Monday, November 08, 2004

After reviewing the document, I pretty much have to shut up after this. I'll be signing it and returning it to the production offices later today which means I won't be able to say too much more.

The cover letter from Arnold Shapiro (one of the Exec Producers) said they received nearly 9,000 entries for the contest. I don't have a call time for tomorrow and the non LA people are flying in today. I've been told it will all be decided by Thursday evening.

The agreeement is pretty restrictive (of course) and spells out how we are at the whim of NBC & the Producers, etc. The good news is that the WGA Minimum is for a 30 minute show (not 15 minute) so the pilot may be worth $15,918. I'll ask for clarification before I turn everything in.

I do have some issues with the language about "Life Story" rights. But that's it . . .

Sunday, November 07, 2004

I received an 86 page document which I have to sign and turn in by tomorrow. I need to really look at but when I do, I don't believe I'm supposed to say anything more about my participation. I'll try and post one more time before I execute the contract and turn it in. I'm no lawyer and this looks pretty restrictive. I'll post some of the more interesting paragraphs before I stop posting here.

Friday, November 05, 2004

The top 5 is now the top 10 . . .

The producers have changed the rules somewhat and the top 5 (round 4) is now the top 10. The non LA contestants are flying in on Monday. I am supposedly off the hook for Monday and everything will be crammed into Tuesday - Thursday with the decision to made on Thursday night. They are Fed Ex'ing a change in the contest rules to me and there are more forms to sign.

Faking Reality . . .

So, today we shot me in front of a wiring closet pulling RJ45 cables and talking to the camera. Then we went over to the field producer's house in West LA where I talked about my script and then they filmed me packing my suitcase, getting into my car and driving off. So to recap, we shot at a place I don't work anymore and shot at a house that's not mine (complete with a dog that's not mine).

The field producer and crew knew less about the show than I did. I've been told maybe Monday evening is when I need to be ready next.

They shot another semi-finalist before me and there was no one after me. Am I one of two in the LA area and the other three are outside? I didn't press for any info and they didn't volunteer anything.

I think I came off okay and I tend to ramble. All the field producer wanted was some good sound bites and I gave it to her.

Thursday, November 04, 2004

Guess what? More changes . . .

Now we've scrapped the me driving away from my apartment and no interview back to the interview. And I've been asked to bring an overnite bag which we'll then go to the producers place and have them film me packing and unpacking. The field producer I talked to (a different one from yesterday) is travelling on Saturday which leads me to believe they are getting footage from an out of towner as they go off to the airport wherever they are.

And the call time for Monday is still unknown. It may get pushed back to Monday night. They are not wasting time with ten, trying to cut to five. Time to put my game face on.

I have sneaking suspicions at this time . . .

So they've changed the two hour interview for Friday afternoon to just some B roll footage of me getting into my car in front of my apartment (to be shot Friday morning) and driving off to go to the Monday thing.

Ahhh, the Monday thing. For the first time, they have told me that I am supposed to be someplace for an all day Monday shoot.

The information being doled out is sparse and by the low level staffers but I'm having a tough time believing that they have not already cut down to the final five.

I spoke with a lawyer from NBC this afternoon who pretty much asked me the same questions from the 20 page questionnaire I filled out a couple of weeks ago. I had to really put on the censor filter as they asked me questions like, "Have you ever appeared in a porno movie?" Correct answer: No. The answer I wanted to give, "No, but I've seen so many I pretty much consider myself an expert on the subject." Or "Have you ever had a restraining order filed against you?" "Yes, she was really hot!"

So back to Monday. Are they really flying in the top ten to make the cut to the top five? This is a cable show with a tight budget. The out of town people have to have had their flights booked and hotel reservations made. All this to get a dejected look when they're sent back to LAX? Unlikely. I'm in LA so they can yank me around and tell me little. But it doesn't make sense to me.

According to the rules, Round 3 contestants have a background check but only Round 4 are "required to be in Los Angeles" for several days of pitch meetings. Hmmmm . . .

And of course, the cardinal rule in LA is "Never believe anything anyone tells you."

For now, I'm thinking and focusing on all the pitching that I'll have to do to get to the final two. The first draft of this script was done back in February and I've gone through several iterations of characters and plot. I know them well. It really is about characters first. The situation is secondary. I'll pull my previous drafts which will help in the rewrites and may actually try and bang out some side scenes so I've got material to work from when they want to change everything.

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

Still more questions than answers at this point. I've taken a look at scheduling and it's literally five full weeks of production to put this together with a half week for Thanksgiving and a half week at the end, just in case. What's this going to be worth? According to the WGA, the compensation 15 minutes and under, non network, low budget will be $8691. (See

From my talk with the field producer last night, there are at least three LA based writers in the mix (including myself). The tenative schedule is to start the interview/shooting at 3:30pm on Friday in Beverly Hills. They wanted to do it in my apartment but it is a complete mess and I've got access to my buddy's office which should look good on camera. They told me it would take two hours or so.

Again, all of the questions I have can't be answered at the level I have access to right now. I am scheduled to fly off to Reno, NV on Saturday, November 13th for the NACA West Convention where I'm attempting to get "Paper Son" booked in the college ane university circuit. When they choose the finalists, they begin production on November 15th, the second day of the contest and I've got to find a way to do both.

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

Things are moving rather quickly and I've finally received some information about this contest. I am scheduled to be interviewed by a field producer on Friday, November 5th. By Monday, November 8th they will determine the top five and they are expected to be in Los Angeles immediately to pitch the show. They will announce the final two on November 12th and the production of the show is scheduled to begin on November 15th. It is scheduled to wrap on December 23rd.

I still have not had a direct conversation with the producers of the show and may not until and if I make the top 5.

If my count is correct, the show will be put together and shot within four full weeks with 2 half weeks for Thanksgiving and Christmas.

I certainly have more questions than answers right now.

I've been told to expect a call from a field producer shortly. They may also want to get some B-Roll on me. So far so good . . .

Denial on Betsy's Blog . . . .

First off I want to thank Betsy who put up a blog at several weeks ago about Situation: Comedy. I only found it last week and posted that I had made it to Round 3 where I eventually got called out by an anonymous poster. There were many in Round 2 (more than 50) who have been holding out hope they would advance. To the best of my knowledge, I was the only one to post that I had made Round 3 (the final 10). Some accepted it, others accused me of lying. So goes life on the blogs.

Hope is a wonderful thing. My favorite movie about hope is "The Shawshank Redemption". But the fact of the matter is if these hopefuls had not received the Round 3 questionnaires, they are simply not in the running. It took a full week after I had submitted my documentation for the production company to come back to me for clarification and start calling my references. They had to do the criminal background check before they proceeded any further. It did force me to take immediate action and do online traffic school for the illegal left turn I made on Sunset Blvd several months ago - an incredible trap in Hollywood east of LaBrea . . .

For me, I still have hope. They have talked to at least three of my references yesterday but some of the others did not receive messages (they certainly may have been called but no message left). Since I'm in LA, it's not a big deal to schedule me in for the pitch meetings in Round 4. They have a stated goal that they will choose the final 2 by November 12th which means the pitches have to be next week.

Monday, November 01, 2004

. . . one of my friends on my professional/personal reference list just called me and said that the background firm was asking about me. Calls are finally being made which is a good thing . . .

What is the definition of "A Professionally Produced Play on the Legitimate Stage"?

The answer to that definition may or may not keep me out of the next round. But more on that in just a sec . . .

So last Friday (Oct 29) was the day that I had arbitrarily set as the deadline on whether or not I made it from Round 3 to Round 4. It was purely based upon my interacton with the production company and the fact they had given me the good news late in the week for the previous two rounds. My background questionnaire had been delivered on Monday as requested. But interestingly enough, my professional and personal references had not been contacted and it didn't seem like my website had gotten any significant hits. However, I did notice that my site had gotten more hits from Googling "Byron Yee" than usual for the past month. As Friday afternoon became Friday end of day, I was resigned to the fact that I had not made the cut.

On Friday, I played Texas Hold'em at Poker Stars (my new obsession) and Saturday morning I got up early and watched my alma mater Oklahoma beat Oklahoma State at Yankee Doodle's in Santa Monica with all the other Sooner ex-patriates. Sunday, I had all of two trick-or-treaters come by my apartment. I basically caught up on my sleep this weekend.

Monday, here I am at my day job, getting some work done when I get a call from the contest coordinator seeking some clarification. The one question they had from the background check had to do with my one man show "Paper Son". He had gotten word from the network that they wanted to know the performance history going back to its inception.

It's always been produced by me (hardly professional) and my understanding of the legimate stage is that usually means the union is involved (which I've never been in that situation).

So here I am. Waiting once more. If they don't call by end of day Tuesday . . . . .