Monday, November 1, 2010

The Miseducation of Laura Mannino

The Next Ron Howard and Brian Grazer

There are two main industries in LA.  There’s show business and then there’s making money off of people who want to work in show business.  Since moving to LA, I have emptied my wallet to participate in classes, workshops, seminars, webinars, teleseminars, networking groups, events, expos, conferences, websites, etc.  Everyday my email inbox gets crammed with every “secret to success” opportunity:  “Give me your money so I can teach you to accept your appearance and then you’ll be successful!”  “Give me your money so I can teach you to change your appearance and then you’ll be successful!”  “Give me your money so I can put a Band-Aid over your crazy, decades-old emotional issues and then you’ll be successful!” “Learn to use your Daddy Issues to book that commercial!”  LA Weekly should have a “Shit To Spend Your Money In An Attempt to Make Money in An Industry in Which There’s No Guarantee to Make Money” Calendar section.  I’ve always made it a point to never tweet, blog, Facebook, or tell jokes during my stand-up performance about the ins and outs of the career I’m pursuing, the educational opportunities I’ve invested in (or sometimes wasted money on), or the crazies I’ve met along the way.*  No one needs to hear another actor bitch about that terrible audition or that terrible agent or that terrible scene partner in that terrible class with the that terrible teacher. I have enough of a filter to know that directly calling out terrible people and terrible experiences won’t help me at all in this industry…because I’d gladly take a job from them. Hate the game, not the playa.  For the most part, the classes and organizations I’ve been apart of have been immensely helpful, but if you also want to hear some old-fashioned trash talk about the rest, buy me a drink.  After a few sips I tend to get a little “truth-y.”  On some days, it might just take a sip of water.

This week I attended a Q&A with a certain television executive of a certain studio.  This executive was pleasant, informative, and patient.  I’m not saying that to kiss his ass. If I wanted to kiss his ass, I’d hunt him down on Facebook and write this on his Wall, which is what most of my fellow attendees have done already.  I found myself in a room full of unemployed, needy writers, which is the same as being in a room of unemployed, needy actors but with less hair and a higher collective BMI.  All the classic hits were in attendance: Eager Beaver who always has her hand up to show off how much she knows, Guy that laughs too loud and too heartily at the guest’s jokes that aren’t that funny, Guy who interrupts the guest in an attempt to “have a casual conversation” but just comes off rude, and of course, Phlegm-y Cougher.  We learned about what shows make effective spec scripts, why certain shows are successful in syndication, cable vs. network, the politics of the writers’ room, how to get a submission read, why does every show have to be about cops or lawyers or doctors (because David E. Kelley figured out that writing shows about cops or lawyers or doctors will make you a millionaire), and we just laughed and laughed about how actors are so desperate (Pot, meet Kettle).  The night was going swimmingly until Phlegm-y Cougher asked if a studio would pick up a pilot that had Isaiah Washington attached.  Yes, specifically Isaiah Washington, the former cast mate of Grey’s Anatomy that got fired after Gay Remark-gate.  He followed up his question asking if vampires are still “big?”  I stopped wondering what was brewing in this guy’s throat to what was brewing inside his head.  I wished we could spend the rest of our time watching him pitch to a well-compensated television executive a one-hour drama starring Isaiah Washington as a phlegm-y freelance vampire lawyer by day that works from his secluded, dark condo and then turns phlegm-y vampire cop by night.  Our hero’s Achilles Heel: his phlegm-y throat clear heard by his enemies while he lurks in the shadows, ready to pounce and deliver his own phlegm-y, vampire-y justice. But the discussion was diverted by joking about those crazy actors…those crazy, homophobic actors that buy crazy, homophobic homes with their crazy, homophobic money from their successful network shows…about doctors.

This post was originally pubished on Say Something Funny B*tch!