Sunday, December 09, 2012

Decoding Hollywoodspeak

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

TOMORROW:  An interesting experiment.  Two blogs/same topic.  


Ruth Harris said...

Fabulous! AKA The Bullshit Dictionary.

chris said...

You forgot the obvious. How do they say "F*ck you" in Hollywood - "Trust me"

Jim in NY said...

When movie actors are fired, they often have "scheduling conflicts."

Mike Botula said...

"Resigned to pursue a career in television." Fired from my radio job.

Mac said...

Love it. Reminds me of that story of Peter Cook at a party when he asked someone what they were doing and got the reply; "I've got a number of things in development, got some big names who are very interested - should be getting a green-light any day now."
To which Cook replied "Yeah, me neither..."

DonBoy said...

By my guess:

"Being retooled as a multicam show" = You'll never see another episode.

Chris said...

Friday question: I noticed sometimes people who are part of a writing team start to get individual billing as the seasons progress. How does that happen and is it a good idea? I'm sure it's more money.

Paul Duca said...

When will I get to be "just good friends" with someone?

Tom Quigley said...

"Greenlighted" -- we're going to take forever to actually start filming it, and you'll never see a dime.

"Fast Tracked" -- we've decided to greenlight it

RCP said...

I hadn't realized that people in Hollywood went to so much trouble to spare each other's feelings.

Happy Hannukkah, Ken!

Wayne said...

"in between projects"
"never work a day for the rest of his life"

Debby G. said...

Ha ha!

Also, "Dehydrated" --overdosed.

"The father of the baby is her fiancee" --The father is a one-night stand and the actress doesn't want to upset Red State fans.

"Irreconcilable differences" --If she had to live with that #$%^ one more day, she'd murder him.

"He considers his sexuality to be a private matter" --He's gay.

buzz said...

"...has left to write a novel" = REALLY fired

Brian Smith said...

In my younger, stupider days, I had a boss who fired me -- "but don't worry," he said, "we'll put it on your permanent record as 'left to pursue other opportunities' so it doesn't hurt you down the road."

So I was looking for that one, and you didn't disappoint. :)

Johnny Walker said...

Great! From this list I've been able to write my Hollywood bio:

I'm a highly qualified freelance scriptwriter who has a number of projects in development, but who is also fielding offers.

And, er, to address the rumours that I've been spreading lies about Tom Cruise being interested in one of my projects, all I can say is, "no comment".

Eric said...

"He's matured as a filmmaker." His movies have gotten boring.

CK said...

"I love your feel for dialogue." You wouldn't recognize a good plot if it bit you on the ass.

Anonymous said...

"Your wife/husband takes direction really well." Especially when she/he's alone with me in the back of my SUV at midnight somewhere in the Hollywood Hills.

Cap'n Bob said...

It has gravitas = No one gets it.

Anonymous said...

"I'm a sitcom writer for a cutting edge show!"

Translation: I have severe ADD, and manic-depression. I can't focus on writing a worthwhile novel to save my life, however, I can write a 22 minute glorified skit (with my uncreative, obsessive-compulsive writing partner keeping me in line, and somewhat sober) till the cows come home.

Marty Fufkin said...

Friday question: There's a long history of "the character who's never seen" on TV sitcoms. Maris, Vera, Lars, Carlton the Doorman, Alan Brady. What was the first show to use this device?

Anonymous said...

Duffy's Tavern.

Chris said...

What does "One of the greatest writing rooms I've been in" or "really great showrunner" mean? Everybody says it, where are the shitty fucked up horrible to work for/with people?

benson said...

Just read where spokesperson said Denise Mueller(Sheen's ex) hospitalized for "exhaustion". Well if you take enough Adderall, sure.

Anonymous said...

Along with "dehydrated" and "exhausted", there's also "flu-like symptoms"

Dene said...

Great post :-)

What about...

"Currently in talks" - negotiations broke down months ago

payitforward said...


Mike Doran said...

Here in Chicago, back in the '70s-'80s, we had a TV critic named Gary Deeb who was famous/notorious for his extremely abrasive personality. He regularly played people off against one another, bashing some while fulsomely overpraising others. All the while, he kept trying to promote himself as an on-camera "talent", and was not above switching his stated distaste for some broadcast execs and personalities to accomplish this - unsuccesfully, as it turned out.
Deeb vanished from view sometime around the early '90s; he'd burned his bridges at both major Chicago papers and most of the local radio and TV stations, and returned to his home town, Buffalo NY.
In looking him up recently, I saw a word used to describe his current situation that might fit in with yhour lexicon. Here it is:

Semi-retired: no one will hire him under any circumstances.