1Well…”work”.  Technically, yes, it is.  “Research” to be more precise.  But that doesn’t mean I won’t enjoy it.  Still, it’s a hell of a daunting pile to get through – hopefully in record time.  A little less than half I’ll actually be re-reading to refresh my memory.  The rest will be first-time forays.  Give me an “On your mark.  Get set…”

And, if I start to tire and become bleary-eyed, I can always switch gears and get some writing done.  There’s plenty of that on deck as well.  I’m about halfway through the southern gothic pilot and have started work on that horror feature.  I await the go-ahead to go to script on the show we’re developing and have already received word we’ll be heading to L.A. in January to pitch another.  I have a call scheduled for next week in an attempt to clear up an impediment that has stalled that super-secret project I alluded to in previous blog posts and, if successful, should start scripting immediately.

If it seems like a lot, that’s only because it is.  I’m launching a full-scale creative assault on multiple fronts in advance of next year’s mid-April deadline.  Mid-April, in case you didn’t know, is when staffing season begins in L.A., a window in which the networks seek out writers for their new and established programming.  Ideally, I’d like to land something here – something I created that I can show run in Vancouver – but barring that, it’ll be time to pull up stakes and get a real job, working on somebody else’s show.  And that’s fine.  I’ve done it before and enjoyed it immensely (for the most part).

Having said that, it really would still be preferable to have my own show on the air.

So, hopefully, one of the approximately ten projects I’ve got in the works will pay off big within the next four months.  It may seem like a lot of balls in the air but I’ve learned that, in this business, you have to multi-task because, while you may work quickly, everyone else you’re dealing with progresses at a snail’s pace.  Need to schedule an emergency phone call?  No problem.  How’s next week look for you? Have a strong, detailed vision for a script that everyone loves?  Great!  Everyone will love to read it.  Right after they approve the outline.  Eager to hear word on that pilot you delivered last month?  Relax.  Take some time.  Take a trip.  Have a baby.  They’ll get back to you.

It’s mystifying really.  Downright incomprehensible.  I remember a time, early in my career, when I was a development executive.  Every week, everyone in our department would get together for a lengthy board meeting during which we would update each other on ongoing projects.  These meetings were, in a word, “excruciating”.  Realistically, we could have simply sent our updates to an assistant who could have just as easily edited them together and sent them back  in a mass email – taking maybe thirty minutes to accomplish a task that normally took us four to five hours.  Instead, it was always the same thing.  We would gather.  No one would say much of any real relevance for half an hour.  Then, we’d begin our updates.  No one would get to the point.  They would meander and we would all end up taking a twenty minute conversational detour before veering back onto the topic at hand.  Fully three-quarters of these meetings would be commandeered by individuals who would say absolutely nothing – but take hours to not do so.  Then, on the other hand, there were those who actually said something – the exact same thing in fact, in thirty different variations.  It would take forever to finally get to the point and, when someone finally did, said point would be beaten to death.

I know, I know.  Everyone has their own way of doing things.  And that’s fine.  I just don’t understand why everyone else’s system takes so damn long.  I’m reminded of another incident, this one during my final year on Stargate: Atlantis.  We got the news that Amanda wouldn’t be coming back for season 5, so we would need an new commander.  I immediately thought of Richard Woolsey played by the wonderful Robert Picardo.   Someone in the room suggested I contact business affairs and get the ball rolling on the negotiations.  I hesitated, knowing full well what that would mean: calls, missed calls, calls never returned, miscommunication, lost messages, more calls, delays because individuals go away on vacation, and more calls until, finally, a deal…maybe a month or two down the line.  So, instead, I just picked up the phone, called Bob, and asked him: “Hey, do you want to be the new commander of the Atlantis expedition?”  Bob thanked us for thinking of him, said he would discuss it with his family, and get back to me.  An hour later, he called back.  He was in!  Pleased, I phoned up our casting director and had him make an offer.  Within the hour, we received a counter.  We countered back and closed the deal.  It took all of an afternoon.

So, given my experience, I’m convinced that the truly successful people in this business are those with either infinite patience or a near infinite amount of projects on the go.  And I’m not very patient.

28 thoughts on “December 4, 2013: Wow! I’ve got my work cut out for me!

  1. “Eager to hear word on that pilot you delivered last month? Relax. Take some time. Take a trip. Have a baby. They’ll get back to you.”

    Wait. 😯 What did you say? “Have a baby.” Whaaaaaat? Is there something you’d like to tell us? Something you’d like to talk about or get advise on? Something on your mind besides show business?

  2. I also believe in “Ain’t nobody got time for that.” Make a decision, take action, and move on. Hang in there….we all hope to see you as Show Runner again soon.

  3. On your mark. Get Set. Hold on, back up and make a plan. Is your psyche numb enough to handle that much Stross and Morgan, even with the Rusch thrown in for cushion? Ok, well then, go!

    We’re going to get to see an interesting new series one way or another, aren’t we?

  4. Having a lot of irons in the fire is a smart business move nowadays.

    I’m still hoping for a Dark Matter, ship-based sci fi, or a southern gothic series pickup soon. And hey, Georgia is offering tax credits, so maybe that southern gothic script has a good financial shot at success:


    As for “number of projects” versus “patience”, I think there’s a couple more legs to that stool; “contacts” and “persistence”. I think, judging from your daily commitment to your blogging, that you have some good resources in those areas as well!

    Good luck on the call next week and the trip in January!

    My big thing this week is that I get to supervise my son who will make a white-chocolate strawberry peppermint cheesecake tomorrow night for my church’s Christmas party on Saturday. It’ll be his first time trying to make the ‘cake. I’m supervising from a chair because carrying cheesecake pans around on crutches didn’t look like a feasible plan. 😉

    I’ll post pictures of the results on Friday.

  5. I agree with you & JeffW on the ot of irons &“contacts” and “persistence”., approach in an environment of high uncertainty.
    But I miss on your full list of covered options one not less effective but absurd: You know the pilot who you have got stuck in a drawer, but you’ll never show to anyone. Yep because its that you have saved for the day that you launch to produce you and only you (you know that there are people who only buy what is not for sale). 😆

  6. Wow…mebbe you should just write a book. A book where the detective is a tv script writer who gets bored easily by all the red tape and delays in the business, so tinkers as a sleuth on the side. Make it a thriller series with lots of scary, unpredictable stuff. Murders so convoluted only Hollywood could come up with them. Killers are revealed to be tv execs, other script writers, difficult actors, people who hate difficult actors, and so on and so forth. They say write what you know, and you know the business, so write it!

    You will need a sidekick for your detective, and I would immediately suggest a cute Japanese girl who works magic in the kitchen, but it might be too similar to Elementary‘s premise. So, what about a fellow producer/writer with mad cooking skills named Cob Rooper? Or maybe another dabbler in the industry, a young, eager lad named Ivok Barton, who has an audacious girlfriend named Lulu. Come on! It’s golden! You can thank me on the acknowledgement page for the inspiration!



  7. Joe, I have a couple of those books on my shelf, that you have suggested, thanks they were good reads. Wish you luck with the book race reading, but I believe you are up to the task. Akemi will supply you with good eats while you surf the library and the pups will give you their support as well. Find a comfy spot and…Get moving!!
    @JeffW, wishes for a speedy recovery, although you might be getting spoiled, supervising projects,,hah. and don’t forget taste testing..!

  8. That’s one big pile of books! But I have no doubt that you will breeze through them in record time. Of the bunch, I’ve only read Young Miles (actually all of the individual novels but let’s not nit-pick). Good luck with those projects!

    Thanks for bringing PBmom‘s fundraiser to our attention. Good luck hitting your goal, Hilda!

    @JeffW: Sorry to hear that they had to scrape out a lot of cartilage. I was lucky and didn’t need much “clean-up” in the knee. Unfortunately,most people still get joint replacements when the cartilage wears out. But, heck – they are doing stem cells in animals for joint problems, maybe by the time you need it, the US will have caught up with Europe and veterinary medicine and be able to help you grow your own cartilage back instead of sticking a hunk of metal and plastic in there. Get well soon, Jeff!

  9. Hummmm! very intersting, your blog today. Now you speak the truth: you are working in a governement head office of Justice Department !! HA AH! Your meetings are like ours ! I am not very patient…but I do not have 10 others projects !
    Sniff !

  10. Came across some neat stuff today on the ol’ internet…..

    I was cruising this photographer’s flickr stream of beautiful snowflake images:


    When I saw this:


    And was reminded of this:


    Back on those snowflake images, it’ll never cease to amaze me the order and perfection of even the smallest, seemingly most insignificant things on this planet.

  11. I’ve read the Greg Bear book and I liked it.

    You “seem” like you have a lot of patience. With the pups you have constant patience. Maybe, it’s just a work you have no patience?

    Ponytail: You are so funny! Somehow, I think, if a baby were in the picture there would more panic and fear. 😉

  12. On the brightside there’s a fair few shows filmed in Vancouver, so if your projects don’t work out I’m sure you won’t have a great deal of trouble joining something Joe.

  13. @Sparrowhawk THANK YOU!!!!! I’m getting closer and closer. I think by Christmas I’ll make it. This exceeds what I was able to come up with for them last year, so this makes it the second highest fundraiser I’ve been able to do for them as of today.

    @Das FINALLY a song that makes me forget about “What Does The Fox Say?” Thank you. My Jeff will like that, too.

    @JeffW Can’t wait to see your son’s creation. I know that has to be hard for you not to be able to do something. But do what you are told by the doctor because you don’t want to make things worse. (Easier said than done, I know).

    Yes, the first thing I read was “have a baby.” And Ponytail beat me to the comment. First we find out you’re secretly married (maybe). And then you drop the baby bomb on us!!? Is it human or a puppy? I’d like to be honorary godmother. I think you’re Catholic, right? So outside of Andria being the obvious choice for godmother, I could always be a backup. For either dog or human.

    The news business is like this. Ruben from Fox 26 Houston contacted me about doing a Google Hangout for Almost Human that they would post on-air. Very excited. I was ready. I drafted someone else to do it with us. And then Sunday evening I heard we got bumped for a double-decker bus tour in Houston that he had to cover. The next week I told him I had to take Patrick for his procedure, but my friend could be there and I could join back the next week. Not a peep from him. Eventually I got in touch with him and he said he didn’t want to do it without me. That was seet. Then it was the week of Thanksgiving. I didn’t even contact him. I figured if he wanted to do it he would contact me. Then the beginning of this week I texted him if he still wanted to do it, or was this on hold for now? Nothing. No return comment. I saw him tweeting so I cornered him. When he thought of the idea, he needed me to call him back IMMEDIATELY. Then he wanted me to do a video for Sleepy Hollow IMMEDIATELY and said all the reporters were doing one (I saw no one else do one). I just have learned to just flow with it.

  14. @Airelle:

    Thanks for the well wishes! I don’t think I’m getting spoiled as I get frustrated not being able to do things for myself, and I can’t wait to get off these crutches! Watching David make the cheesecake tonight should be a welcome diversion though.


    Thanks for the get well wishes!

    Bill Joyce posted a link yesterday for an orthopedic clinic in Colorado that has a technique for culturing the patient’s own cartilage cells on a mesh and then implanting the newly grown cartilage back into the patient’s joint(s). So, it seems like cartilage replacement techniques are coming, but the technology needs to become more wide-spread and mature to be viable.

    I’ll be following these efforts just in case my knee deteriorates further. If you’re interested in the technique, here is the link Bill Joyce posted:


  15. @PBMom:

    We’ve had a delay on the cheesecake, but we should be able to get to it later tonight. The delay is due to my son forgetting he has an Algebra 2 test tomorrow, so we’re having to do an algebra review tonight. After that we can do the ‘cake.

  16. One of the least liked things about meetings is the inevitable person that “loves to hear themselves talk” – and they go on and on and on talking in circles, often for nearly an hour. I HATE that, and luckily all the folks in my work section including the managers despise meetings and they go very quickly. But sometimes we’re stuck meeting with other and… ugh.

    Something interesting happened today – after 28 years at my office and having NEVER participated in the 50/50 draw in support of the Government Charitable Campaign, I decided to purchase $5 worth of tickets this week. I got a call around lunchtime that I had won – $811!!! I refused to believe it at first, but sure enough, I’m rich(er)!!

  17. You know Joe, you could fly a baby all over the place and move wherever you needed to go. It would go with you. There is no 25 pound weight limit and you wouldn’t have to keep it contained in a carrier while on the plane. Just saying…

  18. @PBMom:

    We have cheesecake launch!

    It’s in the oven now and it should be done in about an hour and a half…then the cooling begins!

    Pictures on my blog tomorrow.

  19. I’ve read a few of those books:
    The Ophiuchi Hotline, which I liked, I listened to via audio book.
    Altered Carbon, which I know I read but can’t recall anything about it, even after reading the plot on Wikipedia.
    The Stainless Steel Rat, which I enjoyed and ran through all his rat books.

    May I suggest Spider Robinson’s “Very Bad Deaths”. I rather enjoyed it.

  20. I also forgot to mention that I’ve been watching the Monogatari anime series,
    Nisemonogatari Black
    and been enjoying them. They seem to grow on me the more I watch them. I can’t say why. Oddly enough the company that made the series, Daisuki, put them all up on Youtube, including Bakemonogatari which I believe was the first in the series.
    Although they are in Japanese you can use the CC button to have subtitles in English.

    They also have Mobile Suit Gundam, which I haven’t watched, and Sword Art Online, which I have and enjoyed. I believe I saw SAO mentioned and endorsed here.

    I watched three complete series before CC started acting up, I had to reset my flash settings and after that I was forced to watch Youtube ads, at least until the skip point. I don’t know why I didn’t have to watch any ads before that point on Daisuki’s channel, I’ve had to on many other videos on Youtube.

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