Clawing to escape the belly of the beast here in Hollywood. To commiserate, email my name assistantatlas at yahoo.

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Meanwhile, Back at the Ranch: 3.14

As a native Kansan, I do my best to keep up with news from my homeland. Of course, that's fairly difficult in Los Angeles because the people/press here, quite rightly, don't give a flying f*ck about . I mean, really, why should they? News out of Kansas is invariably depressing, after all-- it's all tornadoes, droughts and right-wing morons.
There are rolling hills.

Whenever I tell people that I'm from Kansas, there are several stock responses:

1) "Oh, you're from Kansas? I'm sorry."
2) "Did you grow up on a farm?" [ed. note-- no]
3) "Really? I could've sworn you were from somewhere. . . else." [read: better and/or cooler]
4) "Really? Me too."

You'd be surprised how often I get #4, especially among ultra-hipsters and industryites. What's interesting to me, though, is the fact that so many fascinating, engaging, intelligent Kansans have ended up in California. While growing up in Kansas, you'd never suspect that so many cool people could have come from such a relentlessly-unhip place. Further, it's awfully odd that so many of them end up in California. Or is it? I, for one, don't think it's a coincidence.

We were driven out.
Run away, Dorothy!
Are you listening, Kansas? You sent your best and brightest fleeing for the coasts with your stupidity, intolerance and stubborn refusal to see the consequences of your actions.

A bit of background for the non-Kansans. The Kansas State Board of Education is bitterly divided over the 'theory of evolution'. The members from the non-retarded parts of the state [Kansas City and its suburbs, the college town of Lawrence, and, to an extent, the 'cities' of Topeka and Wichita] favor science standards that essentially require evolution to be taught as part of the standard science curriculum. The members from everywhere else are right-wing nutjobs who think that God created everything in like, a week or so, and therefore, evolution should be 'de-emphasized'.

I was still in high school in Kansas in 1999 when the conservative whackos gained a majority on the school board and launched the latest in a series of evolution debates that should've ended with the Scopes Monkey Trial in 1925. I wish you could've seen our science class [AP Biology] when the controversy broke-- our teacher had to restrain some of us more adamant evolution-believers from smart-smacking the few kids stupid enough to defend creationism. And those very same aggressively science-friendly kids nearly all fled to out-of-state universities upon graduation. The point is, my friends, that Kansans are not monolithically stupid.

But at long last, the mind-numbing debate over the issue has spawned something positive, something that gives hope and solace to thousands, if not millions of people all over the world-- The Flying Spaghetti Monster. I know many of you out there are already devout Pastafarians. I, too, have been touched by His noodly appendage.

This is my new God.

In all seriousness, Flying Spaghetti Monsterism makes just about as much sense as "Intelligent Design" theory.

If you've got some free time and you're interested in contacting Kansas Board of Education members, here's the link. Remember, the four intelligent people on the board are Sue Gamble, Carol Rupe, Bill Wagnon, and Janet Waugh, so don't bother with them. Personally, if you're looking to get some kicks, I'd recommend calling Mrs. Iris Van Meter at home. Here's her number: 620-839-5621. It'd be best to call her while coked out of your head at 3 am. [London Cokehead, you can call whenever you want]

And if you want to see something really scary, check out the biographies of the members. My favorite is Connie Morris, whose "autobiography, 'From the Darkness: One Woman’s Rise to Nobility', has been published by Huntington House Publishers. The book is Connie’s story of recovery through Christ from incest, rape, domestic violence, substance abuse, and poverty during her early years in the Appalachian Mountains region." And this woman sits on the Board of Education in Kansas.

Can you see why I left? Can you see why all the smart kids are gone?

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

"Prison" Breaks My Eyeballs: 3.13

The roomie and I just watched Fox's new show "Prison Break". You can't have missed the ads: a pretty boy goes to prison to help his brother escape. It wasn't an irredeemably bad premise [see the WB's "Just Legal" for that], but this show has some major problems.

I'll quote the roomie for the first problem: "If someone that pretty [Wentworth Miller] went to prison, he'd be, like, gang-raped the entire time." Now, weird homoeroticism aside, that's quite true. Also, how someone who looks like that ended up a 'structural engineer' is a bit of a stretch as well. Plus, did anyone catch the scene in the infirmary where he pretends to have diabetes? The guy resorts to extraordinary measures to free his brother, and he can't manage to NOT grin like the village idiot when his ruse works.

I will give this to Wentworth Miller-- he's not a bad actor. In fact, he gets props since I didn't realize he was British until I looked him up on IMDB. But if the lead actor can handle the part, that's good, right? Well, yeah. But there are tons of other ways to screw up a show. You can write cliche dialogue [check], re-hash old ideas--badly [check], or establish a coterie of one-dimensional supporting characters [check].

But I've pretty much decided what the main problem is. To wit:


Seriously, Brett, what was up with all that CSI sh*t? By 'CSI sh*t', I mean where the camera 'dives' into whatever important object is nearby to end the scene. You know, as opposed to doing what's known in the business as a 'transition'.

My God, Brett, you are just a horrendous director. There were scenes that just seemed randomly inserted into the story, scenes where I felt like I was supposed to have just figured something out, but didn't. Brett, you don't need to 'establish' that we're at a friggin' prison every twenty seconds. Of course, you may have forgotten in your Vicodin/pot/cocaine haze, but the show's title pretty much reminds us if we forget. And lens-f*cking Wentworth Miller doesn't solve your problems. [seriously, do you want me to admit I'M attracted to him? Because if it means that we'd have gotten less close-ups of him, I totally would]

So, Brett, please, for the love of cinema and all that is holy, stop directing. You've already ruined a mildly-promising show and when X3 hits theatres, you'll have ruined a strong franchise that Ho'wood could really use to stem the tide of box office drain.

Verdict: Overall, Prison Break is a POS. The concept is strong enough to last maybe a season. Hopefully, Fox will pull the plug before that. Don't waste your time on this show-- save it for Veronica Mars. [see below]

Monday, August 29, 2005

Veronica Mars, My American Idol: 3.12

Most of you have by now at least heard of a show called . But if Nielsen's people meter ratings are to be believed, you probably haven't been watching it. And up until about a week ago, I was one of you. Up until a week ago, I didn't believe the hype. At best, I reasoned, it'd be a Buffy knock-off minus the cool superpowers, or a high school Alias redux, and at worst, well, let's just say I never forgot that it was on .

But a funny thing happened on my way to dismissing this show. The roomie, who in no way resembles Joshua Jackson, managed to download the entire first season onto his G5. And then he spent most of last weekend in his room with just his computer and Veronica Mars. He emerged on Monday a changed man. It was all he would talk about until finally, my interest piqued and my patience sorely tested, I watched the first episode. And then the second and third and on and on until finally the roomie kicked me out of his room, saying it was 3 am and he needed sleep.

And let me tell you, dear readers, I contemplated stealing his G5 and spending the rest of the night and next day watching every episode. In the end, I slept instead, but I dreamed of Veronica Mars. I'm still not quite done watching every episode [darn you, sleep cycles] but I can say without reservation that it is an amazing show.

It incorporates the best elements of Buffy [cool high-school heroine] and Alias [tight, twist-a-minute plotting] and adds touches of noir and winking, self-referential humor. There are a hundred reasons why you should watch this show, but if critical acclaim was a deciding factor in a show's popularity, I wouldn't need to be writing this to urge you to give it a chance.

In fact, since Veronica's praises have already been sung by a choir of critics, I'll spare you a lecture on why this is the best show you're not watching. I would, though, like to tell you why Veronica has shot to the top of my list of shows to watch this season.

To wit, for the first time that I can remember in my tv-watching life, I identified most strongly with the female heroine character. With Buffy, I certainly sympathized with Buffy, but I would project myself onto the screen as another character, usually Xander [though just in the first few seasons] or Willow [especially post-college Willow]. With Alias, I absolutely loved watching Sydney/Jennifer Garner work, but it made me want to do her, rather than be her. But Ms. Mars is the right mix of brains, guts, savvy and 'phone charisma'. Maybe that's what did it in the end-- her 'phone charisma'. As an assistant, I know it's an extremely important skill-- being able to project the right image over the phone so that the person on the line will do what you want them to--whether it's used to get you a clue or get their boss to call your boss back. Of course, for those of you who don't live and die by phone calls, there's always the finely-drawn characters and the drum-taut plotting to keep you watching.

So bravo to UPN for giving a deserving show another chance. Of course, UPN could be playing this a lot smarter. They should've made sure to release the first season on DVD before the second started, so new viewers could catch up without having to resort to piracy. Additionally, Veronica is going to get absolutely slaughtered in her new time slot. UPN execs thought that by giving it their best lead-in [which for UPN is "America's Next Top Model"] they'd help ensure maximum audience. But they forgot that cult shows often do best on less competitive nights [like Monday or Tuesday]. As it stands, Veronica's up against Lost. Oopsie-- probably not the best idea, UPN.

But remember, one show does not a network change--even a woebegone weblet like UPN.

I don't want to do you, I want to BE you.

The first season of "Veronica Mars" will be released on DVD on October 11. Until then, there's always the torrents.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

"You Make the Call Game": College-ish Buddy Comedy

Before we get to today's "You Make the Call" Game, I have a confession to make. Actually, it's more like an excuse and an admission and a reason all rolled into one.

I've been kinda sucky with the whole 'posting on a regular schedule' thing. And also, the quality of my writing in many posts has declined [just a little, hopefully]. Don't take this as a sign that I'm not a dedicated blogger, chattering away at my keyboard every chance I get. The thing is, I have this new job, which is cool. But I also have a new, long commute, which is not cool and takes away from my blogging time. And if you drive in LA, you know how tiring it can be. So thanks for staying with me and remembering that I'm writing as fast as my little fingers can go.

You'll be choosing four roles today in a 'buddy comedy'. Now if you don't remember how to play the Assistant/Atlas "You Make the Call Game", it's pretty easy. Just pretend you're a mini-mogul and you're making a comedy that you hope will make millions upon millions of box office dollars. Your assistants have made the calls and now you must make the decisions on who is going to star in your twenty-something, college-ish buddy comedy. Think "American Pie" meets "Point Break" meets "The Breakfast Club". Actually, that sounds like an atrocious smash-up, so just think "Ferris Bueller's Day Off", but in a college-y way.

[ed note: Cut the assistants some slack, this is the best they could do choice-wise under the circumstances.]
Chad Michael Murray Vs. Jon Heder Vs. Jason Schwartzman
Can we laugh at you?
Agent: CAA First, my avatar. His films have gotten wide play and he's something of a draw, but could he be a draw for this part? And could he act it? Considering the latter question involves his ability to act in a surfer/stoner mode for a buddy comedy, I'd think he wouldn't be horrible. Put it this way-- I don't think it'd be a huge stretch.

Leading man material?
Agent: CAA Next is Napoleon Dynamite darling, Jon Heder. Pitch-perfect in that movie, is he chameleonic enough to gain a good following as an actor? Considering the sheer number of projects his sharks have lined up for him [6, including "Just Like Heaven" which looks awful] I'm guessing we'll find out very soon. Care to gamble on his chances?

Mmm, chest hair.
Agent: UTA Jason Schwartzman has been doing quirky, acclaimed, and mostly-unprofitable movies since his breakout appearance in "Rushmore". And he had that band, right, with that song? About California or something? I already don't care. Celebrity-led bands are a horrible idea, unless Gina Gershon fronts them. But Schwartzman has some acting talent and could use a nice, fat comedy hit to bolster his B.O. standing. So he's available, but do you want him?

Seann William Scott. There is no choice here. All buddy comedies featuring characters in their late teens or 20s must, by California state law, contain Seann William Scott.
Laws are sweet, dude.

Michelle Trachtenburg Vs. Kristin Kreuk Vs. Amber Tamblyn

This is the 'smart girl' role, the brainy one who inevitably saves the day with her computer book. Naturally, she's a love interest for your lead and there's a whole bit in the script about her being a brunette, so that's why it's brunettes for the lead.

Agent: ICM Buffy's kid sis has some pretty decent acting chops for a 19-year-old. And despite Eurotrip's flop, Ms. Trachtenberg could prove to be a nice draw for horny teen boys who think she might remove her top at any time. And if you saw her on Six Feet Under [rest in peace, Six Feet Under] then you'll know she can both own a scene and do great comedic work-- and still make it look like fun.

Canadian goodness.
Agent: UTA Kristin Kreuk used to be a notoriously picky b*tch when it came to choosing scripts [I still can't believe she didn't bite the offer Sloane gave her like two years ago]. But then she did EuroTrip and Earthsea [did you see that btw? I watched because of her and she had one facial expression the ENTIRE time!], so all bets are off as far as I'm concerned. I think it's actually that she really likes projects that film in Vancouver. Fortunately, this movie will, so she's an option.

Joan Upon a Time.
Agent: Endeavor This is Amber Tamblyn, looking about as smoking hot as I've seen her look in a picture. As "Joan of Arcadia" she always had that sort of frumpy, indie-teen-from-the-Pacific-Northwest look, but apparently she can be pretty hot, too. But remember, this role isn't the T&A one for the flick. That's where the 'Buddy's Girl' comes in.

Elisha Cuthbert Vs. Rachel Bilson Vs. Lacey Chabert
This is the role for the dumb/slutty girl that would've gone to Tara Reid back in the day-- before she became the fugliest, trashiest girl on the face of the planet. But remember, Jennifer Garner did 'Dude, Where's My Car?' so don't forget this role, m'kay?

Wet t-shirt contest?
Agent: Gersh Elisha Cuthbert's surprisingly-enduring popularity is one of the new mysteries of Hollywood. Personally, I'm pretty sure it's her rack. Let's hope she doesn't go on a Lohan diet.

Mischa who?
Agent: CAA With her OC cachet and her sharks, Rachel Bilson is a surprisingly hot commodity. Now Bilson may not be a brain surgeon, but she's at least reasonably funny and works well with others. And she's spent a lot of time in Mischa's shadow, so she knows how to play a supporting role.

Guys, I'm not a robot!
Agent: Paradigm Does anyone else hope, just maybe, that out there somewhere Lacey Chabert has an evil doppelganger who looks the same, but is, like, her total opposite? You know, her doppelganger is made of skin, not plastic, is slutty in a vampy, not "cute" way, has the ability to frown, gives out bjs like candy and is a phenomenal actress. I'd like to meet that doppelganger, despite the fact that she'd come from one crazily-screwed-up universe.

Sorry for that last tangent. Lacey Chabert just weirds me out a little. So now it's up to you, my little mini-moguls. Who's getting a role in your great comedy? Comment away.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

The Assistant Paths: 3.11

This is one of those 'in case you were wondering' sort of posts to head off barrages of email. [barrages- Wikipedia is down, is that a word?]

As illustrated by the various characters of "Entourage", here are the varied varieties of assistant, for those who've always wondered.

Agent's Assistant [Lloyd, Josh Weinstein, Emily/Samaire when she worked for Ari]
Subcategories: Talent vs. Literary, TV vs. Film
starting gig: usually agent trainee or intern
ultimate gig: a superagent, just like Ari.
The bottom line is that agents sell. They sell actors, shows, scripts-- yes, entire lives. Some are evil, and you might indeed WANT your agent to be evil. Trust me, those lunatics at CAA make things happen. Of course, the real Ari heads at Endeavor, the third most-evil agency in Ho'wood.

Kids, you can be Ari when you grow up.

Development Assistant [Emily/Samaire once she moved to James Cameron's Lightstorm]
starting gig: personal pants remover. No seriously, who starts out with a development job?
ultimate gig: Producer, via Director of Development or VP, Development.
Development Assistants are usually glorified secretaries who read scripts. But the development path is one of the most influential throughout the industry. Which means that you'll actually be affecting what Hollywood produces for the length of your career instead of just the end.

You like your good job, don't you, Samaire?

Manager's Assistant [Eric, if he had an assistant]
starting gig: manager's assistant, unless your best friend just happens to be a movie star.
ultimate gig: Manager [that's 5%]
This one's pretty straightforward.
I only need one client.
But if you're gonna be a manager in real life, it might be a good idea to have more than one.

Personal Assistant [Turtle]
starting gig: "Personal Assistant" is the starting gig.
ultimate gig: anything from professional dog-walker to superproducer
A personal assistant can be anything from a right-hand man [or woman] to the maid. This is the most highly-variable of all the positions listed. With this one, you could end up a Gwenn Stroman* or the personal pants remover for Brett Ratner. Frankly, it all depends on the person you're assisting-- with this path more than any other.
*Fun fact: Gwenn Stroman began her career as Drew Barrymore's personal assistant. I'll look for a confirmation or denial of that from Gwenn at some point.

You've gotten really funny this season, Turtle. Good job, Jerry Ferrara.

Production Assistant [no comparable Entourage character]
starting gig: film school, previous experience that you faked
ending gig: the most nebulous: anything from "hardscrabble no-lister for the rest of your living days" to Steven Spielberg.
Production Assistants are the b*tches of sets. They do everything from coffee-fetching to herding cats and/or extras. But they do gain valuable on-set experience. Like knowing when not to eat the last blueberry muffin on the day Star Jones visits the set.
I was never a P.A.

Public Relations Assistant aka- "the PR" [Debi Mazar's assistant]
starting gig: communications major, aka-the easiest major in the history of existence
ending gig: Partner in PR firm, all you can carry in free stuff
If you don't love your mobile more than anything else on earth, this is not the job for you. That's all I'll say.

Debi Mazar must be connected at all times. Or else she will die.

So those are your basic sorts of Ho'wood assistants. There are probably more varieties that I've forgotten, but I'm too tired to do more 'splainin. Comment if you have questions or want clarifications. Now's the time.

Thanks to the cast of for stopping by.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

"Hollywood Momentum" Makes Me Sleepy: 3.10

To the good folks at "Hollywood Momentum",

Hi, I'm Atlas. In real life, I'm an assistant. And in real life and in the blogosphere, I'm done with you. I didn't like you in the first place and I don't like you now. And frankly, I had a lot of sympathy prepared for you, you that tries to make the life of the assistant a cause for celebration-- or at least a cause for something besides thinly-conceiled, blinding rage. After all, I think of myself as the anonymous assistant superhero SLASH b-list assistant blogebrity so it would be quite natural for me to root for you.

But right from the beginning, I was worried. Frankly, your website should look much more professional-- or at least, cooler. Currently, it looks like a talented 13-year-old with an iBook might have done better. Can't a group of super-assistants and editors and such at least hire a professional to make it look snazzy? I know I'm not one to talk, considering the relative fugliness of my site, but hey man, I'm a friggin' anonymous blogger. You're trying to be a lot more than that.

You're going for a market that's near and dear to me-- actually, it IS me. You're trolling for the assistants. They are a precious, demographically-desireable market, aren't they? With their disposable incomes and disproportionately high popular culture spending and influence, plus their precious youth, they're a marketing sweet spot, aren't they?

No, actually, I'm not. I'm tough-a$$ marketing target. I've seen approximately 20,000 commercials every year for the past, say, twenty-two years, which is nearly half a million commercials. And that's ads on television alone. So since I'm not completely penniless that means:
1) I have a modicum of self-control
2) I have, of necessity, developed a discerning nature when it comes to all media consumption

The point is, it's gonna take a lot more than some mediocre career advice and horrific-sound entry-level job posts to get and keep my attention. Okay, yes, you've got anecdotes and tools and stories and yawn. What were we talking about?

Ah, yes, Hollywood Momentum. Great title, by the way. What, was "Assistant Rantz" already taken or did that test a bit 'pre-teen' for your audience? Because I think we both know that the more appropriate title for a publication about assistants would be "Hollywood Precarious Toehold" or "Hollywood Foot in the Door That's Slamming Shut".

In conclusion, I hate you guys. And I wouldn't even care except that you're the only assistant-oriented publication out there. In a world where there's no where else to turn for credible assistant information, you Ho'wood Momentum folks have a mighty duty to a much-maligned group of people.

So stop sucking!

Monday, August 22, 2005

How Blogging Is Influencing the Next Generation of Writers: 3.09

I meant to post this yesterday as sort of a weekend rumination, but I didn't quite get it done so I had to post it today from a cyber cafe on my lunch break. See how dedicated I am to you, my faithful readers?

You may be wondering what took me so long to post. Let's just say I spent pretty much the entire weekend at Famke's looking something like this:
That's sex-bed head.
How anyone could possibly think a show about Jennifer Love Hewitt talking to ghosts is buzzworthy is either insane, or Les Moonves' lackey.

In news, Maureen Ryan of the Chicago Tribune chats up the GF's pilot writer, John Rogers. [scroll past her diatribe on "Six Feet Under"] The money quote pertaining to today's topic is from Rogers:

"Fans are not just a metric for us to use to get money out of advertisers. We in the entertainment industry have to change our relationship with the people who watch our shows. To have a successful show with the current model [of advertiser-supported TV], you need 7 to 10 million viewers. To have a successful DVD, you need 1 million. That's a big difference."

Which is a nice segue into today's topic on how today's writers are affected by the phenomenon that is blogging. It goes without debate that writers like writing. And since blogging is essentially a new medium for writing, it's important to examine how it is beginning to affect the writers that are coming to maturation in its heady glow. Rogers is right that the dynamics of the entertainment industry are changing. Oddly, television is already the big money-maker for movies. But what's the biggest money-maker for television shows? DVDs.

But, except for very exceptional circumstances, the newbie writer writes for neither film nor television. In the past, most writers would go from self-absorbed poetry to novels, hoping against hope for the book deal that is likely never to come, perhaps writing short stories in hopes of working up to the publication of a novel. Other writers would go the journalism route, working up from cub reporter to veteran, hopefully winning a Peabody [the Oscars of journalism] in the process. Still others would whore themselves, I mean, uh . . . build a career as an assistant and try to make enough connections to get his/her film/tv scripts read by the right people.

But to a large extent, blogging side-steps the entire process, for better or worse, taking a writer's work directly to his/her audience. There aren't editors to heed, script-readers to impress, or executive producers to blow. There's no more ladder, we can fly, just like Atlas, directly to our readers.

Fewer bjs for Harvey.
So with blogging, there's a kind of an instantaneous 'success' in publication. And as soon as we get some success, noting, "Hey, I have readers. Awesome!", it becomes: "Oh man, I've gotta keep them reading!" The good writers learn how to reach into their bag of hook-y tricks, not just once a year for a novel, a few times a year for screenplays, or once a week for a column, but every single day. Whether this will make for better, more creative writers, or just ones who exhaust their ideas more quickly for less money, remains to be seen.

But there is a monetary angle to blogs, no matter what kind of ads you have. [btw-I don't think I'd recommend GoogleAds, even though I currently use them] On web ads, we think "The system--it's showing me money! SWEET!" Of course, unless you're an A-lister, it's probably just pennies/day, but it's more than I got for the self-involved poetry I wrote in high school. And it represents a big incentive for each writer to do their utmost to grow their audience, attract attention, and generally-speaking, write better. It's why I used my lunch hour to post this today. [and of course, because I love you all]

And the instant gratification nature of blogging means that writers are even more likely to believe that they don't have to be a dead writer to be a famous one. In my experience, it fosters a 'get-out-there-and-just-do-it' sort of attitude. The world is my oyster / the road is my home.

But whether or not blogging actually makes for better writers is less important than the fact that it has revolutionized the relationship between writer and reader. Bloggers get instant feedback from comments and emails, they get tips and links that can back up or discredit what they're saying. And readers generally feel more empowered-- anonymous commenters can say the nasty things they're thinking directly to the writer. And good comments, too, go directly to the writer.

And when I sometimes think: "Argh, I don't want to write today. I'm a bad, bad boy writer."
Of course, you like it when I'm bad.
I still know I should post something--there may be dozens of you out there just holding your breath for the next episode of Assistant/Atlas. And since I can see you reading, and I hear your comments about my work, I know there's an audience out there waiting for me.

As a writer, I couldn't ask for anything more.

Saturday, August 20, 2005

Battle of the Jessicas: 3.08

Today's post, appropriate for a Saturday and slightly inspired by yesterday's Cameron/Angelina action, heads into that most hallowed of territory-- the one-name superstar. And I'm not just talking Madonna, Cher, or Britney. I'm talking Angelina, Cameron, Brad, Lindsay, Colin or Paris status.

To wit, what's in a name? In Hollywood, quite a lot. A lot of money/fame/power at stake. There's a battle going on to see who's going to be THE Jessica. It's between the two most popular Jessicas on the market.

Vs. : Battle of the T&A actresses

"Jessica Alba" Google Image Search [without SafeSearch enabled]: 150,000
"Jessica Simpson" Google Image Search [without SafeSearch enabled]: 58,500
With strict SafeSearch, Alba: 65,900
With strict SafeSearch, Simpson: 3,280
Advantage: Alba
I'm popular on the internets.

Current IMDB StarMeter rankings: Alba #7, Simpson #8
Overall StarMeter graph higher average: Alba

Advantage: Alba
Look at my acting ability!

Alba's agent: Patrick Whitesell, Endeavor
Simpson's agent: Rob Light, CAA
Advantage: Simpson
My agents eat these!

Alba's publicist: Bragman/Nyman/Cafarelli
Simpson's publicist: Bragman/Nyman/Cafarelli
But. . . a recent temp at BNC reports that while on reception duty, there were "way more random calls" for Jessica Alba's publicist than Simpson's. The temp's fave: "Some reporter called and said he was from 'Iceland's Biggest Film Newspaper'."
Advantage: Alba
I don't need to open my mouth.

Alba's age: 24
Simpson's age: 25
Advantage: Alba
See, I'm the Jessica.

Alba: Fantastic Four [good money, bad choice], Sin City [good], Honey [bad]
Simpson: Dukes of Hazzard [bad movie, good role choice], Nick & Jessica Variety Show [bad], Newlyweds [good]

Upcoming Alba: a "thriller" with Paul Walker. Yes, that is an oxymoron. [bad]
Upcoming Simpson: a comedy in which she plays a disinherited heiress who must become a hotel maid. Oh wait, hers is called "Room Service"? That definitely has potential. [good]

Advantage: Simpson
Them's Daisy Dukes.

ACTING AWARDS [no, seriously]:
Jessica Alba, one Golden Globe nomination for "Dark Angel"
Jessica Simpson, one Teen Choice award for "Reality/Variety Star"
Advantage: Alba
I know I'll get an Oscar soon.

Alba: None, seemingly-anonymous boyfriend
Simpson: Husband Nick Lachey (B-List, but A-list while married to her], sister: Ashlee Simpson (currently B-List), dad: Joe Simpson (creepy D-list)
Advantage: Simpson
I love my on-camera husband.

Alba: A
Simpson: T
Advantage: The viewing public

Despite the lack of discernible acting talent, both Jessicas seemed destined to bask in the light of stardom for awhile longer. But for now, the Alba has the edge in the battle of the Jessicas. Of course, for perhaps the first time in the history of war, everybody's a winner.
Proof of God's existence.

Friday, August 19, 2005

Poll Results: Hollywood's Most Evil Agency is CAA, Duh: 3.07

I know most of you assistants are thinking "yeah, that's a surprise" right now, but you have your proof: The Assistant/Atlas Agency Evil Factor Poll. In this highly-unscientific poll, the experienced niche of my readership voted overwhelmingly [if sparingly-- jeez, lurkers] for the Creative Artists Agency.

Congratulations, CAA. You're the sharks, baby. Way to swim.

But let's take this opportunity to take an look at the Big Agencies. After all, if you're an assistant, you probably want to be an agent. Which at some point means you're going to job-hop with an A-lister on your arm for a ton of cash at some point in your career.

William Morris [WMA] nudged into second place over Endeavor, with ICM and UTA trailing far behind, and the Paradigm/Gersh fringe effect negligible.
Endeavor, Ari Emanuel's Swirling Circle of Hell.
So what does this picture of "Defamer's Official Agent Dance Mascot" mean? It means that Endeavor's got the buzz-- and their assistants have the swagger. And with Entourage getting a third season, they'll likely maintain that cool cachet for awhile longer.

But what does this mean, really? Well, it could give under-appreciated agents, especially the younger pups who grew up dreaming of Ari's gravy train of happy yayo fun times, more incentive to abandon their current acronym agency small desk and jump aboard. That means more agent dancing and starf*cking, but really, would you want anything less from Ho'wood?

So if CAA is [are?] the sharks and Endeavor is Ari-land [and WMA is nestled in between], then what does that mean for lesser agencies, the increasingly-poached ICM, the buzz-lacking UTA [joblist notwithstanding], the highly-suited Paradigm and the "you're totally not getting in" Gersh.

But, Atlas, you say, what does this mean? Why does it matter?

I'll tell you why. CAA is on top of their sh*t. They're a highly-oiled machine and they can make things happen. They call back as soon as they smell money or power. WMA is the same way-- they flog the assistants until they're like super-fast phone zombies.

ICM, on the other fin, takes forever to call back, in fact, they take forever to move on anything. Like lazy walruses, they mull and debate when they should be hot-stepping it for the phones. Stupid walruses.
ICM Sux!
Wading back into the ocean of extended metaphor, we might say that UTA is like the gentle manatee and Gersh the awkward platypus of the Hollywood biosphere. We could then conclude that Paradigm is the penguin, waddling toward payday, attempting to look slick and relaxed. But despite the image-burnishing success of "March of the Penguins", penguins are not the ocean-related creature you want to be.

You want to be the sharks. You want to kill and eat the other agencies. There are no prisoners in Ari's dungeon.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

You Make the Call: A-List Battle Royale!: 3.06

It took me awhile to do this, but instead of re-tooling the Whisper Price Game to make it more like a barrel of monkeys, I'm launching a NEW GAME! The Whisper Price Game will be back very soon [read: when I run out of better ideas].
And now, it's a new game!

Yes, there's even more fun with assistancy to be had. In the "Assistant/Atlas You Make the Call Game"--so named because this is best the assistants could do in the situation, and they're the ones on the phone having these actual conversations. [ed. note- that's a working title]

Here's the scenario*:

You've got a movie that's shooting in about six months. It's an indie thriller/actioner/drama with the potential for highly-global marketability and YOU, AN INDIE MOGUL, have it independently-financed well-enough that you've attracted some potential stars. Of course, since you're an indie company, you just now got your financing in place, so there's less actor choice-- a lot of stars already have projects lined up for six months [or even two years] from now. Some tantalizingly good ones don't, as you'll see below.

So your job is to decide between these A-Listers who are available for the shoot: TBD on location, but somewhere subsidized. Your very awesome assistant has gotten you the cream of the crop. After all, these are A-listers that are biting at indies, for various reasons. So whaddaya think,

*based on semi-fudged actual accounts!
That's Nick Cage.
Agent: CAA. I ain't got nothin' against the guy, he's suitably low-profile but has acting chops and a global audience. He'd be a good choice to helm your company's big movie of the year.
Hi, Hayden Christensen.
Agent: CAA You're an A-lister already? Actually, yes. You've got global clout thanks to Star Wars [despite Ewan McGregor's Island drubbing, which was obviously the fault of finger-pointing fauxteur Michael Bay]. And you happened to be also available at CAA for the indie flick.

Agent: WMA Between you, me and WMA, John Travolta could use the work. The Cult of Hollywood is not a career cure-all. Or even an aid of any kind.

Frankly, you know Cameron. I know you know Angelina. Both are in the $20 million club. Which would you prefer for your apparently-fat offer? I just wanna hear what you say on this one. There will be no agency fighting here, though, both are CAA biyotches.

May I humbly suggest a camo bikini jello-wrestling match for the role?

Michael Caine Agent: ICM, no last reported salary

Always-venerable [isn't he a knight or some sh*t?] Michael Caine has been invited back for Batman and as a longtime star, does has some global cachet.
Patrick Stewart Agent: WMA, last reported salary: $14 mil.


Wait, is that right, IMDB Pro? What the heck did Patrick Stewart get $14 million for, X3?

Oh, he got it for one of the Star Trek sequels. Nice.

Because seriously, I was gonna say that that's about how much you'd have to pay me to work for infamous fauxteur Brett Ratner.

Anyway, that's the scenario. Endeavor is led by an Ari, and you're a proud indie mogul, so that's a no-no from the get-go. Paradigm is highly annoying and lame and doesn't have anybody cool anyway. Available A-listers are in short supply elsewhere and Gersh's supply was kinda laughable: Rachel Leigh Cook and Skeet Ulrich. [ed. note- are you f*cking kidding me?] And nobody else has available global A-listers.

So the future of the company and this film is up to you. Or will you say, "Screw it. Get me Gilbert Gottfried on the phone."
What will you tell your assistant when you tell him/her to make the call? Comment phones are standing by.

PLEASE NOTE: Word verification will now be required to prevent spammers, but hopefully, not anonymous commentators. If you really need something, you can spam I could always use some more herbal Viagra.

Monday, August 15, 2005

The Buzz on the WB's Fall Schedule: 3.05

Sorry about the post delay, the new gig is killing me softly and swiftly. I'm back with the buzz on the WB's fall schedule, thanks to a plethora of assistant stories, as well as my own slapdash, last-minute Internet research.

Let me tell you, the buzz is palpable.
LOST rip-offs will be HUGE!

But can you guess what else is coming to the WB? First off is something truly original: a Jerry Bruckheimer-produced procedural, a Don Johnson comeback vehicle, and Doogie-Howser-MD-but-in-a-courtroom rip-off. And that's one friggin' show [called "Just Legal"-- otherwise known as "What You Won't be Watching on Monday"].

I mean, really, what we're really clamoring for is another "Sex and the City" and/or "Friends" knock-off. Gosh, hey, the WB's got that, too! It's called "Related". Oh, wowie! They even got one of the "Sex and the City" writers for it and former "Friends" producer Marta Kauffman! Golly, it must be good, then. I'll definitely be watching it instead of "Lost". Not.

Hey, what's on Fridays now? Oh, a great time slot for Sara Gilbert and/or Melanie Griffith's fiery-career-death-disguised-as-a-comeback.
I'm pretty sure this a word-for-word re-creation of the conversation that led to the creation of the sitcom "Twins".
WB EXEC #1: You know what was a good movie? "Twins".
WB EXEC #2: Oh, yeah, it was!
WB EXEC #1: Wouldn't it be funny if we could watch that same dynamic, week after week after week?
WB EXEC #2: That would NEVER stop being funny!
WB EXEC #1: We could even keep that same, awesome title!
WB EXEC #2: Maybe we should change a little something about it, you know, to show our 'creative input' to David & Garth.
WB EXEC #1: Oh, you're right. We should make them girls, instead.

But perhaps the most damning praise comes from the WB's own website, which unintentionally mocks both producers and actors:
"Having explored the hilarious complexities of sexuality with the wildly successful Will & Grace, Emmy award-winning producers David Kohan and Max Mutchnick bring their unique take on contemporary relationships to The WB with an all-star cast of Sara Gilbert, Melanie Griffith, Mark Linn-Baker and Molly Stanton."

Okay, I'll give you Melanie Griffith. And I'll throw in Sara Gilbert, too, but the thought of Mark Linn-Baker [not Balki, but the other guy from "Perfect Strangers"] or Molly "Five Years of Passions" Stanton as 'stars' stretches that term to the breaking point. The thing that gets me though is the production team. Did I miss several seasons of "Will & Grace" where they actually explored the 'complexities of sexuality' instead of just having Jack flame around like a gay Stepin Fetchit?

And as for midseason replacement "Misconceptions"-- I'm not even going to dignify this POS with an insult.

And finally that brings us to the WB's entry in the Lost-ripoff category, "Supernatural". This show merits some serious discussion because it was probably the reason that GF didn't get picked up. My theory behind why this obviously inferior concept was picked up instead: pretty boys. The star's shows, who aren't horrible actors [but they ain't good either], and who are NOT getting a mention in this blog while I run it, are the main selling point. But while the pilot may be okay, the show as a long-running series seems ludicrous. The advertisements for it have invaded Los Angeles and from them, I've deciphered that the show is about two guys and a car. And there is also someone who is dead in others-- an older woman, perhaps a mother figure. But it's purple and spooky. At least, I'm sure that's what it boiled down to for the marketing execs: "Pretty colors" and "that's hot".

Seriously, Garth, I'm starting to get a little ticked off. We, the people [aka-the fans] shouldn't be having to launch a massive global campaign to get you to make us the television we want. If you just asked nicely, we'd deliver you huge, fat hits to line your already-bulging pockets with.
[ever since Famke spun my head, I've been feeling off my game. . . and a little gay, to be truthful]

In conclusion, you can see that has a wonderful treasure trove of only-Warner-Brothers-conglomerate-produced television that will just wow us.

Seriously, guys, , even in its deep decline, will beat you if this is the best you can do to pick its bones. Somewhere, Les Moonves is cackling.

Move away from Les. He will crush your weblet. Even without Viacom, ALL YOUR BASE ARE BELONG TO LES MOONVES!

Sunday, August 14, 2005

Why You Should Be Scared of Mark Lisanti: 3.04

Mark Lisanti is the mad genius behind "Defamer", which those in the know know as

So, why should you be afraid of him?
He doesn't look so scary.
But think about all the emails this guy gets in one day. He's an admitted internet junkie and he's good at what he does. And he's the reason why Gawker Media must be stopped.

No, seriously, people, be afraid. They're as wonderfully American as apple pie. They're free speech in action and terribly funny and a refreshing wind blowing in the face of journalism, but they're getting big and scary so quickly.

I mean, think about what Mark Lisanti might know. He's been doing this for what-- six months strong by now or something? He lives up to the somewhat-dubious tagline of his site: "LA is the world's cultural capital. Defamer is the gossip rag it deserves."

After all, everyone's assistant reads Defamer when they get the chance-- and can often chalk it up to research, if challenged. Oh, because they can. It is THAT awesome at the moment. It will eventually jump the shark, but not for awhile. Right now, Lisanti is my A-List blogebrity idol. I pant at his massive amounts of eyeballs/page views.

But why should YOU be afraid of Mark Lisanti, my little Ho'wood heavies-in-training, is that pretty soon he is going to own your a$$-- in the sense of knowing a lot of blackmail talking points regarding your business deals and alleged bathroom activities. People know what goes on, they just didn't email anybody about it before. And now they're starting to.

I mean, I have, no joke, read over 100 emails that seemed to be pretty credible people with pretty detailed horror stories, some naming names and some not. And that's just one anonymous blogger. I haven't been doing this much more than four months and I didn't have the Gawker Media wind at my back. I don't even want to imagine what kind of dirt he's getting on people. But for now, I am afraid. I am very afraid. So let me just say this.

I love . He is my hero. And is just wicked good fun. Seriously, I'm not pissing him off. I've already been cowed. Are you next?

Well, are you?

Actually, seriously, in his defense, the guy is probably sitting on a mound of dirt that he ISN'T printing. So thanks for the discretion. And, yeah, let's hear it for , proudly sponsored by crap you don't really care about.

Coming up this week on Assistant/Atlas. . .

The Whisper Price Game Returns!
A New Feature Is Unveiled!
And All Sorts of Pop Culture Funtimes. WEEEEE!
[aka- the dog-and-pony show insider stuff will come from others]

Saturday, August 13, 2005

Would You Go Gay for Hetero Sex?: 3.03

I thought this post would be nicely appropriate as we gallop through the weekend. Famke and I were watching "Gia", which we've both seen several times and any hardcore Angelina fan will know and love, and cuddle-talkin' when we veered off into a very peculiar conversational direction.

We were watching that part in "Gia" where Angelina/Gia gets it on in a foursome with her then-winsome movie-boyfriend Eric Michael Cole--whose IMDB publicity photo is scary-- but does a good job in the movie. Anyway, they're drinking have fun with an older couple [not old, 'old', just older-ish] and Angelina gets things started by making out with both the older guy and Eric Michael Cole. Things are getting hot and heavy when the two guys suddenly end up kissing.

At that point, Famke goes: "Ohhh [three's h's, I checked], that's so hot."

Thinking she was talking about Angelina, because seriously, who wouldn't be:

I say, "Yeah, she's amazing."

Famke: "No, I mean the guys, that's so hot." Onscreen, the guys continue heaving petting as Angelina walks over to the wife to use her patented Siren-Angelina Hotness Wiles on her.

The innocent Atlas responds: "Really? You think two guys making out is hot?"

Famke snuggles into me and digs her hands toward her belly: "Oh God, yes."

Physically, I back off her a bit and re-adjust. I say, "You've been watching too much Pedro Almodovar lately" as my eyeballs zap onto Angelina and her other woman.

Famke turns to look at me. Famke: "What, and the thought of two women fooling around doesn't excite you in the least?"

Atlas smiles, he knows the right answer to this one: "I'm a one-woman guy, baby." Famke gives an obliging grin, then offers, her off-handedness reminding me of her Eurocentricity, "Of course. Haven't you ever even kissed a guy?"

I respond with a quick and masculine "No."**

Famke rolls her eyes: "It's not that different from kissing a woman." Famke scoots further from me on the bed and offers a slight frown: "I'm surprised you're so close-minded about this, Atlas."

Stumbling blindly into a minefield, I say: "I am not close-minded. I mean, I love my gay uncles. I'm just. . . heterosexual." Satisfied in my answer, I reach for Famke's arm with a smile.

But she looks annoyed: "You're heterosexual. You're a one on the Kinsey scale and you've never wanted more than one woman?" Damn that Liam Neeson.

I sputter: "No, I, I mean, I guess I've thought about it, you know. Been kinda like, 'that'd be neat-o'. But not seriously."

Famke: "Well, it's the same thing. I wish you were more comfortable with your sexuality."

My masculinity shrinking in the gale of her words, I say: "I am comfortable with my sexuality. I'm straight."

Famke: "But you wouldn't be comfortable making out with another straight man?"

Atlas: "Wha- no. What?"

Famke: "If you're straight, then I wouldn't see why making out with another man would be so uncomfortable for you."

Atlas has no idea how to respond to this statement and goes with: "Um, I just think it would be weird?"
Wouldn't that be weird, Chad?
Famke continues: "After all, if you're so secure, I can't see that it'd be a big deal."

Head spinning, I respond: "No I wouldn't, be insecure. I just, wouldn't want to do it."

Famke draws quick: "But you might in some cases. What if Brad Pitt and Angelina asked you to have sex with them."

I smile: "Fine, I guess if I had to have sex with Brad Pitt in order to have sex with Angelina Jolie I would."

Famke: "But you would derive no pleasure from Brad Pitt?"

Atlas: "Um, that question makes me really uncomfortable."

**There was that one time in college, but that was totally different, and no, you won't be getting further details. Okay, fine: there was lots of drug-things involved and girls around and--I don't have to justify myself to you people, I'm an anonymous blogger. I just want to know what y'all make of all this.

Would I go gay to get with you? Yes.
Yes, yes I would for .
But I welcome your comments on this one because I just feel all confusey-ed.
And if you're all really good, then I'll tell you who made the lists that Famke and I had of people we'd consider going gay for. We totally might have a threesome. Why do I keep going on about this? I dunno, it keep me entertained. I love weekends.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Dear Atlas, How Do I Be a Screenwriter?: 3.02

Today, I will pluck a pearl of wisdom from my email correspondence and share it with you.

I'm getting more and more email along these lines, so in attempt to head off duplicitous, er, um, duplicated emails, I thought I'd just share my thoughts on the matter with all of my lovely readers.

This email was from The Supreme Idiot over at OC Idiots. Otherwise known as Tom McCormack, C-List blogger.


How's it going? OK, so you've officially become my insider in the
wondeful world of Hollywood agents. You cool with that? I hope so. Been
reading your blog quite a bit lately, I like it. Except for when you mentioned
that you were more popular than me since you are on Blogebrity's b-list and
I am sadly a c-lister. Way to rub it in coolguy.

Anyway, I had a question for ya: If someone were to be thinking of
trying to get a literary agent, since he may or may not be writing a sitcom
script, what would you propose as his best method for doing so? I've been
working on a little idea, and it might suck, I don't know. But I figure it's
worth a shot.

Any suggestions for landing an agent, and or getting the script into
the right hands. I have a few contacts out there, but from what I can
gather, getting an agent is step number one.

How much work do I need to have on hand before I can even meet with an
agent. Any ideas you can help me with are greatly appreciated.

-The Supreme Idiot

Josh Schwartz rode the OC trend all the way to a third season.

What I write back. . .

Okay, here's the basics:
Yes, getting an agent, preferably a reasonably decent one, is the first step.

But you're probably not ready for a lit agent until you have one really good screenplay and hopefully several others [like 3-5]. If you want to be a tv writer, you have to have a good script for a show that's still in production. All scripts should demonstrate that you're a flawless, consummate professional.

If you're trying to write your own original sitcom idea, forget it right now. The odds of you landing an original series without any experience-- well, unless bloggers suddenly become uber-popular, I wouldn't count on it, let's just say that.

Tips on landing a lit agent:

Good combo of patience and persistence is necessary.

The more you can bring to the table, the more a good lit agent will have to sell.

Develop a hook for yourself as a writer. OC Idiots is a good start for you, Tom. It's more than most people have, anyway. Yes, this will perhaps give you a niche, a 'ghetto' sometimes, but it will help get you work.

Write F**KING PROFESSIONALLY. If you don't know the proper style, learn it now. Don't worry as much about the details but get it pretty friggin' close so it doesn't strike a reader as bizarro format-- which will cause the reader to go 'amateur' and send your script to the circular file.

Do your homework. Don't just listen to this anonymous blogger if you want to make it. There's material out there-- articles and such--that can take you step-by-step through many of the processes.

Enter Contests. If you think you're so good, why not compete? Don't underestimate the value of a win in a decent contest. For a rather small fee, it's something positive to put on a resume.

And also, it's so so hard to make it as a screenwriter. If you're not 80000% sure it's what you want, don't try. Even if you make it, it won't be worth your time and anguish.

Hope that helps, kids. And good luck out there. You'll need it.

Hugs and Air-Kisses,

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Alternate Ending to Season Premiere

Duh it was a copout. Why do you think I made 'crap' the last line? Hello. Come now, Enrique. I'm cleverer than that.
In the original version, I didn't wake up at all, of course.

Instead, I did the following:

Atlas is overcome, tears of joy streaming down his face and washing away the dirt and the eye crispies and the crud and the smog and the metaphor and stuff.

Atlas looks down at Garth, whose arm he has a firm grip on as he flies, winging West toward the setting sun. Garth has his eyes closed and approximates a flying fetal position. He BLUBBERS incoherently about death.

Garth, this is amazing, I can fly!

No change in Garth.

Garth. Jesus, man, I can f***ing FLY, MAN! How cool is this!?!


My God man, you are such a spineless stereotype.

The pair rises higher, breezing through the low-hanging clouds as they wind northwest toward the golden shores of Malibu.

Maggie, hands on hips, stares down Sloane.

What have you been doing to Atlas, Sloane?

Watch your tone, Maggie.

Watch your a$$, Sloane.

Atlas marvels at his new superpower and waxes philosophical, ignoring the fact that Garth is effectively in a stress-induced mental coma.

It's like, Garth, it's like I'm now suddenly so much more a part of everything, now that I can be apart from all of it.

Garth's waterworks persist.

Would you quit it already? Don't you know you'd be dead by now if I were going to let you be? I mean, HELLO, I totally could've let you drop with that newschopper watching and I still would've been hailed as a hero.

Garth still doesn't move.

Ugh. You are so lame.

Atlas continues heading for the coast.

Atlas lands himself and Garth by crooking his arm at a walk-like-an-Egyptian angle until Garth is planted on the sand. Dolphins frolic in the sparkling waves as Atlas drops to the beach with swirl of sand and a big smile. [thanks for the heads-up, Peggy.]

Then, just for the fun of it, Atlas jumps thirty feet into the air with his arm upraised.

Garth is slumped in a heap when he returns to the earth.

Garth, you can stop freaking out now. You're on the ground.

Garth MOANS in the sand. Atlas SIGHS, then looks around. Gazing at the sparkling ocean with the wind tossing his hair, Atlas cracks a smile. He pats down his pockets and withdraws a pack of the P-Funk and a lighter.

You know what I wanna see more of, Garth?

Atlas lights a cigarette after he swallows some sea air.

Superheroes who smoke. More imperfect champions.

Atlas takes a deep drag.

Just like real people are.

Bubbles is open-mouthed at the confrontation occurring in front of her. Maggie stares daggers at Sloane, who does his best not to squirm under her Medusa-worthy glance.

What really happened with XXX?

I didn't do anything to Atlas with XXX. He dug his own grave-- and he's still digging it.

What do you mean?

I never made the call to Aliotta Fagina. Atlas dug his own grave on that one. And it won't be his last.

Atlas stubs out his cigarette on his shoe and puts the butt into his now-empty pack. Garth's sobs are subsiding.

Are we together yet?

For the first time in a long time, Garth looks at Atlas. But Garth says nothing.


Atlas stares Garth down.

Garth, look at me.

As if hypnotized, Garth does.

Things need to change, Garth. It's time. I think we both know that.

Garth nods.

Can you feel the people rising Garth? It's like a slow, steady tide that will erode the greatest of the sandcastles.

(finally sputters)
This is insane.

Why? Because it's so perfect that there's one assistant out there who can tell you what he really thinks. That there's one who can defy gravity and tradition and the crap that you throw downhill daily? Why, Garth, why is it insane?

The blood vessels on Atlas's neck bulge as he gets in Garth's face.

You're just gonna have to deal with it then, Garth. It's about time karmic insanity struck back on behalf of assistants everywhere. So f***ing deal.

Swooping down from the skies, Atlas walks onto the land with a whistle and casual toss of the golden hair as he strolls down to a tony, off-Mulholland address.

Leaping into Famke's yard, Atlas RINGS the bell, steps back, licks his index fingers and runs them over his eyebrows and smiles hopefully.

Hello Atlas. I. . .
[pause pregnant with meaning]
I glad you're all right.

Atlas exhales.

Hi Famke.

They hug, hard. Then kiss.

THE [alternate] END

Atlas is a Comic Book Hero: 3.01

In this season opener, we continue from episode 2.50, the second season finale. You'll want to read that post before you read this latest one if you want it to make sense. If you've got Dadaist sensibilities, then just jump right in. [ps- i know this isn't correct screenplay format, but I swear it's blogger's fault, not mine]

Atlas strains to hang onto both the bush that keeps him from falling 200 ft. and the tubby exec [] weighing him down. Atlas GROANS with the effort.

Trim Spa Garth, it's all the rage.

Grip slipping, Atlas looks to his surroundings.

Garth-- there's a ledge.

Garth pees his pants.

Oh God! Don't let me go!

Garth, relax, I'm gonna swing you onto that ledge, but you have to help me.

The roots of the bush pull looser, showering Atlas with dirt and dangling both of them lower. The news chopper WHIRS in closer.

Maggie, Bubbles and Sloane are glued to the television in the former workplace of Assistant/Atlas.

Oh God, Atlas. Atlas. . .

Wait, who's that guy?

That's Garth Ancier, president of the .

BUBBLES (nods knowingly)
Ahh, the Peacock network.
Hey, did you guys ever think Atlas looks like ?

Famke flips stations on her fancy dashboard, keeping one eye on the road as she weaves down Mulholland. It's one annoying, incendiary talk-radio dj after another.

Stupid satellite radio.

Atlas attempts to swing Garth while he paws at Atlas' legs.

Don't let me die! Don't let me die!

You fat bastard, stop it! Swing onto the dang ledge!

The scrubby shrub that Atlas holds jerks looser, showering more dirt.

Oh crap.

Atlas looks at Garth like he might have to let him go, then shakes his head.


Suddenly, the bush breaks free.

Sloane loans forward in his chair as Maggie and Bubbles GASP.

Sorry, folks, as per FCC regulations, we don't want to unnecessarily expose our younger viewers to graphic violence so we now return you to your regularly-scheduled program.

Are you effing kidding me?

Garth and Atlas fall. But, defying gravity, they fall up. They float upward as the news chopper flies close and then veers away lower to film the spot where they would've fallen.

It is hard to tell who is more surprised by the anti-gravity, but just for good measure, Garth poops himself.

Atlas realizes they're soaring up and over the Hollywood Hills, gaining speed-- right in the direction that his fist [still clenching the scrub] is pointing.

Atlas sees the news chopper sweeping low for a hopeful corpse money shot behind them and can see the LAPD finally SIRENING off Mulholland toward the sign. Ahead of them, Famke's Range Rover SWERVES to a stop on the edge of the road and she bolts from her car. Seeing the flying pair, she freezes in wonder/fright. Then, she notices:


The pair slows as Atlas leans in to squint at Famke.

Famke? Uhhh. . .

Oh my God, is that Garth Ancier?

Atlas veers away to the ocean, leaving Famke shocked.

Holy crap I'm dating a superhero.

Maggie, furious, swings Sloane in his chair to face her.

What did you do to him, Sloane?

When Sloane begins to stand, Maggie SLAMS a leg into the arm of his chair.

That thing he does will get him in the end.

What are you talking about Sloane--

Ohmygod, ohmygod. This is like, so crazy!

Shut up, Bubbles./Not now, Bubbles.

What are you talking about, Sloane?

His blog. Will get him into trouble. One day.

Oh. That's all?

Maggie, you think you're protecting him, but when he grows up, he'll be worse than me. When he's had his share, he won't be so flip.

Maggie takes her leg down from Sloane's chair.

Atlas, holding Garth by the neck of his suit, zips over the Pacific.

So, Garth, who wants to swim with sharks now?

What are you doing? Put me down-- on LAND.

Sorry, Garthie, I'm not your assistant. And therefore, I don't have to do a go&&amn thing you say.

What, you think drowning the head of will really make the studio want to pick up the Global Frequency?

You still don't get it, Garth. Maybe you never will. Maybe your generation will just have to die off before things change. So the question is, Garth, how comfortable am I with helping that along?

Atlas stares down the suddenly-terrified executive.

Please don't do it, Atlas, you'll hate yourself-- [you'll hate yourself ECHOES over the ocean]


A message memo is stuck to his face.


Or was it?

Where is my farking [sic] latte?

Aw man, it totally was. Crap.


Chad Michael Murray as Atlas
Famke Janssen as Famke
Ron Rifkin as Sloane
Joan Cusack as Maggie
Jane Horrocks as Bubbles