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Preview: KCRW's Martini Shot

Martini Shot

Veteran TV writer and producer Rob Long shares his behind-the-scenes look at Hollywood life on "Martini Shot." A contributing editor for the National Review and Newsweek International, he was a co-executive producer of "Cheers" while still in his 20s and

Copyright: KCRW 2018

Virtual Reality

Wed, 03 Jan 2018 16:44:00 -0800

Today I hang out in a movie theater lobby and watch people enjoying the virtual reality machines more than the movie they came to see. A glimpse of the future.

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Wed, 20 Dec 2017 16:44:00 -0800

At a certain point during post-production, when whatever you’re working on is in the editing stage, you have to choose between making an edit that helps the pace, uses the best take, removes an element you no longer need — any number of useful and necessary things — and one that doesn’t show the coffee cup suddenly appearing in the star’s other hand.

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My Friend's Place

Wed, 13 Dec 2017 16:44:00 -0800

Hey, are you busy on Saturday? This Saturday, the sixteenth?

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December 2017 Pledge Drive

Wed, 06 Dec 2017 16:44:00 -0800

KCRW has been broadcasting the best and freshest music, commentary, news, and astonishing audio for decades — and for about as long, people have been listening to it and loving it and forgetting, or allowing  themselves to forget, that the station really does depend on the commitment of its listeners. 

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Wed, 29 Nov 2017 16:44:00 -0800

The universal indicator of the health and prosperity of the entertainment industry — which is, the quality of the free snacks.

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Wed, 22 Nov 2017 16:44:00 -0800

What makes a powerful man think that anyone wants to see his naked body, for any reason?

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Key demos

Wed, 08 Nov 2017 16:44:00 -0800

Money and death and weight and all of the things no one wants to talk about.

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Cancel my subscription

Wed, 01 Nov 2017 16:44:00 -0700

Rob pitches a simple app that would change the television business forever: something that makes it easy to cancel all of those channels we pay for.

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Going forward

Wed, 25 Oct 2017 16:44:00 -0700

The single most important and revealing document in the entire entertainment business — understand this and you understand Hollywood: the call sheet.

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The trouble with Harvey

Wed, 18 Oct 2017 16:44:00 -0700

How to be an insider in the business: when you hear big, surprising news for the first time, act like you heard it months and months ago.

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Pixelate this

Wed, 11 Oct 2017 16:44:00 -0700

Rob learns the difference between real nudity on television, fake nudity on television, real nudity that's pixelated with blurry boxes, and fake real nudity that's pixelated with blurry boxes.

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Fun stuff

Wed, 04 Oct 2017 16:44:00 -0700

Rob pitches his best stuff to the town and this is what he hears: fun stuff, let us talk internally and get back to you.

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Wed, 27 Sep 2017 16:44:00 -0700

Rob learns how to be more present, how to have a more still mind, how not to analyze everything he sees and hears by wondering if there's some angle in it for him. It's a work in progress.

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New Justin

Wed, 06 Sep 2017 16:44:00 -0700

Rob discovers the next Justin Bieber, because it's about time we had another one. This one is from Kazakhstan, and his name is Dimash Kudaibergenov. 

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One year ago

Wed, 30 Aug 2017 16:44:00 -0700

The perfect way for people in the entertainment industry to read the trades without being consumed by jealousy -- or, at least, unnecessary jealousy.

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Not funny

Wed, 23 Aug 2017 16:44:00 -0700

Why you need a joke to cover the cross and a button to end a scene and why some people get that and some people don't.

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Promoted post

Wed, 16 Aug 2017 16:44:00 -0700

Rob promotes a lot of stuff on his Instagram feed, or wishes he could, if he had any followers.

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Bad timing

Wed, 09 Aug 2017 16:44:00 -0700

Remember the old show business adage, give the people what they want? Rob updates it: just give three million people what they want. The rest of them will be watching home remodeling shows.

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Running out of money

Wed, 02 Aug 2017 16:44:00 -0700

The only thing that really matters in the entertainment business isn't how much money an entertainment company has, but how long it's going to last. 

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Wed, 26 Jul 2017 16:44:00 -0700

How to make a lot of money investing in the one thing that all humans have in common, the one thing that draws us all together: we're kind of lazy.

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Eisenhower matrix

Wed, 19 Jul 2017 16:44:00 -0700

Discovering an organizational technique that the Executive Producer of World War II, Dwight Eisenhower, used when he was showrunning that multi-season action series.

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Wed, 12 Jul 2017 16:44:00 -0700

Compare the brilliant business moves of Beyoncé to the not-so-brilliant moves of Justin Bieber, but of course both of them are paying attention to the end of the Hollywood monopoly, so both are making money.

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Lost or stolen?

Wed, 05 Jul 2017 16:44:00 -0700

How easy it is, apparently, to spend tens of millions of dollars on weird stuff and end up almost broke, and it's nice to know how easy it is to do something Rob can't afford to do.

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The right order

Wed, 28 Jun 2017 16:44:00 -0700

What happened when Roger Moore died a few weeks ago and set off a firestorm of debate.

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Wed, 21 Jun 2017 16:44:00 -0700

Rob talks about a 30-year-old movie and somehow makes it relevant, because the movie is relevant, because the movie makers re-shot the ending.

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Cuban love story

Wed, 14 Jun 2017 16:44:00 -0700

Rob flies all the way to Cuba to learn, or really, relearn, a lesson about show business.

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Do not approach

Wed, 07 Jun 2017 16:44:00 -0700

Why we all wish we could kick people out of our dressing rooms, and also why it would be really great if we all had dressing rooms in the first place.

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Long Reads

Wed, 31 May 2017 16:44:00 -0700

Rob's reading The Count of Monte Cristo for the first time, and it's a very long book, but not as long as a lot of these TV shows people keep talking about, and at least in the book, stuff happens on every page.

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Wed, 24 May 2017 16:44:00 -0700

Rob pays money to sit in a Broadway theater to see a musical version of a movie he paid money to see in the movie theater without music or dancing a few years ago.

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Joke Thief

Wed, 03 May 2017 16:44:00 -0700

The complicated rituals involved when one writer steals another writer's material. 

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Wed, 26 Apr 2017 16:44:00 -0700

Although he doesn't succeed in explaining all of the issues involved in the current contract negotiations between the Writers Guild and the producers, Rob does identify the key issue: it's all about the calendar

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Live tweet

Wed, 19 Apr 2017 16:44:00 -0700

Rob checks Twitter during a live appearance and reads what people are saying about him.  And then he makes mid-course adjustments.  Not proud of it, but he does.

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Wed, 12 Apr 2017 16:44:00 -0700

Rob tries to connect with the kids by having a bunch of meetings and coming up with a truly terrible idea. Just like Pepsi

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I'm Back!

Wed, 05 Apr 2017 16:44:00 -0700

This is Rob Long and on today's Martini Shot I actually do deliver today's Martini Shot. I've been gone for a bit. Please tell me you noticed. You did, right?

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Fan theories

Wed, 18 Jan 2017 16:44:00 -0800

Rob comes up with alternative theories about hit movies and television shows, because that's how you know you've got a hit TV show or movie, because audiences insist on rewriting it totally.

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Show running

Wed, 11 Jan 2017 16:44:00 -0800

Rob offers a depressing, comparison between being the executive producer of a television show, being an executive producer of a television show, and being president of the United States.

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What's new

Wed, 04 Jan 2017 16:44:00 -0800

Rob offers a soothing way to ring in 2017.

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My Friend's Place, 2016

Wed, 21 Dec 2016 16:44:00 -0800

Rob take a break from complaining about everything and worrying about stuff he can't change and does something meaningful and concrete -- and then goes right back to the complaining and worrying.

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Fine Tobacco

Wed, 14 Dec 2016 16:44:00 -0800

Today's celebrities try to sell you wine and cigarettes and hair products and low calorie beer. Also Studebakers and toxic breath freshener. In other words, it's hard to be a celebrity pitchperson

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Wed, 07 Dec 2016 16:44:00 -0800

Rob comes up with a better and more movie-star name for Benedict Cumberbatch. Archie Leach became Cary Grant; Frances Gumm became Judy Garland, and Benedict Cumberbatch should become Batch Benjamin. Otherwise he'll never make it big.

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Wed, 30 Nov 2016 16:44:00 -0800

Rob makes a glancing but significant reference to the election results, but promises not to talk politics. Instead, he talks politics-adjacent.

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Wed, 23 Nov 2016 16:44:00 -0800

This holiday season, Rob's declaring multi-device bankruptcy.

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Being a regular

Wed, 16 Nov 2016 16:44:00 -0800

Rob makes fun of a friend of because he's relentlessly focused and totally impossible to distract, then realizes that he's actually very successful and happy because of these very traits, which is often the way it is with people we make fun of.

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Wed, 09 Nov 2016 12:00:00 -0800

Pretty much every entertainment device since the magic lantern, since cave people sitting around a campfire, got hot, was dangerous, and could explode. The Samsung Galaxy 7 fits in a long tradition.

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Someone else's money

Wed, 02 Nov 2016 16:44:00 -0700

What would it be like to have your own magical and always-full ATM?  Sort of the way Time Warner must feel, as it approaches being bought by AT&T -- a new and endless source of money to spend.

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Call you back

Wed, 26 Oct 2016 16:44:00 -0700

Silence, as we all know, is the most effective and cutting way to raise your voice....

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Place to Park

Wed, 19 Oct 2016 16:44:00 -0700

This is Rob Long and on today’s Martini Shot I spend most of my time talking about the second most talked-about thing in the entertainment industry, which is, where on the lot do you park? The most talked-about thing is, of course, when did you buy your house, and what did you pay for it.

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Bad real person

Wed, 12 Oct 2016 16:44:00 -0700

Rob laughs at a couple of very famous people's physical misfortunes, and then feels bad about it because he's told they're real people, which is something he often forgest, because he's not totally convinced it's true.

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Is that out?

Wed, 05 Oct 2016 16:44:00 -0700

The secret of appearing like an insider: whenever anyone delivers surprising or unexpected news, just sigh and say, "Oh, is that out?"

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Damn millennials

Wed, 28 Sep 2016 16:44:00 -0700

Rob takes all of those clichés about Millennials and flips them upside down, because A) that's a more accurate picture and B) he doesn't want to anger the young people

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Not You

Wed, 07 Sep 2016 16:44:00 -0700

Rob tries to pace eating his lunch with a friend who is eating his lunch, but then he eats his cookie and Rob gets ice cream. And, yes, there is a metaphor about life in there somewhere.

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Friend, Me?

Wed, 31 Aug 2016 16:44:00 -0700

Rob tells you the exact number of your friends who don't like you as much as you like them. He doesn't tell you who they are. You just have to figure that out for yourself.

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Forty Share

Wed, 24 Aug 2016 16:44:00 -0700

Rob break his rule and talks politics, just for a moment, and just the only way he can: by talking about show business first.

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Hear the News

Wed, 17 Aug 2016 16:44:00 -0700

Rob tries to step around the nasty arguments on Facebook without stepping in any of them, and still ends up having to scrape some of them off his shoe.

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Cos Play

Wed, 10 Aug 2016 16:44:00 -0700

Rob tries to talk about Comic Con the way it should be talked about -- as a giant promotional event that's all business and no play.

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Wed, 03 Aug 2016 16:44:00 -0700

Rob shakes his fist at progress like an old, deranged man -- in other words he talks about Pokemon Go, and Hollywood, and how one is going to eat the other.

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Flipped Ghostbusters

Wed, 27 Jul 2016 16:44:00 -0700

Rob takes a simple, successful movie franchise and extends its financial value by rebooting it, then reversing it -- which means he never has to come up with another original movie idea again.

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Wed, 20 Jul 2016 16:44:00 -0700

Rob dresses up as a famous movie character and beats the stuffing out of someone dressed up as another famous movie character, and they keep doing it until they get sued. 

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Wed, 13 Jul 2016 16:44:00 -0700

Rob makes a series of painful confessions surrounding politics, Interstate 40, Hollywood pettiness, and trying to be happy for other people's success. He more or less pulls it off.

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The Boss

Wed, 06 Jul 2016 16:44:00 -0700

Rob helps actors with their headshots and writers with their pitches and even executives with their office politics. He says to stop worrying about the boss, because the boss is only worried about the boss one level up.

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Wed, 29 Jun 2016 16:44:00 -0700

Rob sends you a LinkedIn request to join your professional network and then endorses you for your many skills and then we both get lots of push alerts and notifications and we both wonder why we're on LinkedIn.

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Wed, 22 Jun 2016 16:44:00 -0700

Rob discovers that recaps are a really great way to get out of watching television.

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Make It Funny

Wed, 15 Jun 2016 16:44:00 -0700

Rob talks about DC and Marvel, Sunni and Shia, and whether cancer can be funny -- all in three minutes. Yes, it's a stretch, but that's sort of the point. 

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The Marquis

Wed, 08 Jun 2016 16:44:00 -0700

Some people just like choosing from among available options.

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Find It

Wed, 01 Jun 2016 16:44:00 -0700

Rob on how hard it can be to direct actors, who are hypersensitive and ego maniacal and in that respect resemble everyone else in your life and on the planet, and that's: make them think it's their idea.

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Twitter Bot

Wed, 25 May 2016 16:44:00 -0700

Rob on Twitter bots, followers for sale, and because it's the law that he cannot be ignored, Donald J. Trump.

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Shutting Up

Wed, 18 May 2016 16:44:00 -0700

Rob tells us the best sales technique in the world, which is to make your pitch and then fall silent -- which he has a hard time doing.

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Super Fat

Wed, 27 Apr 2016 16:44:00 -0700

Rob eats ice cream and bread in front of an actor who needs to lose weight -- and he's not sorry about it.

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Other People's Money

Wed, 20 Apr 2016 16:44:00 -0700

How losing two million dollars on a show is something to celebrate...for someone else.

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Wed, 13 Apr 2016 16:44:00 -0700

Remembering a great teacher.

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Starred Changes

Wed, 06 Apr 2016 16:44:00 -0700

How the late Andy Grove, of Intel, helped make it easier for executives to give notes.

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French Exit

Wed, 30 Mar 2016 16:44:00 -0700

You know when you're at a party and you're leaving and you make this long circuit to say goodbye? Don't do it. Do a French Exit. Just walk out.

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First Lady

Wed, 23 Mar 2016 16:44:00 -0700

There's no not-weird way to say this. Rob asks Nancy Reagan out on a date.

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Waze Trail

Wed, 16 Mar 2016 16:44:00 -0700

Rob's complicated and probably unsuccessful attempt at comparing the navigation app Waze to his current creative process. . .

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Wed, 09 Mar 2016 16:44:00 -0800

Rob fast forwards through all the screeners he got this year. It's sort of an industry secret.

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I Slay

Wed, 02 Mar 2016 16:44:00 -0800

Today's Martini Shot is all about Beyoncé. Well, it's about Rob and Beyoncé. That came out wrong.  It's about money and Beyoncé.

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Hot Costs

Wed, 24 Feb 2016 16:44:00 -0800

The secret to keeping your production on budget. Just arrange to have your credit card declined.

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Touch of Evil

Wed, 17 Feb 2016 16:44:00 -0800

Rob wishes he could do what Orson Welles did, which was to shoot ten pages in a night.

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Too Clever

Wed, 10 Feb 2016 16:44:00 -0800

Rob figures out how to save Al Jazeera America cable news network. Too late, of course, but he does figure it out.

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Boat Act

Wed, 03 Feb 2016 16:44:00 -0800

Is being a Donald Trump impersonator a major career move or a boat act?

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62 Million

Wed, 27 Jan 2016 16:44:00 -0800

Rob raises money for his candidate...not really. 

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Wed, 20 Jan 2016 16:44:00 -0800

Rob gets super financial and explains a hedge fund Powerpoint deck.

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Wed, 13 Jan 2016 16:44:00 -0800

Rob does what every producer in Hollywood does all the time: complain about the marketing budget.

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Wed, 06 Jan 2016 16:44:00 -0800

Rob gives away all the secrets to Star Wars and doesn't even say Spoiler Alert.

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Spy Movie

Wed, 30 Dec 2015 16:44:00 -0800

Rob finds an old spy manual, filled with ways to sabotage any organization, and notices that all of them are in wide use at every major studio.

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No Complaints

Wed, 23 Dec 2015 16:44:00 -0800

Attempting the impossible for a writer in the entertainment business -- to be grateful and uncomplaining.

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Wed, 16 Dec 2015 16:44:00 -0800

Unsolicited advice to someone who is more famous and successful than Rob, just like a real journalist.

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Sell the House

Wed, 09 Dec 2015 16:44:00 -0800

A new rule for keeping a TV audience engaged in a show: you just kill all of the good guys.

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Listen In

Wed, 02 Dec 2015 16:44:00 -0800

What every tired and out-of-material stand up comic does: talk about the differences between New York and Los Angeles -- as if there are any.

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Too Many Interactions

Wed, 25 Nov 2015 16:44:00 -0800

Rob sets up an email to set up a conference call and then a text to remind himself about it and then a call after the call to talk about what happened on the call. It's called "work" but not much work gets done.

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Forget the Writer

Wed, 18 Nov 2015 16:44:00 -0800

Being a writer is a little bit like being a shepherd: it's quaint, people envy the solitude, but no one's afraid of a shepherd.  

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James Smith

Wed, 11 Nov 2015 16:44:00 -0800

Why movies succeed and why they fail and why the phrase isn't "The name is Smith. James Smith."

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American Graffiti

Wed, 04 Nov 2015 16:44:00 -0800

If you've got a political point to make, and you're clever, you can pretty much sneak it into anything.

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Presidential Traffic

Wed, 28 Oct 2015 16:44:00 -0700

Rob talks about two of Los Angeles' favorite topics: politics and traffic.

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Children's Movies

Wed, 21 Oct 2015 16:44:00 -0700

Rob discovers that the most immature and impulsive segment of the population are old people who act like teenagers.

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The OODA Loop

Wed, 14 Oct 2015 16:44:00 -0700

Inside the OODA Loop of television development. It's a military thing, which, surprisingly, really applies.

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Two Hander

Wed, 30 Sep 2015 16:44:00 -0700

Why do TV shows have dumpy guys married to beautiful wives, and movies have really old dudes married to young women, but it's never the other way around? Rob senses a marketing opportunity.

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Many Meetings

Wed, 23 Sep 2015 16:44:00 -0700

Rob attends a meeting to come up with something really new and different. But it's meeting, so that doesn't happen.

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It's All Relativity

Wed, 16 Sep 2015 16:44:00 -0700

Rob sends a shout out to the bankrupt Relativity Media company. Because a successful movie and an unsuccessful movie both employ the same number of people, so more movies, more better.

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Peak Television

Wed, 09 Sep 2015 16:44:00 -0700

The TV business is like the oil business -- we keep pumping shows out of the ground until there're just too many shows and the price collapses. We need a show business OPEC.

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