Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Color Accuracy

Look! I took this picture of Kent and Ashly. I told 'em they looked like a Hal Hartley movie. I'm not sure that's accurate. But whatever they look like, they look great, don't they? This was snapped between the Creative Arts Emmys and the Creative Arts Ball. That's right, we went to the Emmys! The Creative Arts Emmys. They're just like regular Emmys. They are regular Emmys! They're Emmys! But more creative. And sure enough I brought my jotting book that I always fill with my special jottings just for you. In fact, Adam Muto had to keep reminding me, "Put your book away," because I was jotting backstage after we WON Emmys and people were trying to interview us and take nice pictures of us and give us our Emmys and I was dazed and jotting.
Here, for example, we find me hugging a giant Emmy statue with my jotting book in my hand - the famous jotting book you've probably been waiting your whole life to see! - moments after winning an Emmy. HOW DID WE GET HERE? We must begin a couple of days before the Creative Arts Emmys, on Dr. Theresa's birthday! 1. We were in a nice restaurant in Memphis, Tennessee. The next table received an unordered caprese salad, which caused a minor kerfuffle! I said, "Things fall apart, the center cannot hold." So we started quoting poetry at each other. Dr. Theresa said she likes "Out of the Cradle, Endlessly Rocking" and I said, "Death, death, death, death," which I believe is a quotation from it (?) and Dr. Theresa said, "Uh, it's my birthday." 2. The next morning I had to leave Dr. Theresa behind! She drove back to Oxford and went to work while I climbed aboard an airplane, where I watched that recent biopic about Brian Wilson. There is a scene where he is on an airplane yelling, "I don't want to die! I don't want to die!" That was a funny thing to show on an airplane. 3. I kept thinking, "Brian Wilson IS James Baxter!" Meaning the ADVENTURE TIME character James Baxter the Horse, not James Baxter the beloved animator for whom James Baxter the Horse is named.
"Can we get a horse in here?" is one thing that Brian Wilson said during the "making of PET SOUNDS" montage. 4. Dramatically, my pen cap dropped to the floor and rolled away, beyond all reach! I could no longer put that pen in the pocket of my nice pants without some danger. THIS MIGHT SERIOUSLY CURTAIL MY JOTTING! As you will see from the unreadable verbosity of what follows, such was not the case. 5. But as I was thusly fretting, I lost the whole pen, which rolled under the feet of a possibly mean old man behind me on the plane. I opened up the window shade and saw brown mountains and brown land, some dry river beds, some roads, I think, cut into the land. I thought, "There it is, the Old West!" I brooded sentimentally about the people who used to cross it the hard way. "Every Valley Shall Be Exalted" was shuffling through on the iPod and I thought, looking at the land, "Handel had the seeds of the future in him!" Ha ha! What a lunatic! I mean me, not Handel.
But anyway, it sounded like Handel knew that he was writing a great number to listen to while you're looking out the window of an airplane. 6. Safely at the hotel bar I sat next to a bigwig from Technicolor. Technicolor! I didn't know it was a business anymore. "I calibrated this TV because I couldn't stand it," he said, meaning the TV over the bar. I asked what movie he liked best, ignoring plot and direction and everything else but color. He said, "You mean COLOR ACCURACY." I don't think that's what I meant! I may have meant the opposite. But it turns out all he cares about is color accuracy. Before this guy looks at a piece of film or video to make the colors accurate, he sits in a dark, empty room for an hour staring at nothing! That's how he starts his job every day! To get his eyes properly adjusted, I think. "It's not meditation!" he said with some urgency, as if afraid I would think he was some kind of meditating person. It's a practical aspect of his job - that's what he meant. 7. Now let's go to the Emmys. IF WE CAN. I was sitting around Kent's place sipping some iced tea when he casually said, "Did you bring the tickets?" AND GUESS WHAT. I HAD FORGOTTEN THE TICKETS. I had to rush back to the hotel! What a caper! When I returned to Kent's place,
Ashly was already there to meet us. Like most of your more glamorous Emmy types, we arrived by Uber. We saw Anthony Bourdain on the red carpet. He said I looked nice! Which I only mention because I was worried about my red pants. WHY DID I BUY RED PANTS, I kept worrying. I was NOT worried about my jacket, which John T. Edge so graciously loaned me for the occasion. Well, I was worried about buttoning it. 8. While we were standing in the lobby waiting for the ceremony to start, I got to talk to Rebecca Sugar! This was an especial thrill for me. I admire her work so much, and she left A.T. to work on STEVEN UNIVERSE just before I arrived on the show, I think. I had taken note of what she was doing and saw the magnificent scope of what the job could be. Before, we had met only once in passing on the street in front of the Cartoon Network building.
It was so much fun and fascinating to get to hear her talk about her songwriting process, just for one thing. 9. Okay, so Mel Brooks presented the first award. I think Kent was the one in the whole crowd who leapt quickest to his feet and instigated the well-deserved standing ovation. 10. Kent went to the lobby to get a beer. You can get a beer during the Creative Arts Emmys! They're no squares! So Matt Weiner, creator of MAD MEN, was coming into the auditorium as Kent was leaving. So Kent said, "Hi!" and Matt Weiner said, "Hi!" Later, Ashly saw Kathryn Hahn in the women's restroom! She was really nice! Little did I know that later, at the ball, I would foist myself (psychologically speaking) upon both Beau Bridges ("Here's all I want to say to you: FABULOUS BAKER BOYS." Ha ha, what an idiot I am) and Key from Key and Peele!
11. So in between the awards and the ball, Rob Sorcher, the CCO of Cartoon Network, invited everyone to fancy bar nearby. We had a lot to celebrate. Not only did ADVENTURE TIME win best animated short-form series (here I am unintentionally photobombing Adam as he makes his acceptance speech), but Pat McHale's OVER THE GARDEN WALL won best LONG-form series! Here you can see a "candid shot" of Pat in the background as he stares into his drink and contemplates the fleeting nature of happiness at the fancy bar:
Yeah, I know most of these pictures feature me, but this is my "blog," I mean, gee. I hate you! Leave me alone! 12. My notes get really jumbled around this point. Should I jump ahead, as they indicate, and talk about when Pat McHale gently jostled me, causing me to spill wine on my white shirt? Pat dropped to his knees in unnecessary apology, with such flair and dexterity that he resembled James Brown at the end of a performance! 13. BUT! first we must get to the ball. That was tricky! No one seemed to know how to get there. There was a strange line between buildings, almost a maze, and Matt Weiner was at the head of it, walking fast. He was like the Pied Piper! Harry Crane (pictured) from the show was walking beside him, looking just like Harry Crane.
I still felt anger at him for his bad doings! Matt Weiner was leading everyone down dead alleys and around false corners. I was walking at some distance behind, side by side with Tom Herpich, who won TWO Emmys that night! One for individual achievement on A.T. (his marvelous solo episode "Walnuts and Rain")
and one for his work on OVER THE GARDEN WALL. (I should mention that the episode that won us the best series Emmy was Kent's solo episode "Jake the Brick.") So Tom had Emmys in both hands, and my Emmy kept banging into his as we walked along - LIFE IS HARD! - until I had the bright idea of switching hands (though I kept unconsciously switching back). Then I offered to carry one of Tom's Emmys for a while. Because they're heavy! He gladly accepted. BUT THEN I saw that our CCO (who greenlit MAD MEN back in the day as well as greenlighting ADVENTURE TIME - this guy has a greenlighting thumb, I tell ya!) was striding alongside Matt Weiner, at the front of the line, having a chat. So I chucked Tom's Emmy back at him like a lout and raced to the front of the line for my big chance to... WAIT! WHAT AM I DOING? I forgot to tell you what it's like to "win an Emmy." 14. So. It really is completely surprising, just like they say. Kent kept telling me, "After Mickey Mouse beats us we'll go have a drink." And we all thought that! And I didn't even think I cared. But I started caring! The whole thing is such a blur that when somebody asked me the next day who presented our award, I couldn't remember. Adam said he felt much the same way. Neil Degrasse Tyson was onstage, in retrospect, and it all happened so fast I didn't even realize he was announcing our award. In fact, I was softly muttering something blasé about Neil Degrasse Tyson's persona to Kent just before - WHILE? - it happened. 15. I saw the CCO gesticulating urgently as I waddled slowly up the aisle. He was giving me those "hurry up" gestures. When you get onstage you're just confused. You can't hear anything. I couldn't hear what Adam was saying to the world. 16. After you win an Emmy you look around for somebody to tell you what to do. Nobody really does. Somebody with a microphone asks questions. They take your picture. I foolishly knelt on one brittle knee in the front row with Kent and then I couldn't get up. I put my hands on Kent's shoulders to help steady myself as I rose and I nearly crushed Kent into the ground. It was a terrible spectacle of oldness. Then you go into a room and meet these two women behind a table, just like the volunteers at your polling station on Election Day! They make you find your name on a piece of paper and sign it. That's so you can get your Emmy. By now I understood that I was actually going to get one, the actual statue, but I still couldn't understand that it was happening. Then you have to carry it around all night! At the ball, I'd pick it up whenever I left the table. I didn't want to lose it. And I was weirdly attached to "my" Emmy, the one I had happened to choose from the random array. (The plaque with your name on it comes later, they tell me.) A stranger came up to me and said, "There are two kinds of people here tonight, the people who carry their Emmys around with them and..." It was obvious she was giving me a stern chiding for being that crass sort of person whom she had first mentioned. But I didn't want to lose it! The Emmy, I mean. 17. Although I must admit that Kent and I very purposefully took our Emmys with us when we went to see Pamela Adlon at her table. We thought they would get us closer to her! Like we wouldn't seem like maniacs! All this, even though Kent has voice-directed her for ADVENTURE TIME in the past. Still we were enthralled and nervous!
The woman who took this picture couldn't figure out how to work the camera. I said, "You say you're in the television industry?" which was supposed to be cute and lighthearted, but I think it came out more sarcastic than I intended! She repeated it after she took the picture. "I was trying to be funny," I stammered. It is probably best not to "try to be funny" at the LOUIE table. "You were funny," Pamela Adlon said, patting my arm and being nice. The woman who took the picture is the casting director for LOUIE, so you know how good she is. After the picture-taking we talked to her for a while about that, especially the little girl who so dazzlingly plays Louie's younger daughter, and how she came to find her and how she had known she was right for the role and why it's so tough picking the right child actor. And of course I brought up the time they tried to get Jerry Lewis for the part David Lynch ended up playing. 18. Then Kent and I went to gawk at Anthony Bourdain, whom I know a little bit. We discussed his role in ARCHER. He said he'd love it if his character came back and I kept rudely reminding him that he fell out of an airplane.
"But you didn't see me hit the ground!" said Anthony Bourdain. 19. At the ball I thought it was kind of funny that they were playing Billy Joel muzak. And then I thought it was even funnier when I figured out that the Billy Joel muzak was being played by a live string orchestra! By the end of the night, there was live dance music, and when we were "leaving" we ended up dancing for five or six or seven songs instead, Kent and Ashly and Tom and me.
Who knew Tom could dance? He can really dance! Why is that surprising? Well, as Seo Kim said the next day, when I astonished her with my tales of Tom's dancing abilities, Tom "never moves." Adam confirmed Tom's economy of motion. "Saving it up," Tom said (concisely!) when confronted. Well, he certainly puts it to good use when the time comes! I don't know who the eerie faceless figure in the background of this photo (above) is. Maybe it's Slenderman! 20. Oh! Painstakingly analyzing a vine of our dancing frame by frame, I find this evidence of Pat McHale's wine crimes.
21. The next day I went to have brunch with my brother and nephews. My brother made me bring my Emmy with me to show the boys. When you leave the Emmys they give you this thing like - as my brother and I both independently said, and what is wrong with us? - a baby coffin to put it in. It was hard to carry. "Wah, wah, wah, my Emmy is heavy," my brother rightly mocked me. At brunch we talked about how you make a homunculus and debated my brother's preposterous claim that "most purple food is bitter." "Grapes!" I kept yelling at him. "Grapes!" 22. Then came the great bag hunt, my brother's Ahabian quest to find a canvas bag into which my Emmy coffin would fit. He said it would be easier for me to take it to the airport that way, and he proved to be right. He drove us all over the place in his search for the right bag. The right bag indeed proved elusive! Though not entirely. Sometimes we went in; sometimes my nephews and I waited in the car while my brother went in. Once he left us in a dark parking garage and we all sang (without accompaniment; car and radio were turned off and the windows were rolled down) the Roy Orbison song "In Dreams." As creepy as it was for us, we only imagined later the probable terror of the other poor people in that parking garage, listening to us trying to sing Roy Orbison's song about that "candy-colored clown" who comes into your room late at night. 23. The next day I went to the office and had lunch with Seo Kim and Sam Alden. Somebody at the table next to us was explaining to his coworkers that the only reason people die is that the sun poisons them, otherwise we would all be immortal. This led to an interesting discussion after they left, and maybe one day I'll type it up, I have all the jottings right here, and they are pretty good - like about how big lobsters can get (really big!) - but man, I'm tired! 24. Writer's meeting with Adam and Ashly! We got sidetracked watching David Lynch clips on the enormous TV in the conference room, focusing on Lynch's obsession with lip-synching...
a total coincidence having nothing to do with singing "In Dreams" in the car with my nephews! In fact, it all started because something reminded Adam of James from TWIN PEAKS. In what might have been the hugest coincidence of all, I thought I saw Dean Stockwell at the airport on my way back home! But it wasn't Dean Stockwell, so it wasn't any kind of coincidence, and I guess I shouldn't have even mentioned it just now. But I did. This "Dean Stockwell" I saw turned out to be an actor named Peter Brown. I've never heard of him (or seen him in anything, as far as I can tell), but I could tell he was an actor. And the "internet" says he is one year younger than Dean Stockwell. I was so close! And his wife was excited that I recognized him, and she was so happy and sweet-natured I didn't have the heart to correct her. 25. I'm leaving out a lot of stuff, believe it or not. I guess the eager archivists of the future will have to devote their lives to studying the quaint runes of my little jotting book to find out what else Seo and Sam and I talked about at lunch. 26. Oh yeah, sorry, I started "building up suspense" about a "Matt Weiner story" all the way back in #13, above. But there isn't one! Joke's on you! No one is still reading this. Joke's on me! Well, there is a story, but I don't meet Matt Weiner in it. I'll tell you later. I won't tell you later.