Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Karaoke

Hollywood Assistants like Karaoke. When the lights go low and the instrumental comes up, all eyes are on us. It’s our moment. And for people like Hollywood Assistants who hardly ever get a moment in the spotlight this is major. Sure, occasionally our bosses will put focus on us when they ask where their reading glasses are or to put more Splenda in their coffee, but does that even really count? That’s why we need to resort to going to karaoke bars and singing our little hearts out.

Dimples, Sardos, Brass Monkey, Backstage, Barney's on certain nights, Los Angeles is full of karaoke joints just waiting for us Hollywood Assistants to crowd them. We could talk for hours about Koreatown and the countless karaoke joints there too. It's in K-Town that we pretend we live in New York and rent out private rooms just for our friends. Hite beer and Soju are aplenty. Plus it's always nice to be surrounded by friends as you butcher And I Am Telling You. No judging! But really it doesn’t matter if you were a member of your High School’s Jazz Choir or you can’t hold a note to save your life, karaoke is all about having fun. Work probably sucks so why not get out your rage and frustration by belting out some Hall and Oates? Found out your phone crush is gay? Sing some Carrie Underwood. Told your Gossip Girl spec was stupid and confusing? Channel Bon Jovi and rock it out. Life’s nuances can easily be fixed (or at least somewhat mended) with the help of karaoke.

Hollywood Assistant Suggested Karaoke Songs
9 to 5 by Dolly Parton
We love Dolly and this song. Though, we only wish our hours were as short as that…
Respect by Aretha Franklin
Because we deserve it!
She Works Hard for the Money by Donna Summer
So you better treat us right
Taking Care of Business by Bachman Turner Overdrive
Working overtime is in our job description yet sometimes we don’t even get fairly compensated (yeah, we’re talking to you, CAA)
A Hard Day’s Night by The Beatles
We all wish we were sleeping like logs instead of rolling calls
You Can’t Always Get What You Want by The Rolling Stones
Even though our parents filled us with this notion of hope that we could always get what we wanted, Hollywood soon taught us we couldn’t.

This town is full of stars, yet us Hollywood Assistants are definitely not among the shining lights. However, this somewhat changes when we’re handed the mic at karaoke. It is finally our turn to be in the spotlight. Our chance for everyone to root for us. We might not ever receive recognition or acclaim for our phone answering skills or reservation making abilities, but being cheered on while singing cheesy pop music has to count for something. Right?

WHERE: From Burbank to K-Town to Culver City to Santa Monica
COST: Free to sing at most places or $20/hour for a private room in Koreatown

Friday, February 20, 2009

The Oscars

Hollywood Assistants like the Oscars. It's finally here! The day that is more exciting than Christmas, your birthday, and the season premiere of Mad Men combined – it's time for the Oscars. The Superbowl for film nerds kicks off Sunday at 2:00p on E! for 6 straight, glorious hours of red carpet coverage followed by the delicious main event. We can't wait to spend hours watching Seacrest and Giuliana hypothesize on what people might end up wearing. And the grand event will hopefully culminate with Brangelina snubbing Seacrest again, leaving him weeping in his Zegna tux. We. Can't. Wait.

So in honor of THE BIGGEST DAY IN HOLLYWOOD, we present to you our Oscar picks. We could be right… we could be wrong… What do we know? We're just assistants. But here's who we think will be taking home gold on Sunday.

Best Actor

Will Win: Sean Penn
Should Win: Mickey Rourke


Penn's proven himself time and time again as one of the greatest actors of this generation, and his turn as Harvey Milk was at times both uplifting and heartbreaking. But Mickey runs away with The Wrestler. He breathes Randy 'The Ram' Robinson. And who doesn't love a good comeback story?

Best Actress

Will Win: Kate Winslet
Should Win: Melissa Leo


Kate's made this awards season her bitch and we expect her victory lap to continue on Sunday night. However, we loved Frozen River and Melissa exemplifies commitment in her portrayal of a down-on-her-luck single mom under desperate financial duress. Her performance is subtle and nuanced and makes you forget you're watching someone act.

Best Supporting Actor

Will Win: Heath Ledger
Should Win: Heath Ledger


We're still having nightmares about the Joker dressed in that nurse's outfit. Who knew someone so pretty could turn in such a sinister performance? If he doesn't win, we expect fanboys to riot in the streets.

Best Supporting Actress

Will Win: Who knows?
Should Win: Penelope Cruz


Kate Winslet took the Golden Globe and didn't get an Oscar nod in this category, and we loved all of the performances from the other nominees. So your guess is as good as ours. Cruz's turn as a completely bat-shit ex-lover hits us a little too close to home, but that's probably also why we're so drawn to it. Everyone knows you haven't experienced true love until you try to murder your boyfriend in a jealous rage.

Best Original Screenplay

Will Win: Milk
Should Win: Frozen River

This is probably one of the best categories at this year’s awards. While we think Frozen River deserves it, we’ll still be happy for Milk when it wins since it was an amazing screenplay. We also like seeing In Bruges recognized here considering it was such an underrated movie. We only wish Rachel Getting Married and Vicky Christina Barcelona were nominated too.

Best Adapted Screenplay

Will Win: Slumdog Millionaire
Should Win: Slumdog Millionaire


This category is boring. Slumdog will and should win because it has no competition. Next.

Best Director

Will Win: Danny Boyle
Should Win: Danny Boyle


If Christopher Nolan were nominated this would be an entirely different race. But alas, he’s not and therefore Danny Boyle will and should win.

Best Picture

Will Win: Slumdog Millionaire
Should Win: Who cares?


At this point in the night we will have drunk far too much champagne and it probably won’t matter to us who wins. It’s not like our lives will be any different come Monday morning. We’ll still have to set up that conference call or stock the fridge with Arrowhead water. But we’re optimistic that one Oscar night in the future will be magical for us. Because deep down inside these bitter, stressed out souls lies an incredible film lover who one day dreams of Oscar gold.

WHERE: 5pm on ABC
COST: However much you put down for your Oscar pool. And we recommend printing these out for extra Oscar fun: http://www.thrillist.com/los-angeles/oscar-bingo-0

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Screeners

Hollywood Assistants like screeners. Movie tickets are getting more and more expensive each and every day. One trip to the Arclight can cost you big bucks. I mean a ticket alone is $14 (at peak times), popcorn and a soda come out at $10 (because what’s the point of going to the movies and not eating??) and then parking comes in at $2 (parking on Vine and walking? I think not). Mint.com would not be happy with that spending. Thankfully God, or rather Hollywood Studio Bosses, created movie screeners.

Come every December movie screeners start arriving at our offices. Our names might not be on the labels but that doesn’t mean these aren’t for us. Okay, so maybe they’re meant for our bosses but really would bosses mind if we watched Frost/Nixon before they did? If they really wanted to see that they would have gone to the Arclight and paid the 20 plus dollars, right? We, on the other hand, were dying to watch this movie but just couldn’t stand to pay so much. Ain’t no shame in that, right? Tis the life of an assistant.

Movie screeners are awesome for a number of reasons. It lets us watch newly released movies in the comfort of our own homes. We can be sprawled out on the living room couch, wearing sweatpants, drinking two buck chuck while watching Gran Torino. Does it get any better? Also, why waste our hard earned money on movies that aren’t very good but as members of the Hollywood community we are obligated to see? (cough, Doubt, cough). Some movies we’d probably never see if it weren’t for screeners. For example: Frozen River? Was that even out in theatres for more than a week in LA? Without a screener, we’d be missing out on one of the best films of the year.

With the Oscars coming up on Sunday you only have 72 hours left to finish watching your screeners. You can’t root for Mickey Rourke if you haven’t seen The Wrestler. And you can’t root against The Reader if you haven’t seen it either (wait, maybe you can…). Do a movie marathon so you can be fully educated for your party's pool. Maybe you can win enough money to go see a movie at the Arclight.

WHERE: Offices of producers, directors, actors, writers, makeup artists, sound guys, etc
COST: So free it hurts

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Hilarious Raps About Hollywood Assistants

Hollywood Assistants like hilarious raps about Hollywood Assistants. Because we always admire fellow worker bees who put their free time to creative use. Here's a hysterical video that condenses everything there is to know about our lives into 4 minutes. You'll find yourself laughing out loud and cheering. Enjoy!


Hollywood ASST from Back of the Class on Vimeo.

WHERE: www.backoftheclass.net
COST: 4 minutes of self-reflection. Always a good thing.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Mint.com

Hollywood Assistants like Mint.com. Hi guys. It’s nice to see you again. We’ve missed you. And we’re not just saying that – we’re not total disingenuous Hollywood assholes…yet. We love each and every one of you loyal readers. So we apologize for our lack of posts of late. Unfortunately we are actual working stiffs (hence why our posts have such authenticity), and even more unfortunately, we’re actually expected to do work sometimes. I know. Quelle horreur!

But someone’s gotta bring home the bacon. Well, at least until we 1) get a book deal or 2) marry someone rich. So like, if you know anyone who could help us out with either of those items on our to-do list, drop us a line at 1stassistant@stuffhollywoodassistantslike.com. But until that day arrives where they back up the dump truck full of cash to our front door, we’re in charge of raking in our own dough and seeing that it’s managed responsibly. That’s why we’re huge fans of Mint.com.

We’ve made no secret that we make minor duckets at our thankless jobs. And we’re not complaining. We knew what we were getting ourselves into when we decided to attempt a climb up the Hollywood ladder. But subsisting on such a meager income makes managing your (teeny tiny pile of) money all the more important. LA is an expensive city and if you aren’t careful you can find yourself in a mess of debt quicker than you can say “Another round of Patron shots, please!”

Mint makes tracking your money a breeze. It allows you to put all of your accounts in one place so you can clearly see your total financial picture. It also has all sorts of neat-o features like graphs that tell you exactly how much money you’ve spent at bars in the last six months. If that number is approaching the amount of a down payment on a WeHo condo, then perhaps its time to spend a few more nights in (it’s just a suggestion… we are in a recession, after all). Mint also suggests financial offers that will save you money, based on your profile. I’m saving $192 this year just by transferring a credit card balance to another card. And obviously it’s my civic duty to pump that money back into our economy by buying a new pair of designer jeans. Thanks for making me more fiscally responsible, Mint! We also hear Mint offers a nifty iPhone application so you can track your money on the go. Being Blackberry people, we can’t vouch for it, but it sounds pretty cool. (Note to Mint: get on the bberry train already).

So in case you haven’t heard, thrift is in. Hemorrhaging money is out. Being honest with yourself about your spending is the first step to becoming financially solvent, and Mint is our preferred means of having that talk with ourselves. You know, the one where you sit yourself down over a cup of joe and say “You know, self… I’m really worried about you. You need to be honest with me. What can we really afford?” Your wallet will thank you.

WHERE: www.mint.com
COST: Free to use. Unknown amounts of money gained once you realize that you’re wasting $65/month on valets and make yourself park at a meter 20 feet away from the restaurant.