Jeff Astrof has 100 days off. See how he spends them.

Day 87

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Today started like every other Tuesday: having the kids ready to leave for school ten minutes early and getting there 15 minutes late.  Tuesdays are also the days that my wife and I have a class together in the morning at our school.  Today the topic was medical ethics and the lecturer/doctor/quiet talker told of the life and death decisions he had to make on a daily basis.  I knew exactly what he meant: I had received an email from my agent early this morning asking what sample of mine he should send over to a show I was interested in meeting on.  The reason I was interested in meeting on the show was because it was a show that had up until this point shown no interest in me: I haven’t read it or seen it and know very little about it except that it is a single camera show– no laugh track, like 30 Rock or Modern Family– and is a very broad comedy about two twenty-something girls.  After sending my agent a very strongly worded and hastily composed email at midnight implying that if I’m not meeting on every “hot” show out there it means that he’s not working hard enough–again, I’ve never sent an email I haven’t regretted sending almost immediately after I sent it–  I received his equally nervous response this morning: “I’m pushing really hard for this.  What sample of yours do you think best represents the tone of this show?”  The honest answer, of course, is: none.  I don’t have a sample that perfectly matches this show that I haven’t read.  But that doesn’t matter to me.  Over the course of my career I’ve written for the following situations: An African-American semi-pro basketball player coming home to substitute teach; an animate duck/detective, a group of six beautiful, funny Friends in New York, an overweight former lingerie model, a 50 year old divorced single mom, an 80 year old former captain of the USS Enterprise.  With the exception of “Friends”, I never wrote about anyone who was like me (disregard the beautiful part).  But as I yelled at my agent, “it doesn’t matter, I can write anything!  Get me this meeting!”  The probability is that A: they will not respond to my script about a 40 year old guy sandwiched between his teenage daughter and recently unestranged mother or B: they will and I won’t like the show.  But that doesn’t matter, I want to meet on everything I can.  Especially the shows that don’t want to meet with me.

As I drove to my first and only meeting of the day, a show about an alcohol-soaked twenty-something woman, I carried with me the resentment that somehow I wouldn’t be able to connect to this other “hot” show about two young girls in the city.  I’ve got an extremely young sensibility.  As I was saying this, probably out loud, I realized that Air Supply’s “I’m All Out of Love” was playing on the radio, so I rolled down the windows and cranked it.  Hell’s yeah.  I had low expectations for this meeting– I was meeting with two women whom I had never met before, imagining two alcohol-soaked twenty-somethings who smelled like Ke$ha (that’s right).  I started the meeting on the exact right foot when I recognized the producer as a guy I worked with years and years ago, who’s married to a woman who produced a pilot I wrote years ago and who is now producing a new “hot” pilot and who passed on me because she didn’t respond to the sample that was the pilot that she produced for me years ago!  Upon seeing the guy I used to know, the first thing I said was, “Hey, ask your wife why the hell she passed on material that I wrote for her six years ago!”  His reaction was the expected confused, “Um.  Okay.”  I knew the meeting was doomed, but I couldn’t leave.

I then met the writers of the show and I things instantly turned around: they were two women in their forties.  And guess what?  Women in their forties and up are the exact type of people who adore me.  I’m not quite sure why, or when it happened, but I’ve noticed that I’m my most delightful around this demographic.  I was self-deprecating and charming and literally spoke for an hour about embarrassing things that have happened to me until one of the women said, “Oh, I just want to rock you”, to which I replied in the perfect non-smarmy tone, “Wow, I haven’t had a woman say she wanted to rock me in a long time.”  Hahahahahaha.  Oh, youuuuu.  The meeting was magic, with the perfect combination of me connecting to my inner forty year old woman with multiple feminine product references and my inherent need to feel mothered.  I didn’t say it was healthy, I said it was magic.  You may mock me, but this is not the first time I’ve noticed this kinship.  When I was recently buying my wife an expensive pot for some occasion I was told by a post-fertile woman working at the store that I was “adorable”.  Ditto a woman I ran into this past Saturday who claimed in her husky voice that “knew me from somewhere.”  I asked if her kids went to my kids school.  Her kids had just graduated college.  “Oh, then you must have had them when you were two.”  Hahahahaha.  Oh, youuuuuuu.

After my meeting I headed out to take care of some unfinished business: getting a new wedding ring.  Lord knows my wife would not want an adorable guy like me running around without a wedding band.  I went back to the place that I bought it, Tiffany, which had a record of the last ring I bought there five years ago after losing my first ring (I am going to inscribe “If found, please call…” on the inside of this one.  Either that or #3 of…”)  The good news continued for me as I learned that I went down half a ring size since five years ago.   Losing a micron of finger fat is not a huge accomplishment, but I’ll take it.  As I squeezed the ring onto my finger I asked Mark, my Tiffany Sales Associate, how it should fit.  He said it should be hard to get off, which gave me license to go into this character– the one my wife hates even more than my effeminate dancer character– and said, “It should be tight.  It’s basically a shackle.  Am I right, Mark?”   Mark smiled uncomfortably, but you know who enjoyed it?  The Tiffany Sales Associate behind Mark, Lorraine who gave a little chuckle.  How old was Lorraine?  Mid-40’s.

My success with my key demo continued as I checked my email to find that in my inbox was a note from a producer friend who reiterated– in the way that only a 40 year old woman could– that she would like to develop a show with me.   Oh, meeeeeeee.  This day, which started out with trepidation, was ending with me finding my comfort zone.  I called my wife on the way home and told her about my day and as I pulled in front of my house I heard my kids screaming in the background about how they didn’t want to do their homework and were hungry but not for what my wife was serving them.  Shawni told me she had to go and would speak to me when I got home– not realizing that I was in front of the house.  And I didn’t spoil that surprise for her for another half hour, as I made a series of business calls from my curb– telling my agent he needed to do a better job, comparing notes with other friends to see what meetings they’ve been on, listening to the LA sports fans talk about what they would do to fix the Lakers.  Now I know that if you were watching this on the Jeff Astrof show, I might not be the hero, but in my defense… I just didn’t want to go in there and deal with two screaming kids and an overwrought wife.  Besides, when last I saw my daughter this morning she was standing in the corner at her school carnival, outside of all the commotion– or fun– depending on whose perspective you were looking at it.  Frankly, I just wanted to extend my moment of being free from family stress.  But then, of course, reality set in (and my phone battery was dying) so I got out of the car, took a deep breath and opened the front door.  And sure enough, I was greeted by two screaming kids: my daughter was excitedly telling me how she got to be her teacher’s helper at the carnival, and my son wanted to show me the t-shirt that all his friend’s signed.  I then went to the back office to find my wife putting together pictures from our family vacation– the glow of the computer screen, and our trip, illuminating her face.  She turned to me and smiled, “so you had a good day?”  “Yeah.”  And I kissed her, knowing I had the admiration of the most important 40 + year old woman in the world.


Written by 100daysoff

May 10, 2011 at 11:22 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

One Response

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  1. very sweet ending

    Marc Rosenberg

    May 11, 2011 at 4:56 am

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