Logo, part 1
Logo, part 2
  Friday   September 26, 1997




The Usual Suspects

I've been in a lousy mood for the last couple of days. I haven't even been working on my sitcom pilot, let alone writing in here.

I was on the Paramount lot Tuesday, watching the filming of an episode of "Frasier." I was there as the guest of one of the executive producers, with whom I've corresponded via e-mail but had never met. Well, I met him during a break in the show and walked away kicking myself. It's not that I said or did anything stupid, it's my own insecurities coming into play. I'm lousy at meeting new people, primarily because I enter any such situation with the conviction that the people I'm meeting don't want to meet me, won't like me, and are just being polite until I go away. Meeting the producer was no different.

I waved him over and introduced myself. He knew who I was immediately and complimented me again on my sitcom web page, which was what started our online relationship in the first place. I congratulated him on his fourth Emmy Award...and then the conversation fell apart. I could have asked him if he'd read my Spin City spec yet -- but I didn't, and he didn't mention it either. I could have asked him if I could buy him lunch sometime so I could pick his brain for tips on the business -- but I didn't. He could have asked me anything about my writing -- but he didn't. Instead, we just stood there awkwardly gawping at one another. I immediately reverted to type and decided that he regretted putting me on the guest list, ever writing to me in the first place, getting up when I waved him over, and was now worrying that I was going to start stalking him. I mumbled something about being glad to finally meet him and scooted back to my seat and didn't make eye contact with him again for the rest of the filming. When it was over I slunk out the door without another word. It was pathetic. I've spent the rest of the week in a funk over it, convinced that I'm wasting my time trying to break into TV writing.

I blame my parents. Not for the usual poor-me reasons like "they were mean, they didn't love me enough, they were emotionally abusive, they didn't buy me a pony"... No, I blame them for raising me with manners, the heartless bastards. Time and time again it's been slammed home to me that to make it in this business you have to be pushy. I wasn't raised to be pushy, I was raised to be polite and considerate of others. That might play in Peoria, but it gets you bupkiss in Hollywood. I'm never going to make it in this business until I throw off the manners my folks cursed me with and start being a butt-kissing pirhana.

So now I'm weighing my options. The mannered option is to send this guy a thank-you note for putting me on the guest list and leave it at that. The Hollywood option is to maybe send him a muffin basket, call him every other day for the next month, beg him for a job every time I get him on the phone, lurk at the studio gates so I can wave "hi" when he goes to work in the morning, and maybe break into his house and hide in his closet until he comes home, then leap out with a big pile of scripts for him to read. Obviously, I'm leaning toward the thank-you note. But, damn it, there has to be some middle ground between wimpy politeness and psycho stalking. It's just not Hollywood to let a contact like this escape unmilked.

"Unmilked." Now there's a lovely image. I think I'll leave it at that. I'm feeling like a failure, so you should at least feel grossed out. It'll give you a small taste of how bad I feel about this.

Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go do my lip-ups. You can't be a champion butt-kisser without proper muscle tone.





Copyright 1997
Chuck Atkins