Whoo-hoo! This isn't anything definite but it's a good sign.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Back to School

This morning I am headed off to do a couple of short writing presentations at a school in Pasadena and I have to admit to being a tad nervous about it. Although each group will be relatively small (15-20 students) and brief (40 or so minutes), I still don't really know what I will be saying to them! I sort of have an outline about the process of writing a novel, along with some hints about writing and rewriting but it's not like I have a multimedia slide show or handouts or anything.

During Teen Read Week, when CG Watson and I talked to her school in Chico, we talked about ourselves a bit, read a bit, and then answered questions. We had a blast! But it's just soooo much easier when you have a partner. It definitely takes the pressure off!

Today it will just be me! I hope they are kind and ask questions and pay attention as if I'm saying something that's actually interesting.

Stephen Chbosky, who wrote the amazing "The Perks of Being a Wallflower," once gave me a piece of advice when talking to schools so I think I will try to use it today and see if it works.

Crossing fingers...

Your Hollywood connection,

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Kid Nation Redux

A blurb in the Sunday LA Times reminded people to get over their initial preconceptions about this show and give it a shot. I was so happy to read that! This show - and those kids - deserve to get the eyeballs. Since I'm not in the TV business anymore, I'm not keen to the show's numbers so I have NO idea how well it's doing in the ratings. All I know is that it's a great show and these are amazing kids and you should be watching.

Okay...what drama last night, eh? The districts were shaken up by some switching of team members which brought tremendous rebellion - and lots of anger. The worst by far was on the red team which saw the inclusion of gold star winner Nathan. The poor kid was discussed (more like dissected) by his new teammates while he stood right in front of his them! I believe them coming in last in the challenge was their karma for being so mean to him. Let them be laborers!

Then there was Blaine, the new member of the yellow district. Kudos to Zach who knew his team needed help. They're all so young and female and someone like Blaine can help them get stuff done and boy did he! He was a huge help in the challenge but he also kicked his team into gear and encouraged them to work hard. He definitely deserved the gold star for all he did.

On the negative side, Laurel, in an act of loyalty which became more selfish than anything else, refused to trade and kept her team intact. At first that seemed like a nice thing to do but it really wasn't fair to everyone else. And it wasn't very pro-Bonanza. Just pro-Green district.

So the upshot? Another council vote! Another shakeup in the town's leaders could result in some very interesting decisions being made - and a very different tone.

Your Hollywood connection,

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

And Then There Were Three (Couples)

Say it ain't so! Josh and Shay are gone from the mansion on BATG. How could this happen? How could Jen and William beat those two lovable people?

As I have noted many, many times, William is a total and complete jerk when it comes to his partner and for someone who really shouldn't be so self-centered, he has an inordinately high self-esteem. He actually complained to the host and judge of the bartending challenge that HE should have won, instead of Dave. He later told the camera that Dave only won because of personality.


Have you NOT been paying attention to this entire social experiment?

The geeks are supposed to be learning that there is a lot more to a person, to having friends and girlfriends. than simply knowing stuff. Just having amassed a wide variety of facts and figures does not mean you are BETTER than anyone else. Thankfully, the other geeks who are left have recognized that about him and have been trying - none-too-successfully - to point out to him the rude error of his ways. He is a horrible, horrible person.

Sam and Dave and Jasmine (Nicole knew) are also learning much too late that they should NEVER have let William and Jen stay last time. They had a chance to get rid of them and didn't. Now it's every couple for themselves and if William and Jen win in the elimination room, well, that has nothing to do with partnership and everything to do with luck of the draw. Josh could easily have been the one with the extra question to tie but I guess he lost the toss of the coin.

On a lighter note, how cute was it when Dave tried to cheer Jasmine up by making brownies? He has come such a long way since the show began and he was snotty and didn't think he could ever learn anything from or teach anything to Jasmine. I'm so glad to hear them use words like "proud" when talking about each other.

This is such a frustrating show when you like the characters! I wonder if they will be doing a new season right away due to the strike. Although they probably ramped up the search for a new cast, they still have an entire process they have to go through that they might not have been able to hasten.

Your Hollywood connection,

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

To Boldly Go

Along with MTM and Bewitched and Bob Newhart as shows that bring me back to a certain time and place in my life, I have to add Star Trek. The original series, an episode of which I saw the other night, reminds me of living in a brand new housing development in Glen Mills, Pennsylvania when my dad was working for a company that made him travel a lot. He drove a POS Aspen which he bought because he had rented one and loved it. My mom was driving a VW bus then. It was the fanciest house we ever lived in.

My brother and I used to skateboard up and down the hills of the development, past giant dogs - Dobermans, I think - which scared the heck out of us. I remember listening to ABBA with a neighbor who was French and decorating my bedroom with matching curtains and sheets in god-awful bright geometric shapes of yellow and blue and orange. I was in the hospital for pneumonia that winter and I remember nearly fainting at midnight mass. We only lived there for a year but I guess a lot happened.

My dad and I didn't do much together but we watched reruns of Star Trek.
Your Hollywood connection,

Monday, November 12, 2007

The Powers That Be

A comment on a recent post about Heroes made me start thinking about all the cool powers the characters have on that show. I've seen enough Spiderman and Batman movies and read enough graphic novels to know that there are a lot of really innovative writers out there creating characters with amazing super-cool powers but I have to say the writers of Heroes have amassed a serious number of awesome powers in one place - heck, in one city, it seems!

If you follow comic book lore at all, there has always been a debate between fans of Batman and fans of Superman, with the question being about an ultimate battle between the two of them. Who would win? And it's really unfair to put Superman in an equation like that because he's superhuman and impervious to bullets and brawn.

That could have happened with someone like Peter or Sylar in Heroes as they gain more power but I think the writers have done a good job of not allowing that to happen because they have tempered their powers with a weakness, as writers of all great superhero characters have, and because there continues to be something BIGGER and BETTER than what we see. At some point though, we have to wonder if there isn't an end to this because once we reach that end with the final person being THE most powerful and controlling individual, he or she can then be vanquished. Right now we're waiting to see who this Adam Monroe person is, where he came from, and why he's so much more powerful than our heroes.

I feel like there should be a lesson here for me, for us as viewers but I don't think there is one. Nor does there seem to be anything applicable to the current manuscript I'm working on! LOL!
Oh man, do I have a lot of work to do!! I need a superpower that handles THAT! :)

Your Hollywood connection,

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Oh Mary! Oh Nostalgia!

Who can turn the world on with her smile...

Ah, Mary Tyler Moore. I love Mary. I feel so nostalgic watching her show, the early years when she had the big bouncy hair and was all, "Oh, Mr. Grant!" before she called him "Lou." I have the second season on DVD and I just finished watching it last night while Head Honcho was out doing his guy thing.

Who can take a nothing day and suddenly make it all seem worthwhile...

Love that time, that guy time. I say, please, spend time with your friends and give me some time to myself to knit and watch MTM and The Closer and movies like Spirited Away and Willy Wonka with Gene Wilder. HH will begrudgingly watch those things with me but sometimes it's better when I do it on my own. I am definitely not one of those girls who thinks their guy needs to be with them 24/7 or if he's out, he should be with me. No sir. I have my own things to do, either in the house or outside. That's cuz I'm independent just like Mary.

Well it's you girl and you should know it. With each glance and every little movement you show it...

There are certain shows that take me down memory lane and even if they're not nearly as good as I remember them (e.g. I Dream of Jeannie, Get Smart), they still bring back warm fuzzies of being a kid or even watching them on Nick at Nite in the early years of cable.

Love is all around don't need to waste it. You can have the town, why don't you take it...

What shows are like that for you? I'll try to think of some more and make myself sadder.

You're gonna make it after all!

Your Hollywood connection,

Saturday, November 10, 2007

RIP Norman Mailer

When I was in high school, the books of Norman Mailer were off-limits which made them even more attractive. "The Executioner's Song" and "The Naked and the Dead" were probably his two most popular and I didn't get a chance to read them until I was in college.

Mr. Mailer was self-centered and misogynistic; he stabbed his wife almost to her death; he was outspoken in pretty much all arenas of public life; and he was sometimes a brilliant writer. While I can't say I appreciated his books as much as others might, I respect the risks he took in his life and in his work. Some of his books were torn apart mercilessly by critics; definitely some of his personal actions were criticized as well. But in his 84 years, he never compromised and that's something to aspire to as a writer.

Oddly enough, there was only 1 degree of separation between me and Mr. Mailer: I worked as a script supervisor on a film on which his son, Michael, was a producer. There were lots of odd connections on that film: Ali Larter, star of Heroes, was in it as were Robert Redford's daughter, Amy, Dabney Coleman, and the filmmaker James Toback, who is also a misogynist and who dissed me behind me back on the set - to the director! - so I lost all respect for him.

(Getting between the script supervisor and the director is such a bad move: that's a very important relationship that gets reflected back in the editing room and on the film. On the rare occasions that happened with me, the filmmaking definitely suffered - and I refused to work with those people ever again.

Gotta R-E-S-P-E-C-T, ya know what I'm sayin'?)

Your Hollywood connection,

P.S. Head Honcho had a role in that movie too!

Friday, November 9, 2007


A few announcements please, if I can have your attention for a moment.

First of all, I heard yesterday that my friend and former co-worker, Michael Ferrari, has won the Delacorte Yearling Prize for his middle grade novel, "War Hawks." No schedule for publication yet but that's part of the prize. Congrats, Michael! I read this book several years ago and really enjoyed it so I'm doubly thrilled he will be getting published.
Second of all, some belated congrats to CG Watson, my very good friend and author of "Quad." Her book was nominated for both a Cybil award and an Edgar award! Yay, CG! She's already an ALA Quick Picks for 2007 so she's an old pro at the award stuff...:)

And third of all, well, I got a really awesome review yesterday from Book Divas. You can check it out here. Love the Book Divas! There's also a very cool interview with me in their blog.

(Can I say that without sounding too stuck up? I mean, I'm not the one who's cool - it's the interview that's cool.

Okay, think whatever you want...but check out for other cool stuff.)

And fourth and final announcement: I've got some new celeb stuff on my website in the Lite Snacks pages. Come check that out too:

We return you to your regularly scheduled programming...

Your Hollywood connection (yes I know I spelled Hollywood wrong yesterday),

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Reality Thursday

I was thinking about doing a regular Reality Roundup on Thursdays, perhaps, since I watch Kid Nation and Kitchen Nightmares on Wednesday and BATG on Tuesdays but then I realized that if the strike lasts past the holidays, every day will be Reality Roundup.

I noticed a toll free number at the end of Chef Gordon's's show last night in case you want to be on it. They are probably going to continue to cast as long as they can. They will simply keep the crews out there and send Ramsay from restaurant to restaurant if they need to. That's the only good thing from a reality standpoint: you might see another edition of your fave.

So anyway...on Nightmares last night: they profiled a pizza joint not far from me in Burbank called Sebastian's. What a pear-shaped loser this guy was! He refused to admit Gordon's ideas were better than his, that Gordon had more experience and was more successful than he and at one point, he broke into the production HQ next door! Dude, what the heck???

He was a total drama addict and he was, I think, convinced Gordon would visit his restaurant and see the potential it had for a franchise, which is all he babbled about: franchise and concept menu. He had an ego the size of Rhode Island which, if you know Gordon's ego, won't fit into the same room with him let alone share a camera frame. He was completely ungrateful for the opportunity Ramsay gave him to launch his place anew and ya know, good luck to him. His poor wife, who must be loaded since she didn't seem to mind sinking 300K into a restaurant run by a guy who uses frozen ingredients and "cooks" using a microwave, just wanted to take care of their baby who is ultimately the one who suffers his massive ego.

Kid Nation showcased the kids' creative talents and I must say, I was not terribly impressed, except by Laurel who had a lovely singing voice. But this isn't a dis on the kids! I think it's great that they're not all supertalented singers or dancers or actors. That makes them more loveable, more kid-like and not prodigies that a bunch of stage parents pushed forth onto the entertainment world to make their mark. I would much rather watch them suck. In a good way.

Your Hollwyood connection,

Can I just add one thing here: my Buddhist Thought for the Day has already repeated in the short time I've had the widget on my desktop. How is that possible? Didn't Buddha say, like, a lot of stuff?

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Bad Move on BATG

Why oh why did those 2 couples choose William and Jen to remain on the show? We know why Sam did: he feels threatened by John and Natalie and didn't want to take the risk that they wouldn't be in the elimination room in the future. In other words, he was playing the show like a typical guy, not a beauty and not a geek. He was playing it like it was Survivor and frankly, if I wanted a show like that, I wouldn't be watching BATG.

The others, on the other hand, including his partner Nicole, know what the show is all about: learning from each other and being part of this social experiment. Dave knew because Dave learned. He made a conscious decision to be a better partner, to learn from his own partner and he succeeeded. Not only have they grown closer but he won the dance competition last night!

William is just so mean...calling Jen fat, being rude to her, talking about her behind her back. He's childish and shouldn't be there anymore and it's not fair to the others, especially Jen who has given him every opportunity to step up.

I wonder what it's like for people on reality shows to watch themselves, if they do. I know lots of actors won't watch their own movies because what they experienced on the set or in the scene has been completely edited away - for better or for worse. The same must be true of reality shows. There is certainly plenty of footage to choose from and the editors and producers make carefuly decisions about what to keep in and what not to show. They create the storylines for us, often by writing the narration of our host (which is why they are also writers and should be part of the WGA but that's another topic completely). A participant in one of these shows must look at the end result and say, "That's not me. That's not how it happened."

Or not.
I hope William sees just how horrible he has been to Jen and apologizes for it. It's too late to change his way - or so we have seen. And there are only 4 couples left. Let's hope he either gets his act together soon or gets tossed.

Your Hollywood connection,

Monday, November 5, 2007

Strike 3! They're Out!

Buddhist Thought for the Day: It is not for us to search but to remain still, to achieve immobility, not action.

Yes indeedy, the writers in Hollywood are on strike. The Teamsters aren’t picketing with them but individuals will be allowed by their union to honor the picket line if they feel it’s necessary. If this lasts until spring, they may be joined by the directors and actors, who also have contract renewals coming up in June - and both of those unions have similar interests in DVD residuals and internet revenue. Then we could be in for a very long and boring television season - not to mention Oscar season.

Potential Bonus: maybe more people will go back to reading books, in which case I’ve got a recommend for ya…read “Love, Meg.”

Always looking on the bright side.

Your Hollywood connection,

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Strike 2!

An update: a federal negotiator has called a last minute meeting for this morning so the strike may be averted. Fingers crossed! I hate to see people lose their jobs and you just know there will be a trickle down effect.

The only good thing I can think of that can come of this strike is that Head Honcho and I will be able to catch up with on our Netflix. We have a ton of movies and, ironically, television series (we are just finishing up season 3 of The Wire - LOVE IT!!) we need to watch. And yes, I will come back to network. I don’t have cable and besides, I have to see Lost!

Your Hollywood connection,

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Strike 1!

The WGA has voted to strike and will probably do so on Monday morning, barring any last minute negotiations with a federal mediator. Among other things, they want increased revenue on DVD sales, payment for material written for the web as well as residuals for shows repurposed on the web.

I did not realize that writers on television shows do not get paid when those shows air on the web. I’m not quite sure how you’d figure it out but they definitely should! That’s a venue just like television. How is it any different from when a show airs as a repeat or when it’s in syndication or running on cable?

And how about when they write for their shows’ websites which are run by the networks? They aren’t paid for that either which makes no sense at all.

Half the articles I read claim this won’t be a big deal to Hollywood because the writers’ absence means nothing and the studios and networks will just run reality shows. They say writers aren’t powerful enough to shut down Hollywood.

The other half claim it will be a HUGE deal and that it could cost the town a billion dollars in lost revenue. It will have repercussions in so many ways: not just directly television and film but indirectly, things like caterers and restaurants and car services and hotels and on and on.

This I believe because twenty years ago, when the last strike occurred, the industry lost half a billion dollars in revenue, plus lots of people left network TV for cable and never went back. Now that there’s the internet and videogames and Netflix, there will be even more people who won’t return to network or cable. Cuz seriously, how many episodes of celebrity dancing shows can you watch? Especially if no professionals are writing the patter! Can you say lame? Sure you can and so will they…


Your Hollywood connection,

Friday, November 2, 2007

Permanency, begone!

The Buddhist Thought for the Day:
Turn your mind from things that are not permanent.

I like that. I don't know what it means but I like it.

Okay I have just one thing to say today, other than the turning-your-mind-away-from-things bit:

What’s with Beowulf becoming a movie? I mean, seriously? Beowulf? I can barely read that thing. It’s written in Old English - who can understand it all?

And if Beowulf HAS to be a movie, shouldn’t Peter Jackson be directing it?

Your Hollywood connection,

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Watch, Rinse, Repeat

I hate repeats. Reruns. Repurposed shows. Whatever you want to call 'em. And I never understood how and why shows repeated when they did until I worked in the business.

You may have heard about these things called "sweeps months." Those are the months of February, May and November when advertising rates are set. Rates are based on the ratings network shows get during those months - and at no other time. The rates are what advertisers will pay during what's called "upfronts." That's the time of the year - right after pilot season - when advertisers buy big chunks of time on networks in advance, in other words, they buy time "upfront" instead of buying on the day or week or month of a new season.

Don't worry. You won't be tested on this material.

Now obviously, networks want these rates to be as high as possible which means their ratings have to be as high as possible; hence the need for brand new material that can be shown during those 3 months. Most shows don't produce more than 22 episodes per season, some less, like Lost. So producers and writers write their shows to those sweeps months which is why you see very special episodes like weddings and murders and so on only during February, May and November.

Kinda seems like a cheat, doesn't it? It is. For us as viewers anyway, not the nets who make millions in profits because of it. What's the alternative? Eliminate sweeps months and set the rates accordingly based on season-high ratings. Pretty easy-peasy, if you ask me.

So all this is to say it was a week of repeats in anticipation of November sweeps which begins today.

Your Hollywood connection,