Simpsons show interships, Dresden books, Trailers, Birthdays, Working on weekends
THE SIMPSONS NEWS
More twelve hour days. I’m really getting burned out. It’s getting difficult to stay focused. I’ve run out of podcasts to listen to and that isn’t helping.
Usually I listen to six to sixteen podcasts a day depending on the their length but since I’ve been working more hours I’ve been listening to around eight to twenty four podcasts a day. The podcasts I listen to just don’t update fast enough to keep up with the amount of hours I listen. I’ve started putting in TV dvds and listening to them as I work. I did this with 30 Rock recently. I hadn’t seen it before, I thought it was a pretty clever show.
Anyway, hope I can keep this up. They’re having me work Saturday and Sunday this weekend. Sheesh!
Friday was Eduardo’s birthday. He’s my daughter’s Godfather (Compadre, in spanish). He celebrated it on Sunday. It was a nice party. He had all his family over and it really looked like he was enjoying himself an awful lot.
After the party had gone on a while, Eduardo took out Ticket to Ride: Europe. He only managed to explain the rules before people had to leave so the game didn’t even get past the first two turns. He then thought that it would be easier to play a game of Texas Hold ‘em. Mostly because he wouldn’t have to explain the rules. I’d brought Modern Art the card game by Reiner Knizia and I managed to convince everyone who stayed to try it out. I personally find this game feels a bit like Texas Hold ‘em without being like poker at all. Here’s the Board Game Geek description of the game:
Buying and selling paintings is a very lucrative business, at least that’s what Hollywood’s led us to believe, and that’s the premise of this game. Five different artists have produced a bunch of paintings, and it’s the player’s task to be both the buyer and the seller, hopefully making a profit in both roles. He does this by putting a painting from his hand up for auction each turn. He gets the money if some other player buys it, but must pay the bank if he buys it for himself. After each round, paintings are valued by the number of paintings of that type that were sold. The broker with the most cash after four rounds is the winner.
Part of the Knizia auction trilogy.
Winner of the 1993 Deutscher Spiele Preis.
There where six people wanting to play but it’s a five player game so I sat out of the game and just played banker (which I did a lousy job at since I’m terrible at math). The game was played by Eduardo, Eduardo’s brother, his brother’s wife, my wife Alesha, and Eduardo’s daughter Carolinita. I think everyone had a good time. The game has you making really tough decisions through out the game. I’m not sure everyone understood all the rules but I think that game was played as good as it could have been. It didn’t help that we were playing on a really, really windy night, outside, with very little light. Eduardo played the game the way I did the first time I played it. He went all out on the auctions he really wanted the “paintings” in. Eduardo’s brother and his wife were playing the game really well. I was really impressed by the smart decisions they were making. I think one of them would have won if it wasn’t for the fact that Eduardo ended up spending all his money on an auction late in the game which gave Carolinita a ton of money since she was the one auctioning off the “paintings”. I think, I did something similar the first time I played. The game ended shortly after that and Carolinita ended up winning by a lot of money. She was very, very happy about that. Eduardo came in dead last, poor guy.
We then played Texas Hold ‘em. Which I like playing, although I find it gets repetitive if you play for too long. I thought I’d be cool and see if I could guess what cards people had by looking at their faces and not even look at my cards. I’d play the game on just “tells” alone (I saw it in a movie once). I lost all my chips. We left a little after that. Not because I lost but because someone reminded me that it was Sunday and I had work the next day. Otherwise I would have stuck around and cried a little more. I had a good time though.
Happy Birthday Eduardo.
Here’s a few trailers that have caught my eye in the last few months.
Still not sure if it will be as good or better than Batman Begins but it looks interesting.
I just liked the shot were you see Iron man out running the jets. Too cool. I never read Iron man comics but I’ve read comics with Iron man in them and I think the idea of the character is great. As a kid he never really appealed to me but for some reason he appeals to me quite a bit now.
I don’t know. I didn’t really like the book this movie is based on, all that much (I also didn’t like The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe book either) but this movie might be good. I didn’t much like the Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe movie. I thought it came off as emotionally flat in places that it should not have been. So far I’ve only read four Narnia books and the only ones I’ve liked have been skipped as movies. They are: The Magician’s Nephew, and A Horse and his Boy. Personally I think they should have made The Magician’s Nephew the first movie.
I’ve read they’re making a Justice League Movie also but now it’s on hold. Read about it by clicking HERE.
A month or so ago I finished reading Storm Front, a Harry Dresden book by Jim Butcher, and I really liked it. Since the book I have is an anthology of four novels in one, I began reading the next one right after I was done with the first. I don’t think I’ll be able to get through it anytime soon though. It’s longer and I haven’t gotten back to it in a while. At the moment I’m in the mood for something a little different. Then I’ll get back to it. I like the Dresden stories a lot and I think Jim Butcher’s writing style is just really fun. The wacky situations Harry Dresden gets himself in are just great. I highly recommend these books.
Luis, I find your story very inspiring, and truly appreciate where you are coming from. You seem like one of the hardest workers, and one more importantly, who will not give up on his dreams. In the same footsteps, I am an aspiring screenwriter with a focus on humor and satire; from the start have longed to write for The Simpsons. It has been a childhood dream, since my beginning days watching, and has followed me to college today. I was wondering if you would have any advice when it comes to getting an internship with The Simpsons, or if you would possibly be willing to talk more about your experience. I do apologize if it seems I am asking a lot, but I am fascinated by your story and your ability to succeed. If anything, please do not mistake me for just another Simpsons freak, I am a passionate and dedicated writer. Feel free to respond to the comment or email me.
Thanks so much, and great work for The Simpsons!
First I’d like to thank you for the compliments. I really appreciate them. I must say, that the way a lot the things happened to me really felt like pure dumb luck or, since I’m Catholic, they where a bit Providential (and even then, on hindsight, it seems it wasn’t just for my sake these things happened to me. More on that some other time perhaps). If I was to try to do the same thing today, I would not be able to. The studio no longer has an internship for up and coming artists and I’m afraid that it never had one for writers. Most of the new artist that have gotten hired lately have done so through the presentation of a portfolio and then turning in and passing the Layout test they received afterwards. Some artists have worked their way from being receptionists to artists. They did this by befriending artists and learning how to do the work and then taking the Layout test and passing it. So that’s almost like the internship route I took except I wasn’t getting paid for my internship and the person who took this route took five years to make it as an artist.
I’m afraid the writing processes might be a bit trickier to get into. First of all the writers don’t work at the studio I work in. They work at the Fox Studio Lot. Second, I don’t think there’s an easy way to just get hired as a writer on the show except by recommendation (in fact, I think that’s the way it is on all TV shows). That means you not only need to be a really good writer but you also need to have the right connections. I’ve heard it’s very difficult to pull off, but it’s doable.
I spoke to a friend of mine at work, who is trying to get into sitcom writing (not on The Simpsons) and he gave me a rundown of all the things he’s learned so far after reading a lot about it and talking to a lot of writers and producers. You may already know this stuff, but perhaps there are others who don’t. Here’s some helpful tips he’s learned:
Tape six episodes of TV shows that you like that are currently on the air and study them. Pay close attention to their story structure (take notes on any conventions, variants on conventions or structural innovations), show formulas, humor, etc…
Get actual scripts for these shows. (On e-bay or Script Shack) Study the writing style, make a list of the type of humor in the show (example: Ironic humor, slapstick…etc.) Note what type of gags are used the most and how the show is structured to pay them off. Label each joke. Invent names for them if necessary.
Write a spec script for a show that is CURRENTLY ON THE AIR but not on the show that you want to write for. For example, if you want to write for The Simpsons, write a Family Guy spec script. Why? Because producers and writers will be much harsher on someone writing in a universe they know well than one they don’t. They will pay more attention to the writing on a spec script written for a different show than the mistakes you made writing in their’s. (This is also true for artists. It’s not a good idea to put Simpsons characters in your portfolio when trying to get a job on the Simpsons).
Get an agent. Studios will not read you script without one.
It’s possible you already own these books but I’ll put them here anyway. My friend recommends these books:
The Comic toolbox, by John Vorhaus
Writing Television Sitcoms by Evan Smith
Comedy Writing Secrets by Mel Helitzer, Mark Shatz
My friend also told me that there is some sort of writers workshop program at Warner Brothers. It’s a program that is very much under the radar and as of the time of this writing it’s the off season for it. Besides there is also a writer’s strike so that also doesn’t help. You might look into it though. It’s possible to get a script writing assistant job from it.
When I worked on the Simpsons Movie, I worked at the Fox Studio Lot for about three months and I saw the Simpsons writers once in a while. I would also see Matt Groening almost at a daily basis because his office was near the place I was working and in order to go to the bathroom I passed by his office. One or two writers ventured into our work place out of curiosity just to see how we did things. They where real modest and very friendly. From the stories I’ve gotten from some directors, I heard they went through as much hell as we did in the movie, if not more. I gathered from things that they said when they came by that there was a definite hierarchy within the writers. Some were part of the “A team” and some the “B team”. Of course, I may very well have misunderstood because I’ve also heard (perhaps from the movie commentary) that there was a group that was having more fun than another group because one group was under the pressure of making the movie story work while the other group sat around having fun coming up with gags and laughing all the time. It’s possible that the “gag group” thought the “story group” was having more fun because they got the “important” job while they sat around feeling like second class citizens. Not having been part of the writing processes, I could only speculate from what I saw and over heard so take this with a grain of salt.
Well Alex, I hope this is in someway helpful.
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