ON AIR STAR

DONATE!

close

FROM THIS EPISODE

This is Rob Long with Martini Shot for KCRW.

Last week, an article in the trades reported that a television writer - a friend of mine - has recently signed a deal with a studio for a whopping huge sum. Sadly, that's the only reason to read the trades in the first place: to find out how much other people are being paid.

Reading the article, I became aware that my eyes were bulging out of their sockets. But I should know better. I've been in this business long enough to have learned this immutable law: no matter how much money you make, someone is always making slightly more. It is hard-wired into the circuitry of The Industry, and it is what makes things here hum with the ruthless efficiency that pure uncut greed produces.

Later that day, my agent called.

MY AGENT (V.O.)
How's the development coming? Any hot ideas?
ME
Hard to say.
MY AGENT (V.O.)
Hard to say? C'mon. Perk up here.
This is show business. I want you to have fun.
ME
What?
MY AGENT (V.O.)
And you should want you to have fun.
ME
Well, to tell you the truth -
MY AGENT (V.O.)
I don't want to hear this. This is about the deal in the trades, right?
ME
Well, as a matter of fact -
MY AGENT (V.O.)
I don't want to hear this. But I'm right, right? Tell me I'm right.
ME
You're right. It seems that every day I read in the trades about someone else's big money deal at some other studio to do exactly the same job as I'm doing and I can't help but think that I'm a chump and you're too complacent.
MY AGENT (V.O.)
So when I say "I don't want to hear this," you hear what, exactly? "Please tell me all about it?" I'm interested in the way your mind works.
ME
You know what? This isn't a fruitful conversation.
MY AGENT (V.O.)
Look, do you want me to be honest? Really honest?
ME
I don't know. Do I?
MY AGENT (V.O.)
Probably not. But I'm going to be anyway.
The business has changed, okay? Radically, radically changed. There are no big studio deals out there anymore. The era of big deals is over.
ME
Then what about that deal in the trades? That guy's agent got him a lot of money.
MY AGENT (V.O.)
What is this? Dump on me day? Look, that deal in the trades? The one you've got such tsuris about? That's pretty much the last deal you'll be reading about for a while.
It's not a deal.
It's a death rattle.
ME
So you're saying that when our deal is up the studio won't want to re-up us?
MY AGENT (V.O.)
I'm saying deals are over. And you've got exactly one year left on yours. So do you want to spend what could easily be your last year making guaranteed serious money moping and whining and making vicious personal attacks on me, or getting another show on the air?
ME
So you're saying that it's unlikely that there's a deal after this deal?
MY AGENT (V.O.)
I quibble with the term 'unlikely.'
ME
What term would you prefer?
MY AGENT (V.O.)
Not gonna happen.
ME
So you're saying -
MY AGENT (V.O.)
You keep saying 'so you're saying' like you're listening to what I'm saying, but you're obviously having a hard time with this. This is some kind of personality disorder thing. I'm telling you, okay, I'm telling you that you have one year left, okay, on a deal that no one is ever going to get again, okay? That's what I'm saying. I'm saying it, I said it, I'm done.
ME
You're telling me this now?
MY AGENT (V.O.)
Oh come on. What did you want me to do? Call you up a few months ago and say, "let me tell you what I'm hearing out in the marketplace. I'm hearing money is tight. I'm hearing that somewhere between TiVo and Osama bin Laden and fifty bazillion cable channels, things got squeezed pretty thin? That there's no more big money in television? That there are no more big-money studio deals? Make sure you save your money because in the not-too-distant future we're all going to be looking back on these days and thinking to ourselves, Wow! We all lived through a truly historic era when writers were paid huge sums of money and now that era's over and it will never ever ever ever repeat itself." Is that what you have in mind?
ME
Would have been nice.
MY AGENT
I agree. But I hadn't put it all together until just now.

And that was the end of that phone call. So if you'll excuse me, I've got some developing to do.

For KCRW, this is Rob Long with Martini Shot.

Upcoming

View Schedule

New Episodes

Events

View All Events

iTUNES SPOTIFY
AMAZON RDIO
FACEBOOK EMAIL
TWITTER COPY LINK
FACEBOOK TWITTER

Player Embed Code

COPY EMBED