Saturday, May 02, 2015

Bullshit Hollywood Terms

Reader Eric J. has a Friday Question worthy of a Saturday post.

How about list of "Bullshit Hollywood Terms" writers should be familiar with?

Most of the real creativity in Hollywood goes into positive spin. Here are some industry expressions and what they really mean:

Hospitalized because the actor was simply feeling dizzy due to a medication he was taking for an ear infection” – drunk

“Hiatus” – cancelled

Good Exit Numbers” – DOA at the boxoffice

Highly qualified” – knows somebody

“They’re still good friends” – the ugly divorce settlement is still pending.

“They’re just good friends” – they’re humping nine times a day

“I want to spend more time with my family” –fired.

“I want to explore other exciting opportunities” – fired

“Creative differences” – fired

“Parting by mutual agreement” – fired

“We think the script needs a fresh eye” – the director will now destroy your screenplay

“They have a lot of respect for each other” – they despise each other

“No comment” -- he did it

“Fielding offers” – unemployed

“Projects in development” -- unemployed

“Looking into financing” – unemployed

“Tom Cruise is interested” – I’m a really bad liar

“Proactive” – active

“She’s a perfectionist” – she’s a bitch

“Entry level position” -- slave labor

“Thanks for coming by” – no sale, I hated it.

“I really liked it” – thanks for coming by.

“I really loved it!” -- it got good coverage

“He’s in a meeting” – you’re not important enough to talk to.

“Back end” – money you’ll never see

It just needs a little polishing” -- page one rewrite

We’re pleased with the demographics” – the ratings are shit

“Commands a great deal of respect” – he’s a fucking nightmare

“Do you have a card?” – I want to get away from you but don’t want to appear rude.

“Zitcom” – Any half hour on the Disney Channel

Exhaustion” – overdose

“A private matter” – a public scandal

I’ll give it a read” – I’m throwing it away

“The studio is really behind it” – it’s going straight to DVD.

“He’s taught me so much” – I’ll never work with that asshole again

Freelance” – unemployed

High concept” – gimmicky

“Actor’s Director” – he can’t shoot action movies

“Director’s Director” – his movies haven’t made a nickel.

“Emmy winning writer” -- blogger

26 comments:

ScottyB said...

Holy Christ, I can't think of a single blog post of Ken's that just cut thru the shit and said what's what.

The "fired, fired, fired, fired" ones one after the other were dead-on great. Thanks for the morning grin, Ken!

Anja said...

Great. I think the kind of those are regularly cited in the show EPISODES. I love it.

ScottyB said...

Ken forgot to mention "Irreconcilable differences = Found someone better to fuck".

Oat Willie said...

"Creative differences"

Hamid said...

My favourite Hollywood bullshit is the press releases that accompany the announcement of a sequel, especially sequels that stars had previously sworn they would never do. They're always along the lines of: "I'm delighted to be returning to this world I love so much. I'm excited to be reuniting with my co-stars and I can't wait to see what new adventures my character will be getting into and what exciting surprises we have in store for audiences".

Translation: "They offered me a lot of money."

MikeK.Pa. said...

I laughed my butt off, especially the last line. Great post. (Anybody you know?)

opimus said...

Zitcom really got me laughing.

Paul Gottlieb said...

If "She's a perfectionist" really means "she's a bitch," What does "He's a perfectionist" mean?

cheers! said...

Perfect, just perfect. Thank you, Ken, for the laughs, as always.

Mike Schryver said...

Another version of Hamid's actor returning to do a sequel:

"My last three projects bombed."

jcs said...

Forgive me, Ken, but this blog entry reminds me of the statements your partner David Isaacs made during the www.EmmyTVLegends.org interview when he tried to explain why he is not working on Mad Men anymore.

Tam B said...

Great post, I know it's naive, but I find it depressing that this bullshit is the norm.

DBenson said...

Mark Evanier's articles on "Unfinanced Entrepreneurs" (required reading) flagged the term "getting my ducks in a row" as a major BS alert.

bruce said...

In the late 50s, my father created a radio comedy quiz show called 'Sez who?", which was very successful for its time and won some awards. When he asked the producers for a raise for its second season, they said "We have to keep the budget flexible".

Mike Barer said...

Interesting--terrible

Liz said...

That reminds me of one of my favorite quotes from the now-defunct Fametracker website:

For those of you unfamiliar with the nuances of Hollywood euphemisms, the word "perfectionist" can be translated roughly as "unrepentant asshole." The word "driven" can be translated roughly as "obstinate prick." And the phrase "dedicated to his craft" translates roughly as "stubborn asshole who'll keep the crew up until 4 AM because he didn't like the way his eyebrows twitched in the sixty-third and most recent take."

Russell Crowe is often described as a driven perfectionist who's dedicated to his craft.

Mike Barer said...

Great enthusiasm-worthless

Anonymous said...

"You look amazing" as recited by human praying mantis Giuliana Rancic et al. on every red carpet event where the person actually did not.
Janice B.

Cap'n Bob said...

Great, except for the photo of The Smirking Dwarf.

Mike Barer said...

And of course "let me get back to my people"

Ernie said...

Ken, what is the LA theater scene like, compared to ,say, Broadway? Are there actors in LA who primarily work in theater and make a living at it, instead of film or television? And lastly, how does Hollywood regard Broadway? Is there a lot of respect for actors and writers who start out in the New York theater scene and then move out to Hollywood or does Tinseltown even care, much less know what to do with them? I think it was Tim Allen, star of Home Improvement, who once said he was an actor, not a thespian, as a diss against Broadway trained actors. Just curious. Thanks

VP81955 said...

Ernie said...
Ken, what is the LA theater scene like, compared to ,say, Broadway? Are there actors in LA who primarily work in theater and make a living at it, instead of film or television? And lastly, how does Hollywood regard Broadway? Is there a lot of respect for actors and writers who start out in the New York theater scene and then move out to Hollywood or does Tinseltown even care, much less know what to do with them?


Interesting you bring that up. Today, I received a copy of Kristin Chenoweth's initial CD, "Let Yourself Go," from a friend who got it at a library sale -- and it included the sticker, "Star of the NBC series 'Kristin'" (which Ken directed some wpisodes of). IIRC, that series didn't last very long and may not have had a considerable planned shelf life to begin with.

While Kristin does occasional movie and TV work (and is slated to get a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame later this year), she's smart enough to realize that her considerable talent is best spent on the stage (she's currently starring as Lily Garland -- the role made famous on film by the lady in my avatar and on Broadway by Madeline Kahn -- in an NYC revival of "On the 20th Century"), recording and concerts.

Markus said...

Of course Hollywood knows all those classic interpersonal euphemisms too, like "OMG so good to see you!" (Who the fuck are you?) or "I'll call you." (No way in hell.), etc.

Klee said...

I usually think of some adaptation being in "development hell", for example, books or scripts that take forever to go from book to adaptation to an actual decent script. Do you recall of an example where one of those turned out "worth the wait" and it was actually amazing? (This questions is for everyone or can be used as a "Friday Question"). Thanks.

JohnnyC said...

"Congratulations" = "Your movie sucked"

Greg Ehrbar said...

When a certain legendary actor was promotion her new sitcom years ago, she said of James Farentino: "He's wuunnn-derful."

Here's another phrase:
"We respect your passion." Means two things...

1. "No way. Next?"

2. "How DARE you even think of questioning ME? First I'll squash your idea by degrading it in front of everyone. If you persist, I will manipulate the system to either delay it, kill it slowly and painfully and/or make you pay for daring to take me on."