A good online friend without a blog needed a rant.
No one gets fired in Hollywood. I don’t know if you have noticed that. People part company because of “creative differences.” Executives tend to move to another branch of the studio, even if the branch has to be invented. Contract negotiations fall apart. But think about it, when have you ever read the “F” word in the trades, or heard it on Entertainment Tonight?
Which is why I’m stopping strangers on the street to tell them I’ve been fired. I’ve never been fired in my life. I’ve always been one of those people who considers anything less than #1 to be failure. (It has been driving me nuts to come in second to SVU all season, but that’s a rant for another time.) I was valedictorian of my high school, went to one of those colleges that people kill each other to get into, moved to L.A. and got a job working on what was arguably the best show in the history of television at age twenty-four, etc. etc. By any objective standards (you can’t argue with top 20 ratings and 23 scripts in on time) there is no reason that I should have been fired. I think the subjective standards hold up, too. So the spinmeisters will be working overtime to keep from saying the “F” word, which is why I will be saying it every chance I get.
People keep asking me when we will be “officially” fired, since no one has told us. This is how it will work. Our contracts are not up until June 15th. That is the date by which the studio has to pick up our options for next year, or tell us that they will not be doing that. Every other year, our options have been picked up by now. They do that so we won’t go out on other job interviews. This year, my attorney tried to get that date moved up, and the studio wouldn’t budge. It’s a ridiculous date, because writers go back to work (after haitus) at the beginning of June, so shows have hired their staffs by the end of May. If the studio waits until June 15th to tell you that they are not picking up your option, it is too late to get a job somewhere else.
This year, the studio did not pick up any of our options. I kept calling and asking why that hadn’t happened. I was told that CBS had not ordered the show for next year. Last year, I was told it had been ordered for two years. So I don’t know which one of those conflicting statements is the truth. At any rate, none of us has had our options picked up, and everyone else in town who doesn’t have a job for next year has been going to job interviews for weeks.
I don’t know what the original plan was. I have a theory that is not worth going into. But I know the plan was not that the writers would be told by the grips. The big mess happened because it didn’t occur to the people who were doing the “off with their heads” dance that someone on the set might tell us about it. (I said Amy before because she is the only one who has enough power to pull this off, but there she has fellow conspirators with agendas of their own.) Now that the cat is out of the bag, I think they are counting on the fact that we will all be forced to find other jobs before our option date, and no one will ever have to say the nasty “F” word. They will probably say “They all took other jobs based on a ridiculous rumor. They must have been wackos, we’re lucky we’re rid of them.”
As the saying goes, that’s show biz.
There are all sorts of agendas and layers involved in this mess, and grudges that go back way before I ever heard of the show. But if you want the “see Spot run” version of why I was fired (and I was, you know!) it’s this: I will not be owned. I will not take dictation. I do not kiss asses to keep my job.
When the day comes that I have to do any of those things in order to feed my children, I will be packing them up and moving back home.