Monday, December 19, 2005

My tele-PLAY

Aloha again. If you send me email I always try to respond. However, here in Hawaii I'm having a devil of a time reaching anyone on AOL. Doesn't the "A" stand for America? Anyway, I'll get to you. Promise.

After having gone to New York three times to get shows either on the air or renewed during the Upfronts process I thought “this is INSANITY and there’s a play in this”. So I wrote UPFRONTS AND PERSONAL. It follows one studio’s attempt to get two shows on a network’s fall schedule. I had a reading of the play last summer in LA with Jason Alexander, Wendie Malick, Ed Asner, Kurtwood Smith, Jennifer Tilly, Patrick Breen, and Matt Letscher and it went very well. I’m currently looking for backers (hint hint). Thought you might enjoy a preview and glimpse of what that process is really like.

The set up: A hotel suite a studio is using as its war room. Very early in the play. Donald is the studio president (Ed Asner), Andy his officious veep (Patrick Breen). Matthew has just arrived (Matt Letscher). He’s the young wide-eyed neophyte writer. Later Gary and Beth will enter. (Jason Alexander & Wendie Malick). They’ve been through the wars.

Hey, let me ask you -- why do they call this process the "Up Fronts"?

The networks announce their new Fall schedules then the advertisers buy commercial time "up front". Spending billions on nothing more that blind faith. It's like if you put an Off-track betting window in a mental institution.

Well, I appreciate your letting me do this.

Hey, you made a helluva pilot. You should be here to defend it. Take a fruit basket. Take four of 'em.

(crossing to the window)
So...let's check out the view.
(he sees it, disappointed)

We usually have a higher suite but apparently Queen Latifa is in town and she has dogs, and the dogs need to see the sky for some reason we haven't been told so...well, here we are.

Feel free to take a dump on the carpet. Fuck 'em.

Well, there's always the Empire State Building.

First time in New York?

Are you kidding? Never been out of So-Cal. This is totally unreal. Three years ago I'm working at Kinkos writing scripts at night. And now here I am with my own TV show.

(DONALD takes a big gulp of HIS drink. There's a KNOCK at the door. As ANDY crosses to answer:)

Come on. It's refreshing. You know what happens to writers after a couple of years.

(ANDY opens the door. GARY NOGLE and BETH HELLER enter. Both are in their 40's. GARY is wiry, always a little revved. BETH is taller than GARY, attractive, bright, and seemingly very much in command. GARY is schlepping a large heavy garment bag.)

I mean it, Beth. I can't do this anymore. I walked by that idiot in front of the hotel, y'know, the one wearing the big Beefeaters costume and I thought to myself: "Oh my God, I envy that man. I wish I had his job." A Beefeater, Beth! With the hat, and the stick, and the little tights, and...that's when you know it's time to get out.

So why did you come?

Why do you think? I had to. If we're going to get our damn show renewed they've got to see I'm committed to the fucking thing one hundred percent.

That's what you want -- Talented and trapped.

1 comment :

Lloyd Thaxton said...

I was honored to be invited to the reading of this play. Ken, you are great. This is one funny play.

The actors who did the reading were really in to it. They knew a good thing when they saw it.

Hey, networks! Broadway! Get it out there so everyone can enjoy.