Like Homer Simpson once said: ‘Don’t Ever Try’


Guest blogger ‘Mike MacIntosh’ lives in Hollywood. In the morning his beard smells of jasmine and Dakota candles. Is it coincidence he came aboard today… or prophecy… or both??? Mike chimes in with his own cynicism. (It’s all sunshine and overflowing with flowers up in here today)


I have strived. I have taken risks. I have been rejected. I have had meetings with big companies just to be given that humiliating pat on the head for encouragement. I have interned. I have stayed at the same terrible place of employ at the same pointless position simply because it gave me more time to write. I have willingly lived essentially in poverty for the last five years. I have written until I was mildly delirious. I have rewritten scenes to the point that I couldn’t even remember what I was even trying to do in the first place. I have read hundreds of scripts for research. I have watched thousands of movies for inspiration. I have gone into deep depressions. I have seen a psychiatrist. I have been prescribed meds for OCD and depression. Did I mention I have been rejected? Yes, sometimes to the point that I wanted to give up on the entire adventure and just move back to Pennsylvania to sell furniture. I have sacrificed in every true sense of the word.

Then today my girlfriend shows me this: Ellen Page to Write Comedy Series for HBO.

“Page has teamed with HBO for “Stitch N’ Bitch,” a comedy she will write with two other young actors, Alia Shawkat and Sean Tillmann. The show follows two painfully cool hipster girls as they relocate from Brooklyn’s Williamsburg neighborhood to Los Angeles’ Silver Lake enclave in hopes of becoming artists — of any kind.”

I have been discouraged.

Two actresses, 20 and 22 years old, who have never written anything before are given a show based essentially on this pitch: there are three people and they have lives. Awesome. I wonder if any of them will be quirky.

Why do I even bother trying anymore? I hate you Hollywood. Murder is the only solution.


8 thoughts on “Like Homer Simpson once said: ‘Don’t Ever Try’

  1. Mr. MacIntosh,

    Let’s go over a few things. First, you are the best fucking writer I know. Quite frankly, it makes me goddamn giddy as an Alaskan otter when I know I’m getting notes from you because, well… your opinion matters to me more than everyone else. Remember that fuck-awful script I sent to you last year? You were kind about it, but I know it was uglier than a late-term abortion… and you read it anyways and gave me great wisdom and I applied it because it mattered to me.

    Second, we’re all in poverty. There was a time when we first met that I was dodgy. You would invite me out, I would make up some lame excuse and so on. I was struggling to finish a novel manuscript and was having panic attacks so bad I could barely step outside. That was when I gave up. I met my wife, fell in love, and at the time very foolishly believed that I could join the suit-and-tie circus and eventually that would feel right. I moved to FUCKING IRVINE in pursuit of quitting.

    I stopped publishing chapbooks. Deleted my mailing list. Shut my website down. And after two years, 50 extra pounds, and not a penny extra to show for it, I wish to God I had just stuck with it instead of going down that quitter’s road. Who knows, there could have been some amazing things had I stuck in there, instead I just got fat. Nothing else, just fat. Fat, fat, fat. Fat as a fucking walrus. So fat my shirts smelled like worn leather and dirty feet.

    Keep the fucking faith you asshole. That’s all I’m going to say. Keep the faith because if Mac gives up I’ll have nothing left to believe in.

  2. I think one of the most frustrating things is to have great creativity and short attention span. I conceive at a mile a minute, invent rationalizations for the lamest of other people’s ideas and plot points, make stuff consistent and deep, but just can’t concentrate when I hit the keyboard. My mind wanders and I just don’t feel it.

    Go walking in the woods and no problem. Every idea comes alive and if they took screenplays in micro-cassette form, I could dictate one end to end in an hour. Keybored. That’s it.

    Then I turn on Sci-Fi, find they’re retooling as SyFy, and they’ve got the lamest of movies, without any story depth, any neat twists, not the slightest thing that I want to watch. Budget isn’t the excuse. Movies with far smaller budgets and greater scripts have been made. It’s simple formulaic “we do X, Y and Z and it is done” thinking. Slop stuff together, it gets done.

    I can see wanting to give up. Someday though, one of those moments when my fingers fly across the keyboard will come around as they have before back to when I was banging out stories for English class on an old Royal typewriter. Just be patient and keep at creating. That’s all there is to do.

    • In fairness though, the ScyFy originals are made with strict formulas that are based on Nielsen demands. There is (or was) a thick guide to writing a ScyFy original that listed all kinds of markers based on viewing patterns and when people tend to channel surf. I know this because I was floated a copy of this guide by a gentleman who will start guest-posting on the blog next week. He wrote one.

      I dunno, I grew up on movies like “THEM” and “Earth Vs. The Spider” so I love the SyFy originals. They’re cheesy and formulaic but I always love that the people involved are just having fun and aren’t out to make a brazilian dollars. A movie like SS Doomtrooper or that one with the 50-foot mummy is way more interesting to me than a crappy remake of Nightmare on Elm Street or another X-Men/Wolverine movie.

  3. What’s wrong with a Diablo bandwagon, eh?

    You know, this is Ellen Page. Phenomenal actress and she’s smart to boot. If she has an idea for a show, I give HBO props for listening.

    A diversity of talent (writers who can act/direct, etc.) might not make it easier for a person (seems like she’s someone who pays her dues), but it definitely widens the path for you.

    • I agree with this. I can’t really hate on a smart, talented girl who seems to be gaining success on her own terms. As someone who doesn’t really intend to sleep her way to the top, I find this heartening. Though I admit when I first heard the news I did have an initial “What? She’s 22!” reaction as well.

      • They’ll surround her with a good writing staff. In fact, I’m sure she’ll just be creator/executive producer, and other than creating the broad strokes (and possibly the 1st episode), the writing staff will do most of the hard work. Wouldn’t be surprised if she had a ghost-showrunner.

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