Authors: Ruth Clampett
Copyright © 2013 by Ruth Clampett. All rights reserved.
This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents are either products of the author’s imagination or used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events, locales, or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental. No part of this publication can be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, without permission in writing from the author or publisher.
Photography by David Johnston
The gorgeous man on the cover is Christopher McDaniel
Betty, the delightful dog, was treated with love
and respect during the photo shoot.
Also by Ruth Clampett:
My brilliant, badass, buttercup
My constant reminder
To live it large
’Cause this ain’t no dress rehearsal
I love those times we tumble
Over each other’s crazy thoughts
Laughing like loons
And the quiet moments
When you see me
As the person I one day hope to be
True Blue Entertainment
True Blue Entertainment
True Blue Entertainment
One Year Later
kay, who has an idea? And not a crappy idea, I only want good ones,” Rachel asks, clapping her hands together.
“Naturally,” says Paul as he pulls on Lucy’s ponytail.
She turns and swats at him. “Pay attention,” she hisses. She sits up straight again and gives Rachel her full attention.
The bright L.A. sun pours in the large windows, making the muted colors of the standard office meeting room a little less dull.
“Do you ever worry that every kind of reality show has already been done?” Phillip asks philosophically as he leans back in his chair. “Dark thoughts like this keep me up at night, people.” He pushes his glasses up on top of his head, sweeping his long bangs off his forehead. With his
Brave New World
T-shirt and jeans he looks like an ex-English teacher turned TV writer, which is exactly what he is.
“There’s always a new idea,” says Lucy, who ironically hasn’t had a solid idea in two years. She’s managed to hold onto her job by being a team player and eager to help with any project, even when it doesn’t involve writing.
“We could mix ideas, like fat people who hoard, or people who lead secret lives online at night and coupon shop by day,” Phillip suggests.
“Can I ask why the other meeting rooms at this highbrow studio have coffee and snacks and ours never does?” Paul gestures to the room’s built-in hospitality bar with a Formica countertop, instead of the granite they had at his last job. He glances at the sofas and chairs in their sitting area. It’s all furniture pretending to be high design but actually falls short, not too dissimilar to how True Blue falls in the reality-show food chain. Still, it’s a good gig and, best of all, it’s close to his home in West Hollywood.
“Sorry to tell you this, Paul, but True Blue Entertainment isn’t actually highbrow.” Rachel lifts her Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf beverage she purchased on the way to work because she can’t drink the swill they serve in the breakroom.
“You’re right. It’s lowbrow,” Paul says in between coughs, “But it’s a job.”
Ignoring the digression, Phillip continues on. “What if we get a bunch of former child stars with fetishes to all live in a house together? I’m sure those messed up kids all have fetishes.” Phillip’s known for his weird ideas, several of which have made successful series.
“I know! How about people who have won the lottery and are addicted to porn,” Lucy says enthusiastically.
“Reel it in, guys, reel it in.” Rachel warns.
“What about extremists being interviewed by people who despise their particular type of extremism, only they don’t know it?” asks Paul.
Rachel raises her eyebrows as if this idea is worth considering. “Do you mean something like Christiane Amanpour interviewing Honey Boo Boo’s family?”
Paul nods excitedly. “Yes, not like you’d ever get Amanpour, but that’s the general idea.”
“Hmmm, could be interesting… And the subject would be unaware of the conflict?”
“We’ll look through our file of stories we passed on. With this new angle, they might be worth pursuing.” Lucy studies the bookcase and pulls out a binder. She’s only a few pages in when she points to a picture on a page. “What about that guy Will who celebrates Christmas 365 days a year?”
Rachel leans forward. “Oh, yeah, Steph in Procurement’s second cousin. She said he gives gifts or does something Christmasy every day of the year. Part of his house is decorated for the holidays year round.”
“He must be a complete nutcase.” Paul observes.
“Or he hates setting that shit up and then taking it down, and does it for his wife. I know I sure do,” says Phillip.
“Oh, it’s way past that. It’s not like some sloth-like ass who leaves their Christmas tree up until April because they’re too lazy to deal with it. This is a guy who does this stuff intentionally.” Lucy studies his bio. “And he’s surprisingly good-looking.”
Rachel examines the picture more closely. “He sure is, not like the lookers we usually get with this nut-bag crowd, that’s for sure. That could add to the market appeal.”
“Does he dress his children like elves?” Paul asks.
Lucy checks the spec sheet. “Steph said he’s single.” She rolls her eyes. “I’m not surprised. I don’t know many women who’d put up with that.”
Paul raises his hand. “I want to work on this one. I have some ideas for the interview.”
Lucy shakes her head. “I don’t know. You’ll be too hard on the poor guy. He won’t know what hit him.”
“We’ll get a compassionate producer. How about Sophia? She just moved over from our cooking shows. I remember when we talked she said she’s a pushover for holiday stuff and loves sweet stories,” says Rachel.
“This won’t be so sweet when I’m done with it, but you may be right. Sophia can win him over so that he won’t know what hit him. Since she’s new to this format we can control her and how much she knows from the beginning,” Paul adds.
“She told me at the Christmas party that she fancies herself to one day be a documentary filmmaker. I think she’s in severe denial as to the purpose of reality TV in the big crock pot of entertainment.” Lucy snickers.
“That’s another reason why she’s perfect for this. She’ll be focused on making the footage meaningful and will convince this Will guy of her lofty ideas, while we focus on getting what we really need,” Paul says with a grin.
“Good, good… one segment down,” Rachel says, making notes in her book. “What else do you have in that binder, Lucy? We need two more segment ideas, and I’m not bringing lunch in until we’ve got them nailed.”
eeling energized, I tap my pen on the tabletop as the phone rings. After years of working on cooking shows, it’s exciting to work on something different and less predictable. My stomach flip flops when I think about all I have to learn producing human-interest stories but I’m hopeful it’s a step closer to my documentary roots than shows on braised broccoli and nacho cheese delights.
When we talked about working together, the writer/director Paul assured me Will Saunders was delighted to be part of the show, but I want to find out for myself. I’ve been fooled before. People in this industry will do anything, absolutely anything for ratings and getting a show sold.
“Hi there, is this William Saunders?”
“Yes,” he replies.
“I’m Sophia Worthy and I’m a producer for True Blue Entertainment. I want to talk to you about being part of our reality show on people with interesting hobbies.”
He lets out a frustrated huff. “Did you get my information from my overly ambitious cousin, Steph? Because I’m
not interested in being on a show. I’ve told her this.”
He’s not interested? That’s certainly an annoying turn of events, but I’m not giving up so easily.
“Really, Mr. Saunders? Can I call you Will?”
“Sure, most people do.”
“Okay, Will… if you don’t mind my asking, why aren’t you interested?”
“Well, Steph tried to talk me into it. She said it would be a way to promote my work with kids… but I doubt it.”
“Yes, my notes show that you allow your house to be used for fundraisers and tours to gather hundreds of toys for Toys for Tots. I read you also let teachers bring underprivileged kids through in December.”
“And you give gifts throughout the year to the homeless.”
“I do, but…” He sounds uncomfortable with how much I know.
I jump right in. “Well, Steph’s right. People often underestimate the benefits this type of exposure can bring to their endeavors.”
“But Sophia… I can call you that, right?”
“I enjoy what I do, but I really don’t want to be judged for it from the world in general. I have enough trouble from my neighbors.”
“I can understand that.” This guy sounds sharper than I expected, so I decide to try another tactic. “But what if you weren’t allowed to do this anymore? I learned about the trouble with your neighbors, the Hoffmeyers, and how they’re trying to stop you.”
“So you already know about crazy Fred and his looney family?” He sounds impressed but still uncomfortable with the invasiveness of my research. “I wish they’d move back to the trailer park, but for now their life’s ambition is to make me suffer for wanting to give some kids a happier holiday.”
“Have you considered that we could make Fred look really bad and help raise public awareness of your work?”
He considers the idea. “You really think that would work?”
“You’d be amazed what this type of positive exposure can do.” I cross my fingers and hope I’m right.