The hammer has fallen and I am finally losing my job. To celebrate, I am digging through my journals and reminding myself how much it sucked:
Work did not turn out as badly as I expected today. This is another way of saying it is one of the top ten work days in my career history. I expected for months and months worth of tiny fuckups and general laziness to be exposed today, and that I would be rightly castigated. But my boss is too busy.
I always think: he’s an asshole, but it’s also true that I fucking suck at my job and I don’t give a fuck about it. I do not give a fuck about movies and TV shows and the various processes and means of support necessary to make these things. The whole enterprise is too much motherfucking work for very little return. There are too many hustlers and opportunists and salesmen cluttering up the phone lines and making it impossible to actually see material that is good. There are too many people trying to be screenwriters. It is too easy for them to get agents and managers, and too easy for these agents and managers to call me with these shitty screenwriters’ projects and waste my time and exhaust me and it’s because I’m afraid of saying no to them. And in some corner of my soul I find it offensive because I think I’m a better writer than these people. Which is not the case. Three paragraphs a day about jerking off does not compare to writing a fully realized screenplay, no matter how stupid or unfunny it might be.
But, it’s the comedies that really piss me off, because: no fucking comedy writers are actually funny. None of them. Not one of them is fast on their feet or makes you laugh in a room. There’s always this hedge when you read comedy scripts: “well, that stuff is never funny on the page.” Really? I’ve laughed at written words thousands and thousands of times in my life. Some times this has even been screenplays– a screenplay will make me laugh about once per year.
Everybody in this fucking town treats every minor inconvenience the way soccer players treat being brushed lightly with an opponent’s forearm. They collapse on the ground and begin wailing for the ref. I was thinking this yesterday, as I made some incomprehensibly small and meaningless error that caused my boss to not know something which, if he weren’t a retarded idiot, he would have easily realized on his own. “GOD, Tacos,” he said. “Jesus– I just, I can’t BELIEVE you didn’t tell me this. This is HUGE.” Etc etc etc. delivered loudly and histrionically. There was real emotion behind his words. He really felt it, that this tiny and ultimately meaningless fuck up was tantamount to starting world war three. Holocaust survivors show less emotion when describing their ordeals.
He’s like this with everything. Every tiny infraction. Putting a paper clip in the wrong place is on the same scale of grief as burning his whole family alive in front of him. Part of it is, he just hates me. Which is fine. I hate him too, and I suck at my job, and I don’t care about it. He should have fired me years ago and the only reason he doesn’t is his only human quality, laziness. But what can I say, the man has employed me for five years despite the fact that I absolutely fucking suck at my job and show naked contemptuous apathy toward the company that is his life’s work, apathy that any fool could easily spot a thousand miles away. But it would be a pain in the ass to replace me. I am a thief, a criminal, stealing the opportunity away from him to have someone works for him who actually gives a shit. So, no moral beef with him. If I just have to hear him wail like a Palestinian mother whose kid just got dismembered by a rocket because i forgot to remind him of something he should already know, so be it.
But you come to expect it, working in Hollywood, that every little nitpicking problem is going to be reacted to like a major war crime. It becomes normal to you. Anyone who works in Hollywood and watches the Sweet and Low scene in Swimming with Sharks thinks “no shit you’re getting yelled at, dumbass, he said Sweet and Low.” In fact, everything Kevin Spacey says in that movie is dead on, and he’s more honest and explicit and constructive about it than most people in Hollywood actually are. It’s just the culture. It’s so competitive, everybody wants to get into this world and then grasp at every vanishing bone, every jerkoff hustler is lying and elbowing every other jerkoff hustler out of the way– every mistake does get inflated and does snowball and every misplaced paper clip ends up offending the head of some studio because… the feng shui was fucking wrong.
So everyone acts like a big pussy and shrieks at everyone around them about everything. Agents, when they get an offer for a client, are never going to say “hmm, it’s a little on low side.” It’s always gonna be “WHAT? this is an INSULT; I can’t even– I can’t even show this to my client…” there’s always wailing and gnashing of teeth.
What the fuck am I doing with my life. I have had this job for six years now. Six years. I am thirty six motherfucking years old. I spent the last years of my youth doing this. I got a fancy title but the parts of my job that really matter are answering some fucker’s phone. Calling someone to fix the copier when it breaks.
I need to get laid so I can have something to write about. Whoever my last date was. Otherwise life is such a god damn motherfucking bore. Wake up alone, sit in the park with my cat; go to work where I’m functionally alone. I’m a simulacrum of a human being, acting the opposite way of what I think and feel… acting apologetic when I feel murderous, acting polite when I feel contemptuous, working on movies and TV shows that are designed to be popular by telling the opposite of the truth. That’s a good ten and a half hours of the day, then the commute. Come home, alone, and play computer games while drinking. Wake up and do it again.
The substance of your work is unimportant. What is important is whether the people you work with are cool. The people I work with are not cool. Every tiny thing is a huge transgression to them; there is no crime besides capital murder. There is no jaywalking in the scope of fuckups, only capital murder.
If you are thinking about coming to Hollywood and pursuing a career in show business, I want to tell you: don’t do it.
Especially if you’re thinking about coming out here to make art. But, you’re not. No one even considers coming to Hollywood to make art, to communicate some idea, to make someone else feel less alone in the world. They come out here because they want to have no boss. They want to be on TV. Easy money, easy pussy. They come out here because it’s something they’ve heard of, the way a kid will say they want to be a fireman, or an astronaut. Or a dinosaur. Nobody has heard of Human Resources Manager for an artificial Christmas tree manufacturing concern, so no one wants to be that. But trust me, that person is much happier.
Instead it’s I like movies, therefore I should work in movies. Which is like saying I like steak, therefore I should work in a slaughterhouse. Plus, movies are fucking terrible. There are three good movies that come out every summer and maybe eight in the fall. You, if you work in movies, will not be making those movies. You will be begging for a return phone call from Katherine Heigl’s agent to attach herself to an awful romantic comedy script written by some dipshit, some “fresh voice,” a 24 year old girl from Westchester County, but it’s named after a text speak phrase that the head of Universal is vaguely aware of as being “cool” so it might sell. The dipshit is not funny; nothing bad has ever happened to her and she’s smoked pot three times and never tried cocaine; she lost her virginity to a legitimate boyfriend whom she’s known since she was Bat Mitzvahed and she went to a great school and came out here and interned for Brian Grazer and her father is a prosperous oral surgeon. She is writing a story about a troubled romance that goes wrong. None of her romances have been troubled or have gone wrong. In a room she is as funny as watching a holocaust documentary, but her dialogue “pops” in the minds of the older version of her; wealthy women from the suburbs with degrees from Seven Sisters or lesser Ivies.
You are going to try to attach Katherine Heigl, the worst actress in the universe. A person who, to borrow a phrase, could not convincingly play Katherine Heigl in The Katherine Heigl Story, and who beyond this is just not likeable; you want to punch her smug fucking face every time you see it leering backward over her shoulder on a billboard across from Gerard Butler or whoeverthefuck; maybe she is dangling a pair of handcuffs because there is some concept to this movie, she is a bounty hunter or something. In civilian life you would rather have your balls pinned to a severe tire damage strip while a tractor with knobby tires ran back and forth over them again and again and again than even accidentally see thirty seconds of a Katherine Heigl movie. In this life, you have to go after Katherine Heigl. Maybe the agent gets you a shot with the manager, who is her mother, who is going to ask for a producer credit, a piece of your money, and who it is already clear combines with her not bad looking in the face but hideous like a massive papilloma outbreak in the soul daughter to form the Voltron of shrill pains in the ass. You will answer to these people for months if you’re lucky enough to get the movie made. Just get the movie made.
That’s what it all is– it’s so hard to make a movie that it all becomes just get a movie made. There are so many people trying, elbowing each other out of the way, so many agents and managers hustling their bullshit clients– at once the bar is set extremely high to “get in” to the industry, and also way, way too fucking low, because the crop of young unestablished writers getting promoted on TV shows and rising up through the system and getting signed and getting specs out there– these people are god damn retarded; they can’t write a fucking sentence, and yet somehow they found some shlump to send their fucking script to me, make me read it, put bad writing in my head– who the fuck are these people and how do they not know they are idiots.
My good mood persists. Work was the source of all evil. I am still employed; I have still not been told that I’m going to be fired. But the sheer pointlessness of it all makes it pleasant. I am actually performing my job well now, to whatever extent that can be done. I am not simply looking at stupid web sites and waiting for the day to be over. My time is actually spent working. It’s pleasant, because I know it’s gone.
I’ve felt all the emotions I’m going to feel over the whole affair and the only one left is nervousness about money. I will need to net thirty grand a year to maintain the non lavish lifestyle to which I am accustomed. Store brand mac & cheese and chicken parts on sale. Even if I were a billionaire I would still eat those things. Very little would change actually. I’d probably have two weeks of fucking whores and doing coke rocks the size of cinder blocks before shaking it off and just having a couple brandies with my cat at night. Sitting in the park. The sky is free. The birds are free.
When he calls me into his office I am going to make it easy for him. he’s going to start out by saying “this is a difficult conversation” and I’ll say “hey, I’ll make it easier. I know what you’re gonna say, why else would you be ducking calls from corporate HR in front of me.” After that, I don’t know. I mean, I am going to tell him that I’m thinking of the conversation as a DUI checkpoint. I’m not going to say anything that’s going to jeopardize getting unemployment, or him recommending me for something if I need that. Dear fucking God, I hope I don’t need that. Don’t ever work in the entertainment industry, if you’re considering it. It’s grind and grind and grind to make fucking Whitney. To take good ideas and talented people and make then into shitty movies and TV shows. My boss is great at his job, when he’s able to get something made. He makes the best. That’s why I stayed. But most of it– no matter how good you are, you have to answer to a corporation that has to answer to the American public. And the American public is a bunch of god damn retards. Honey Boo Boo isn’t just a show, it’s the audience.
Yeah, I really don’t know what I’m going to say. Once again it would be nice if I could just be honest. Just be a human being. Just say: “you should feel great about firing me because I’ve hated this job for the better part of a decade; I will not need a recommendation from you because I hope to never set foot in this industry again; I’m gonna be bagging groceries and then getting drunk and boning the stock girl and writing about it.”
There are no jobs anywhere. So fucking what. I’ll collect unemployment. I’ll give guitar lessons. I’ll sell coke. I’ll suck dick. I’ll take pictures of myself from the neck down and sell my sweaty American Apparel manties to homosexuals. I’ll subsistence fish out of the L.A. River with a fireplace poker I shoplifted from Goodwill. I’ll steal. How hard can fucking stealing be if Mexican junkies do it.
I’ll buy shit and sell it. I don’t know. It’s funny that, especially in L.A., everyone has these preposterous dreams; they want to be a fashion photographer or a jet setting DJ or a fucking film director, and actor– my dream is to work eight hours a day and not one instant more, come home from work and not fucking think about it. Get up an hour before I have to go in in the morning and write. T.S. Eliot did that. Charles Bukowski did that. But that is a more preposterous dream than being a film director. Having a job that sustains you comfortably but doesn’t eat every millisecond of your life. That’s the fucking joke- working a reasonable amount for reasonable pay. You hear someone say that these days you might as well be hearing a retarded kid say he wants to be president.
But that’s what I fucking want. Work at a god damn bank. Stand there and tell people I can’t waive their fee for eight hours per day, punch the fuck out, and be done with it. Those jobs pay eight dollars an hour, though. I will still have to suck dick. Whatever, I bet I suck a mean dick.