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The good folks at NASA sent us some photos from the space shuttle mission that weren’t released to the media, to thank us for organizing a screening for them. I thought this image, of sunrise from space, was pretty darn cool.

In late May, just after I got back from the premieres, Showtime called me to say they had received a resume I had submitted via Showbizjobs.com and they would like to talk to me further. After a brief phone interview, I was asked if I could come down to L.A. to meet with them. We settled on June 16.

I spent about three hours there meeting with the senior vp of publicity and the executive vp of corporate communications, and received nothing but great feedback. They asked me to take home a copy of the pilot for Weeds, the network’s upcoming comedy series, and write a two-page brief on publicity strategies for it. At that point, I was told that I would probably not hear back from them for a couple of weeks as the exec vp was heading to Europe for vacation.

I submitted the brief the next day, and received a quick e-mail back from only the exec vp saying he was impressed with what I had done. Although I sent e-mails thanking the HR manager and the senior vp (who would be my boss), I heard nothing from them. (And lest you possibly think that doing the “thank yous” by e-mail could have been problematic, Emily Post says it’s appropriate now, as long as it’s followed up with a “real” note — which I did.)

On July 9, I heard from the HR manager that “you are the top candidate for the position,” and that as a formality they wondered if I might be able to come back down again. At that point, we discussed salary issues (which got a little contentious, as the initial comment on salary was that it would be just about 5% higher than I’m making now); my new position at Lucasfilm and the implications of that; and relocation issues, albeit very broadly. I was also asked to send references and to consent to a background check, both of which tend to be steps taken only when an offer is imminent.

Two days later, she called again to say that they were “really pleased” I would be coming back down, and to set a date for that. I went back down on July 21, and this time met with the vp of HR, the other publicist in the department, and the two execs again. I was also asked to do another writing project, this one involving watching the pilot of Barbershop and writing a pitch letter to the media. All told, I was at Showtime for 5 1/2 hours, and received nothing but great compliments and praise. When I asked about the other candidates they were talking to, I was told, “They’re fine, but they’re not like you.” There was some concern raised about my lack of television experience, but I was told that, “If you are who you say you are and you are as sharp as you seem, you’ll have no problem.” The last words I heard: “We’ll be calling you very, very soon.” (Emphasis theirs, not mine.)

I had woken up at 4:30 a.m. to get to the airport and to L.A. in time, and didn’t get back home until after 10 p.m. Nevertheless, the first thing I did was head to the computer and wrote thank-yous to everyone, expressing how impressed I was with the people I had met, how excited I was about the prospect, etc.

Since then, I have heard ABSOLUTELY NOTHING. Not a single one of them even hit “reply” to write, “Thank you and we’ll talk soon.” I am waiting for two checks of more than $200 each as reimbursement for my transportation costs (they offered), and they won’t even get back to me on that. It’s like going on a date you think went really well, except you never hear from him again.

I thought seriously about writing them to say, “What’s the scoop?” But at this point, their behavior has so thoroughly turned me off of them that unless there is a very good reason for the lack of communication, I am not remotely interested in working for them anymore. I was angry for a while, now I’m just amused by the whole thing. I forgot how “Hollywood” L.A. can be sometimes — “Don’t call us, we’ll call you.”

I’ve gone out for jobs I wanted before and didn’t get. But I’ve never had someone court me aggressively, only to never talk to me again! Weird.


Oops. The photo didn’t get attached for some reason.

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Natch.

I’ve been on something of a cemetery kick lately, don’t ask why. There’s no explanation.

The statue is right in front of this at Forest Lawn Glendale.

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Keep guessing. Hint: It’s in Glendale, Calif.


A game! A game!

A nice big prize to the first person who can explain the significance of this statue — especially to Steve. (And, yes, Steve can play the game, because he might not actually realize that this statue has significance for him.)

Here’s a really intersting article about Disney’s declining quality standards at Walt Disney World. It didn’t appear on a fan website, nor in some sort of obscure publication — no, sir(s), it was in no less than The New York Times.

Something tells me this didn’t make the Daily News Clippings at The Walt Disney Company!

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Awwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww


Nothing like a pair of gravestones to spice up the board. Right? RIGHT?

Why did this one strike me as comical?

Well, I guess it’s my day for doing the writing. Steve must be performing. As Steve so often does. 🙂

First rant: Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. What a needless movie. A movie with no charm, no heart. One that was made for the most crass of reasons: It is a sure-fire money-maker. It belittles the memory of both the original movie and of the book, I don’t care how faithful they say they are being to Dahl. There’s no emotional center to this movie. Johnny Depp is a caricature, not a character. There’s no sparkle, no wit, nothing except a desire to be “scary” and “edgy,” which comes off as alternately desperate and aloof. It’s depressing.

Second rant: I’ve got a co-worker who does nothing except bad-mouth the boss all day. This goes beyond the typical, to-be-expected complaining about “management.” She has literally said, “(Our boss) does not know what she’s doing. Her management skills are terrible. She is not the person who should be leading this group.” Am I expected to have a response to that? If so, what should it be?

Third (and final, for the evening) rant: I’m going back to L.A. for a second interview tomorrow. I’ve a feeling they’ll make an offer. I genuinely do not know what to do. I miss L.A. terribly. I think this job could be interesting. Then again, I’ve just gotten a hefty raise, a promotion and the support of my aforementioned boss, who I like very much. I work with a great group of people (except one), I’m intrigued to see what happens once we move to the Presidio. What do I do? Jeff and I have had long discussions, but I’m no closer to an answer. I suppose it’s just best to wait and see.

I’m reminded of the song in Les Miserables: “Tomorrow we’ll discover what our God in heaven has in store.”

I fear I shall not sleep particularly well tonight.

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Wow. I am floored. While I was wrapped up in the chaos of the theatrical release, it turns out a friend of mine who I trained with as a newspaper copy editor in 1987 won a Pulitzer Prize!

For coverage of McGreevey’s resignation, no less.

Don’t remember McGreevey? Want to read J.P.’s work? Here you go!

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Fear and evil take many forms.

Especially in Japan.


Discuss.


More warnings from Japan for your pleasure and amusement.

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And this is a ride at an amusement park in the Asakusa area of Tokyo. We didn’t go inside. If you look closely, though, you’ll see that there are indeed people in those houses.

It might make a good concept for California Adventure. Call it, “California’s Sky-High Housing”!

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This is the girl at Tokyo DisneySea whose job was to wave at people when they went by on their horses.

You have to wonder, is she concerned about job stability? Career advancement?

Can you imagine some 23-year-old college grad doing this job in the U.S.? They’d probably be stoned, talking on the cell phone and wondering if their hourly rate will be enough to get them a new piercing.


Some random thoughts upon return from Japan:

* When did the U.S. standards of service slip so badly? Japan is a country where everyone says, “Good morning,” rushes to provide you whatever service you might need (within reason, I suppose), and considers customers the most important people who ever lived. We went to Tokyo DisneySea, which was spotless in the way Disneyland, California, used to be spotless, and they even have a person whose only job is to wave at you as you go ’round-and-’round on the carousel.

* Tokyo is an awfully ugly city. And yet, there’s a mysterious beauty to it. How is this paradox possible?

* If Japan is a country where electronics are manufactured, why are they more expensive there than in the U.S.?

* It can be pretty wonderful to be unable to read signs, know where you are or how to get back; getting lost is kind of cool.

* Japan has the most technologically amazing things in the world, yet the soaring Park Hyatt Hotel doesn’t have central air-conditioning. (Literally, each room or area of the hotel is cooled separately.)

* Press junkets are tough. When no one around you speaks English, and you can barely make yourself understood to say, “We need to move (name)’s interview,” they’re damned near impossible.

* I work with some pretty awesome people.

* Tokyo DisneySea blew me away the first time; the second, there didn’t seem to be all that much to do.

* It might very well be true that you have genuinely not lived life to the fullest until you have seen a psychedelic, Japanese transvestite musical. It’s worth the few thousand bucks to travel to Tokyo.

* Damn, the Japanese understand service! (Did I mention that the guys who sweep the streets wear TIES?!)

On another note:

Star Wars: Episode IV A New Hope is one of four finalists in Time.com’s Best Film of All Time poll. The “Movie Madness” tournament began with 64 movies, and now the finalists are: The Godfather, The Sound of Music, Schindler’s List, and 1977’s Star Wars. There are two weeks left to vote at Movie Madness website.

Crap.

I just started a pretty good rant, then moved off of the page while I was still writing — only to discover my original text had disappeared into the ethernet.

Anyway …

I’m facing a bit of a dilemma. Well, not a dilemma, exactly, but I’m at a crossroads. Well, sort of. At least, I can see the crossroads ahead and would like to know what to do once I get there. Or something like that.

I got a promotion yesterday. I’m now “director of international publicity.” It came with a raise. A nice one — to the tune of 34%. Plus a bonus — not a shabby one. When I got home, Jeff’s reaction was the same as mine: Happiness quickly gave way to a realization. This changes things.

Or it could, at least.

We’ve been angling to get back home to L.A. I’m hoping that the job I interviewed for will still come through. It would be a very, very good job — at an exciting place. Up here, my boss doesn’t know I’ve been looking. Otherwise, I never would have gotten what I got. Down there, they know I told them I’m dissatisfied with my title and my salary. Now, I’m not. But I’d still be very, very interested in moving. VERY interested.

On the other hand, we’re about to move into the Letterman Digital Arts Center at the Presidio. When we do, ILM and Lucasfilm’s publicity functions will merge, and potentially I could have more to do by overseeing publicity at ILM. That means the work would get more interesting, as I’d help them publicize their work on shows like The Poseidon Adventure remake and Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.

On the other hand, it means I’d have to stay up here longer. And I don’t know if we can do that. We could move, but that might just be putting lipstick on the pig.

Then, the question arises: Do I tell the potential new employer about this change in my salary? The salary range we had discussed still is applicable — but just barely. I had been so dissatisfied with my salary here, that I lowballed them. Now, I’m at the very low end of the range I discussed with them, and I already have the director title. It doesn’t change anything, but could potentially make it more interesting.

At any rate, that’s what’s on my mind now. That, and going to Japan and staying in the Park Hyatt. We leave on Sunday!

I was going to rant and rave and spend some time jotting down thoughts about how frustrated I am in life at this moment, how much I miss being in L.A., how ready I am just to get out of here.

But then I thought, no, I won’t do that. I’ll just ask for your good thoughts around 1 p.m. tomorrow. I have a job interview in Westwood. No company names. No more details. I’ll save that for later. Just wish me luck! 🙂