Thursday, August 21, 2008

10 Days

The Niners are on TV and looking pretty decent. Rex Grossman still looks as awful as last year, which sort of reminds me of how funny life can be. This time last year, almost to the day, I was getting prepped for my last year in college and at job training at DirecTV, basically getting paid to watch football.

Ten days from now I'll be heading home, back to see the family for the first time in 3 months. It's starting to hit that the "family" that has sort of developed among the cast and crew is going to be permanately seperated. From Daryll the locations guy who befriended me on the first day to Geoff the actor who has gone out of his way to be nothing but kind to me. Or Mark Carter, or Larry from sound (the entire sound department for that matter), Dustin who does playback- all the people who I constantly hang out with on set. This reality, this group of people will probably never be together again. At the very least, I'll never get see all of them again. I hope I can stay in touch with this crew- the people I've met have been wonderful.

We'll see.

Such is the life of the filmmaker, below the line, above the line whatever. On the move, never working in the same place, the same location, the same script. So it's slowly starting to hit me that life in L.A. is going to start up again. Reality will hit. Soon. This three month trip which has been a journey of high highs and low lows and the biggest educational slap to my face is coming to an end.

So I'm returning to L.A. a little wiser, a little older and with some great stories. 10 days left. Each day I get up and remember sitting at my monitor watching football one year ago.

Where will I be a year from now?

Sunday, August 17, 2008


I am so sick of Gawker and the idiotic frenzy surrounding Tucker and to a lesser extent me that while I originally was NOT going to write about this whole debacle, I figure it's time to set the record straight.

This email purportedly written by me is BS.

I am stunned at how stupid the people who read Gawker are. STUNNED. I'm not going to encourage you to read the above article, but if you already have, let's run over a few items.

1. Running anonymous emails from people purporting to be ex-assistants is at best "questionable" by any journalistic standard. If you are going to run said items, perhaps you might VERIFY any aspect of the email and not footnote the article with a "it could be true but we are too lazy to find out" disclaimer. My high school newspaper had higher standards of truth than this.

2. HOW HARD IS IT TO FIND ME? I know a few of the Gawker readers did by virtue of the fact that they are now commenting on my blog. How about sending me a goddamn email? MY NAME IS ALL OVER THE PICTURES AND VIDEO that litter the official movie website.

Furthermore, since the email claims that I've given up on taking photos of Tucker since I'm mad at his "fratastic" behavior, how the HELL do you explain this?


Gawker is truly the worst, most pathetic "news" site I've ever come across. Say what you want about Tucker, but what an absolute joke Gawker is. In the time it took me to write the previous sentence, I could have done all of Gawker's fact checking for them.

Lastly, to address some of the more bizarre comments left by people. I'm not upset about the choking out video. I'm not sitting here stewing and raging and I'm certainly not going to be filing charges.

Thanks for your con
cern, but I'd think you'd be best reading about wherever Jake Gyllenhaal is sipping coffee in Upper Manhattan.

For shits and giggles a photo of me ON SET. Taken Thursday. Posted August 16th.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

The Halfway Point

Tomorrow week four begins on I Hope They Serve Beer in Hell. We're 50% done with filming.

In reality, I've been working for Tucker officially since the tail end of April and been in Louisiana since mid June. The midway point of this project has long since passed, yet somehow it feels appropriate to take stock of my experience thus far. Over the past few days glancing at what I've written on this blog I barely recognize my own writing. Perhaps, because I've been so focused on the goings on around me I've yet to taken the time to self reflect on much of anything. So, dear reader, this post is for me. Don't worry, I'll return to the world of Tucker Max and the universe that revolves around him. It's hard not to. But for a brief moment and if for nothing else, my own sanity, I'm going to try and wrap my head around me.

As I type this I'm sitting outside the house on our porch. Near my right hand I have a beer and near my left a pack of cigarettes. Unluckily for me I've started smoking more than I should. Whether it's to take the edge off from working for Tucker or because on a movie set smoking is sort of a currency and culture or maybe just because I'm weak and crave an addiction- who knows? The fact is I used to hate smoking and now I'm in the midst of six week binge.

I just ran inside to grab a beer and found Tucker on top of some girl holding in her what looked like an MMA mount position. I really couldn't tell you the specifics, because to be quite honest I could give a fuck about MMA. This isn't because I don't appreciate the dedication of the fighters or the strategy or whatever Joe Rogan feels like spouting off about during fights. I get all that. I think I hate MMA because Tucker and everyone around him likes it so much.

Last night, best selling author Tim Ferriss visited us. I honestly had no idea who the fuck he was or what the fuck his shtick was. I knew Tucker loved him which made me predisposed to not like him. This isn't really a knock against Tucker, more that I am now more than ever tired of people who know everything about life and can tell me how to fix mine. I knew he had a book called "The Four Hour Work Week." I used to work for a management consulting guru, so immediately in my head I was thinking BULLSHIT. Even worse, Tim loved MMA. Great another Tucker clone who is spouting off loads of self help change your life spiritual lovey dovey intellectual masturbation. Wonderful.

And, thank God I was wrong. Here's a quick disclaimer- I've never read Tim Ferriss's book. I'd like to, but who knows- maybe I won't get around to it. I can tell you this much- Tim is a good person and an honest person and he treats people with respect. He sort of gives off the vibe of a man who was born a few generations too late. He speaks too many languages, studies too many fields and is dedicated to keeping his body and mind in pristine shape. A classic Renaissance man.

I've wandered. How the hell does Tim Ferriss fit in with my gut check? I don't know. But a funny thing happened last night. I asked for an autograph. I rarely, if ever, do this. (Don't worry friends and family, I will get around to getting you guys some signatures). But for me, autographs don't usually mean much. As an example- would I ask Tucker, Matt, Geoff or Jesse for an autograph? No. Would I ask for one for my sister? Absolutely. After getting to know someone well enough, I feel that asking for them to scribble on a piece of paper for me sort of denigrates that relationship. But then... last night I asked Tim to sign a copy of Men's Journal.

Men's Journal featured Tim in their newest issue, the cover actually. The article isn't anything unbelievable, they certainly don't extoll Tim as the next big thing. It's a typical piece- history, professional life, a general overview of who Tim is. The article I'm quite certain had nothing to do with why I asked him to pick up a pen. If I had to guess, I asked Tim for an autograph, because Tim reminded me of who I am.

Late last night I was driving Tim home. We had just watched an MMA fight and he had an early flight. We were just generally chatting, when the discussion drifted to why I had been choked out by Jeff. I gave him the standard answer I give everyone "Jeff was mad over something I said on Tucker's messageboard... etc." Tim looked at me and told me that if anyone had ever done that to him he would have thrown them in jail. This of course, is interesting, given that 99% of the population wouldn't even be able to get that close to Tim because he is an international kickboxing champion.

Before I continue on, I'd better get something out in the open: I've moved on. I honestly don't fret over the fact that Jeff choked me out or that Tucker filmed it and over 13,000 people have seen it on youtube. To say that it doesn't bother me at some level wouldn't be true, but to say that I wake up every morning dreaming of ways to get back at Jeff would be a great exaggeration. Jeff is an accomplished fighter, there is nothing I can do if Jeff or Tucker or any other student of martial arts feels like kicking my ass or choking me out. I suppose what bothers me is that Jeff is also a decent writer. Jeff and Tucker both knew, well in advance of conspiring to choke me out that I was not a fighter. Would it not have been more appropriate to just eviscerate me on the messageboard in kind? Maybe not. I don't know and at this point, it's water under the bridge. But by just showing me a glimpse of empathy, Tim showed me that at least someone understood.

This all seems a bit out of context given that I haven't outlined the ways in which Tucker and I interact. Tucker is a VERY smart man. He knows this and he makes sure everyone around him knows this. Tucker has ideas that are not only outside of the box, but seek to the destroy the box. He knows what he wants and will generally go to any lengths to ensure that his vision is carried out to his satisfaction. He has the potential to shake up the entertainment industry in very concrete ways. Also, Tucker can sometimes be very engaging and genuinely friendly to me. Last night around 4 o'clock in the morning Tucker joined me in the living room and we talked for a good 45 minutes about the film industry, my job prospects and ideas about innovating the way movies are made. He also took the time to give me some advice about women (which believe it or not was more than applicable at my young age).

This is Tucker Max.

However, working for Tucker is very much like working for two very different people. He does not hesitate to embarrass me in front of people I respect if he feels that I deserve it. He rarely if ever, exhibits any interest in me as a person. And while I get the impression that I've done a decent job at this point, I seriously doubt that I've met his expectations. I've had a few bosses that exhibit the above traits before, everyone has. I think what is most frustrating for me is that I think Tucker has little or no capacity for empathy. Tucker knows so much about so many different things that if you aren't on the same wavelength as him, he immediately categorizes you as undeserving of his attention (unless by him investing time in you he has something immediately to be gained). Of late he also he also has been infuriated with his other assistant Ian. While I'm glad that the red target on my back has moved, I know it could only be seconds before I've done something to earn his ire. This is good motivation for me, I bust my ass for Tucker 14 hours a day. But also a constant reminder of one of my favorite maxims, "
The true measure of a man is how he treats someone who can do him absolutely no good."

This too is Tucker Max.

A brilliant man who sits on the cliff of greatness, surrounded by the work and beauty of his accomplishments but would not take a SECOND to enjoy the view.

So I live and learn. I am young and stupid. Each day I come home wondering. Some days I feel fulfilled. I truly am blessed with a unbelievable opportunity. I've met interesting people, done wonderful work and truly am involved in my own little "Surreal Life." (How many of you have gone to a bar with two international porn stars?)

Alot of my friends ask me if I admire Tucker or if living with him is the craziest thing I've ever done. Yes and Yes- so far.

So, we're back to the halfway point and I haven't even had the chance to talk about most of what I wanted to talk about. I wanted to talk about developing relationships with the some of the creatives involved in this process. I wanted to talk about learning from Sean McKittrick and Nils Parker and our hilarious director Bob Gosse. But it's late and I have a 7AM call time tomorrow.

Already I do feel better though. Writing is therapeutic for me and perhaps the only time when I'm honest with myself. Or at least mostly honest.

Here's a few things I know for certain:

I still don't know what I want to do with my life.
I miss my family and friends.
This is a time in my life I will never forget.

I need to quit smoking.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

South Park and Tucker Max

The whole "Gawker" episode that is currently going down I find rather humorous. As much as I generally hate recommending the message board- check this out. The posts over there explain what's going on. Suffice to say that Tucker is literally giggling with glee about how this "frenzy" is going. Gawker has bought him probably a million dollars of free press and we are AT LEAST 8 months away from release. Boy, Gawker really stuck it to him.

But Tucker's covered that angle. What I'm surprised no one has brought up is a pretty obvious comparison. Who doesn't remember a little show called South Park that stormed onto the scene in 1997. It was called "crude" "smut" and generally stupid upon it's release. (Throw in an article search for South Park circa September 1997). People who watched South Park were considered immature teens, sneaking around their parents for a glimpse at foul mouthed fourth graders. The publicity (largely negative) drove South Park to new heights never before seen at Comedy Central.

Let's fast forward 11 years. Trey Parker and Matt Stone have landed a remarkable deal that rewards them for being the most lucrative show on their network, they are in the process of taking back the digital rights to their episodes and have launched successful feature film careers. What do the critics say now?

So “South Park,” which begins its 12th season in October and has been extended to 15 seasons, is no longer merely the crudely animated, rudely scripted tales of Stan, Kyle, Cartman and Kenny. It is now a studio, a digital hub, a creative powerhouse in its infancy — but with the potential to become the kind of marketing monster that the boys might well find themselves fleeing from, a monster like, say, Mecha-Streisand.
-From the typically liberal elite snobby New York Times

The parallels here are incredible. "Rudely scripted" tales that involve creatives that demand control over their media. We'll see if Tucker is lucky enough to achieve in 4 years what took Trey Parker and Matt Stone 12.