How many times have I told the internship story now? Want to hear it one more time, for those of you who weren’t paying attention?
In mid February, I became aware of a highly competitive and well regarded internship program sponsored by the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, the people responsible for the Emmy awards. This program offered internships in some 30 categories, one of which was television scriptwriting. I applied on a whim, thinking ‘It’s not likely, but hey, why not, right?’ This same reasoning is why I’ve had a condom in my jacket pocket for the past year or so.
So I mailed in my entry packet and more or less forgot about it. I interviewed for an unpaid internship in Los Angeles at a reality TV production company full of people friendly and understanding enough to 1) Offer me a job and B) Wait for my response until after I’d heard from the Emmys, who said they’d contact finalists in late April.
So imagine my pants-crapping surprise in late April when I received an email from NATAS telling me that I’d been selected as one of six finalists for the TV scriptwriting internship. This was exciting – getting the internship would mean a $4000 stipend and a seat in a TV writer’s room, which, as summer jobs go, is second in my heart only to a seat on the bridge of Serenity.
We only pay you in tiny leather bags filled with space-coins.
From April 27th until two days ago, my life was less a lived series of events and more a form of purgatory. The people at my safety internship agreed to hold the position for me until I heard the final answer from the Emmys, which they said would come in mid to late June. Every day revolved around getting up and spending 12 or so hours fretting about the strength of my submitted materials, staring at the phone and willing it to ring, and fantasizing about being placed as an intern on Community and having flirtatious, meaningful eye contact with Alison Brie on a daily basis.
Shit had gotten real. All of my fantasies about winning the internship had involved me being the first winner selected (they also involved me backflipping onto a motorcycle, but that’s another story), and the idea that some script supervisor could watch my audition video and read my 30 Rock spec script and then pick some girl who wrote poems about horses in high school and wants to be a writer because it looked so fun when Sarah Jessica Parker did it on that show was very unnerving.
Incidentally, I heard this movie really sucked. I can't tell you how happy that makes me.
At this point, the Emmys’ indolence had cost me my safety internship – they had a business to run, after all, and they couldn’t be expected to sit around for three months waiting on an unpaid intern just because he had the good sense to wear a suit to his interview and smile a lot, so they interviewed and subsequently hired another person. Meanwhile, I set up another safety position courtesy of my friend Patrick, Writer of Screenplays, who I know through Mike Whitman, Smoker of Cigarettes, and struck off for LA in The Mystery Wagon, as I had decided that if I was going to spend my whole summer waiting for the phone to ring, I could at least do it in a place where they sell liquor in supermarkets.
As a going away gift, my parents bought me a Bluetooth headset – if you don’t know what that is, go find an asshole and look at the side of his head, and you’ll see one stuck in his ear. It’s for people who receive so many important phone calls while simultaneously doing so many important things with their hands that they have to resort to science to find a balance. I wore that fucking Bluetooth in my ear the whole way down to LA on the off chance that the Emmys called me while I was in the car and still, nothing.
"Yes Mr. President? Sorry, I'm too busy playing the final guitar solo from November Rain to pick up a real phone."
I’d been in LA for three days and the Emmys had once again blown their notification deadline, something I’d become almost used to. Then, I received the call I’d been waiting for and fantasizing about for so long:
“Hello, is this Truman? This is ________, with the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences internship program.”
“Holy shit.” I said. “Hi!”
The woman on the other end laughed. “Holy shit – I don’t have news. I’m just calling to tell you there’s been a shake up at the host company; they’ve ordered a rewrite of the pilot for the show and the writing team says they won’t be able to take on an intern until August.”
So I started working full time at Patrick’s company – more details on that in the next blog – a job that I enjoy and appear to be pretty good at, which is a relief, seeing as I was pretty fucking bad at simple, lowpaying, non career oriented jobs such as milkshake making or water glass filling. I’ve been there for a week and a half now, something that I neglected to publicize on Hair Guy or Facebook lest the person vetting me for the scriptwriting internship look and see that I already had a job.
Two days ago, I received the following email from the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences:
Due to circumstances completely out of my control, I will NOT be filling the second Scriptwriting slot this summer. Production on _______ has been delayed, and it won't be premiering now until Fall of 2011.
I appreciate your patience, and I'm so sorry to have to give you this news. Cliché as it may sound, this is show biz.
Suffice it to say:
Truman Capps eagerly awaits your comments and emails about what typos he made this week.