4.18.2006

I'd Like to Thank the Academy

Like most every kid with even a hint of dramatic flair, I began rehearsing my Oscar acceptance speech when I was seven. I thanked my dog, Crowley, for having a wet nose; my first grade teacher Mrs. Bowes who married suddenly and mysteriously quit her job; and of course my mom, who always got me to school on time and never stopped making me sandwiches.

Once I made it all the way to Hollywood and began pursuing screenwriting in earnest, I decided that should my time ever come I would proudly take the stage in my plus-sized gown from off the rack at Macy’s Woman and thank the people who hadn’t helped me get there. Though my true purpose would be to come across as gracious and forgiving, in actuality I’d have created the opportunity of a lifetime to savor the lingering bitterness I had no intention of letting go.

In the interest of time I might have to group them together, offering a grateful shout-out, for example, to the psychotic Internet dates who inspired me to focus exclusively on my career. Every no-talent anorexic in film school offering an uninvited script note or helpful bit of dieting advice would surely deserve a thumbs up from the podium. And how coud I neglect the legions of collection callers clogging my answering machine with urgent messages about our shared need to discuss a personal business matter. Certain individuals, however, deserve my singling them out for a heartfelt expression of gratitude…

To The Smug Overpaid Sitcom Weenie, I thank you from the bottom of my heart for failing to staff me on your short-lived, crap-ass, racist show after repeatedly promising to do so since we were kids. If not for your being a fraud, a user and a liar, I might never have written the spec script that launched my career in features, placing me significantly higher than you on the Hollywood food chain right out of the starting gates. I do look forward to denying ever knowing you to anyone who might ask, despite the fact that you are my brother-in-law.

To The Greedy Foreign Landlord, allow me to express my gratitude for your surprise illegal eviction of me after ten years in my rent-controlled Hollywood bungalow. The ten thousand dollars in damages you were forced to pay made it possible for me to survive the crucial months prior to my big break, a period in which I might have found myself back home in Umatilla working at The Home Depot.

To The Braless Warner Brothers Television Executive, how adorable it is that you married well, retired and took the mommy track only months after torpedoing my career. Had you not perceived an offhanded joke about a shortage in the world lingerie supply as a personal insult, my future might have been damaged beyond repair as a result of being staffed on The Brian Benben Show.

Finally, I thank The Estranged Brother On A Far-Off Tropical Island, who so frequently wrote to assure me, and I quote, that Hollywood’s “square peg” would never find a place for my “round hole,” so fondly comparing my knack for storytelling to your talent for lighting your own farts. How is it that of all the recent congratulations I received from perfect strangers in the blogosphere, I did not hear a peep from you? I do hope you have not inadvertently set your ass on fire.

Yes, all that was bitchy, even if it is the gospel truth. The good news is after all these years I’m still able to feel at all, even if it is only a twinge of guilt for telling it like it is. I suppose one of the most troubling things about surviving rejection is that it tends to numb you against feeling even the good stuff. I couldn’t have known that wallowing in failure might well be easier than reveling in success because I went so long without achieving any. I’m well aware that bitterness is wrong and bad, not to mention sinful and unattractive, but it works very well for chocolate and at least my brand isn’t fattening.

33 comments:

  1. Who are you calling a perfect stranger? Stalking is thankless.

    I get the brilliance of thanking people who tossed on you from the podium they'll envy. Irony and revenge are far too rare in combination.

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  2. Edwin Gossmore3:31 PM

    Boyfie^Whusband (thank you, Vermont...) was a confirmed misanthrope. Now he's finding himself making friends. JUST AS HE PREPARES TO EMIGRATE ACROSS AN OCEAN. This is causing some distress, in readjusting.

    Besides, even if half or more of us *are* perfect strangers, we still root for you. How could we not?

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  3. Hey, you're entitled to a little bitterness, just don't let it take over your life. Put all these characters in your next script and torture them mercilessly.

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  4. Give 'em hell, Julie! And your success was announced on our UCLA TFT list, so you've got even more strangers rooting for you. BTW, I'm taking Howard this quarter.

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  5. yes, do as Econoclast says and immortalize them in Final Draft or whatever you use

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  6. I agree. Time to write the "But I'm Not Bitter" script. Let's hear it for Asses of Fire!

    Hell, Julie, you can be bitter all you want, after everything you've been through for this (I should know; I got to read it as it happened!).

    My own Oscar speech will end with, "...and for all of you who told me it would never happen.... yeah, bite me."

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  7. Is it wrong that because even though my break hasn't come (yet) I still think of the day when the people who wanted to see my fail are reduced to failures themselves. I always look forward to reading your blog. It truly makes me happy.

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  8. Living well is indeed the best revenge!

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  9. It's good to get everything off of your chest so it won't hold you back from reveling in sweet success. Remember the cream always rises to the top and that's where you're heading baby.

    Heck you're already there!

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  10. Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ...

    Oh, I can't wait until I get to the point where I can write one of these speeches.

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  11. Anonymous11:19 AM

    You mean you haven't gotten a congratulatory call from Smug Overpaid? Oh well. Looking down from above must feel good.

    Channel the bitterness into an hilarious script. And enjoy the good life. You've earned it!

    Can't wait to see you and celebrate in person.

    JK

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  12. Anonymous12:34 PM

    Your piece is hilarious, but is it wise to post? Are you positive you'll never again need to borrow money from your brother-in-law or get a greenlight from one of the film school anorexics who went to the dark side (producing)? You know where pride goeth.

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  13. Nothing wrong with being bitter and angry.

    Makes for an entertaining read, at any rate.

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  14. Anonymous5:46 PM

    Maybe you should wait until you have Josh Friedman's credits and nice-guy reputation before you start imitating his blogging style. You of all people should know how small this town is. Did you ever consider that your bitter attitude toward these people and others has probably contributed more to your struggle than any grand failure on the part of the industry? If you want to continue your success, you should bear in mind that assistants network and discuss writer meetings, at their own network and others. Oh, and a woman trashing other women for the way they look isn't funny. It's just sad.

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  15. Anonymous6:09 PM

    I wonder who made your announcement on the TFT listserv-- you or your manager?

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  16. Anonymous6:13 PM

    Speaking of sad, leaving anonymous comments to slam a blogger for expressing herself isn't exactly the mark of a winner. By the way, Julie, who blogs anonymously, pre-dates Josh Friedman, who does not. If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, consider yourself imitated by another anonymous lurker who thinks Julie rocks.

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  17. You know, I always can tell whether a man or woman has guts by whether they'll tell you something right to your face, or if they'll talk behind your back. Anonymous chose the latter route. Personally, I think it's damn cowardly to post and not identify yourself. Julie is inviting all of us to follow her journey. If you don't like the journey, or her, or what she finds during her journey, then perhaps you should pass this site by. I like it. Julie's success is due to being talented, stubborn toward an end goal, and having a damn good sense of humor. But most of all, she's honest. And she signs her name...

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  18. Anon #1: Thanks for comparing me to Josh Friedman. Nicest compliment I've had in ages. Besides being Sedarisesque, that's tough to beat.

    Anon #2: Yeah, it was definitely my manager posting on your film school bulletin board. We've tried to get her help, but she's just obsessed with film school students. Who knows, maybe she didn't get enough validation from film school students when she was a kid. All she's really got going most days is impressing film school students and knitting. Oh, and posting anonymous blog comments. She loves that.

    Anon #3: I think you rock, too.

    Lawrence: My hero.

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  19. Anonymous7:41 PM

    Dear God, Anon #1, don't ask us to give up making fun of women for how they look! Do you want to suck all the joy out of life? Besides, it is how they ACT that is really pissing us off.

    Loved the post. It is classic you, plumbing the depths of bitterness for laughs.

    I hope it won't annoy you if I reminisce about our chared childhood in the blogosphere. I remember you complaining to Dad that we (Type A Sister and the Estranged Brother)were mean to you when we were little. His response was that his recollection was that you could shred verbally better than both of us put together. Exhibit A? This post!

    Must clarify that Type A is NOT married to Smug Overpaid. She's married to his brother. Which BTW made for fabulous dysfunctional family repartee this Easter.

    Anyway, I am seriously glad I never gave up on you. Seriously.

    Love, Type A

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  20. I don't remember any hateful comments until you had success. Funny how that works, eh?

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  21. "I don't remember any hateful comments until you had success." ??? I come here specifically for the hateful comments (difference is I don't call them "hateful"). Somehow, watching somebody else a lot further ahead than me for all this time, who still manages to be human, boosts my morale to no end.

    To think I was worried that the "ranty" posts would disappear! Thanks for being you, Julie, and for going to Hollywood at all.

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  22. You are sweet Les! But I think Jeff was talking about hateful comments from the anonymous commenteers. They don't tend to spring up until there's something really fun to hate a girl for.

    Cal. license plate I swear I recently saw: YUH8N.

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  23. Julie! Rock on! Poster girl for post-UCLA success. I recently got a wrist slap for a snarky post on my blog but I say if we can't make fun of the anorexic girls, why are they here? Those who love you know it's all in good fun. We'd happily share our donuts if they would eat! Congrats on Uni and the book. I'm so excited for you.

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  24. Anonymous12:22 PM

    Whoa! Have these people been reading a different blog? JGTH is not nice. I will stop reading the day she becomes nice. JGTH is funny, people. Get off her back.

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  25. The moral of our story being that girls must always be nice, or "it's just sad." Josh Friedman can be mean as a snake on a plane since he has credits and a wee-wee.

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  26. Trust me. It's not the penis or the credits. It's the cancer. Works every time.

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  27. Hi, Julie. Any news on your book so we can all read more of the same? Your blog is one of the few sites that makes me laugh so hard I spurt coffee through my nose.

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  28. Yeah, I was talking about the anonymous attacks.

    Julie's brand of hate is delicious.

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  29. It's delicious because it's not hate at all, but chocolate, as in bittersweet. Please see original post. Perhaps it requires a refined palate to appreciate my complex flavoring and heady aroma. Yes, Jeff -- and also my chivalrous Josh, who can even make cancer funny -- I dub thee my knights in biting armor. As for the rest of my would be Algonquin round table, you boys and girls know who you are.

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  30. My late Mom excelled at bitterness. She held it like a fine wine to be opened only at the proper time. I was present at one of these uncorkings as she decimated a local "new age" Rabbi in front of his girlfriend. I wanted to become a part of the floor and believe that I was not related to this person. Years later, of course, I realized that I had the same gift (though, in my case, I've left the bottle open to try to make the contents go flat).

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  31. Bitternes is a dish best served... with an "I told you so".

    Women trashing women for the way they look is not only entertaining, but a great way to hone the little used Snark muscle. Cause, you know, we can't afford Curves on temp wages!

    It's even more fun to trash vapid logorrhea, though, such as when a Miss America contender gushes about high heels to prove she's empowered...
    BTW, a little acidophilus will take care of that heady aroma. Just a little home remedy from Mom.

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  32. Anonymous10:10 PM

    People who comment anonymously on well-meaning blogs are gutless losers. The true comedic hero is the fat, narcissistic blogger with a chip on their shoulder. SO FUNNY

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  33. C.A., your contents are never flat where I'm concerned. Please don't make a girl beg for more New Age rabbi anecdotes!

    Mom, vapid logorrhea? Will you be my new smart friend? Never underestimate the power of the spike heel, however. It elongates the heftier thigh, works well as a concealed weapon and can, in a pinch, be used to serve fruit punch.

    Anon, dear, the true comedic hero is the fat, narcissistic blogger with a chip on her shoulder. A nominal understanding of singular and plural possessives is a handy little tool for the hostile Internet stalker.

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